Thursday, 11 November 2010
So here we are. Six months into their administration, and there’s already riots. I think that might be the swiftest turn from election to riots in British living memory.
And why the riots? Why the protests?
Simple : we pay taxes to The Government, and the Government has a social contract to fulfil to maintain and protect the structure of society. Taxation without representation, and taxation without The Government fulfilling the duties they have been tasked with is a simple case of theft and fraud against the whole country. The current abdication of responsibility to maintain the fabric of society is the biggest and most obvious case of theft from this nation in living memory.
I pay my taxes, and I am proud to pay my taxes. Taxes have always constituted part of the social contract between Government and people ; that the fabric of society is maintained, those least able to care and fend for themselves – the ill, the old, the unemployed – are provided for to some extent. This contract has been broken. Broken by broken pledges and broken promises. This country can never trust a Liberal Democrat again.
Violence isn't just physical. The violence perpetrated to the finances of the students in this country is far more insidious and long-lasting than a smashed window, but a debt designed to be a lead weight around the generations that will look after us in the future.
Because for some taxes are a burden to be avoided. These selfish bastards try to justify their tax evasion and avoidance – of their theft from the Government which is far larger than any benefit fraud – by claiming they are “job creators” or that their money will go back to society through trickledown economics when they buy their next golden hovercraft. Not by admitting they would rather hoard their money instead of pay the Government a fair amount to maintain the society they exist within. I can’t see them being overjoyed to have to swipe their black credit card when the bins are collected, or at each toll booth they drive through, or each time they turn up for their chemotherapy treatment. They would howl in protest if their treatment for payment was declined. But that is the world they want to live in : a world where the poor die quietly after cooking and cleaning their homes and the rich sit on patios.
Not all money spent that is generated by tax is spent in any way wisely. It disgusts me that money is stolen from my earnings to fund aircraft carriers and military spending to prove a point internationally that the UK is still a big cheese in the War Stakes. And that everyone else in this country will see the most visible products of their taxes – the frontline services such as hospitals, rubbish collection, and libraries – cut to ribbons to please the National War Ego. UK military spending is the third largest in the world, the second largest pro rata per population, and the largest by landmass in the world.
But overall, to me, tax is a fair price to pay for a society that look after the weak, the poor, the ill, the old, the needy. For there, but for the grace of God, go I. And everyone who has ever lived, and anyone who will ever live, will at some point in their life be ill, or old, and need the help of others.
And a Government that takes our money, but does not fulfil its responsibilities, is committing no more, and no less, than enormous, state-led benefit fraud : the misappropriation of funds that is, at best, the kind of feckless, irresponsible dereliction of duties that the poor are demonised for allegedly committing.
We’re constantly told There Is No Alternative. There is always an alternative.
There are better ways of changing Britains economy than a rampant drive to cut the welfare state, to smash the public sector, to sack the ‘wanker bureaucrats’, and to demonise the poor. If nothing else, it’s very poor economic sense to inflict these massive changes on society.
Not because Britain has a cashflow problem at the moment : because of what Britain will look like in a decades time.
Ten years from now, Britain will be an ugly country. There will be more unemployed. The unemployed will be poorer than they have ever been. Communities will be smashed and scattered to cheaper housing. Work will be meaningless underpaid slavery and workers will have their rights stripped away wherever possible. Half a million families will be impoverished as their jobs are slashed away. And more than that, the subsequent effect on the economy of half a million jobs, or around 2% of the British workforce being made redundant, will be a massive impact upon the economy. The money will not be replaced, but simply vanish from the economy. The total estimate will be at least one and a half million additional people becoming unemployed. And that means one and a half million less people paying taxes or buying goods from shops. Those in work will be told they are lucky to be in impoverished near slavery. Those not will be told they are useless workshy scum.
On top of this, Housing Benefit will be slashed dramatically, to the 30th percentile of the market rate. Anyone in the Council or Social Housing market who signed a tenancy after summer 2010 will be charged up to 80% of the market average for their area, and in fixed term tenancies which will be reviewed around every five years. For those who are unemployed, after twelve months being unable to find a job where there are five applicants for every vacancy, the Housing Benefit, already no higher than a third of the market rents, would then be reduced a further 10% to no higher than the twenty seventh percentile of the market rate. Therefore, society would see, potentially, up to a 53% gap between the cost of the housing designed to house the most needy and the money available to pay for that housing. And make no mistake, that 53% has to come from somewhere – from benefits that are pegged at no more than £65 a week for most people.
Let’s not even consider the fact that Housing Benefit is a way of subsiding the profits of rich landowners by being pegged to market rents. A failure to invest in Social Housing is a way of allowing investors to make large amounts of money from the Government through the basic human right of housing.
If you rent then, and are unemployed, you’ll either have to choose between your rent and your food. A choice that, if you are unemployed, you probably already face. Debt and arrears will rise.
And not only that, in order for you, the people who want to work, to receive this pittance, Iain Duncan Smith has decided that you must work without pay and without consideration for your childcare or travel or dependents, or those benefits will be cut off for three months.
This work is designed to impose a “routine” on those who have no routine, being unemployed, who get up when they want, do what they like whenever they want, and sit around slacky in a world without clocks. In a world that does not exist. The work they will be doing? Probably things like working in libraries, or workshare in the council tax calculation office, or all the jobs that the Government has decided to ruthlessly take out of the public sector : the bad news is you have lost your job, the good news is you can do it for a fifth of the salary as enforced voluntary mandatory work as part of the State’s workfare programme.
And instantly this process devalues the very notion of work as having any value financially or socially ; there is no economic reward for the work. The only benefit this mandatory voluntary work would have would be to take time away from the unemployed : time they could spend looking for a job. And who has the energy to look for another job when we already have some of the longest working hours in Europe? Especially when all you are receiving is unemployment benefit.
Because, in the eyes of the politicans, everyone who is unemployed is a lazy, workshy, feckless, useless slacker who wants to sit around parasitically feeding off the state. Look at the headlines. Not a day goes past without the Daily Hate publishing something about a family of Islamuslims living in Buckingham Palace on £80,000 a year housing benefit as they plot the overthrow of society, or Sheila Slackjaw on £76,000 a year in benefits for her 10 children by 42 different unemployed men, as if the unemployed do nothing but fuck day in, day out.
Students meanwhile, are planned to graduate with £27,000 in debt : these are the people who will be running the country, processing your tax returns, teaching your children, and holding your hand as you die of cancer in the decades to come. They are also the people who will have to work longer and harder, retire later, and pay more than any previous living generation.
And, already, we live in a society where someone on the average salary has to wait until the age of 51 before they can afford a big enough deposit in London to buy an average home, even if they could get a mortgage for a property at ten times their salary : even if home prices did not move at all in the next three decades.
We will be living in a brutal society of a massively angry, impoverished underclass : a world where the cuts will cost society far more than we ever could have saved through increased crime, illness, social upheaval, broken communities, mass unemployment, and practical slavery for pitiful salaries.
There are currently about two and a half million unemployed people in this country. Chasing around 400,000 jobs. That means that approximately 2,100,000 people will be punished violently for the crime of a society ruled and run by economists and not human beings.
“We’re All In The Together”, I am told. But that’s what millionaires say whilst they practice mass corporate and personal tax evasion and avoidance.
Despite what they say about trying to restore fairness to this country, there is no way that that can ever be described as fair.
And this is what we are told we are wanted, by a leader who apparently has a ‘mandate’ of 35% of the vote. (In 2005, during the last election, Blair “held on by the skin of his teeth” with 36% of the vote).
What this country is seeing a concerted and deliberate attack on everyone who has a job and everyone who hasn’t.
And, more than that, what is apparent from conversations held between public bodies and the Government is that the detail of these sweeping, brutal changes have not been considered - hence the lack of detail as to how these will be delivered. It seems there has been little consideration, and less thought, for how these changes will brutalise, divide, and change the world we live in.
And this is the beginning. Not the end. Most governments plan for two terms and take a softly, softly approach, holding back some of the big changes for the second term. Not this government. This government had waded in with a hammer instead of a scalpel, determined to effect massive and ugly change in as short a time as possible, mindful that they may not get a second term.
In one fell swoop, with the decision that all benefit recipients are to undertake mandatory ‘voluntary work’ for at least 4 weeks in order to understand the routine and structure of a working life sends two clear, and ugly messages to the rest of the country.
The first one is that the minimum wage is an inconvenience. That the Government has now sanctioned mandatory, slave labour at far below market rates is a crime against everyone in this country.
The second is that the rights we, and our parents, and our grandparents, and all our ancestors fought for long and hard over centuries are slowly, viciously being dismantled. Under the mantra that “There Is No Alternative”, and there is always an alternative, everything is being removed to facilitate profit.
The narrative we are given is not that this financial crisis is the fault of toxic loans, abusive financial practices, complicated and arcane financial models that compound and create debt and enslave the population whilst a minority become obsecenely rich, but that all of society’s ills are the direct cause of the feckless poor, teenage mothers, immigrants living in Buckingham palace on housing benefit, and a bloated, fat public sector that is populated solely by unemployable morons on gold plated pensions that piss millions away each and every day on sign language for the blind (a ‘gold plated pension’ with an average worth of £4,000 a year, by the way)
This is the dream we inherited. Instead of a world where the brainless work of endless meaningless busywork to justify benefits or employments are enforced upon us, there was a time when perhaps we, the people, the humans, were something more than mere resources, but human beings, humans doing.
Under the guise of there is no alternative, every concession our parents, grandparents, and all our ancestors fought for, for the vaguest sense of dignity, paid holidays, paid sick leave, pensions, unions, and for anything at all other than a simple transactional life where all we are are human resources that sell time for money in order not to starve to death.
Instead, we live in a society fragmented and terrified of its own shadow, forever demonised in our fragile lives by the invisible bogeymen of forrin immigrants, benefit mothers, and all the other miniscule minorities that threaten the ability of rich CEO’s to make even more money from us, and instead of looking to the root cause of this, the country is trained to turn on itself and bite the infrastructure and people that hold it up : the public sector are demonised as, one and all, useless wanker bureaucrats who do nothing but steal money from your salary in the form of taxes.
The true theft from society are those who contribute nothing : those who practice “tax efficiency” and avoid their responsibilities to give something back to maintain the society that they glean their wealth from. Those who move money from one place to another, take home a bonus of seven figures, and who calculate their investment portfolios as they live in warm, enormous homes.
It is not debt our children will inherit, but something far more toxic : a world where human beings are merely resources to be exploited and us, faced with starvation, have no choice but to accept. This is a war on our dignity and the single minded deconstruction of the values that advanced societies claim to be built on. There are two worlds this society will occupy in the future : one where there is nothing more than an ugly slavery where we are all pitted against each other, and the other where the rich and privileged dictate to the millions the ugly terms of our lives as we work ourselves to a impoverished death.
And if we let this happen on our watch, we have no one to blame but ourselves. There is an alternative. We must take it before there are no more opportunities left. Time is running out, and the selfish bastards at the wheel are driving our society towards a feudal capitalism that we may never be able to extract ourselves from. All human beings have a value, and this new society in Cameron’s image will reduce us all. It starts here. This is the beginning. When we get to the end of our lives, and our children’s generation holds our hands as we die of cancer, is our legacy going to be the world we live for them. And if you have a conscience about the future, you should be terrified.
Act now for change, and make the world the world you want your children to live in.
There's definitely something fishy about the announcement of the new benefits laws. The answer seems to be to deepen the crab bucket.
The point I'm trying to make is that benefit fraud is NOT a problem. What needs to be done is Nat Min Wage raised, not the benefits cut. Then people would see it as worthwhile going to work.
There are many people that are on benefits because they just aren't workers. You wouldn't put a musician labouring on a building site would you? (except the drummer, of course) And you wouldn't give a poet a gun and send him to war.
On another point I know of people who's illness cannot be defined, therefore they cannot fill in their form so they cannot claim their benefit, but nor can they work. Her husband is also her carer, but cannot claim carers allowance.
The benefits cut will catch out people like this, like dolphins in the tuna net. I would rather see the guilty get away with it than the innocent punished.
A Citizen's Income would address this very problem fairly, neither rewarding the lazy nor punishing the unfortunate. This would also give people the opportunity to go for a decent job instead of staying in an exploitative McJob, with the safety net of the Citizen's income to pay bills and rent while they find a job they actually want to do, which would put pressure on employers to create jobs worth doing and treating employees with respect.
PC World's current policy is to not make anyone redundant, but to cut hours across the board. So we have lots of people barely able to pay their bills because they don't work enough hours, there's no overtime, they cannot quit because then they wouldn't qualify for any benefits while they try for other jobs. They also have a rule where the first 4 days off sick are not paid, forcing workers who are ill to go to work and spread their illness because they cannot afford a day off sick, and they are, of course, more likely to get sick as they cannot afford to live a healthy lifestyle. With the safety net of a citizen's income PC world would certainly start treating their employees differently, or they wouldn't have any!!
In the meantime people like us are fighting over the £3.5 billion scraps while the rich gorge themselves on the £100 billion main course and also make off with the cutlery.
Green New Deal = 1 Million new jobs tackling climate change, raise the Nat Min Wage, introduce a Citizen's Income, close the massive holes in the tax system, scrap tuition fees, all for less than we just handed over to the w.. bankers who got us in this mess in the first place!!