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In All Fairness...

In response to IDS's free propaganda piece in the Guardian of all places. At the heart of his warped philosophy is a supposed notion of fairness.


"There is no doubt that changes to the welfare state are desperately needed."
 By whom? It is entirely a fabrication of the right that social security is some monster, growing in size and threatening inevitably to one day stomp down the nation; a public funded Gojiro set to consume the lives of the British in their own homes. This is totally spurious; not only is it evident that we can afford welfare - as a whole (which, by the way, includes pensions) - but we can also happily waste money on things we don't need as well, apparently. Things like Trident, foreign misadventures, or high speed rail networks through the back gardens of less important Tories.

"Our reforms will put an end to people being left on sickness benefits year after year; they will eradicate the trap that has left so many better off on benefits than in work; and they will ensure the benefits bill is sustainable over the longer term."
 This is one of the more disgusting things in this maniac's ideological arsenal: that people with prohibitive health conditions are 'being left on benefits'. This has all sorts of nasty implications. That these people should be doing something, that leaving them alone to live their lives and supporting them financially (and sufficiently) is a dereliction of public duty. Instead they must be prodded, poked, assessed and of course reassessed because who knows what miracle cures NICE will have endorsed between one visit to ATOS and the next. These are people that cannot work and yet according them the dignity IDS assumes for himself at £40 a bow of cornflakes or a dinner at the expense of Paul Dacre is idling and malingering. We're already within Godwin territory.

There is no benefits trap either. This error is forever made by pundits and politicians. There is a capitalist trap. This is the trap created by not giving people enough to sustain themselves; either to become self sufficient or to support themselves period by period. The trap exists to people in work and out of work because those at the lower end of the income scale, whether through a conventional wage or in receipt of social security, don't have enough to live on while those that set the prices (through fiscal reckleness or planned market manipulation) receive insane amounts relative to the poor.

This rise in a minimum standard applies to all areas of society and is, like high speed camera footage, noticeably increasing day by day. As stress levels and tension in society increases it even applies to support systems, such as mental health: people need to show an increasing level of difficulty in order to trigger any level of assistance whatsoever. People are expected to cope with more and more otherwise, and they can't - why would we assume they could?

"But these doubts ignore my department's proven track record of delivering change and show a lack of ambition from the people raising them."

Except that it's unproven, and when the evidence is put to him IDS cries foul, spits out his dummy and insists, quite seriously, that his believing whatever he likes is hard proof of its veracity. He is a dangerous Walter Mitty with his finger on the social self destruct button - only in his mind that button is marked 'KINDESS'.

He hasn't even really delivered change. Instead systems have become more complex, with added conditionality, or given over to the predictable greed of the private sector, as is the case with the Work Programme. The changes to the ESA appeal system are not a proven track record; neither is the Bedroom Tax. They are instead unproven and demonstrably catastrophic. Instead of acknowledging this however, we instead get the typical IDS ad hominem.

And the less said about the Universal Credit debacle the better, as it slowly morphs from national rollout to feeble deflated effort. He argues that delivering on time (if indeed that part is true) is a sign of his competence. PIP came into being on time, therefore the DWP is on track, never mind that it will leave disabled people much less independent and, in many cases, back on the dole. People are using Universal JObmatch, but there's no discussion of just how utterly useless and user unfriendly it is. There is no comment as to the quality of adverts, because any job (whether or not the advert is even valid) advertised is indicative of his competence in turning around the lives of the unemployed, much like the dreadful shambolic Work Programme that limps on like a decrepit hound.

His only argument seems to be that his ideas must be great and will work because Labour do nothing but oppose them. This is a dreadful and feeble minded tactic: attack the opposition for the failings of this government. But above all is this laughable and erroneous notion of fairness.


What does he even mean by fair? Fair to whom? Unum? Atlantic Bridge? The Republican Party? It's certainly not fair to those most relevant to the issue: those on benefits. Instead the taxpayer has become the central figure in all this. The taxpayer represents the seething mass of largely gullible slobs happy to be manipulated because they're too stupid to see how they themselves are being treated. The taxpayer thinks this, we want that for the taxpayer: fairness to the taxpayer. We are restoring 'fairness'. But that's hollow when wages are being driven down, credit replaces the pay packet, and the private sector gets free reign to chow down on everything we own.

So we must have fairness to the taxpayer in respect of imagined benefit largess but not in terms of actual wages to those people paying tax. This means people are hugely dependent on the same things as the unemployed: NI credits and benefits such as HB or WTC.

The Tories argue that they are about independence, but like to tell other people how to spend their money or how much they can have. This isn't your money, Mr IDS, it isn't your friend Gideon's either. It's OUR money. This country is rich enough to take care of its own, but you have made an issue out of that and turned compassion into a burden and a curse. For that reason alone, you deserve all the ire you receive and will ever receive, and I hope you choke on it.

IDS seems to think that he presides over a pot of money that is his to dole out, or not, and that he should only do so begrudgingly as a last resort – if that. Faiorness to the taxpayer means fairness to everyone since we are all taxpayers. If you are so interested in what taxpayers think, why not ask them; all 60 million of them. That includes people in receipt of welfare, since spending that money goes back into the economy. It isn’t, for example, hoarded offshore or in trust funds, or given as land subsidies. Stop using this straw man construct that you call the taxpayer.

Money has to be given begrudgingly otherwise you will create a cultuyre of ‘welfarism’; the new word for the new age. What he believes is that people become dependent on benefits alone. They are not; they are dependent on income because in this economy we are dependent on money. The Tories want to keep us that way, which is why we should resist. We need to move beyond this kind of economy. That will happen inevitably due to technology.

IDS thinks people on the dole have been abandoned, but oversees schemes that really have abandoned people – and at greater public cost. He says the sick have been ‘allowed’ to languish on benefits. This says it all: these are people that cannot work, objectively speaking (though not in his mind of course), and so need to be supported to live. This means they are not seen, in the Tory mind, as providing them with profit; they aren’t working for them in the dark satanic mills and so they are a burden.

To any right minded individual this is disgusting. To the 21st century Brit, this is the norm. Saddest of all is that this has become the new standard by which people’s lives are measured. Instead of supporting people, instead of assessing them as individuals and treating them positively, we look for ways to disregard them; we abide by callous rules with reckless objectivity and dismiss them for even the most minor transgressions of said rules no matter whether the rules were met in spirit. So that a person who applies for 20 out of 10 jobs on his ‘Claimant Commitment’ will be sanctioned if he forgets to look, one time, in the local paper. Thus everything else is thrown in the bin. This whole attitude is not being challenged.


"I make no apology for it."

Indeed.

Comments

  1. The absurdity of this Secretary of State's policies should be obvious to all; sadly there are many out there who not only support IDS's policies but think he should go even further. This country is definitely becoming a meaner, nastier, angrier place.

    These policies are economically illiterate too. Give money to someone on a low income and you can be sure almost all of that money will go back into the local economy, but give money to the super rich (as this government in doing) and most of it will end up abroad in tax havens or the pockets of shareholders overseas. It could be argued the wealthy are a bigger drain on the economy of the UK than the poor.

    I agree entirely there is no such thing as a "benefits trap", instead what we have is a low wages trap, which is why millions of people working full time are still dependent on tax credits to make meet, and it is a myth that someone can be "better off on benefits than in work", sadly this lie is parroted so often most people think it is the truth. Even the rationale (sic) behind the benefits cap is based on misinformation, since the maximum household cap is £26,000 per year, but £26,000 is not the average wage of a working household but of the average worker. There may well be two or even three people working in a working household, any of whom could be earning above the average, so the justification behind the cap is nothing but a misrepresentation of the truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IDS and the truth have a tenuous relationship at best. Fortunately though IDS can simply will the truth into being whatever he wants so as to fit his hateful policies.

      Delete

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