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I Hate James Bartholomew

Know the Tory mindset: according to these creatures welfare breeds dependency. Meanwhile they do not want to set a minimum wage, they do not want to create legislation to protect the un - and under - employed from the predations of the system they benefit from. That word is chosen deliberately, because they like benefits for themselves - the ability to sack whom they like, when they like and how they like. In this UKIP are the same. This is the febrile heart of the right wing.

Yesterday on 5 Live's laughable morning phone in - bigots drink for free - another right wing excuse for a human, James Bartholomew, revealed another aspect of their nasty prejudice and staggering ignorance. Not surprisingly this vile creature was once a banker. He writes (if one can call it that) for the Telegraph and though I don't know the content of his ballot paper, I dare say I can guess. He props up every tory myth about the unemployed and welfare with dull witted aplomb.

He believes people have been induced to worklessness. A thoroughly bizarre phrase completely unsupported by facts, evidence or even anecdote. He believes that the government's welfare reforms are the proverbial bitter pill that, after the pain of swallowing has subsided, will bring about a change for the better. These changes will lead to more employed people in the country. This is a complete nonsense, unless you are so delusional that you think starving people out of their bed in the morning (if they have one left after paying for their 'spare' rooms) will create jobs. 

How will this create work? In the minds of these fevered capitalists it's all the fault of the claimant (though they try and soften this by blaming it again on the state, conveniently). The situation here isn't so dire that they can explicitly blame the unemployed for their condition (as they view it), but no doubt that's what they think. So if we do away with welfare - regardless of the human cost - there will be no impediment to work. But what work? What wages? People receive tax credits as a sop to the corporations that refuse to pay decent wages. Capitalist big business want it both ways and make sure their Tory servants achieve this: keep wages down, and keep welfare down. I don't think that's sustainable. 

Bartholomew thinks that tax credits subsidise the worker. He doesn't get it at all. They don'; they subsidise the employer. They are a poor substitute, typically of New Labour, for a decent wage that enables the right wing and libertarians to squeal about how the state breeds dependency. Of course someone working for NMW in the likes of Tesco is 'dependent' on Tax Credits: they can't live otherwise. In truth it's the employer that gets the real benefit, but benefits for the capitalists and the rich and the corporations are the acceptable face of welfare.

There was a caller, audibly anxious and using a pseudonym, that commented on the difficulty of life under ATOS. She explained her health conditions, suffering from extreme anxiety (only the most hard hearted could deny the clearly perceptible reality). She even said that, if a home visit from ATOS was possible, she'd be happy to go through the process. In response Bartholomew made some of the most disgusting comments I've ever heard:

"James Bartholomew," says Nicky Campbell (of whom I'm not a great fan), "there's a lot of people in Sarah's position."

"It's incredibly difficult to decide if someone is capable of work or not," James is not a doctor, nor has he any training as a diagnostician. People don't just get sick notes. If a GP cannot determine, with enough confidence, the veracity of someone's claim they can send them to a specialist who will know. But of course such people are marginalised by the right wing media that lacks the guts to come right out and accuse them of fraud. Insinuating this instead.

"The big rise in the disabilities that people have come to the welfare state with. The big rise has been in two disorders: musco (sic) - skeletal disorders - in other words backache - and mental problems."

But wait it gets better (that is to say, worse):

"These are two areas, not by coincidence in my view, where it's impossible to say yes you have or no you haven't a problem."

But wait it gets better (that is to say, worse):

"There's been no rise in broken legs or deafness. Only a rise in these conditions which you cannot verify."

How does he know these conditions cannot be verified? He doesn't; he's basing his entire position on the usual 'John had backache but was caught refereeing the local football team on Saturday' stories. Stock in trade for the right wing press, of which he, don't forget, is a member.

And the broken legs/deafness comment is just...what the fuck? 

But wait it gets better (that is to say, much worse):

"So it's going to be very difficult to distinguish between those people who have maybe below average intelligence, or not very able, or some mental problem, and those that have a smaaaall (his emphasis) problem and are egging it on and don't really want to bother."

'Mental problems' = low intelligence. Nice. James, you're a cunt. Of course he can't comment on Sarah's case "I can't comment on individual cases". No, but you can make sweeping wholly uninformed generalisations instead. It's all a mess, apparently, and you can't clean up a mess - unless you live in the grandeur of Torygraphshire or Westminster or the Square Mile - without pain. So suck it up, that's the message. 

No, James Bartholomew, people are not, nor have they ever been, better off unemployed. If you are only looking at the money - and even then you are only looking at a very few distorted cases (someone with 11 kids for instance, never mind that she's had cancer as well) - then you are not just missing the point, but wilfully ignorant.

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