Archives for posts with tag: benefits cap


Every time I see a headline like, ‘Government is failing disabled people’ or as in the Guardian, 1 April 2017, ‘This benefit cut will make youngsters homeless. It’s another Tory failure’, I am immediately stuck by an overwhelming sense of disbelief that either the media simply doesn’t get it, which is unlikely, or this is wilful perception management to keep us wrong footed or to deliberately deceive us.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out the Tories are entirely comfortable with their policies and the effects they have and, indeed, lie through their teeth and spin endless nonsense despite overwhelming evidence of the harm their policies cause.

Whether it’s making work pay, the bedroom tax, sanctions, multiple attacks on disabled people, racist vans, bullshit jobs for bullshit pay, ending housing benefit for young people, no more top down reorganisation of our NHS, using European workers as bargaining chips, the junior doctors debacle, ending access to legal aid, denying the escalating numbers of suicides, the housing crisis, mass deportations, privatisation of the state, selling off state assets at knock down prices, cuts, caps, raising VAT, abandoning care for the elderly and raising pension age, tax cuts for the rich, austerity for the poor (and that is just the short list), the Tories are entirely comfortable with it all, their policies are working exactly as intended. They are not failing, they are succeeding.

Anyone who says they are failing, especially journalists, is misinformed (as much of the public is), an idiot or fully complicit in this mass deception.

This is not about cognitive dissonance, ‘the mental stress (discomfort) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values’, this is perception management on a grand scale.

How many deaths would it take to give any reasonable organisation cause to examine its policies or even just acknowledge that there might be a problem? Since 2010, tens of thousands of people have died or committed suicide and the government is not only not interested but denies there is even a problem. Damian Green took over from Iain Duncan Smith in July 2016 and has not only continued with the punitive regime put in place by Smith, but has escalated the attacks on poor and vulnerable people and claims the benefits cap, ‘costing almost 90,000 of Britain’s poorest families more than £2,000 a year, is a “real success”.

And he’s right. It is a massive Tory success. Poverty is rising and persistent poverty for children has consistently risen since 2010 and food bank usage under the Tories has gone through the roof, leading Chris Mould to state that the DWP regards people driven to food banks as “collateral damage”. Iain Duncan Smith, far from doing anything about the situation, accused the Trussell Trust of scare mongering and he and Lord Freud have consistently refused to meet with the Trussell Trust.

Why would they meet with the Trussell Trust? The system was designed by Smith and Freud, and it is doing exactly as intended, to penalise and hound people to death. Dr David Webster, writing on the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies web site, called Benefit Sanctions, ‘Britain’s secret penal system’, which imposes more and harsher fines than the entire British court system.

What does it take to call a spade a spade?

To even begin to understand the Tories we have to see them as they see themselves and report accordingly, as a towering success. Their policies are not ill informed or hastily come by, they are well planned and enormous amounts of time have been spent formulating them. The Welfare Reform Act 2012, introduced by Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud, and the unfolding misery it has given rise to, was not written in a day, or hastily, it was long in the making almost certainly predating the 2010 general election. It’s 350 sections and 187 pages were meticulously written and is a huge success story for the Tories.

Reporting any of this as failing or failure, is to entirely misreport the reality of Tory success. They are not failing disabled people or young people or anyone else, they are successfully implementing policies which they fully intended would cause pain and suffering on the grand scale we see to this day.

Alex Brooker on the Last Leg rightly called Tory disability cuts, “disabled genocide” and if you have a terminal illness but are expected to live longer than six months you do not qualify for extra support. So yes in real terms the government is failing ordinary people, but they are doing so wilfully and knowingly and mocking us in the process and consider their policies entirely successful.

The mainstream media headlines should reflect the reality of the situation, and hit hard and true. That they do not is to entirely fail to understand what is going on or to wilfully mislead.

Given the cost in lives for their failure to present the facts and the reality of the situation, then they are culpable in this unfolding catastrophe in the lives of millions of people in Britain today. Too much of the corporate media is engaged in perception management for self serving reasons and given the proliferation (thankfully) of independent media, bloggers and writers, it falls to us, ordinary people, to hold them to account and to call a spade a spade. The Tories have blood on their hands and it bothers them not one jot.

KOG. 02 April 2017



A letter a day to number 10. No 1,141

Wednesday 08 July 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Sitting here writing today feels a lot like standing by the side of the road waiting for a car crash. The only difference is that I know exactly when this car crash will arrive, immediately after the weekly pantomime that is Prime Ministers Question time. Then it’s on with the ‘Osborne Carrot and Stick Show’, carrots for the rich and sticks for the poor.

Opening song:

Georgie Porgie, budget and lie,
Kick the poor and make them cry,
When the rich came out to play,
Social cleanse the poor away.

The household benefits cap, we know of, lowered from £26,000 to £23,000, to ensure it is below the national average wage. Of course the grand lie here is that the national average wage is about individual wages whilst the benefits cap is about what an entire family has to live on. The larger the family the harder the hit, to eat or not  to eat, that is the question?

But it is so much more than that, because you’ve made it more than that, and part of the national dialogue now is shaming the poor for having the temerity to breed, relentlessly squeezing and oozing out worthless lives to burden the world. Such children are devoid of value and meaning, they just take up space that is the preserve of the worthy and the good who pour out their rage, indignation and hate on those of unworth.

Your war on the poor has been and is astonishingly successful, it is a triumph of spin and psychological manipulation. Since 2010 poverty porn has become an incredibly popular national phenomenon. Osborne himself, one of the orchestrators of hate speech against the poor, used the 2012 Conservative party conference to come out with this little nugget, “Where is the fairness, we ask, for the shift-worker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning, who looks up at the closed blinds of their next door neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits?” Hatred of the poor has been part of his long term economic plan from the beginning and it’s been a solid gold success… for the richest people in the country who Osborne has very kindly helped to more than double their wealth since 2009.

Disabled people are likely to see yet more cuts as Iain Duncan Smith continues his campaign to heal disabled people through work and Osborne is expected to attack Disability Living Allowance. Disabled people are already the hardest hit, bearing 9 times more cuts than most citizens. The casual wanton brutality being meted out to disabled people by you and your government is simply staggering, but then you Tories are very, very good at wrecking lives that have no meaning or value to you.

06_april_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,050

Monday 06 April 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

One of the more important expressions that came out of the 60’s feminist and student movements is ‘the personal is political’. It’s an expression that, still, today is not widely accepted or understood, which is unfortunate because it has never been more relevant. Whether people are facing rising food prices and increased VAT, struggling to make ends meet on minimum wage, having their disability benefits stripped away or are forced to stay at home because they cannot find affordable housing and therefore independence, it’s all political. In this nation, whether people acknowledge it or not, politics is woven throughout the fabric of life.

When Osborne struck a deal with Swiss banks to protect illegal tax evaders it was entirely political and against the interests of the wider UK public. Britain lost out to what chartered accountant, Richard Murphy, described as, “the Treasury and our political leaders going out of their way to support criminality by making sure that a measure – the European Union Savings Tax Directive – that would blow tax evasion in British dependencies apart cannot now be implemented. And all, no doubt, at the behest of the City of London”.

Scotland’s private landowners, who have been described as Britain’s greediest benefit claimants, were subject to calls in 2013 for investigation to see how they avoid paying an estimated £40million in tax a year. Whilst Osborne imposed a £26,000 benefits cap on the poor your government fought against any such cap on the richest land owners in the country who receive billions in farming subsidies. Even Iain Duncan Smith’s extended family has received over a million pounds in benefits on their land.

Ed Balls has committed to restoring the 50p top rate of income tax for the wealthiest people in Britain who have enjoyed a very generous windfall from Osborne’s 5% tax cut to 45p.

Iain Duncan Smith’s is proposing to tax Disability Living Allowance, supposedly arguing that they should be increased for the poorest claimants while being subsidised with a tax on the benefits for those with higher incomes. In another slight of hand, he is not laying out any increase for poorer people, any more than benefit cuts actually make work pay, it’s all cheap chiseling at the bottom whilst protecting the benefits of the rich. There is nothing more personal than being poor and being pounded by politics.