Curious how the BBC broadcasts a programme explaining the issues on a subject that Ed Miliband makes a policy speech about 3 days later.
In May 2013 Ipsos MORI released some research it was working on in conjunction with the left wing Demos and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on how the young view welfare:
Ipsos’s Bobby Duffy says Generation Y believes people need to take greater personal responsibility rather than looking to the state, and that this in turn reflects the fact its members have had less state support themselves than other recent generations.
The report noted that:
Our debate about welfare policy in the UK is easily muddled, because unlike most other countries we’ve lost sight of its contributory nature and confuse social security for the large majority with welfare for the poor. Older groups are net beneficiaries from welfare spending, and therefore widespread support across cohorts can only be maintained if younger generations believe that a similar contract will remain in place when they’re old. This seems likely to prove increasingly difficult, given that younger groups seem to have a much weaker perception of the contributory nature of welfare.
And, today, people’s faith in social security has been shaken when it appears that some people get something for nothing and other people get nothing for something – no reward for the years of contribution they make.
We have to tackle this too.
Overcoming worklessness, rewarding work and tackling low pay, investing in the future and recognising contribution: these are the Labour ways to reform our social security system.
Remake social security to make it work better for our country and pass on a fair and sustainable system to the next generation, with the Labour Party.
So Miliband has picked up on the need to recognise the ‘contributory nature’ of welfare and if the young pay in they should get something out in future.
One year later on the 16th of June 2014 the BBC curiously produced a programme, ‘Generation Right’, which returned to the Ipsos MORI report of May 2013 and told us that ‘Generation Y’ wanted a fairer welfare system and a link between hard work and reward.
Three days later, on the 19th of June 2014, Miliband makes another speech, essentially the same one as in 2013 in which he said there was a need for welfare to be fairer and for the ‘something for nothing’ culture to end and to ‘ restore the link between hard work and reward.‘
He also said:
And to properly reward hard work and effort, we need contribution to be at the heart of our welfare system too.
We talk about the problem of people getting something for nothing.
And we are right to do so.
But there is a problem that politicians rarely talk about of people getting nothing for something.
How many times have I heard people say: “for years and years, I paid in and then when the time came and I needed help I got nothing out”?
Rewarding contribution was a key principle of the Beveridge Report.
And it is a key intuition of the British people.
But it is a principle that has been forgotten by governments of both parties.
In other words Miliband is once again echoing the Ipsos MORI report’s words…that the contributory nature of welfare has been forgotten and that the young must have that link restored and guaranteed for welfare system to work.
Not saying at all that the BBC produced a programme based on a year old Ipsos MORI report three days before Ed Miliband made a major policy defining speech also echoing what was in that report and that someone at the BBC intended to use that programme as a ‘warm up’ for the main event, explaining the issues and giving Miliband ‘cover’ for his new policy as he apparently makes a dramatic change of course and commits Labour to cut welfare spending on the young….‘for the first time’ as the BBC repeatedly told us. Just pure coincidence.
Miliband made his speech at the IPPR’s release of its own policy strategy recommendations, there being close links between Ipsos MORI and IPPR:
The Condition of Britain: Strategies for social renewal
The Condition of Britain: Strategies for social renewal sets out a comprehensive new agenda for reforming the state and social policy to enable people in Britain to work together to build a stronger society in tough times.
No coincidence that this is a major component of that report as well……
In this chapter, we argue that the second pillar on which to build a strong society in tough times is contribution and shared endeavour. An ambitious agenda for social renewal must seek to marshal all of the resources that reside in everyday life, harnessing people’s time and talents, and drawing on the strengths and experience of civil society in all its forms. This will require steps to both promote and reward contribution across society, strengthen civic and state institutions that mobilise contribution, and embed reciprocity much more strongly in our welfare system.
Maybe it is all just a coincidence. It’s a small world after all. And there’s an election coming.
Craig at ‘Is the BBC biased?’ had a listen to the BBC’s ‘Generation Right‘ and concluded:
If you have the time, please take a listen to Generation Right (Radio 4, 8.00pm).
I expected the worst (and said as much), but I’ll now happily eat my words. This was an absolute pleasure to listen to from start to finish, fascinating and – especially gratifying – scrupulously fair too.
All credit then to the BBC’s Declan Harvey [who I bashed the other day for an injudicious anti-UKIP tweet], Vicky Spratt and Lewis Goodall for making such a fabulous, unbiased programme. It can be done.
Have to say that my initial concern with the programme, before hearing it, was based on the concept of it…that there is a problem because the young are more right leaning, apparently, than before. Why would the BBC think that is a ‘problem’?
Having listend to the programme I have to disagree with Craig on this one and say it is probably one of the BBC’s more politically biased programmes and povides the listener with a completely distorted intepretation of what the young said and a false idea of what the report actually said.
But that is the subject for another post.