It is supremely ironic, not to mention a wonderful coincidence, that on almost the actual day MPs received their second pay rise in 10 months, this time a not-to-be-sniffed-at £1000 per annum, the government also cut Employment Support Allowance (ESA) – that’s money paid to the sick and disabled – by £30 a week. Obviously, there is no question that double standards are at work here!
Doubtless, the Tories called in favours from vermin like Rupert Murdoch’s friend Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, who only recently flew in from America specifically to vote for cuts to tax credits for the working poor. Lloyd Webber’s Club Class air fare cost more than your average ESA payments for the whole year, but then we are all in it together, aren’t we?
For the life of me, I don’t understand why there is no public outcry about this full frontal attack on the living standards of the sick and disabled. Maybe the government’s assertion that all benefit claimants are skivers and shirkers has entered the national psyche, that we regard people with conditions like cancer as fleecing hardworking taxpayers and laughing at us all the way to chemotherapy? After all, most of the press obsesses with benefit claimants in an entirely negative fashion, portraying them as living in some hedonistic paradise, eating caviar and drinking the best Champagne whilst the rest of us, arriving home after a 25 hour day, are struggling along on bread and dripping sandwiches.
Parliament has now agreed to cut benefits to those who have presumably chosen to be sick and disabled. I mean, you would choose to be sick and disabled, given the choice between that and being perfectly healthy, wouldn’t you?
I see this as another example of how many politicians, with their inbuilt feelings of entitlement, look at things. When the last Tory government of 2010-2015, in which some Lib Dems had jobs, decided it would be just dandy to triple university tuition fees, I could see what they were like. What, thought multimillionaires Cameron, Clegg and Osborne is a paltry £9k a year anyway? It’s chicken feed to Osborne who sends both of his children to private school and someday soon will inherit the best part of a billion quid from the family business along with a knighthood. He looks at the £30 a week he and Iain Duncan Smith are taking from the sick and disabled and probably thinks, “I could easily manage with £30 a week less. So can they.”
Margaret Thatcher really did change everything. She said greed is good and many of us believed her (I didn’t). Many still do. The very word ‘benefit’ has negative connotations these days, even if it applies to the terminally ill. They are usually referred in the gutter press as ‘hand outs’, just to remind the plebs where they stand. Now, anyone that cannot work – and the vast majority of sick and disabled people want to work – are the dregs of this something for nothing society. Forget, for one moment, that Iain Duncan Smith claimed parliamentary expenses to buy more underpants and George Osborne ‘flipped’ his main home to coin more money from the taxpayer. And all those moats and swimming pools we have paid to maintain via our taxes, that’s nothing compared to a terminally ill scrounger who is having us over for £75 a week.
They want to starve us all into submission. That’s my theory anyway. Making the very poorest people even poorer is a new low blow, even by this lot. I do wonder how they live with themselves, because if I was hurting vulnerable people, I’d feel very awkward. Actually, I couldn’t do it at all. I just wish everyone was as angry as I am. But since 1979, less people seem to care.