I had a thought that made me shudder when reading all the Philpott reaction this week (this was apart from all the obvious shuddering that was already going on due to the horrific nature of what Philpott did).
What if there is some form of an afterlife and those six children, so cruelly killed before their lives had barely begun, could see the country’s reaction to the fact that their own parents had been found guilty of killing them?
The picture in my mind of their confused little faces made me feel even more embarrassed and ashamed that as a nation we have so quickly turned their deaths political, trying to score cheap points from one another, rather than focusing on what really happened here: that their monstrous, misogynistic, vile creature of a father killed them, while their pathetic excuse for a mother stood by, not even doing nothing, but worse, helping him to do so.
But instead of maintaining the focus on how barbaric Mick and Mairaid Philpott really are, the opportunity has been seized by the likes of the Daily Mail, George Osborne and now even David Cameron, to use this horror to try to reform the welfare system.
Not only does this tarnish everyone who claims benefits, ludicrously insinuating that to do so with the present system could mean you may well end up setting your house on fire and killing your own kids one day (because that’s *exactly* the kind of behavior those types of people, with that lifestyle, are capable of, don’t you know). It also exonerates Philpott from some of the responsibility of what he did, in some way blaming the fact that because he was able to claim what he could on welfare, this at least in part resulted in him killing his kids.
Also, for all of those who have been quick to jump on this ‘cut welfare’ bandwagon, what exactly are you saying here? That the very benefits that were helping to feed and clothe these now dead children should be cut? That the little support these children did receive from a system that otherwise entirely let them down should never have been given?
This beyond awful situation has nothing to do with the welfare system. There have been and are plenty of people like Philpott who end up in the news having committed barbaric acts for selfish reasons. Some have jobs, some are millionaires, some are penniless, some are on benefits, the list of variance goes on.
It just so happens that Philpott claimed benefits. And frankly, as an aside, I dread to think what a lazy, work-shy character like his, who seemed to have children to gain some kind of status, would be capable of/ driven to if there was no welfare system in place.
Anyway, welfare or no welfare, this argument should be irrelevant right now. Six children, with endless possibility and hope stretched out before them, have been snatched from this world by their own parents. And all the parents can do is try to find ways of making money out of this tragedy, for their own personal gain. And all the rest of the country, including the Prime Minister for goodness sake, can do is argue about welfare, again trying to use the tragedy for their own personal gain. ‘Messed up’ doesn’t even begin to cover it.
By Sophie Hudson