Sunday, 21 July 2013

"Is this the beginning of the benefits revolution?"

Direct actions in Scotland and around the UK have prompted the question: "Is this the beginning of the benefits revolution?"

From my precarious position, that is a wheelchair user employed on a short contract in the voluntary sector (which may or may not be renewed next April) and dependent on tax credits, DLA (who knows how I'll fare under PIP) council care package and ILF (up until 2015 at the latest), I would welcome a benefit's revolution today or tomorrow.

However, as a disability campaigner of some twenty years and a political observer of thirty-something years, I am not inclined to believe we are at a point anywhere near revolution in the UK.

While the numbers supporting the government's position on cutting the deficit via the lowest common denominator, namely targeting those who can offer least resistance and who after decades of softening up by way of vilification and demonization in the media, is falling. There are still too many people within our society who believe that the only way to become solvent is by slashing the debt; and the only way left to do that is through a reduction in state spending on benefits.

Another important factor in this equation is that we have a shadow cabinet in place who instead of leading the opposition to the slash and burn policies pushed through by the ConDems seems determined to employ the same tactics if and when they come into power. As long as Labour supports a programme of austerity cuts it is letting down its core of natural voters, as well as the floaters who are crying out for a sense of direction.

We are in grave danger of allowing the Tories back in 2015 for another five years. By then, or very shortly after, we'll find increasing numbers of people hit by ever more draconian welfare cuts; and then we may see the benefits' revolution.

Finally, these predictions are made with a heavy heart and feelings of great trepidation. For I'm very likely a candidate for the poverty programme. Therefore, I hope I am proved wrong on every point I've made here; and I intend continuing the fight to rid us of this oppressive bunch of vampire capitalists.  

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