Monday, October 4, 2010

Benefits who?

"While the poorest will be hardest hit by austerity, today's announcement on child benefit shows no-one is immune from the government's unwarranted rush to cut," said (U.K.)TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.
"This is a big blow to the principle that has served Britain well for decades that welfare should be available to all, not just the poorest."
From BBC news, this little quote shows you how well trained by the wealthy Mr Barber actually is.  It has NOT served 'Britain' well Mr Barber, it has served the better off well, who have been pleased enough to take benefit they did not need from those who did, particularly the disabled, old, and otherwise unemployable.

As much as I personally hope the right-wing of the political spectrum are forced to turn left significantly, it is sickening to read the quote above from someone supposed to be leading the Trade Unions' Council.  Silly me.  Why should working people support those too sick, old, and inadequate to find employment?  Answers below please.


  1. I saw footage of Prime Ministers question time yesterday (Milliband looks like he has just left school!) and they were squabbling (debating is being far too generous) about the child benefit issue.
    My politics are firmly to the left. I was brought up in a coal mining area and had a grandfather who was a life-long Union activist.
    In 1948, Keynes and Beveridge set up our wonderful welfare state with an underpinning value of help for those who genuinely need it.
    These across the board benefits are ludicrous. Both my mother and mother-in-law are very comfortably off yet still receive a free TV licence, a bus pass and a £500 winter fuel allowance. Yet thousnads of elderly people continue to struggle below the poverty line on income support only. They are not scrounging, most of them worked all their lives but had no access to pension funds other than the state system and never earned enough to save for their old age - anyway they had the pension didn't they? And that promised to look after them.
    I had 3 kids and recieved child benefit for all 3. I never claimed it, they just gave it to me automatically. I used it to sponsor kids in the 3rd world as it sat so uncomfortably with me, receiving money I did not need.
    In any civilized society, we have a moral onligation to support those who are genuinely unable to support themselves. I have no issue with this, paying extra taxes to fulfil this obligation. However, it is estimated that more than 50% of benefits paid go to those who are not in genuine need, who either do not need the benefit but get it automatically - like my mother - or those who make choices not to work becasue 'it isn't worth it'.

    I come into contact with a large number of people who live on benefits - they have their rent on their privately owned flats paid for by the council, they recive benefits, free dental care, access to this and that. As one guy said to me, "I have no skills or qualifications. the only jobs I could get are basic pay jobs and i coldn't afford to live as if i go back to work, I loose all my housing benefit."

    So whether the government is bright red or to the right of Ghengis Khan, someone, somewhere get a grip on it and sort this bloody mess that is called our current welfare system.

    Right, put me soapbox away now.....

  2. WOW Juliana - is that a comment or WHAT? Do NOT put yer soapbox away - in fact strap two smaller ones to your shoes permanently. (except indoors).

    It used to be argued that measures which made England (can I say that?} a better place for anyone to live or visit was the priority, even if 'lazy' people could live like humans as well. Now voters do not want a better society if they have to contribute 'their own' cash. I thank *** I,m 72. I'm in Brighton next week.

  3. Thanks for your post and welcome to check: here

  4. I'm with you both there. I grew up in an old market/mining valley town in Yorkshire and my politics certainly learn to the left. Now living in Belfast, the political scene here is somewhat different (due to other overriding issues) but the same social issues you both describe here are very much apparent and generally reflect what goes on in the rest of the UK which in turn I suppose in a broad generalisation generally reflects American idiosyncrasies.

    It seems almost a mentality now that no one feels they should pay for anything but yet should be entitled to something for free, even if they don't need the help. With the press and government using examples the way they do its hardly surprising. Of course there are those who will abuse any system and there should be effective methods in place to prevent that or catch offenders but the need for the benefits system is beyond encouraging someone's laziness, it's a function which helps the country meet it's citizens human rights even when someone is in need.

    To me it seems that most politicians either side of the Irish Sea only seem to play up to what they see as being the popular opinion for votes rather than trying to in-still anything which might go towards sorting the issues the poorest or most needy in society face. Ignoring those most in need of help will only lead to the widening of social problems that the welfare state to date has plastered over and has lost focus on. Times are changing and unless the bigger issues are addressed, the welfare system and charities are not going to be able to cope as they are stretched to both be the prevention and the cure. I can pretty much guess government and in turn the tax payer is always going to be the one asked to mop up the mess of the larger institutions and organisations who haven't got their priorities straight and believe if they can convince us to do as they say and it goes wrong that is just our fault for choosing to do it even though we have no real say. The Unions to me are about as good a means to stand up to such issues and influence change.

    How hard can it be for a benefits system to provide a basic but decent enough standard of living which reaches the needs of people's psychological issues and human rights but yet have a minimum wage which is high enough above that to make it in everyone's best interest to make the jump if they have the ability? When people have no hope even earning a 1/3 more than minimum wage to be able to get onto the housing ladder there really isn't much to strive for other than a holiday or a small luxury or to risk it all in an endeavour to try and make more money quicker such as starting a small business.

    I guess the question is, does a government have the kahunas to do anything to retain the value lost by the nature of the capitalist system to private and non-democratically elected hands. Hands where it can't be guarantee anything more than a legal wage will make it back to where the profit was created. If a government isn't interested in helping people directly but only vicariously through a 3rd party it has to be a worry. Why this is seems to now be that it has all just gone so far (due to the historical development of our economy) that our government and others around the world are no longer able to function in such a way. Those non-democratically elected entities and persons desired to provide wealth creation who only operate when they can extract more than they create for one geographical area cannot be sustainable and I doubt the benefit system will ever be sorted so long as the world economy functions as it does now. On the plus side perhaps one day the system we do have might just help just one key person to unlock their potential. You never know which individual might be the next Einstein who might help develop something which renders our worries obsolete.

  5. Oops, sorry about the length of that. I may have got a little carried away in my head typing! :-S

  6. "Great post, very useful for a beginner like me"

  7. We are looking for great blogs and we would love it if you registered yours with us.

    PostZoom is a directory of the best blog posts which helps readers find great blog posts and blog owners drive more traffic to their blog.

    If you are interested in joining, please check us out!

    Eric Castelli

  8. Justice from the viewpoint of logic is that if a cake is divided for 2 people, then each should get 1/2.

    But this is not as simple as justice for humanity.

  9. Logic tickno? And what is just about any fat and rich person getting 1/2 and a starving villager getting 1/2 of this mythological cake?

  10. Corfubob,
    I'm not absolutely following the approach of mathematical justice. I said this is not as simple as justice for humanity. Hence, mathematical approach sometimes cannot solves the cases of social justice.

    Maybe capitalism spirits would be better to adopt communism as additional approach especially in term of social justice. That's why I love Barack Obama.

  11. Hi Ticno - I have not heard the phrase 'mathematical justice' before, but do believe that justice is a word without precise meaning in the English language. I also believe that Justice and Capitalism do not go well together, and if you hold the view that some form of communism that allows but limits private enterprise, and forces religion to have no part in government, is badly needed in the world, then I am entirely with you. I do hope a solution for your son's illness will be found, and that you all can live the life that good people deserve, in your own country. You will realise that an English country person who lived in London for 30 years has little experience of the kind of strife your country has suffered, but for me it is a matter of importance to believe that good people can share a lot, and understand each other.

  12. Corfubob,
    "mathematical justice" is my own terms to describe your comment above: ".... And what is just about any fat and rich person getting 1/2 and a starving villager getting 1/2 of this mythological cake?"

    and I agree if the poor get relief for medical bills, school for their children, while the rich have to pay full.

  13. bob - i hope this finds you well - haven't heard from you in a while!

    sending you love and best wishes for a happy holiday and a joyous and peaceful New Year.



  14. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  15. 'Justice' is indeed a word without precise meaning in the English Language... in fact it deconstructs itself with every application: The 'Justice' of a judge who is only able to impart judgement once a human has been reduced down to a series of social signifiers - lifestyle choices, ethnicities (ugh) etc. Or even say, the 'Justice' as mentioned above in splitting a cake equally; to describe such an act as just attaches positivity to equal sharing; yet we would describe this as unjust if two thieves had stolen the cake and shared it between themselves, revealing that 'Justice' is just a way of enforcing our own normative values, rather than a genuine goal to aim for.

  16. 'Justice' 'as a way of enforcing', and 'as a goal'are different things. However difficult to define, society needs more of it, and more people with real power to enforce it on us all. Is the law more than one of many tools available?


Do tell me what you think. It's the blood of blogs.