01_august_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,165

Saturday 01 August 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

This is a letter that has come out of an email conversation with a friend who posited, “What if ‘making work pay’ isn’t another lie coming out of Cameron’s, Osborne’s and IDS’s mouths, but might actually be the truth only not in the way it has been interpreted? What if when Cameron, Osborne and IDS spout ‘making work pay’ they don’t mean that work pays for the worker? Everyone assumes that it is the workers who will receive that ‘pay’. What if what they really mean – and what has been shown time and again to be what is really happening – is that ‘work pays the employers’? That is what ‘workfare’ is all about, isn’t it, subsidies for businesses no matter whether workers are paid or not?”

I can’t think why I’ve not written about this before, I thought I had and it has certainly taken up a good deal of my thinking time. I think my friend is exactly right. Just as you can say ‘Britain is for hard working people’ in a country where you want full employment. A country of hard working people for businesses, to drive profits up. A National Health Service ‘free at the point of use’ which you can still say even if it is paid for through private insurance schemes the same as in the USA, which is what you want.

‘Hard working people’ , in various forms, is now something of a mantra for those resenting people on benefits, people adopt it for themselves as you intended, but that isn’t what you Tories mean and I am sure you revel in your clever mouthed deceit.

When Andy Burnham launched his Labour leadership campaign he talked about ‘aspiration’ as about ‘giving every single person the dream of a better life, about helping all of our businesses, small and large, to get on and grow’. Every single person can have a dream, but it’s businesses that get help to get on and grow. As the saying goes, ‘If wishes were fishes we’d all be throwing nets’. New Labour giving every single person the dream of a better life is (meaninglessly) clever as far as it goes, but Burnham can’t out-Tory a Tory, who can speak a literal truth which relies on human vanity to adopt and thus people fool themselves.

Robert Tressell’s ‘The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists’ is entirely about the philanthropy of working people who vote for their own enslavement to the profit hungry Tories. ‘Don’t vote Labour’, the Tories cry, ‘Those socialists will price you out of your jobs. If they demand higher wages, we’ll all go to the wall. We’re all in this together my lads.’ It’s not an empty threat, you’d sack the entire labour force and shut the business down if you had to (which Thatcher did), then open a new one offering lower wages and it’s all those bloody socialists fault, killing businesses. Oh yes, the Tories are for hard working people alright, making work pay, all the way to the corporate comfort off shore tax havens.

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