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Welfare Reform Makes No Sense To Me

IDS is plaguing my ears as I type; this silly bitter little man is certainly and unfortunately no longer quiet. He's a dog with a bone and his attitude; over the last couple of years he's become ever more short tempered and ideologically driven. Now he's on my radio banging the drum again in light of the welfare reform bill and the benefits cap - and he's making it clear, in my opinion, that this cap (and i would assume the rest of these changes), are being punished. This is because, to use his language, those that are not 'doing the right thing', don't deserve to have as much money. I find this obscene. Welfare, in the mind of this awful creature, is a tool for social engineering. A tool of the most odious Tory ideology.

Surely welfare is a function of capitalism. I happen to think it's moral to pay people, living in our system, to have access to food etc, in lieu of a job. But surely the alternative, if you examine this objectively, is chaos. Two and a half (and growing) people out of work, thousands more joining that number last week as well, all without access to welfare beyond perhaps their own savings? Wouldn't that be a recipe for social disaster: in other words increased costs in terms of policing, prison, insurance costs, etc? These people wouldn't just give up and fade away into the background. Their survival instincts would kick in; those unable to get support from friends or family would end up in criminality; be it theft, or even drugs or perhaps even prostitution. I've heard it said that welfare is the price paid for order in society.

It seems to me that welfare reform consists of two things: intervention, in the form of the Work Programme, and cuts, such as the benefits cap, HB caps and everything including sanctions. I've even heard IDS refer to paying benefits as him personally writing cheques for people (ie, he doesn't want to, which is why I describe him as bitter). I find this appalling.

Aside from the obviously failing (good!) Work Programme, the bulk of Tory ideology seems to revolve around the idea that cutting people's welfare income is a good thing. Somehow, thinks IDS, if we gie people less, regardless of the consequence, they will be less dependent on welfare. This makes no sense to me. How does giving someone less of an income than before ever help them move off of it. Also we are ALL dependent on our income; cut the pay of someone in work, like say a public sector worker, and see what happens. Well we've seen what happens: people take to the streets, and quite rightly. Welfare, in the eyes of IDS, is akin to drug dependency. At least that's the language he favours; in reality this is just about making his corporate friends richer (the WP providers) and cutting money. In a capitalist society we are all slaves to our income; we lack the means to be independent and our share of land and resources do not belong to us.

Wouldn't the best solution be to reintroduce rent control? That way people don't need to apply for rents that the likes of IDS don't approve of? Of course that isn't the point: IDS doesn't want people to charge obscene rents, he just doesn't want the people paying them to be on HB. Also these high HB costs (not rents, of course) are the fault of labour as well: people were given all this 'free' money during the last 13 years by bad old Gordon Brown. So we ignore the fact that rents go up over time and at the discretion of landlords and then blame the person claiming for that rent (who won't see the money, it's paid direct to the landlord) for being dependent. These are likely people with kids (they are the ones most likely to be affected by benefit caps) who will then have to up sticks, relocate, make a new HB claim, find a new school, possibly even a new job (most HB claimants are in work). What help will they get for this?

Make no mistake this is purely ideological: this is about cutting money for the poor so the rich can get richer, either profiting from welfare or further money for the likes of The City. IDS claims those that do the right thing (attend the WP or find work, presumably) won't be affected. Therefore he's singling out long term unemployed, people with the least self esteem, self worth and confidence, and publicly hurting them. All for the 'crime' of unemployment. I find IDS and his breed a stain on our society. I think his ideology is holding us back as a society. Like the WP, he champions as the cure for 'welfare dependency' (what about politician dependency?), he fails to explain how cutting people's incomes will actually create work opportunities. I can find no causal connection between the two. But then I'm not a Tory.

Comments

  1. Oh, I think IDS's hope (if it can be dignified by calling it hope) is that, finding ourselves on our uppers, we will all suddenly become tradesmen, artisans and entrepreneurs, building cottage industries that will become the engine of the 'big society' and forge a way out of recession.

    The problems with this scenario are many and obvious, and can be summed up in the expression 'thrown in at the deep end' - quite how the disabled, the mentally ill, and those without capital will learn to swim while being picked off by sharks like Atos, A4E and the various corporations is anyone's guess.

    It's all heartless, cruel, unthinking and very tea party.

    Enjoy your blog immensely and I wish you all the best, fwiw - I'll look in regularly if I may.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed you may, thanks. I agree entirely. The tories seem to follow what I believe is called the just world fallacy; if only the unemployed would get off their arses then the world would be a better place. It's simplistic and disingenuous. After all, we can't all by the boss of a company making shedloads!

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