Posts Tagged ‘Benefits’

I have been gone for a while; offline life decided to gang up on me a bit with heaping on ALL the academic pressures as well as continuing to give me health crap. I shouldn’t be doing this now because I have an important deadline on Monday, but I made the fatal mistake of reading the paper. My wrath was aroused.

I am fed up to the back teeth of the go-to means of getting more money is ‘cut benefits.’ (been reading about this in the Times as well.) Yep, that’s a great idea. I mean, where else to turn for more money but the people who are struggling to get by as it is? /sarcasm. Because here’s the thing. These top politicians, with their expenses claims and their wealth and their privileged backgrounds, may not realise it, but some people actually rely on their benefits to survive. And yes, that does matter. And no, we can’t use the demon-in-the-lower-galleries* spectre of ‘benefit fraud’ to justify it, which is something I’m also fed up of. Same with the ‘but people on benefits spend more,’ which was what someone quoted in the Times said. (as an aside, isn’t ‘people spending more’ a key thing for the revival of the economy? Yeah, great logic there, folks /sarcasm. And I’ve never taken economics or found myself in a position to run an economy.)

About the fuel increases – I think it’s more complicated than ‘rich people in their Chelsea tractors;’ transport is vital for a lot of people in this age of living areas being mostly separated from workplaces. Fuel costs do put a hole in a lot of vulnerable people’s budgets, and it’s not really feasible to wave that away with saying, ‘just drive less;’ while that’s a good aim and often possible, sometimes it just isn’t. But politicians really like presenting us with these dichotomies, and they know – especially in this case – that their demon-in-the-lower-galleries fallacy is going to reduce sympathy for people on benefits, while fuel costs is something that even people who could afford to pay the increase comfortably will oppose.

It’s not fair that people are suffering pay freezes as prices rise either. Let’s face it, it’s not fucking right that people on the low end of the income scale are the ones feeling the squeeze. It’s not right that as a result of that, the marginalised are becoming more marginalised. It’s not right that the rich politicians who seem to be about the only flavour of politicians there is at the moment are both out of touch and contemptuous of our plight. It’s not right that our rich make money off the exploitation of the poor elsewhere in the world while making everyone else dependent upon a system of exploitation and abuse. The world’s not right.

* Demon-in-the-lower-galleries fallacy – term is from a work of fiction, and a hundred points to anyone who knows which one. Basically, it refers to a created threat, fostered by the powerful in the marginalised and used to exploit them.


Posted: November 5, 2011 in Bloody Tories, Capitalism, Finance, Kyriarchy, Lib Dems, Politics

The system is far too soft? The system is far too soft, David? What the hell country are you living in, because it certainly isn’t the same one as me. (and yes I realise he said this in Australia. Unfortunately I don’t think we can blame this one on the bite of some poisonous animal or another…)

The crucial fact being completely missed by these rich politicians is that a lot of non-rich criminals commit crime out of necessity. I suppose when one moves among such exhaulted circles, one forgets that there are other motives than greed for criminal activity. In the current capitalist system, measures like this are entirely likely to create spirals of criminality and are generally pretty self-defeating. Actively support the capitalist system, deprive people of money and then deprive them of yet more if they commit crime to pick up the shortfall. THAT MAKES SENSE /sarcasm.

Sigh. Another example of the powerful attempting to divide everyone else by creating scapegoats among the marginalised. The kyriarchy ensures that those on benefits do not represent a cross section of the population, with marginalised groups disproportionately affected, which in turn makes the privileged feel easier about demonising them.

I’m not doing much posting at the moment (just stating the obvious there). I think there’s a couple of things I can post, but posting will probably be slow. I’m – well, I’m tired/weary in so many ways and there’s a lot going on offline at the moment and I’m struggling to find the words for anything. Apologies.


Posted: September 21, 2011 in Bodies, Capitalism, Education, Finance, Health, Science, Sexuality
Tags: ,

Okay, I’m going to attempt to be back now even though I’m still having trouble using a computer comfortably.

Really, Government, really? Possible proposals to cut the benefits of terminally ill folks? This is obscene. We always knew that this government was incredibly ableist, but here’s another rock-solid indication. It honestly scares me that the people in charge of the country are so very contemptuous of anyone who doesn’t fit the conventional notion of ‘ability’, and that they are actually enacting this stuff (as with other benefit changes that have gone through).

If the data bears it out, which I think is likely, this is exactly as expected. EMA has proved important for many people, and scrapping it is always going to have an effect.

Aaand from a sciencey point of view, the information that deep-sea squid mate with no regards to sex is fairly interesting.

I’m sorry this is a shite post. I’m still trying to think of a way to make a post out of my recent health issue and how that has been complicated by my lack of gender, which is definitely interesting. I realise, however, that I’m probably saying nothing that other people haven’t said before so… Still need to think some more about that one.

In our leading piece of *headdesk* news today is David Willetts’ remark that feminism ‘in its first-round effects’ was probably a key factor in a lack of social mobility. Firstly, what does that even mean? What the hell were feminism’s ‘first round effects’? Secondly, if ‘feminism trumped egalitarianism’, women must not be human. Because women becoming more equal advances egalitarianism, since women are definitely human. I’m not one, but you don’t have to be a woman to realise women are human. Here’s a clue, Mr Willetts – rich white cis men and sometimes women with Tory political beliefs trumped egalitarianism. People like you. Blaming feminism gets us absolutely nowhere, and establishes it beyond all doubt that you, and by extension the Government you work for, do not give a damn about roughly half of the population. And that’s not okay. Women still have a huge battle on their hands for equality – the kyriarchy is trying to bring them down with its most subtle psychological tactics as well as more blatant ones such as the discrediting of a movement that advanced the equality of women. It’s not beyond criticism – feminism has been guilty of failing many people – but bigoted, anti-woman criticism is contemptible.

In today’s eek news, THE UK HAS FULL-BODY SCANNERS IN AIRPORTS?!?! Apparently they came in in early 2010. I honestly had no idea. And in more eekiness, I’m flying from an airport with them fairly soon. What the fuck, UK. What the fuck. I can’t even. And apparently it’s a legal requirement to go through if you get called on. Here’s an article from the Times at the time about them and their effects on people. Oh crap…

And now in today’s WHAT THE SLIMERIDDEN SHITCANNON news, a whistleblower reveals that many jobcentres are unfairly stopping benefits due to targets. I refer to this old post for more commentary – it wasn’t written about this, but it’s applicable.

Trigger warning. I’m not sure whether this post may be triggering, so I’m putting a warning on it anyway.

Benefit cheats are a straw man. A demon in the lower galleries (bonus points if you get the book that’s from). Maybe they exist, maybe they don’t – and you know what, it doesn’t matter.

They are not the problem. We are not the problem. The problem is the decision of our elites to value their own wealth above our lives. We should not be paying for their capitalist greed. Cracking down on benefit cheats is going to mean clawing back a few quid of actual fraud, and quite a lot of money that was legitimately needed to survive. That means that those who have enacted these policies are literally saying that certain people deserve to die.

Think I’m being provocative? Well, maybe I am. But depriving a person of the money they need to survive in our broken capitalist system is not valuing them, is not valuing their life, is not saying that they deserve to have it. And depriving a person of the money they need for a decent quality of life is saying that they do not deserve a decent quality of life.

And we do. By virtue of our existence in this incredible tapestry of humanity, we deserve to live, and we deserve to have a good quality of life. No matter our needs, our differences, our beliefs. But none of us deserve to take others’ right to live. None of us have that right. No matter how rich. How powerful. How important. And we certainly do not deserve to take this from those in a less socially advantaged position than us. Just because someone is societally disadvantaged does not make them undeserving. We must not succumb to this idea; it has very uncomfortable echoes of Social Darwinism.

So much is wrong. David Cameron’s speeches are giving fuel to Nick Griffin and his ‘party’ of hatemongers. The normal people of the country are being victim-blamed for our leaders’ follies. Oppressions are running wild, unchecked, under the guise of contempt for political correctness. And there are people, our siblings, our parents, our children, our friends, our partners, our relatives, our acquaintances, ourselves – there are people who are hearing, through the bank correspondence and the newspapers, through the contempt of others and the world at large, that they deserve to die.

That’s wrong.

Unemployed parents – unclear as to whether this is mainly targeting lone parents, but it will certainly affect them – of young children to lose 20% of a £64 a week income support benefit if they fail to turn up for a single job interview? What the hell is this country? Even taking into account child benefits… eek…

Hello, multi-millionaires-in-Cabinet – we are talking children as young as one here. They are sick. Often unpredictably. They scream, they cry. They become ill. There is not always a devoted nanny to care for them. Come out of your fucking bubble.

You cut people’s life supports and put the price of living up. You don’t care – you’ll never have to worry, because your big money from screwing us in the name of politics and the money your parents handed down will always keep you and yours. You’ll never have to face cold, harsh, reality.

The rest of us will.

I’m sick, sick, sick of seeing these policies to get people to work – when there isn’t work to be had. The latest one is a three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy about JSA and failing to apply for work, along with the idea of compulsory community work for those on benefits.

How big is the Government’s (and Iain Duncan Smith’s) blind spot? Hello, there is fuck-all employment to be had. And most of that that is around is exploitative, with a wage that doesn’t even guarantee a rudimentary standard of living. That’s not the people’s fault. That’s the fault of the assholes who’ve been working on entrenching capitalism firmly into our society, grinding into us an ideology in which the poor aren’t worth the wits they live on and the only way to get ahead is to be rich. And they dangle the carrot of money in front of our noses and conceal from us the fact that money breeds money.

And what about the disabled who get shoved off onto JSA? Do they have to do this shit as well, when probably many of them should never have been put on it at all? Houses of Parliament, Cabinet, please look at the big picture. Don’t just take every little blow you strike on its own. Sure, one blow may not hurt much – but a dozen will kill.

Capitalism has failed us. It is not the laziness of the individual that causes unemployment – it is the profit culture, all the societal factors that combine against the individual, the idea of poverty as a punishment of the degenerate. There will always be a few folks that are lazy, but the ones that loll around on piles of money miles high do more damage to our society to the ones that slump in front of a TV as their world collapses around their ears.

Talking to someone online about politics, finance and economics, basically the budget, and I mention that the whole subject is my pet hobbyhorse at the moment (whenever I get a chance, I start ranting about it). The response is, ‘You know what annoys me? People who cheat about their benefits.’

‘What about super-rich people who cheat on their taxes and then get employed by the Government?’

‘Weell – yeah, but those people who have loads of kids just to get the benefits are worse…’

No, they’re really not. Getting the taxes owed from even just one or two of the super-rich who cheat about taxes would get the Government more revenue than eradicating all benefit fraud. ‘Benefit fraud’ is the demon we are taught to revile, while happily contributing to inflated salaries from those who don’t pay their share. Yes, I know and my friend knows people who… may not be one hundred per cent honest in their benefit claims. But really and truly, that dripping tap is nothing compared to the torrent flowing out in the form of tax evasion by the rich.

I don’t even believe that this spectre of the poor single mother who keeps having babies just for the benefits exists. Kids are work. If women are choosing to do this, there are almost certainly other factors in play. This spectre reeks of misogyny. The belittlement of female choice. The contempt for women’s struggles. The contempt for the ‘motherhood’ role. Numerous other misogynistic tropes.

The anger is getting directed down the wrong avenues. Politicians try to erase their mistakes by creating new demons, and we believe them. It’s time to tear the wool from our thoughts and think clearly about the problem.

This writer appears to get it.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t believe in benefit fraud. Au contraire, I know a couple of people who blithely engage in it. Sure, sure, they shouldn’t. But I don’t believe it’s that important in the grand scheme of things. Once rich tax dodgers and powerful advantage-takers and corruption and inefficiency and futile war has been tackled, then maybe we can turn our eye to this bloody small section of society.

People who aren’t on benefits need to stop being angry at those below them on the social ladder, of whom a very small portion are scroungers, and start being angry at those who’ve been lighting cigars with our presents and futures for far too long.

1 million jobs are being put at risk by the cuts, and still the population’s support system is being cut at the same time. And it is massively worrying for all of the people being shunted from incapacity benefit to jobseeker’s allowance. Scratch that. It’s massively worrying for every single bloody one of us. Yes, we’ve got a problem. Yes, it needs to be tackled. But this is short-term thinking, and society is a long-term creature. Too often, those in power look to take the short route out rather than considering what will be the best overall, in the long run.

And, as I keep on saying, we are a nation of people. Human beings. Not a nation of banks. The priority should be the people.

I’m really, really dubious about this cutting of incapacity benefit. The Government are aiming to get more people currently on incapacity benefit into work by putting them on jobseeker’s allowance instead. Now, I think that meaningful work is a good thing for people. But.

In the current economic situation, there’s very little in the way of jobs to be had. There may be penalties imposed on those who fail to find work, as well (I’m pretty sure that’s what I read – the paper’s currently occupied, which is annoying – will update if I remember). How, then, is this in any way fair?

All of this sudden, clustered cutting is making me really nervous. I agree, the country’s finances are in a bit of a bad way… but surely we should not be trying to solve that at the expense of real, live human beings?