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The assault on the poor and disabled

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The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by skwalker1964 on Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:48 am

First topic message reminder :

I reblogged this post in 'honour' of the Tory party conference and Ivan asked me to post it here, too. You can find the original post complete with links at: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Here are two true stories:

A friend of mine once picked up a hitch-hiker at a motorway service station. The bloke looked a bit down on his luck, so my friend asked what his story was. The guy said he’d been living in service stations, bathing in the shower facilities at lorry-driver stops, for several days as he tried to make his way from one end of the country to the other to where a hotel job was waiting for him if he could get there. He’d lost all his benefits and had no way to get the money to take a train or bus.

My friend gave this man all the money he had in his pocket, which was £60. The man seemed genuinely overwhelmed and grateful, seemingly unable to believe that someone would give him a fairly serious amount of money within minutes of meeting him, on the basis of the story he’d just related.

I asked my friend whether he thought the man had been genuine, or might he have been ripped off? His answer was that his gut instinct was that the man was for real – but that if he wasn’t, he’d rather be conned than be hard-hearted and risk ignoring someone in genuine need.

By contrast, the incredibly rich (some $287 billion in today’s money) industrialist Andrew Carnegie once famously said that it would be better for the world if a rich man threw his millions into the sea rather than give any to the ‘unworthy’. To be fair to Carnegie, he gave away a vast proportion of his wealth – but the rich and privileged have a long history of presuming that, from their pinnacle of wealth and comfort, they are able to decide who is ‘worthy’ and who isn’t. The concept of the ‘deserving poor‘, by denoting that some poor are by definition not deserving, has resulted in great suffering while allowing the wealthy to feel satisfied with their lack of concern or action.

The current crop of Tories are truly in line with their predecessors in this regard – except that they’re even worse. Even though they can’t possibly be ignorant of the consequences, they push this line in the most cynical way, with the aim of dividing the British public, fooling the undiscerning into allowing or even approving of policies aimed at stripping the vulnerable of crucial protections. And for the basest of reasons – for short-term political gain (persuading some people that the Tories are ‘at least doing something about something!’), and to release even more public funds that can be channelled into tax-cuts for the already-rich or even greater profits for private corporations.

With their limited moral imagination, the Tories really only know two tactics. Both are calculated to appeal to the baser instincts of the small-minded and thoughtless: fear and vilification. There may be different facets or manifestations – they might try to invoke suspicion, or envy, or to dehumanise or caricature one set of people to get another set to back their policies – but the roots are the same.

I’m working on a post about economic fear and the way that’s fostered by government spokespeople and tame media, but it’s proving to be quite a big project and I’m not going to be online much over the next few days, so it will be a little while in coming. But the other tactic – vilification or demonisation of the vulnerable or resistant – is so plain that this post almost writes itself. Whether explicitly or in the omission, the Tories are at it constantly.

Just in recent weeks, we’ve had:


  • Iain Duncan-Smith accusing Britons of not working hard enough, while bare-facedly distorting figures on fraudulent claims for disability benefit (claiming a 30% fraud rate when in fact it’s bare over one percent) to gain public support for his hateful Welfare Reform Act.


  • A smug Frances Maude announcing that the bottom 10% of civil servants has a year to improve or be fired – conveniently leaving out the fact that if everyone in the civil service was a workaholic genius, there would still be a bottom 10%. Being at the bottom doesn’t mean you’re incompetent or unproductive. He insists that this is not an ‘attack’ on the civil service, even though at the same time he’s making cuts of 25% in civil servant numbers and talking of removing any terms and conditions that are better than those of the private sector that the Tories and their pals have already robbed.


  • Andrew Lansley calling on doctors not to take industrial action and having his department and tame journalists conduct an orchestrated propaganda campaign to persuade the public that doctors are rich, privileged, selfish and uncaring of their patients (‘After all’, he might as well say, ‘we’ve robbed the rest of the public sector, why should doctors be any different?’) This in spite of the fact that the doctors’ pension scheme is not in shortfall and that the Health Secretary, having specifically abdicated his legal responsibility for healthcare provision in his new Health & Social Care Act, is really not entitled to comment one way or the other, let alone to impose new pension terms.


  • David Cameron underlining again that the Tories are on the side of ‘strivers’, thereby saying that they’re not on the side of anyone who can’t strive, or who simply wants to live a decent, balanced life.


  • Iain Duncan-Smith (again!) announcing plans to remove benefits from anyone who dares strike against the removal of pay, pensions, conditions and protection that is now the norm for the treatment of ordinary working people.


  • Claims by Communities Minister Eric Pickles, vocally supported by Housing Minister Grant Shapps and many others, and by the right-wing press, that the UK has 120,000 ‘problem families’ who cause 80% of societal problems, even though not one of the criteria used to decide who is a ‘problem family’ relates to criminality, but instead refer to poverty and physical or mental illness.


  • Endlessly repeated soundbites about ‘benefit scroungers’ to justify capping housing benefit, even though the vast majority of people receiving this benefit are working, but can’t afford outrageous rents.


  • Cameron and others vilifying transport workers for daring to plan industrial action during the Olympic Games money-making exercise, even though industrial action is really their only negotiating weapon and it’s perfectly sensible for them to aim it at the periods when it will be most effective. The Tories really do want a workforce that’s powerless to stand up for itself.


I could go on, but I want to keep this post to a readable length.

The aim of all these policies and pronouncements is very clear: persuading whichever sections of the public that are not affected by a particular measure that those who are affected are not worthy of support, and definitely not worthy of help.

The consequences of these and other Tory measures are not hard to imagine – and they’re already being played out. Disabled, ill or mentally ill people spend their days in fear at the prospect of having their benefits stopped because they’re ludicrously assessed as fit for work, while some even attempt or commit suicide. People are forced to accept part-time ‘work’ that offers few (or even zero!) hours while the government crows that it has reduced unemployment; jobless people are forced to work for free and sleep under bridges by companies who ruthlessly exploit them to maximise profit. And so on.

In this context, it’s patently clear that the Tories’ policies, attitudes, sleaze, self-enrichment and their unholy alliance with powerful corporate and media interests show that they are not fit to judge a vegetable show, let alone judge whether a vulnerable person is ‘worthy’ of help.

Fortunately, we get to choose whether we believe them. To choose whether we agree with the kind of approach to life that says that, while no system is perfect, it’s much better to err on the side of goodness than of suspicion and selfishness, that it’s better to set up or protect systems that protect the genuine many than one which might prevent a very few ‘playing the system’ but that also strands people in genuine need in a situation of despair. We have the privilege of deciding what kind of society we want to be.

From everything I’ve written, you’ll probably have guessed that I absolutely agree with my friend, rather than with Carnegie, about which side it’s better to err on. But Mr Carnegie did say something that I agree with very much:

‘A man who dies rich dies disgraced’

In our current government, and in the people who support and fund them, we have a lot of walking ‘disgraces in the making’. Let’s think for ourselves, see them for what they are, and not make it easy for them to become even bigger disgraces than they already are.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:36 am

So reassuring to hear the working class still know their place

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Clamp down on corporations, not welfare.

Post by James Gibson on Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:37 pm

In 1946, and again in 1948, huge victories took place for ordinary working people across the country. The first victory came in the form of the the National Health Service Act of 1946, giving free access to healthcare to millions across the country. The second victory came in 1948, when the National Assistance Act was passed – also under the Labour government of Clement Attlee. These acts were established because of the compassionate and entirely logical conclusion that people would find themselves in bad situations because of factors beyond their control. Surely it isn’t a person’s fault if their workplace closes down due to a recession? Or, if they’re made redundant because their CEO decides to exploit cheaper labour in China? Of course it isn’t their fault, and this was the compassionate thinking that drove these acts on to forge the welfare state as we know it today.

The situation in 2013 couldn’t more different. Tory propagandists have been overseeing a systematic attack on the welfare state, alongside big media allies in the Daily Mail and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Demonization of the working classes (I highly recommend taking a look at Owen Jones’s book, Chavs) has brought the British middle class to despise the poor, and more specifically – chav culture and scrounging from the benefits system. The hatred of the poor extends much further than this though. Chavs, scroungers and immigrants are the causes of the economic depression according to many Britons. Instead of attacking the real creators of the crisis, big banks and unregulated credit markets, Tory-sympathizing media outlets have waged a horrific class war on some of the weakest and most vulnerable people in society. In reality though, benefit thieves and immigrants make up for a marginal proportion of the UK population – meaning their overarching economic effects are undoubtedly very minimal.

If not minimal, then minuscule when compared to the role big businesses have played in the creation of the financial crisis. The cultural obsession with home ownership in the West has ultimately made the idea of getting onto the property ladder a binding part of the middle class dream. In the years following up to the 2008 recession, this dream was offered to millions in the form of sub-prime mortgage packages. Such mortgages were offered to people with lower credit ratings, and the lower quality credit ran its course in 2008 with an onslaught of loan defaults, leaving both the banks and purchasers of the mortgage security bonds out of pocket. This is very crude summary of how the crisis began, however as you’ll quickly find – government deficits and welfare had little to do with the global financial crisis.

Banks collapsed. Investors went out of business. The situation spiraled into what would become a global economic depression with lasting effects for ordinary people across the world. British people were fortunate enough to have a welfare state to rely on, however when dependence on welfare was greatest, the government began an austerity program to make reductions within the welfare state in the aim of reducing deficit. The idea is that a higher deficit means that foreign investors are less likely to pump money in Britain, however the validity of that train of thought is under heavy criticism by many economists. Even if this was the case, the government certainly isn’t dealing with deficit in the most progressive way.

The focal points for deficit reductions are in budget cuts and petty taxes on the poor – such as Osborne’s bedroom tax (a move which has been under a great deal of scrutiny). However, the government is selectively targeting certain sectors while leaving huge political allies in the clear. In a report by the TUC, it’s estimated £25bn is lost from corporate tax each year, enough to reduce the deficit by almost a quarter. In the same document, readable here, the TUC estimates an additional £8bn is lost by intricate ‘tax planning’ done by the UK’s top earners. In addition to all of this money lost to tax avoidance (a huge amount when compared to benefit fraud, or the small percentage of people that claim obscene amounts of cash), the UK government is still more than willing to dish out subsidies to private businesses.

Just two months ago, our government decided to allow coal plants (with huge carbon footprints) to bid for government subsidies – Greenpeace estimates that coal plants could be in line to receive £240m each. This situation is true across many industries; the UK government is taking money out of the public center and putting it into the private sector. It’s quite simply welfare for the rich, and austerity for the poor. The gap between rich and poor is growing in the UK, and many analysts are beginning to describe our workforce as having two tiers – one for the high-earners and one for the people earning barely over the minimum (often on zero-hour contracts). It’s not fair for the British majority and it would be foolish for the government to think that British people will stand back and watch as the Conservatives tear apart our much loved institutions, safeguards and communities.

---

This article has been cross-posted from the Critical Proletariat. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:04 pm

I wonder why a ‘Daily Mail’ sycophant didn’t rush in here at 6am and post this story? Shocked 
 
"Poor forced to use food banks? They've only got themselves to blame for making bad decisions", says Michael Gove
 
More than half a million people across Britain have turned to food banks to stave off hunger, according to charities, but Gove says that many cash-strapped families have brought their problems on themselves.
 
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: “It is appalling to suggest the rise of food banks is due to poor financial management. It’s a smack in the face to families who are working hard but can’t make ends meet, leaving them with no other option but to turn to food banks to feed their families. These comments are completely misjudged.”
 
Chris Johnes, director of Oxfam's UK Poverty Programme, said: “Thousands are now turning to food banks, but they do not so out of choice, they do so when they have nowhere else to turn. The staggering rise in the numbers of people using food banks is down to failings in the benefit system, too many low paid jobs and rising prices that are dragging huge numbers into poverty.”
 
Labour MP Luciana Berger added: “People I have met are ashamed to have to turn to food banks. I vehemently disagree it is because they have mismanaged their finances.”
 
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:23 am

People I'm sending to our local foodbank (a very small scale affair, supplied largely by small scale charitable donations from individuals) are usually living on VERY low or no income - generally because of having their benefit sanctioned, or because DWP's computers have had a glitch, resulting in non payment of benefit over an extended period.
Now everything is electronic, local offices can't issue a crisis loan to bridge the gap if they've made a mistake, and even hardship payments, which are very difficult anyway to make a case for (just being starving doesn't automatically qualify you) can take 3 working days to reach the recipient's bank account.

In order to get a hardship payment, you have to produce a current bank statement that proves conclusively that there is no money in your bank, then the decison takes more than a day, then the payment needs usually 3 days to process. If the computer doesn't process the claim - which can be for many reasons, such as information not being properly inputted, the waiting time can increase, as apparently it needs a full day to digest information. I've known a wait of up to a month to get a crisis payment (£45 p.w. for a single adult). People getting crisis payments nearly always need vouchers for the food bank - it's hard to make 'good' decisions about how to spend £45 p.w. on all the necessities of life.

Remember, while all this is going on, people are continuing to either hold down a job and/or search for work. If searching for work, sanctions are applied for anything and nothing. If working, it gets harder and harder to retain employment if you're chasing all over town, getting bank statements, pleading for a hardship payment, waiting for the food bank to be open (not fully staffed - only opens a couple of times a week, other times you have to make an appointment - difficult if you've had to sell your phone to buy food)

I've been very poor at times in my life, but I doubt if I could survive what some of my fellow citizens are living through every day. The feeling of despair and hopelessness is palpable - people have no sense that things can get better, their self esteem is crumbling, they are probably being hounded for debt ( Court action to recover debt seems to be on the increase - even for as little as £35 Council Tax - and Court action of course increases the debt further).

I'm not surprised the rate of depression and stress is going up, and I'm prepared to bet the suicide rate is also on the rise - must check that.

headbang

As it goes, I read that article - thought it was surprisingly balanced for the Mail
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:26 am

Even the UN is critical of this government's treatment of the poor.

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:47 pm

Thanks for posting that, OW.
I heard her briefly on the radio this morning, then I've been 'head down' all day.
I thought she sounded as if she'd done a proper piece of qualitative research and had captured a lot of the feelings around about this policy.
I guess if you're investigating a possible breach of human rights - you wouldn't want to ask permission of the alleged offenders, so I'm rather pleased she didn't check with the government before publishing her findings ( and I do wonder what she made of the fragrant and lovely Pickles)
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by blueturando on Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:54 pm

Maybe this Brazilian UN observer should worry more about the Favelas and poverty in her own country before worrying about the UK.

Bedroom Tax.....A tax is paid on something you've purchased or earned, neither of which applies to housing benefit...With the word benefit being the clue here

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:45 pm

blueturando. Thatcher and her thugs tried to make everyone call the poll tax a ‘community charge’, but nobody ever did, so you might as well give up repeating yourself. Most people know and understand what is meant by the ‘bedroom tax’ – a pernicious measure which, like any tax, reduces disposable income. What makes it pointless as well as vicious is, that according to a recent estimate, it’s going to cost taxpayers about an extra £1.5 billion in re-housing people who are evicted.
 
If you’re really worried about what you consider inappropriate names, why don’t you start with Grant Shapps, alias Michael Green, alias Sebastian Fox?
 
Raquel Rolnik works for the United Nations as a housing specialist. Her previous assignment involved studying the slums of Indonesia. Then she was asked to assess the impact of the bedroom tax in the UK, which has affected 660,000 public housing tenants. No doubt if the United Nations asks her to report on housing in Brazil, she will do so. You should have more self-respect than to mimic Shapps; Ms Rolnik was not here as a Brazilian but as the representative of the United Nations. Her own nationality is irrelevant.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:40 pm

Raquel Rolnik has hit the government on a sore point, and it really shows
 
From a blog by Michael Meacher MP:-
 
Grant Shapps comes across as a haughty up-market barrow boy who would tread on his mother’s face if he thought it would advance his career or turn in a bigger profit – heartless, callous and downright nasty. He doesn’t turn a hair at propagating a policy of social cleansing, evicting families for having a spare room when their child died, or when their son has been killed in Afghanistan, or because someone’s disability required a second bedroom. But when an official UN rapporteur, with an agenda organised by the UK government, uses the phrase "bedroom tax"  rather than the government’s gobbledigook of "ending the spare room subsidy", he goes ape.

Shapps complained she hadn’t met the relevant ministers or officials. She had: she met Pickles and his junior minister, and more than half of her meetings were with government officials. Shapps claimed that she hadn’t researched her subject adequately. She had dozens of meetings with tenant organisations, food banks, welfare centres and local authority personnel. So Shapps’ complaints are all claptrap.

She said the bedroom tax was unjust and damaging to the welfare of many vulnerable people, and she was right. She said housing benefit caps would make renting private accommodation difficult for the low-paid, and she was right. She said homes were allowed to stand empty in London and elsewhere because they had been bought as financial assets by the super-rich from abroad, and she was doubly right. What Rolnik has done, wicked as it may seem to this government, is puncture Mr. Shapps’ overbearing arrogance by telling the truth.

 
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by methought on Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:57 pm

Boatlady - your speech above was a real tear-jerker. I wish a few journalists had your perception, insight and the editors to publish what you just wrote. Get it into the comments in the Mail, or Telegraph or whatever. It may get lost in a few hours of other comments, but it could make a big difference to people's understanding of the reality of financial hardship.

God bless you - as some might say
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Yet more DWP illegality

Post by skwalker1964 on Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:51 am

Original including links at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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A couple of weeks ago, I drew attention to how DWP minister Mark Hoban was unable, even in a formal response to an MP, to get his facts straight on the law regarding what the DWP’s Jobcentre Plus (JCP) is legally allowed to force – or ‘mandate’ – jobseekers to do.

Hoban thought that the DWP and its agents have the right to issue a ‘jobseeker’s direction’ (JSD) – an instruction that results in a sanction (suspension of benefits) if the jobseeker doesn’t comply – to make jobseekers use the highly-flawed and controversial Universal Jobmatch (UJM) system to look for jobs. They do not.

But it’s not just Mark Hoban’s ignorance. JCP advisers continue to break the law by issuing JSDs that are completely illegal – and the SKWAWKBOX has documentary evidence.

I’ve received a copy, from a JCP insider, of one such JSD:

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This JSD is illegal on (at least) two counts. Firstly, it mandates the jobseeker to access UJM when, as my article a couple of weeks ago already showed, the DWP has no legal right to do so.

Secondly, it states that no ‘written jobsearch’ is now acceptable and mandates that evidence of jobsearch activity must be provided by either giving the JCP access to his/her UJM account or by providing a print-out of the ‘application history’.

But the DWP knows this is untrue. Not only do they know it to be untrue, but they have stated in their own guidance to their own employees that it is untrue.

A recent Freedom of Information Act response by the DWP outlined at length the guidance issued to JCP advisers on what they can and cannot do, and in particular what they can and cannot mandate. Point 82 of this guidance, under a heading of ‘Actively Seeking Employment‘, addresses the issue of jobsearch activity:

82. We cannot specify to a JSA claimant how they provide us with records of their jobsearch activity and Universal Jobmatch will not change this – it is not therefore possible to require JSA claimants to give DWP access to their Universal Jobmatch account.


Condemned by its own words – the DWP is fully aware that it has no right to demand any particular form of evidence that claimants have been looking for work. JCP advisers can require evidence – but not specify what form that evidence takes.

Yet this bandit department continues to ride roughshod over even the semblance of lawfulness. And as we saw last month, it has now formalised this lawlessness by decreeing that claimants have no right of appeal if a JCP adviser decides to illegally impose such conditions, even if they result in sanctions which are therefore also illegal.

Claimants can ask for a review by another adviser, but if the second adviser is equally ill-informed or reckless the decision – still illegal – can be upheld and enforced, and sanctions can be immediately applied for a failure to comply, even though claimants would be absolutely within their rights to do so, even according to the official guidance.

I’m tempted to call the DWP a maverick department. But that would be inaccurate. A maverick disregards the opinion and conventions of his/her peers, but the banditry of the DWP is entirely in line with the malevolence of the rest of the government toward any whom it considers lacking, or simply vulnerable to attack.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Sep 21, 2013 7:06 pm

There is a Puritan ethic running right through this Tory-led Coalition, which is highly suspicious of anybody failing to look after themselves in this competitive environment.

I say "suspicious" to give them the benefit of the doubt, but isn't the truth that IDS and all his pals are in fact FRIGHTENED of the British Public?

It's high time we relieved them of their responsibilities.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by methought on Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:38 pm

I can't say I would call them Puritan - that suggests they have ethics of some kind. I would simply call them cruel. The suffering of the jobless and long-term sick is ignored with a callousness which IDS personifies more than most. Giving the money to the rich, by reducing taxation, or ignoring tax fraud, while relieving the poor of their homes and belongings, is not how I always regarded British democracy. IDS may fear the poor, and this might be behind his drive towards greater injustice and inequality, but the Tory press makes it very difficult for a case for fairness and welfare to touch people's hearts as it should.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by sickchip on Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:14 pm

boatlady wrote:People I'm sending to our local foodbank (a very small scale affair, supplied largely by small scale charitable donations from individuals) are usually living on VERY low or no income - generally because of having their benefit sanctioned, or because DWP's computers have had a glitch, resulting in non payment of benefit over an extended period.
Now everything is electronic, local offices can't issue a crisis loan to bridge the gap if they've made a mistake, and even hardship payments, which are very difficult anyway to make a case for (just being starving doesn't automatically qualify you) can take 3 working days to reach the recipient's bank account.

In order to get a hardship payment, you have to produce a current bank statement that proves conclusively that there is no money in your bank, then the decison takes more than a day, then the payment needs usually 3 days to process. If the computer doesn't process the claim - which can be for many reasons, such as information not being properly inputted, the waiting time can increase, as apparently it needs a full day to digest information. I've known a wait of up to a month to get a crisis payment (£45 p.w. for a single adult). People getting crisis payments nearly always need vouchers for the food bank - it's hard to make 'good' decisions about how to spend £45 p.w. on all the necessities of life.

Remember, while all this is going on, people are continuing to either hold down a job and/or search for work. If searching for work, sanctions are applied for anything and nothing. If working, it gets harder and harder to retain employment if you're chasing all over town, getting bank statements, pleading for a hardship payment, waiting for the food bank to be open (not fully staffed - only opens a couple of times a week, other times you have to make an appointment - difficult if you've had to sell your phone to buy food)

I've been very poor at times in my life, but I doubt if I could survive what some of my fellow citizens are living through every day. The feeling of despair and hopelessness is palpable - people have no sense that things can get better, their self esteem is crumbling, they are probably being hounded for debt ( Court action to recover debt seems to be on the increase - even for as little as £35 Council Tax - and Court action of course increases the debt further).

I'm not surprised the rate of depression and stress is going up, and I'm prepared to bet the suicide rate is also on the rise - must check that.

headbang

As it goes, I read that article - thought it was surprisingly balanced for the Mail
So why don't they group together and protest? Sit ins at jobcentres? Remember the Jarrow march? It's no good sitting there with big doe eyes saying feel sorry for me. For goodness sake!

Perhaps people simply haven't got the mental faculty, or wherewithal, to fight back these days?
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Penderyn on Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:21 pm

Because, basically, their parents didn't back the miners, so we have all to learn solidarity again.   The Noise Machine is like the Chinese Water Torture- it drips and drips away until something like the miners' strike, at which point the mugs discover their brains have melted away.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:43 pm

"Backing the Miners" was throughout the strike an ambivalent duty, because Scargill refused to call a ballot. Two wrongs were never going to make a right.

Paradoxically, many individual miners received support from a very unlikely source - the Finance Companies. Banks and their subsidiary lenders were quick to acknowledge the blood out of a stone analogy and granted any striking miner a moratorium on loan repayments. Many such debts were simply written-off after a couple of years.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:54 pm

I guess Penderyn might be right in that what happened with the miners marked the end of working class solidarity as we used to know it, with all that implies in terms of group actions, marches, protests etc.

It seems to me that today people live their lives in greater isolation than when i was young.

I wonder if the process really started back in the '50's and '60's with increased mobility, social and physical leading to the crumbling of the extended family and all the kinship and neighbourhood ties that limited individual freedoms but provided a clear identity and peer group in times of stress.

Perhaps, ironically, the founding of the Welfare State had the unintended consequence of destroying the working class and leaving its individual members vulnerable and unprotected in the market place.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:10 am

If it is to work effectively and persuasively, there has to be a more sophisticated version of 'working class solidarity' than what we saw at the time of the Miners' Strike or at Grunwick  -to name but two events which were to colour the view of ordinary decent folk as to what industrial muscle in action really means .

The opposition to what is happening at present has to be more subtle if it is to find support on a wide front. To do it any other way is simply playing into the hands of those who love to portray the 'working class movement' as hell-bent on anarchy...
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:30 pm

What's done is done, and cannot be undone.  During the 1970s a number of Trade Union Leaders endorsed the aphorism, Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Fact, not opinion, it's a matter of record that Union militants closed the Docks, the Shipyards, British Motor Corporation, British Steel and of course ultimately the Mines - for which Scargill (and his colleagues) must share equal blame with Mad Maggie.  It's hardly surprising that she subsequently cut the Union movement down to manageable proportions while she had the opportunity.

The modern Trade Union must seek representation on Company Boards, as they have in Germany, and work very closely with a Socialist Party whenever it forms the Administration.  You won't achieve victory against your enemies if you can't see who your friends are.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Penderyn on Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:01 pm

oftenwrong wrote:"Backing the Miners" was throughout the strike an ambivalent duty, because Scargill refused to call a ballot.  Two wrongs were never going to make a right.  

Paradoxically, many individual miners received support from a very unlikely source - the Finance Companies.  Banks and their subsidiary lenders were quick to acknowledge the blood out of a stone analogy and granted any striking miner a moratorium on loan repayments.  Many such debts were simply written-off after a couple of years.
Nonsense. It is a question of which side you are on. Because people suddenly became constitutional experts on union ballots, as explained by the 'Sun' the poor and the sick are being bullied by the bankers' bum-boys. The people chose to be shat on by the bully-boys is all. We have to live with the results.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Penderyn on Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:04 pm

oftenwrong wrote:What's done is done, and cannot be undone.  During the 1970s a number of Trade Union Leaders endorsed the aphorism, Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Fact, not opinion, it's a matter of record that Union militants closed the Docks, the Shipyards, British Motor Corporation, British Steel and of course ultimately the Mines - for which Scargill (and his colleagues) must share equal blame with Mad Maggie.  It's hardly surprising that she subsequently cut the Union movement down to manageable proportions while she had the opportunity.

The modern Trade Union must seek representation on Company Boards, as they have in Germany, and work very closely with a Socialist Party whenever it forms the Administration.  You won't achieve victory against your enemies if you can't see who your friends are.

Union 'leaders' will adopt the aphorism 'Shit is better than icecream' if they have something to gain by it. You achieve victory over your enemy when they are licking your boots, which is what the members need to learn.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:09 pm

A new World Domination League seems to be emerging.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:11 pm


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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:16 pm

Is this what they call 'Compassionate Conservatism'? scratch 
 
Tory MP Chris Skidmore says cuts aren't so bad as people aren't "lying dead in the streets"
 
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Source: 'Private Eye', 01.10.13
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:15 pm

And in other news -

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No-one will convince me this isn't linked to cuts, both in Mental Health services, but also in other parts of the social environment.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:01 pm

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:52 pm

But the purveyors of FMCG are already complaining about Consumers having less money to spend on fast-moving consumer goods.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by astradt1 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:02 pm

Following Ed Milibands announcement about plans for companies to be given tax rebates if they pay the living wage to their employees, it has been interesting that the spectre of rising inflation has been raised due to the higher wages.....a whole £1.16 an hour.........
 
Strange how the massive increase in CEO's and others wages has not been suggested as being a possible cause for our current above target inflation rate.......
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Bellatori on Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:03 am

If anyone is interested in the living wage then they should listen to Today. Move on to 1:51:30 (just after 07:50 this morning.). Pay particular attentioin to Steve Davis from the Think Tank  - The Institute of Economic Affairs. He is hysterical. Everything is Yes... but...

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Penderyn on Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:31 pm

The Times is pointing out that a living wage will mean fewer jobs. Why should workers expect to live for God's sake!
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Bellatori on Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:58 pm

Penderyn wrote:The Times is pointing out that a living wage will mean fewer jobs.   Why should workers expect to live for God's sake!
That's the point that Davis kept making however the interviewer pointed out that research by KPMG suggested the opposite. Motivated workers produced more and upped profits.

I picked up the following quote from the original Henry Ford. He certainly disagreed with Davis

"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wage possible." - Henry Ford

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:02 pm

There's a disconnect which nobody in Government wants to address. What's the point of operating a business which can only show a profit on its activities by exploiting the workforce?
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by astradt1 on Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:12 pm

Am I being cynical but those already well paid or rich will have no interest in seeing the low paid receiving a living wage as there will be nothing in it for them, where as they would benefit from a reduction in the cost of living........
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Dan Fante on Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:44 am

Bellatori wrote:
I picked up the following quote from the original Henry Ford. He certainly disagreed with Davis

"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wage possible." - Henry Ford
I wonder what he'd make of modern-day Detroit.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:10 am

General Motors and the other motor manufacturers bought off workers' pay-claims by offering "jam tomorrow" in the shape of generous pension and welfare plans.

That caught up with them, as it was sure to do.

Our own Employers still can't see beyond next week's share-price.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:05 pm

More evidence of 'compassionate Conservatism':-
 
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by sickchip on Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:32 am

Ivan,

What an absolute disgrace. It's difficult to find words to sum up how sad/angry that makes me feel.

No doubt IDS, and his fellow tories, see the likes of Jenny as being a 'casualty of war' in their ceaseless attacks, and vicious war on the poor.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Bellatori on Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:52 am

sickchip wrote:Ivan,

What an absolute disgrace. It's difficult to find words to sum up how sad/angry that makes me feel.

No doubt IDS, and his fellow tories, see the likes of Jenny as being a 'casualty of war' in their ceaseless attacks, and vicious war on the poor.
Absolutely. I did wonder whether IDS is hoping that a sort of fatigue will set in when we have seen a lot of such cases and then he thinks the issue will go away. He's another of the 'price worth paying' brigade. Most politicians bring me out in a bad case of total indifference but for IDS I have reserved disgust and contempt.

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Dan Fante on Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:18 pm

The sort of stuff IDS peddles is particularly galling when you look at his background and how he got where he is today.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:40 pm

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:52 am

But as our gutter press are very aware, the Public's perception beats facts every time.

That's what has led us to "dog-whistle" headlines, which send a coded message without breaking any laws.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

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