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ckn

The impacts of the benefits "reform" implemented by the coalition

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/30/food-banks-half-million

 

Well done to the Tories and Lib Dems for putting us back decades of social improvement.  It seems in some ways like they're trying to take us back to the 1930s, especially with their consistent meddling with the NHS that can only eventually lead to privatisation as the "only way to fix the endemic problems".

 

There's a reason why Labour can't sit back chirping from the sidelines on this: they caused to a travesty by outsourcing disability assessments to ATOS, deliberately and cynically targeting a weak point in society.  Not only has it destroyed lives and taken critical benefits away from those who most need them, it has allowed the Tory (and Lib Dem lapdogs) to shrug their shoulders and say "well, they implemented it, we're just continuing Labour social welfare policy".

 

Then there's the Workfare scandal where unemployed people are made to do essentially a full-time job for nothing beyond their benefits, it can work out that some people are being paid the equivalent of £1.78 per hour to "participate" in this.  Again, Labour did not oppose this policy at this year's votes in Parliament despite the minimum wage being a massive step forward under Blair.

 

So, who is there for me to turn to now?  I left Labour for the Lib Dems as they said they represented a good portion of my views.  Now the Lib Dems are quite comfortable in implementing all these attacks on the people they said they'd support.  The Greens are just too weird.  UKIP is a bit too far on the wrong side of the political divide for me.  Screaming Lord Sutch is no more and his party have suffered in his absence.  I'd rather use my ballot paper as toilet roll than vote BNP.  Respect, that's the ego party of Galloway and is nothing but a feed for his narcissism.  That leaves... no major party.  Also, no minor party.  No point in voting independent as they only get in on critical local causes and everywhere else they're ignored by the persistent party voters who'd vote for anyone wearing their party's rosette.  At no time ever as an adult have I felt less enfranchised, it seems no-one really wants my vote.

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Sorry, I stuck the wrong link at the top, it's still on the right subject but not the one I intended: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/may/30/food-banks-oxfam-parliamentary-inquiry

 

It's also worth highlighting this quote from it: 

The energy secretary, Ed Davey, told MPs this month it was "completely wrong to suggest there is some sort of statistical link between the benefit reforms we're making and the provision of food banks".

So, where else has the additional poverty come from that's making people go there?

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So, where else has the additional poverty come from that's making people go there?

 

It's all the scrounging.  Shirkers, y'see ...

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We are still spending more than we take in taxes. 

Ok they should collect all owed taxes and close loopholes for certain companies but once that is done it leaves a stalk choice as to making up the shortfall.

Raise taxes.

Cut spending.

Or a mixture of the two.

 

Or the 4th choice of do nothing, keep spending at that rate and go bankrupt somewhere down the line. 

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/30/food-banks-half-million

 

Well done to the Tories and Lib Dems for putting us back decades of social improvement.  It seems in some ways like they're trying to take us back to the 1930s, especially with their consistent meddling with the NHS that can only eventually lead to privatisation as the "only way to fix the endemic problems".

 

There's a reason why Labour can't sit back chirping from the sidelines on this: they caused to a travesty by outsourcing disability assessments to ATOS, deliberately and cynically targeting a weak point in society.  Not only has it destroyed lives and taken critical benefits away from those who most need them, it has allowed the Tory (and Lib Dem lapdogs) to shrug their shoulders and say "well, they implemented it, we're just continuing Labour social welfare policy".

 

Then there's the Workfare scandal where unemployed people are made to do essentially a full-time job for nothing beyond their benefits, it can work out that some people are being paid the equivalent of £1.78 per hour to "participate" in this.  Again, Labour did not oppose this policy at this year's votes in Parliament despite the minimum wage being a massive step forward under Blair.

 

So, who is there for me to turn to now?  I left Labour for the Lib Dems as they said they represented a good portion of my views.  Now the Lib Dems are quite comfortable in implementing all these attacks on the people they said they'd support.  The Greens are just too weird.  UKIP is a bit too far on the wrong side of the political divide for me.  Screaming Lord Sutch is no more and his party have suffered in his absence.  I'd rather use my ballot paper as toilet roll than vote BNP.  Respect, that's the ego party of Galloway and is nothing but a feed for his narcissism.  That leaves... no major party.  Also, no minor party.  No point in voting independent as they only get in on critical local causes and everywhere else they're ignored by the persistent party voters who'd vote for anyone wearing their party's rosette.  At no time ever as an adult have I felt less enfranchised, it seems no-one really wants my vote.

 Stand as an independent candidate?

 

What you outline for me shows many of the reasons that so much of the electorate are apathetic towards politics in general; there is no-one who actually reflects their views. Politics seems to be moving more towards a model of the elected few doing what they wish and trying to scrape together votes rather than gaining support by generating popular policies. I'm not suggesting that all politicical decisions ought to be based solely upon popularity, but that has at least to be the underlying basis for policy making.

 

As for the actual benefits issues, as with so many things in life, it's generally the few that spoil things for the many. Those that are claiming left, right and centre, and without real justificiation, create the headlines and reports that lead to cuts for all.

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Where are we actually at with the deficit now?

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We are still spending more than we take in taxes. 

Ok they should collect all owed taxes and close loopholes for certain companies but once that is done it leaves a stalk choice as to making up the shortfall.

Raise taxes.

Cut spending.

Or a mixture of the two.

 

Or the 4th choice of do nothing, keep spending at that rate and go bankrupt somewhere down the line. 

 Reducing taxes could potentially lead to higher tax revenues.

Increasing spending could lead to higher tax revenues, which could more than offset the spending increase.

 

Or as you say, a mixture of things. It's all a bit of a mess still!

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Then there's the Workfare scandal where unemployed people are made to do essentially a full-time job for nothing beyond their benefits, it can work out that some people are being paid the equivalent of £1.78 per hour to "participate" in this.  Again, Labour did not oppose this policy at this year's votes in Parliament despite the minimum wage being a massive step forward under Blair.

 

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/workfare-why-did-so-many-labour-mps-accept-this-brutal-unforgivable-attack-on-vulnerable-people-8542193.html

 

Good article on just this point.

 

 

 

Owen Jones is both right and wrong here.  He's right to throw his efforts into opposing the government, but the actual best outcome for that will be moving the debate into something where Labour can do different things. 

 

I used to think that protesting was a waste of time because everything in the world is decided by sober looking men in suits.   But actually the protest opens up the space for the men in suits to talk about different things, and do different things. 

 

A great example of this is on tax, where there is a genuine debate going on about corporate responsibility.  When Ed Miliband talked about this stuff three years ago (and he did, you can look it up) he was dismissed as a lefty who would have been dangerous had he been at all relevant.  But thanks to years of campaigning by grimy looking people on the streets, it's now become an issue that is talked about in sensible places.  The discussion has moved, and it has moved leftwards.

 

Of course, the protesters will always be disappointed because they'll never get everything they want.  They are often young, almost always naive, but the smarter ones do understand the role they are playing.    The trick Labour has to perform is to move into the space that the protesters open up, without aligning themselves too closely to the protesters because that will frighten the voters too much.   It's a subtle game, not easy to pull off.

 

You don't seem like a protester type.  My suggestion to you is that you join Labour and get stuck in.  You'll find that the run of the mill Labour activist is pretty much where you are and the party hierarchy will not grow a backbone unless it's members do.   But I warn you, expect to be frustrated most of the time.

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You're too gullible, CKN, by far.   :mellow:

 

In the complete absence of any Parliamentary opposition whatsoever, surely the warning bells must ring when the Guardian, - the star of the tax-avoiding GNM Group, The Dependent,  Oxfam - who actually do such a good job in so many areas-  and the proselytizing Trussel Trust, who are vigorously promoting food banks as well as doing good, get together to fill the void. It is clearly in their own interests to paint such a miserable picture.

 

Clearly,  life is tough for those on low incomes, short term and long term unemployment, disability etc,   I know, as I have personal experience, which I assume you have as you seem so sure of ATOS - Not only has it destroyed lives and taken critical benefits away from those who most need them.

 

However, I advise you think about why Labour, Conservative and Lib Dems all take basically the same line and then suggest you should be as questioning about the left-leaning press reporting as you undoubtedly are about the right-leaning press journalism.

 

or you could look at how other countries do it.  France?  Germany? Greece? 

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has anyone been watching "skint" on tv? a mass sterilisation programme would seem to be the answer for many thousands across britain for starters

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You're too gullible, CKN, by far.   :mellow:

 

In the complete absence of any Parliamentary opposition whatsoever, surely the warning bells must ring when the Guardian, - the star of the tax-avoiding GNM Group, The Dependent,  Oxfam - who actually do such a good job in so many areas-  and the proselytizing Trussel Trust, who are vigorously promoting food banks as well as doing good, get together to fill the void. It is clearly in their own interests to paint such a miserable picture.

 

Clearly,  life is tough for those on low incomes, short term and long term unemployment, disability etc,   I know, as I have personal experience, which I assume you have as you seem so sure of ATOS - Not only has it destroyed lives and taken critical benefits away from those who most need them.

 

However, I advise you think about why Labour, Conservative and Lib Dems all take basically the same line and then suggest you should be as questioning about the left-leaning press reporting as you undoubtedly are about the right-leaning press journalism.

 

or you could look at how other countries do it.  France?  Germany? Greece? 

On ATOS, I know a few cases of people straight out of hospital, being given lengthy recuperation sick-notes that were likely to be extended for maybe years because of the patient being so ill then being told by ATOS that they were effectively workshy scroungers and their benefits were being stopped.  I've seen one rejected appeal letter sent to someone on a morphine drip, I did suggest he contact the press but he didn't want publicity and his family were able to give him some money.  Don't trust the Guardian?  Here's a Daily Mail article on the justice of ATOS.

 

What's in it for a food bank to promote themselves?  Extra food donated to them?  Extra punters at their door?  Extra donations?  It's certainly not a way to improve their share price as they're a charity.

 

What's in it for the Guardian to promote companies that just won't be able to offer them any sponsorship or income?  Also, the people they're campaigning for are not exactly core advertising material for their advertisers.

 

I know why the MPs all take the same line, they are essentially the same.  Most new Labour MPs since 2001 are identikit clones who would be natural Tories if transported back to the 80s.  It's a rare day that someone with a working class employment background gets a sniff at a safe seat these days, it seems more important to Central HQ to parachute in useful photogenic aides and celebrities.  The Lib Dems have really disappointed me though, I thought they were better than that but the first sniff of power and they dropped their principles so fast that you'd think they were trivial points rather than core principles.  The Tories are the Tories, at least they haven't disappointed me, I expected nothing else.

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has anyone been watching "skint" on tv? a mass sterilisation programme would seem to be the answer for many thousands across britain for starters

They should rename that programme 'scumbags' because its not about being skint but having no standards whatsoever. I can almost guarantee that I and everyone on our street growing up was more skint than these amoeba. Being poor does not equate to being a lowlife.

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Thanks for that, hadn't seen that at the time it was out.

 

You don't seem like a protester type.  My suggestion to you is that you join Labour and get stuck in.  You'll find that the run of the mill Labour activist is pretty much where you are and the party hierarchy will not grow a backbone unless it's members do.   But I warn you, expect to be frustrated most of the time.

It's the same with the Lib Dems, at a local level they're good people but there's a massive disconnect between them and the Parliamentary Party.  The Parliamentary Parties just don't give a flying whatever about what the local parties think, I saw a great example at a constituency level during a by-election in the last Parliament when the Labour hierarchy effectively weeded out all those who might be troublemakers from the local party's shortlist; it was made bluntly clear who was the only one that would be tolerated being selected.  A constituency MP should be entirely chosen by the local party and really shouldn't be any of the business of the party leadership.

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Thanks for that, hadn't seen that at the time it was out.

 

It's the same with the Lib Dems, at a local level they're good people

 

I have to disagree here.  The only positive of this appalling government has been that everyone can now see in the Lib Dems what those of us who have had dealings with them in political campaigns have known for years - that the sanctimonious pillocks have feet of clay.

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has anyone been watching "skint" on tv? a mass sterilisation programme would seem to be the answer for many thousands across britain for starters

 

You're a real nice guy.

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I have to disagree here.  The only positive of this appalling government has been that everyone can now see in the Lib Dems what those of us who have had dealings with them in political campaigns have known for years - that the sanctimonious pillocks have feet of clay.

That's fair enough, it's your experience, but I'd like to suggest that it's different people in different locations.  Where I live though, the Lib Dem councillors at County and Borough level are good people who go out of their way to protect and enhance the place, they're the main reason I switched from Labour to Lib Dem.

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That's fair enough, it's your experience, but I'd like to suggest that it's different people in different locations.  Where I live though, the Lib Dem councillors at County and Borough level are good people who go out of their way to protect and enhance the place, they're the main reason I switched from Labour to Lib Dem.

Mr May got toasted by a particularly ruthless machine in Islington. It's understandable he's bitter.

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has anyone been watching "skint" on tv? a mass sterilisation programme would seem to be the answer for many thousands across britain for starters

I can certainly think of one we could start with.

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According to Andrew Adonis (who was there) at the negotiations after the last election, the Lib/Dems were only interested in what Labour were offering inasmuch as they could wring more concessions out of the Tories. Nick Clegg could not wait to get into bed with them and was all for the massive cuts that Osborne was proposing. He swallowed them whole in order to get his hands on a red box.  If poverty has got worse, if people are really suffering then the blame lies in one place and one place only. The Lib/Dems.  We all know what the Tories want - to make the rich richer and the deveil take the hindmost.  The Lib/Dems were supposed to be different. They were going to stop the Tory extremism. From day one (the Forgemasters loan) they have signally failed.  Cameron and his henchmen more or less do what they like and Clegg goes along with it because he can do no other. He is a prisoner. He dare not withdraw Lib/Dem support for this goverment because of the electoral consequences for his party, he's hanging on and waiting for something to "turn up."

It's true that many of the  Tories' "reforms" were mooted and introduced by the last Labour government. So what?  That doesn't make them right.  Such fears never bothered Thatcher in 1975/79 when she distanced the Tories from everything the previous Tory government had done. What's to stop Labour from doing the same?

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It's true that many of the  Tories' "reforms" were mooted and introduced by the last Labour government. So what?  That doesn't make them right.  Such fears never bothered Thatcher in 1975/79 when she distanced the Tories from everything the previous Tory government had done. What's to stop Labour from doing the same?

The problem for Miliband is that there's a different attitude these days. 

 

If you or I made a decision, found out it was a stupid one then changed our minds then we'd be acting normally, if we refused to change our minds then we'd be stupid ourselves. 

 

If a politician makes a stupid decision, or his party does, then changes his mind then he's a flip-flopper, a weakling, indecisive, lacking the power of conviction, and so on.  If he refuses to change his mind then he's strong and clearly sticks by his principles.

 

Much of that stemmed from Maggie's so-called strengths of never changing her mind (although she did regularly but hid it well) and "this lady is not for turning".

 

Miliband has made a rod for his own back by supporting Tory Coalition schemes such as Workshare, including the one earlier this year where people can be forced to work for their benefits at nearly 1/4 of minimum wage.  That alone has tainted him irredeemably in my eyes.

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Miliband has made a rod for his own back by supporting Tory Coalition schemes such as Workshare, including the one earlier this year where people can be forced to work for their benefits at nearly 1/4 of minimum wage.  That alone has tainted him irredeemably in my eyes.

 

There are a lot of people who I know who think people should work for their benefits. I personally don't think anyone should be forced to work for below the minimum wage. A potential compromise could be 10hrs a week? Obviously administratively it would be difficult to sort out but no more than the current system.

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There are a lot of people who I know who think people should work for their benefits. I personally don't think anyone should be forced to work for below the minimum wage. A potential compromise could be 10hrs a week? Obviously administratively it would be difficult to sort out but no more than the current system.

If the scheme had been set up that the company "hiring" the jobseeker had to pay minimum wage then I'd not be against it.  If the employer then was given an employers NI tax break to permanently hire the employee for at least a year then it'd be a good thing.  The problem is that it'd be abused quite quickly like in the stories we've seen in the papers about normal workers having their hours cut or laid off because the company can get essentially free labour.  There would have to be some sort of condition that the company could prove it was either a new job or a replacement for someone who left without being made redundant.

 

I've also no issue with a healthy, fit person being told to do community work for the equivalent of minimum wage in benefits if their out-of-pocket costs are separately met, e.g. travel.  Charities are always desperate for extra help.  I'm certainly not defending people who just sit at home and think their benefits are a right.  What they must have though is enough time and help to hunt for a job, I know myself that when looking for my next contract that job hunting is just as much a full-time job as working itself.  No point forcing someone to work if they can't job hunt or go to interviews during working hours.

 

Another way, in addition to paying at least minimum wage, to make it seem like less of a scam by the government to get people off their books would be to reward those going on these schemes.  For example, one hour worked on these schemes gets you one point, 40 points gets you one day of credit at an external, non-state, premium training course; essentially 5 weeks of work gets you a week long premium training course of your choice.  Other rewards could be genuinely work related stuff such as work tools, certification exams, professional fees paid, etc.

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