By Lesley Roberts, for Welfare Weekly.
In the UK our Welfare state acts as a boundary between both the 1% and the 99% and poverty. The 99%, those who make our society work and those who sometimes need to turn to the welfare state to survive, are those who the 1% see as being below them.
To a degree our welfare state and free medical care acts as a barrier from the evils that those who sit in the comfy chair of wealth, the 1%, wish to avoid.
The media has created a great deal of damage to the 99%, without them knowing or realising. With a small section, the so-called “bullish” ‘hardworking people’, even actively joining in and harming the most vulnerable. The Tory policy of divide and rule in action.
No one cares about Marie Buchan’s eight children who will be affected by the benefit cap. They just see her and the benefits she’s receiving, but how fair is it to those eight children. Do they deserve to be punished for their mothers’ behaviour, or as the Tories would say her “lifestyle”?
They are but one family, so why should we stigmatise ALL families in need of state support? Surely this isn’t a good enough reason to remove benefits and consider privatising the welfare state – just because of a the actions of a minority?
The media hype surrounding benefits is often misleading. Not many of the 99% expect to be left living in poverty if they had to claim welfare benefits; the media would have them believe that people on benefits are waste deep in taxpayer’s cash. It would come at quite a shock to find out just how little the vast majority of benefit claimants are expected to live on?
The “bullish” need to think carefully about what is really going to happen to their wages. Do they really believe that businesses will give them a pay rise if benefits are cut?
It is no good trying to “fix the roof while the sun is shining”, as George Osborne stated, when you are also undermining those who hold up your walls by removing their foundations. Someone should let him know about constructing a house upon shifting sand.
You cannot build a strong society if you’re constantly allowing the language of “hate”, or misleading the public into believing that people on benefits are loaded. Let’s be very clear about this: you cannot blame benefit claimants for low wages, they are not responsible and never have been.
If we allow the Tory led government to change our system to one where we hold private ‘rainy-day’ insurance accounts – a system based upon Singapore’s non-existent welfare state – then we all need to raise our voices and refuse to comply.
From our own experiences we are already aware of the evils that this could lead too. Many of us fear for the way in which such a system would become unreliable and mismanaged by greed.
It will be interesting to see how the “bullish” will react to this, in a bravado of “I’m OK Jack”. But what will the long-term bring to those people if they are not all right? What the 1%, including the “bullish”, have not quite worked out is how the cuts are going to affect them too. People must realise that the Tories are removing a huge amount of money from our economy. How much is that going to cost us in lost incomes and lack of spending power?
“The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.”
Joseph Stiglitz’s – Vanity Fair.