17_december_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,288

Thursday 17 December 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

The thinker and teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”.

This has been dismissed by some as an excuse for self righteousness amongst dissidents and activists as if the only change that needs to take place is amongst those who are well adjusted to a sick society. There may be some who have that attitude, if so that would be a mistake. An unjust, sick, society profoundly affects all of us, without exception. Like it or not we are impacted by the society in which we live. Effective action to create a more just society would also profoundly affect everyone. There is no room for self righteousness, there is room for progress though.

The DWP sanctions regime is an abomination. It’s sick. The idea that sanctions can create positive outcomes and incentivise people through brutality is obscene. ‘Arbeit macht frei’ hung over the entrance of Auschwitz and other concentration camps and it means ‘work makes (you) free’. Iain Duncan Smith, who has visited Auschwitz and written about his experience, said on BBC News, ‘Work actually helps free people’. That is not taken out of context and nor can any allowance be made for Smith’s callous insensitivity given his brutality towards people on benefits and his insistence that it is not ‘the role of government to pay the disabled enough to stop them being poor and that the correct way to escape poverty was by working’.

Attacks on disabled people include closure of the Independent Living Fund, the bedroom tax, cuts to social care and cuts to Employment Support Allowance about which an internal Whitehall paper said ‘ESA payments of up to £102.15-a-week do not “incentivise” sick or disabled people to find a job’. Sanctions are increasingly being used against disabled people in pursuit of an ideology which has its roots in the concentrations camps of Nazi Germany.

Do I exaggerate? Hardly, these few words cannot begin to do justice to the true depravity of Iain Duncan Smith and the DWP and nor should the recent past in Germany be ignored, it should be a stark reminder of an abomination that should never be revisited, yet it is being revisited in the policies of Iain Duncan Smith. There is no possible excuse for the brutality of Smith’s attitude and policies in the war against the poor and vulnerable that is being waged by him and your government. There is only one thing the needs to happen, this evil sickness has to stop because we are all brutalised by it.