Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Taking an axe to the social compact

Last week, during his spending review, a review that targeted benefits while slashing public service jobs  George Osborne spat out the following:
"And we’re going to introduce a new seven day wait before people       can claim benefits. Those first few days should be spent looking for    work, not looking to sign on."

George Osborne wielding the axe that will destroy our welfare state and chop our NHS into small pieces to be picked up by other Tory spivs and speculators
The Chancellor spoke with such contempt that one would be forgiven for thinking he was referring to some group of sociopaths  who had committed the most heinous of crimes, rather than of people whose only transgression was to lose their jobs; and this loss most likely as a result of an austerity cut made by this nasty piece of work, Osborne.
It's bad enough to lose your job at any time. But to lose it as a result of an austerity programme fuelled by Tory ideology and driven on a vehicle of neo-liberal policy intended to reduce workers T&Cs in order to maximise profits, is doubly disgraceful.
But, all that aside. What has happened to the compact between the state and workers. You know, the one that expects you to work, but during periods of unemployment one can fall back on the state for social security. We work; we pay our taxes and NI contributions; and from time to time we are entitled to call upon the state to make provision for hard times.
However contradicting himself, in the same speech, Osborne says something completely different about unemployed people when he concedes that
"Those who need it – who are old, who are vulnerable, who are      disabled, or have lost their job and who we as a compassionate society want to support."

Osborne decision to extend the wait for benefit entitlement to seven days clearly shows a total disregard to compassion. Instead he has all unemployed people, regardless of circumstances, booked down as scroungers and skivers.
In the same speech he attacks working people who claim tax credits and housing benefit (HB), especially those who aren't doing as all they can to increase the hours they work. So, people are now also a burden on the state because they earn so little they have to claim tax credits and HB.
Hold on Georgie, why aren't you attacking the root cause of tax credit and HB 'dependency', namely your own kind; the employer class who pay sweatshop wages, with the expectation that the state makes up the shortfall. What about them?
What about the Rackman landlords out there sub-dividing houses into pigeonholes which they then rent for extortionate rents paid for though housing benefits. What about them, Osborne?
Attack the chiselling employer. Create a minimum wage generous enough to dispense with working tax credits that force honest working people to be at the mercy of unreasonable government sanctions and demonization in the scum press.
Now, my grey-haired old Irish mum knows, my PA knows, and I know that if you put extra money into the pay packets of the poorest, of ordinary workers, that the extra money will go back into the local economy; they'll spend it. Give a tax break to the rich and they'll offshore it to maximise a return.
If we, none of whom has a qualification in either economics or political science, can work this out, then I'm guessing so can George Osborne. But to do something positive like this, to give the economy a kick-start would interfere with the ConDem ideology of demolishing the welfare state and driving the working classes back into a position of abject powerlessness, such as during the mid 1920s.   

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