The Big Benefits Row: Live

My comments on the Big Benefits Row: Live

“Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.”
Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life

Unfortunately I missed this and had to watch it on catch ups, hence the delay in commenting. Maybe by now old news but I do not wish to spend what little time I have trawling the many and mostly useless TV channels to find something remotely informing, entertaining, intelligent and as a consequence I miss things.

Firstly I have to ask what that obnoxious women Kate Hopkins knows about benefits or even who she is and what contribution to society she has made. I don’t follow celebrities so had no idea who she is other than a rather venomous and unpleasant person. The remark “left wing loons” being an example and probably the least offensive.

I rarely like to deride anyone other than politicians who deserve it but this woman’s attitude was disturbing to say the least.

She asked Deirdre Kelly, best known as “White Dee” from the controversial Benefits Street documentary.  “Do you not feel like the patron saint of druggies and drop-outs?”  Though meant as an attack one has to ask:  is that a bad thing that someone looks out for disadvantaged people including drug addicts and so called drop outs?

Before the Channel 5  debate The Big Benefits Row: Live was televised a poll was conducted by You Gov on their behalf which showed that the majority of British people back  benefits reform and want tougher rules about who can claim support. Very disturbing as sadly many people have fallen for the propaganda and misinformation fuelled by the right wing tabloids that people on benefits are well off. Though not the majority there are thankfully some people who think for themselves and nearly half of us think that people on benefits are portrayed unfairly.

The programme did not include any benefit-claiming disabled experts to talk about the cuts. Though Dee is disabled as she suffers with depression –  yes depression is a serious disability – she is not an expert as such on the benefit system though she is effected by the cuts.

Below are two blog entries  with useful comments from two disabled people who should have been included in this programme rather then people like Kates Hopkins with her anti welfare agenda and Edwina Curry, neither of whom understand the detriment of disability or the misery of dependence on grossly inadequate benefits –  or no benefits at all when deserving people including the seriously and terminally ill are told they are fit for work. Anyone who is outraged by the government’s unfair welfare reforms or conversely supports  them should read the following:

The lack of disabled people’s representation up on that stage meant that voices like mine weren’t heard. With the exception of Dee, Jack Monroe and Annabel Giles; the voices we heard from were people who have no idea how miserable life on benefits is, and how cruel people can be to those perceived as “scroungers”. Yes, a couple of other people said that they know people on benefits and are aware of their struggles; but trust me: Unless you’ve lived this, you really don’t know just how horrific it feels.

Please read the complete article:

Here is the real effect of benefit reforms:

The current social security cuts are stripping away an eye-watering £28 BILLION from the support and services sick and disabled people rely on just to get through the day. That’s a full FIFTH of the entire deficit reduction plan falling on those who often have no voice to defend themselves. One pound in every five!!!

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being cut by 20%

The criteria to qualify for DLA slashed has been by 60%

1 MILLION people are to be stripped of Employment and Support Allowance

The Independent Living Fund has bee scrapped**

1500 people lost their jobs as Remploy factories were all closed

Just 3% of the entire welfare budget goes to unemployed people

Social security fraud is around £1.2 Billion per year – less than half of 1%, or 0.15% of total welfare budget. That’s just £1.50 lost for every thousand or 0.15% of the total welfare

The DWP pay out much more in their own errors – 2.2 Billion

A whopping £16 BILLION goes unclaimed, generally to avoid the stigma of “welfare”

We have some of the toughest criteria for claiming social security in the developed world.

Is our UK social security systemn too generous? No again. In international terms we come just 46th out of 51, paying some of the lowest benefits anywhere

440,000 sick or disabled people will be hit by the Bedroom Tax. That’s over 2 thirds.

Please click these links and the links contained within each blog entry, both blogs will give you good information on the reality of welfare reform here in the UK.

Please share the above articles widely

“We can show them – and the public – that on social media if nowhere else, sick and disabled people can -and will – be heard.”

Sue Marsh

The facade of reducing the deficit is not the objective of welfare reforms, rather the government is intent on destroying the welfare system along with our NHS. If nothing is done to halt the tide of wanton destruction to the social advancement of the last sixty years for the betterment of society-  a triumph of achievement in social justice and ethical behaviour towards the disabled, the sick and the disadvantaged –  we will have a system much like the one in the USA. From what I understand, the welfare system in that country is also undergoing drastic reforms which are a detriment to those unfortunate not to be able to find work.

The Long-Term Unemployed Sound Off: ‘I Will Never Vote For A Republican Again

Congress let the program lapse at the end of the year, which offered support to the jobless after their state benefits ran out, drying up a lifeline for those who are struggling to find a new job.

Read more:

The hopes of nearly two million long-term unemployed to have their benefits restored were dashed on Thursday 6th February.

Bid to restore benefits for long-term jobless falls one vote short in Senate

Also from what I can gather,the positive changes to health care that are taking place in the USA are being thwarted by right-wing political agendas oblivious to the harm that they do to disadvantaged poor people:

Thousands of Americans will die as a result of red state governors’ refusal to expand Medicaid and extend health coverage to their states’ neediest citizens…

Read More:

Keep in mind that in the USA red and blue are reversed: left blue, right red.

The UK, was once the envy of the world for our free health care and our welfare system – though benefits were never perfect, never adequate, they  at least existed to help those in need when they most needed it either as a result of ill-health, disability or unemployment. Now however the UK comes under the condemnation of the United Nations– at least the bedroom tax – though I rather think the UN is aware of the broader spectrum of the UKs vicious welfare reforms.

There are many people who refer to the government as being out of touch regarding the impact of welfare reforms. I maintain the government know precisely what they are doing and no matter how many petitions, debates, protests and so on they intend to plough on in their destruction of the welfare system.

People think that the government are ignorant of the fact that there are few jobs available: “He ( referring to IDS) thinks there are jobs in this country, but in fact you are lucky to find anything because of  what he and  his other buddies are doing to the country.”
Comment on forum

IDS and the government know perfectly well there are over 2 million unemployed and that many jobs are not really jobs at all but part-time and zero hours.

The British people seem to have forgotten that in the sixties, as Ken Livingstone pointed out in the Big Benefits Row:Live, there was work in abundance. Back then there would be little excuse to be unemployed if you were fit and able. You could leave your job in the afternoon and find another position and start the following day! People forget that the capitalists took the jobs abroad to exploit people in places like India and China to make more profit at the expense of British workers. The conservatives destroyed our manufacturing industry. Another point to consider is that every unemployed person is not automatically suited to the kind of jobs that are available in the UK today. Not everyone can be employed in the service industry, or as a white-collar worker or in IT.

With Cameron’s repeated references to “hardworking people” so readily parroted by the likes of Kate Hopkins and others of a similar misinformed ilk and IDS comparing himself to an abolitionist like Wilberforce and Shaftesbury freeing benefits claimants from the shackles of welfare  it is a worrying time for many who depend on benefits simply to survive.

IDS’ attitude  reported in the article above proclaiming benefits as a detriment sounds rather similar to US Sen. Rand Paul

“I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they’re paid for,” “If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers.”

Many thinking people are outraged by the biased portrayal of benefit claimants in the media seeing it has nothing more than orchestrated Tory propaganda intended to demonise those unfortunate to be sick, disabled or unemployed.

What sad society we live in when we turn against those who are sick and disabled, when we cannot support the unemployed in their time of need, when we become so blinkered by right-wing propaganda reminiscent of that used by the Nazi to turn people against those with disabilities.

Benefits are not a handout: The vast majority of people have paid into national Insurance and like any insurance when it is necessary to claim you are entitled to  do so and not be seen as a scrounge or freeloader or any of the many derogatory labels banded about nowadays.

Please read the following


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