It's like a dirty word rolling around our mouths, taboo.
It wasn't always so.
Let us picture for a minute a young woman. 23, single. With a young child. A baby. This young woman works a forty hour week for minimum wage. This young woman works for a shitty firm with no clear pay structure, no clear career progression, but still she works. She works because she knows that the experience will mean some sort of security for herself and her child, that one day she might get a well-paid job, one day the skills that she has learned and the life-lessons will stand her in good stead for a better-paid position.
For now, the money is poor. She works every possible hour, studies part time for her degree and meets her bills, just. But there is one shining light and that is WELFARE. Her government looks after her. Her government is aware that she does not earn enough money to keep a roof over her head, food in her belly, warmth in her home and childcare for her baby. Tax payers (whom she is one of) top up her wage so that she can live. So that she can keep on working all these hours. Until eventually she might finish her university course, until eventually she might not need to rely on these top-ups. Until such a time where she can take care of her own welfare.
Now let's put in place a Welfare Bill. We will limit the amount that she can receive back in top-ups. Why? Because we need to save money. We will take precisely £135 a month out of her pocket, £1,600 a year, or one week's childcare, whichever way you want to look at it.
What does she do? Where does she go? How will she live? Will she finish her degree? And what of her child? What of her daughter who she has worked so hard for?
Somewhere, across time, we can also picture a not-so-young-woman. Ten years between these women. Married, three children. First class degree, good job, decent money. She spends a lot of money on facecare products, wears an expensive diamond ring and has designer handbags. She likes freshly brewed tea at night and appreciates everything she has. This Welfare Bill affects this woman in a different way. This very same Welfare Bill will give her and her husband £1,600 per year extra, as they will not have to pay this in tax. This is a new boiler, a week away to Spain, a new driveway.
Of course both of these women is me. I count myself lucky that I can see both sides. Feel both sides.
As a single parent, I needed that money. I don't need it now.
Why are we taking from the poorest and giving to the better off? Why are countless people across the country being driven further into poverty? Surely the idea of the Welfare State is to provide WELFARE to people who need it most.
Like me when I was young.