I was dismayed to learn that John Humprhies, the miserable old git from Radio 4 and Mastermind, is fronting another BBC hatchet job on welfare. I won't be watching. I can't be bothered (typical scrounger attitude, of course). I've had enough of all this. I'm not sleeping very well and I have to sign on this week and it requires I muster all my strength to deal with that. Seeing this will tip me over the edge I think.
So it looks like another call for the cutting of benefits. In this artificial age of Tory inspired (though certainly not Tory led) austerity they just will not let this go: it's clear this ghastly coalition would love to cut the welfare budget entirely. They are already taking credit for all of Labour's ghastly innovations (such as ESA - or specifically the WCA) and then blaming them for everything that has perceived to have gone wrong in recent years (despite the global nature of the economic disaster). Make no mistake this is how the Tories operate, which makes their lib dem lackeys look all the more feeble and naive. To think I voted for the latter (shudders).
What is going to be achieved by cutting JSA? What good can come of this? Nothing. The removal of back to work benefits will be a gangmaster's charter. There are also many Tories who would like to see nothing more than the repeal of the NMW, as well as such business 'experts' as Pigby Jones (an apologist for tax avoidance, ironically and sadly).
Of course removing JSA won't guarantee an increase in the availability of work or the amount. It won't protect the unemployed, who will then be left with nothing, from dodgy employers as they will have no choice but to accept what they are being offered. With legal aid going the same way what chance do they have to stand up against an employer who acts illegally? Not even that, without a safety net such people can be endlessly messed around by employers who won't even need to resort to breaking the law. Make no mistake, removing the welfare safety net will be a disaster.
But then what? So you're left with no money while the Tories and the ignorant will believe that somehow makes it easier to get work - as if JSA is a barrier to work. That's the level of ignorance we are dealing with. Benefits are seen not as a means to live (at the most basic level), but as an actual barrier, a force compelling the 'idle' to indolence. It's disgusting, puritan level language from the era of the workhouse.
So how are you meant to live while you apply for the same, dwindling, number of jobs? The removal of JSA won't increase the number of positions which are already about a third less than the number of people looking for work. How is the fact you've had your benefit removed going to make you an attractive proposition to a given employer - how is not being able to eat properly going to spur you on to work?
These sorts of programmes make me sad. I can't deal with this anymore. It's so easy for a TV producer to fetch up someone that represents a desired stereotype in order to further their agenda. As if a single example of a Frank Gallagher type proves that such people are the majority, not the statistical minority they really are. More money is lost to the system due to departmental error (which may or may not include underpayment of benefits as well as monies unclaimed) than fraud. While the latter certainly exists, we live in a capitalist system - there's fraud in all walks of life.
Why must we have this same pathetic debate over and over. Why must the unemployed continue to be the political whipping boys of the age. The poor were and are not responsible for the reckless nature of unfettered capitalism, yet acutely they are held responsible. We are pariahs and it is an unpleasant way to live. You almost have to walk through society in disguise, lest someone find out your 'true identity' as a 'scrounger'. Your thoughts, ideas, feelings and opinions are then traduced and your worth diminished in the eyes of an increasingly hostile and easily baited society.