Skip to main content

Twisted System

Last night Dispatches on Channel 4 presented half an hour on the insanity of the mechanism of DWP sanctions. It is next to impossible to try and understand this system without coming away traumatised. Throughout all of this, on the broadcast and beyond, the government refuse to involve themselves in any discussion of the consequences, supported of course by the media and any useful idiots drawn in along the way.

How does poverty help people? 

This is control. That's all it is. This is the worst kind of authoritarianism: selective and exploitative. It just goes to show the utter hypocrisy and ideological bankruptcy of the right who have no compunction abandoning their ideals when it suits them. That is capitalism. This is what is in store at the general election; if one thing is certain it's that capitalism will win - even if that means fashioning some nightmare coalition across the apparent political spectrum in this country. After all the Libdems claimed to be left wing for so many years and they were quick to use the excuse of 'national interest' to grab power, to maintain capital's control over our lives.

This system uses poverty against the people in society. That is what is happening.

One heartbreaking case on the broadcast was a single dad of two schoolkids dependent on food parcels because his ESA was stopped. Non attendance of the Work Programme was the reason, in complete ignorance of his very obvious physical discomfort. A fused hip and a spinal hernia left him in clearly pain. But not only that he was also a victim of the Bedroom Tax to the tune of £28 a week which consumed the risible sum of money that the DWP left him with (I'm not sure of the full breakdown of his benefits, it's not important, nor any of my business really). The priority for the DWP - the government - was not to ensure that this man and his children were able to feed themselves and have shelter, but to make sure that what they deem he owed is paid back above even those considerations. The sense of desperation was palpable, he is now in rent arrears for the paltry sum of a hundred and twenty odd quid.

It is more important that, no doubt with the help of some Mitchell brothers style goons, the government gets its pound of flesh from this man than he and his kids eat. 

What does that tell you about capitalism? That money is more important than people. That a government can create a debt, in the form of the Bedroom Tax, out of thin air and trap a vulnerable man and his dependants for the rest of his life. 

And they will tell you this is the right thing to do; that it is helping people. 

There is not one shred of evidence that a single person, through the mechanism of sanctions, has been helped.

None of this even begins to address the inherent corruption, exposed by the PCS (who, even so, don't seem interested in actually doing anything about it). We all know that there is a rancid culture of setting targets, however it also appears there is a culture of ramping up conditioinality on those who do what is required of them. Such people are to be treated with increased harshness until, presumably, they ineivtably trip up. 

The DWP, under the stewardship of an ideological tyrant, wants people to fail. 

Clearly the government does not want to help people.

In fact I'm not entirely sure what it wants. I suspect there is no ultimate goal here; it is simeply about using social security (welfare is an Americanism) as a political football. The right believes it can exploit the existence of a safety net endlessly to maintain power. However that does imply that the Tories don't want it desotryed completely, which seems incongruous. You might be forgiven for thinking the Tories want to remove benefits entirely. They may well do, but that's because their ideology blinds them and makes them stupid. They don't realise that social security If everyone is forced into poverty what's to stop them turning on the rich or turning to mass crime. If that happens the middle classes will turn on the Tories for making them feel unsafe in their little enclaves. So the truth is that the more intelligent (so to speak) element of the party (and I don't necessarily include Duncan Smith and his cohorts within this) want some form of social security to exist. However that element is to be abused to keep them in power, thorugh demonising the poor and making the faithful afraid of the poor. It's a small price to pay, in their minds, for low wages and the commensruate labour market insecurity.

Meanwhile people such as the case above are just collateral damage. Nobody within government will care. He will be trapped by a system that has been brutalised into something dark, that is no longer there to help but to harm.


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…

The State of Services

So it appears that 1in4, a mental health support service I used briefly last year and have mentioned (not always favourably), is among the latest victims of austerity, along with Second Step, who are primarily a housing association. They were never very helpful in my experience, but they don't really provide services pertinent to my needs. Emblematic of these destructive decisions (regardless of my opinion of the services) is that neither have updated their websites to report on this turn of events at this time.

It's a pretty sad state of affairs, to say the least. No alternatives seem to be forthcoming. From what I have gleaned, the attitude of the (Tory) council is that they don't want such people as would be service users in this leafy green shire. This is for the posh and the perfect. Nearby Bristol is where we 'should' go, but of course without being a resident that's impossible. Services do not extend beyond the city limits, even though Avon Wiltshire Men…

Power 2

I'm not sure if this is the last word in the sorry saga of the service user, but it's been about 6 weeks since I had any contact with my adviser. I emailed her boss on Monday to try and find out what was going on. Apparently she (my adviser) didn't receive my emails. I find that hard to believe; there has been no indication mail didn't get sent properly and it's a little too convenient but, as they say, we are where we are.

So I ended up having a conversation on the phone with the boss. I cannot say that I feel good about it all. In fact I feel as if I've had the proverbial rug pulled from beneath me; that I've been subject to the old bait and switch tactic.

When I first started with these people, as anyone that's read these blogs will attest, I felt pretty positive about it. There was no conditionality attached, and, it seemed, no hidden agendas. Now, I'm not so sure. Two things seem to have changed: firstly there is conditionality they just didn&#…