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Our Crack Tongue & Groove

Commentmay13.jpg Welcome to compassionate Conservatism

The massed ranks of Conservatism are turning their fire on the very people their policies are increasingly edging towards destitution.  

How long will it be before the Tories, and their loathsome cheerleaders in the right-wing press, up the ante even further when it comes to the re-branding of the poorest in society? They’re already happy enough to describe those people who are forced to choose between heating their homes and eating as “skivers”, but are they prepared to go that extra mile? Maybe they could set up a special hotline for bigots to leave suggestions. Scum buckets, perhaps? Scatchcard sluts? Child murderers? That’s not a million miles away from how the Daily Mail already report on people who claim benefits, with their recent write-up on the Michael Philpott case really dripping with hatred for the poor. Philpott was jailed for his role in the death of his children, a truly tragic case, but one that the Mail has managed to twist to fit their own pernicious agenda, opining that he was, “the vile product of welfare UK” and “[the case] lifted the lid on the bleak and often grotesque world of the welfare benefit scroungers”. The grotesque world of the welfare benefit scroungers? What’s really grotesque is how that newspaper, and chancellor George Osborne, has managed to invent a link between this case and the safety net that was designed to stop people from starving. It’s as ludicrous as the assumption that Peter “The Yorkshire Ripper” Sutcliffe was a warped product of the evil bearded community.  
But this rhetoric on bashing the poor is only set to intensify over the coming months, as it is the only thing for which the Tories seem to have any measure of support; and little wonder with people hoodwinked by the daily drip-drip feed of stories from the tabloids regarding disabled people who are able to run marathons, and unemployed people swanking around in mansions. These tales skew the public perception to such an extent that many think that anyone out of work, or who simply cannot work, must be fiddling and living life high on the hog. The actual official figure for benefit fraud however, is 0.7% of the welfare bill.
And for every person who does manage to cheat the system, there are tens of thousands of decent people who face a grinding daily struggle to feed themselves and their families, but you’ll search in vain to find their stories in The Daily Telegraph, The Star, The Times, The Sun, The Daily Express or The Daily Mail.
Of course, Work and Pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, is completely blind to the fact that any of these people are even struggling at all, recently stating that he could live on £53 a week. £53 a week for food, bills and all of those other little luxuries in life such as shoes. But he’s the type of man I can imagine who, if he saw someone clinging onto a cliff edge by their fingertips, would run over and stamp on their hands stating: “We’ve got to get people off cliff edges and back contributing towards society,” while blithely ignoring the broken body lying on the rocks below. RM