Vilification of the unemployed as scroungers and skivers has a long and grisly heritage.

Kindness is cruelty; cruelty is kindness: this is the core belief of compassionate conservatism. If the state makes excessive provision for the poor, it traps them in a culture of dependency, destroying their self-respect, locking them into unemployment. Cuts and coercion are a moral duty, to be pursued with the holy fervour of Inquisitors overseeing an auto da fé.

This belief persists despite reams of countervailing evidence, showing that severity does nothing to cure the structural causes of unemployment.