Skip to main content

Overheard in the Surgery!

Ooh matron (not really).
I was waiting to see the doctor (stress and tiredness I think are inducing weird motion sickness) and listening to the local BBC station. Apparently benefit fraud is on the increase in Bristol - or at least they reported a windfall of prosecutions.
Well that's great; no one is going to defend benefit fraud, though personally I can't see it as much more than a victimless crime perpetrated by people ruled by even bigger crooks. I don't lose much sleep over it, sorry. But, as a claimant, I have to be seen to disapprove, which is fair enough I suppose. I don't condone it regardless.
I have to wonder though how much money is spent chasing these people? I'm not the first to make this point, and I won't be the last. Surely if someone's only crime is that they have claimed fraudulently, even if it's a few grand, is there any point throwing even more money in what is clearly an exercise in making an example of these people? Send a few down as a message to the masses that the capitalist system WILL break you and WILL win - but at what cost? Isn't this the absurd contradiction of capitalism? It's creating problems where none ought to or need to exist.
According to the council's benefit fraud webpage they investigated 667 allegations of benefit fraud. We prosecuted 61 people and a further 108 received warnings or were fined. So not even half of those allegations were substantiated. What does that say about our society? We know that the percentage of benefit money paid due to fraud is miniscule (the total is about a third of that lost to error, with both totalling around 5bn). How much did each investigation cost, what were the procedures used (were they too intrusive with people on ridiculous stakeouts)?. What was the cost of each prosecution, including the cost of jail time to the state etc? How much does it cost just to warn someone? It's just ridiculous; it's like the drug war - we criminalise people and then create an industry out of it so that some can profit (private security/investigators for starters). How about the cost of the freephone benefit fraud snitchline?
And where is the phoneline to shop a dodgy banker or mp? 'Report a fraudster now' - wait, you have to establish guilt first. Aren't we supposed to live in a presumed innocent society, or is that a privilege one must concede while unemployed (or even employed!)? Given the rate of prosecutions mentioned above it's a bit rich to presume guilt!
Of course benefit fraud is easy meat for the right wing press; it's largely impossible to defend (though I maintain that, where innocent people are not hurt, conned or manipulated I find it hard to really care). So as a sensible anti-capitalist I don't condone it. But let's have some facts and some perspective. It's easy to criticise people for making these choices, but when you're poor (and yes, not all 'fraudsters' are poor) and claiming while doing a few hours cash in hand - are you really the bogeyman?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I Fucking Hate the Work Programme

That did not go well.
My legs were wobbly to begin with as I closed in on the church that passes for the office of the employment wing of the Salvation Army. My appointment was 3 to half past. I really did feel sick. Pretty early on, when he asked for the forms he gave me last time to fill in, I knew that what was arranged on the letter (a short interview with me bringing my CV and jobsearch) was actually going to be much longer. I also knew that, come half three when I had to leave to catch my bus back ten minutes later, I was going to have problems. 
Unfortunately, though more for me I fear, it never got that far; at 20 past he terminated the interview citing my apparent 'putting up barriers' as the reason not to continue. This was because I refused consent for him to keep my CV. I asked why he needed it and offered, three times, to show it to him (that's all), he said it was to apply for jobs on my behalf. The EEC's need this information.
What's an EEC? Employm…

U.N. and Them

What are my thoughts on this?

It's a humanitarian crisis. Is that a phrase we should only reserve for famines in Africa or force majeure? We seem to have a blind spot to these things when they are on our own doorstep - it couldn't happen here, could it?

Yes.

Seven years of the most brutal selfish and greedy governance, not to mention the least competent, has brought us to the point where the United Nations are telling the Tories they are causing a 'human catastrophe' amongst the disabled and the sick. This is not the first time, and even that doesn't include their comments on the hated and spiteful (not to mention ineffectual) Bedroom Tax.

Do the Tories persist with these policies because they actually believe they are correct or even moral?

Or is it because they have no other way to appease the media attack dogs and/or the braying Shirefolk that delight in persecuting the poor as they do torturing foxes and badgers?

Is it both?

We have a government, in a first wor…

Anybody Out There?

Just so I can be sure this is being read at all and decide whether it's worth continuing, please shout out in the comments. Even if you think I'm talking barmy bollocks, it'd be helpful to know if there are people reading this and not weird bots from phishing sites or Russian hackers or some weird sentient algorithm.

Apologies if you are none of those things, but I'm considering what to do with this blog.

Thanks