The Philpott case cannot justify removing care from vulnerable children.

April 8, 2013 5:00 pm

Maybe Mick Philpott had too much time on his hands, what with him not having a job. Perhaps that is why he came up with a plot to set fire to his own house so that he could rescue his children and blame the fire on his ex-girlfriend.

If you follow the logic of the Daily Mail and George Osborne, who are perpetuating the myth that this hideous man, and this crime, was a product of the welfare state, we better keep an eye on all those other unemployed people who are driven to these kinds of crimes by the fact that they claim benefit. What a spurious connection to make. Are people who work not capable of horrific crimes? Mick Philpott’s killing of his own children was down to sheer stupidity, not the fact that he received too much money on benefits. To not realise the risk associated with setting fire to a house full of children, even if the intention was to rescue them is ludicrous. The idea that Mick is a product of welfare Britain suggests that there are many of these cases out there, which is simply untrue. How often do we hear of something this tragic? Thankfully, not that often.

Looking back over the coverage of the Tetra Pak billionairess Eva Rausling, who died from a drug overdose, it is noticeable how her death is portrayed, rightly, as a tragedy and how awful for her husband who did not report her death. They were not portrayed as a product of a vile upper class. We were not so quick to blame the financial structures supporting her for her habit and death. Why are we so quick to blame the Derby fire on the financial structures surrounding the Philpott family?

And now the debate has shifted from the important issue of six dead children and the question of domestic violence to the welfare state. Now the Tory’s are using this tragedy as an excuse to float the idea of cutting child benefit after two children. Mick Philpott

What is the proportion of people in the country who have eleven children and claim benefit for them? The idea that a large proportion of women keep churning out babies for that extra £13 a week is farcical. And if women do have more than two children and find they do need that extra support and it is not available, are those children to grow up in dire poverty? Surely it is at this point when the state is needed more than ever. People blame the welfare state for tragedy in Derby, will they turn their attention on how it has let children down if they are allowed to starve?

Limiting child benefit after two children brings up many questions. What of the desire to cut the time limit on abortion? If Jeremy Hunt gets his way and there is a twelve week limit, what of those poorer women who already have two children and find they are accidentally pregnant, but are past or close to the twelve week limit, and know that if they continue with the pregnancy they will not be entitled to state support. What do they do?

The verdict for the Philpott case comes in the same week in which the government has chosen to rip apart the benefits system. They are rubbing their hands in glee; here is the proof that backs up their claims that the welfare state produces vile, scrounging, murdering scumbags, thus should be abolished, or at least reduced to its skeletal form. How about we attack a culture that does not bat an eyelid at this man’s treatment of his many girlfriends, his casual use of domestic violence, a culture that says that women are there to be objectified; rather than attacking a system that takes care of children no matter how odious their parents are.

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