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How austerity is destroying Britain… coming soon near you

Written By: - Date published: 9:23 am, April 1st, 2013 - 79 comments
Categories: activism, benefits, child welfare, class war, Conservation, democracy under attack, equality, health, infrastructure, jobs, labour, paula bennett, poverty, Privatisation, same old national, uk politics, unemployment, welfare - Tags: ,

A raft of Tory policies have been dismantling what is left of the British welfare state (after Thatcherism set them on this destructive and inhumane path). This includes the so-called “Bedroom Tax” which will cut the amount of benefit people can get if they have a spare bedroom in their home.  In today’s NZ Herald Toby Helm and Tracy McVeigh report that this has been called “bad policy and bad economics”:

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said the tax – which will cut the amount of benefit people can get if they have a spare bedroom in their home – would harm the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

It comes into force this week alongside a range of other tax and benefit changes.

On Saturday  (UK time) there was a protest against this tax. On Saturday, opponents to the tax

… launched nationwide protests against the tax which will hit 660,000 households with each losing an estimated average of £14 a week.

Crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square yesterday to protest against the measure and simultaneous protests were being held in towns and cities across the UK.

Protester Sue Carter, 58, said: “I’m a working single parent with a tiny boxroom and now I’m faced with the choice between food, heat or paying the bedroom tax. People have looked after their homes, improved them, why should they be turfed out?”

Among the other changes happening this week is the stealthy privatisation of the National Health Service, largely ignored by the UK MSM.   The website, Liberal Conspiracy has extracts from an interview, originally published in the British Medical Journal, about how the privatisation of the NHS begins this week.

LUCY REYNOLDS: We’re not going to have a big bang privatisation for the NHS. We’re going to have a very quiet one.

What has happened is that all of the rules that control health financing have been gradually changed since the New Labour times. Overall, we now have the NHS reorganised in such a way that it can be relaunched as a mixed market, so not just the public health sector service, but also a healthcare industry. The rules are structured in such a way that there will be a gradual transition between those two groups. The public sector will shrink away, and the private sector will grow.

But because there will never be an announcement in parliament that the NHS is privatised, and because the private providers will be allowed to use the NHS logo for anything that they are getting NHS funding for, it is very likely that the general public will not be aware that the private sector has in fact come in and taken over whatever bits of the NHS it finds profitable until probably service provision gets fairly bad.

This kind of stealth is similar to the NAct government’s sly dismantling of NZ’s conservation protections, as I argued in that post.  Both the NZ and UK governments seem to be approaching their anti-democratic and unpopular agendas by quietly setting up a range of seemingly small and unconnected provisions, which will eventually amount to a comprehensive and major change with huge social and economic impocts.

And very often the changes to social security and other public provisions that NAct are bringing in, are modeled on ones already in play in the UK, as, for instance was argued by opposition MPs debating the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill.  During the 1st reading, Jacinda Ardern said:

The use of outsourcing of assessment of work capacity and the ACC-style model of vocational independence assessment process bears striking resemblance to that used in the UK. The Department for Work and Pensions in the UK made use of contractors like Atos to perform work capability assessments, at a cost to the State of ₤300 million. Since that time an estimated 500,000 people have been wrongly assessed. People with terminal cancer have been found fit for work, and people with mental health issues have been ignored. Not only should we not lose sight of the lessons from abroad but also we must apply our own values around the role of social security in our country.

During the 2nd reading, Phil Twyford said:

We remain concerned that the Minister has signalled a UK-style medical assessment regime for people who are on a sickness benefit or an invalids benefit. …

We have seen a huge increase in the use of sanctions under this Government in the social development area. There is no assessment in place, there is no evidence that the increase in sanctions has had any kind of success, and we should see an assessment regime that actually looks to measure the harm or benefit that families have received as a result of the sanctions regime.

A recent survey in the UK shows how poverty is increasing under the “austerity” regime.

The Poverty and Social Exclusion report, the biggest survey of deprivation across the UK, found that a third of adults now suffer from some form of financial insecurity, with more than a quarter admitting they can neither save £20 a month nor put money away for a pension.

Just under one in ten households say they are unable to heat the living areas of their homes, up from just 3 per cent in the 1990s. People now say they consider around 33 per cent of Britons to be suffering from a lifestyle of “multiple deprivation”.

In his on-going series of posts on poverty, Anthony Robins has been monitoring the way poverty is damaging so many lives in NZ.  This week he focused on the impact of poverty on Kiwi children.

First Britain and the US, then NZ: so goes democracy, social security and a fair and functional economy and society.

79 comments on “How austerity is destroying Britain… coming soon near you”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    A recent survey in the UK shows how poverty is increasing under the “austerity” regime.

    That’s what it’s supposed to do. It will drive down wages and force people apart as they fight for their own survival. The right are trying to get it so that the people cannot combine against the rich.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      People with boarders are hardly likely to buy the latest gadgets,etc, and take longer to replace items, harming the consumer culture, yet there is an upside, govt pushing people together in housing will produce stress and so anger against the state (and making new networks of people).

  2. Sanctuary 2

    The point of neo-liberalism as a political project is to restore the power of the economic elites and re-establish the conditions for capital accumulation by those elites.After the fall of the USSR across the Anglosphere the capitalist ruling elites first lost their fear then (with the opening of China, that totalitarian corporate capitalist nirvana) lost their use for the bulk of their domestic populations. It follows that the philosophical utopian aspects of neo-liberalism, such as they were, are being quickly disposed of in favour of totalitarian measures from an increasingly fearful elite to keep their domestic mobs closely controlled.

    The Tory attack on the poor is simply another illustration of this siege mentailty in the British ruling elites. Another example was the savage punitive response of the judicial establishment to the spontaneous and angry mobs that roamed the streets during the London riots.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/18/full-picture-of-riot-sentences

    Establishment cruelty and savagery of the order of this post is born in profound fear and hatred, and it shows how much the British ruling elites regard themselves as under siege from a dehumanised untermenschen in their midst. It is fear and hatred of the poor that feeds the current Tory mentality and drives their policy.

    The city financial elite that the entire British state has now been bent to serve doesn’t pay enough tax to fund much or provide any sort of real jobs engine except for itself. The oil that has paid for everything from Trident to welfare is almost gone. Britain is now a hugely over-populated and resource depleted island. The ruling class is desperate to atomise, demoralise, demonise and control the masses. So they’ve created a huge, dictatorial and corrupt police force and combined it with a massive surveillance network (there are 11,000 cameras on the tube network alone).

    Eventually, their will be another explosion like the last London riots as politically unorganised mobs vent their frustrations. And then another crackdown, and another explosion and another crackdown… Until one day either a dystopian surevellance police state will exist in the UK, or some sort of new, quasi-communist doctrine will emerge that will overthrow the state.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      V for Vendetta

      My question is – what is the way to breakthrough this, to not only avoid the worst social and political economic outcomes, but to get to a point where real progressive change is made for the vast majority of people.

      I can’t see a plausible road ahead at this point.

      • muzza 2.1.1

        I can’t see a plausible road ahead at this point.

        There are various roads which can be taken, but there are not enough people who have any idea whats going on. They might be feeling the effects, or they might not, still too many are in the dark.

        Plausible roads ahead are blocked off ,until such time as NZ’ers become very visible, and vocal!

        Kiwis going down, no sign of a fight, hardly a punch thrown as yet!

        • tc 2.1.1.1

          +1 Muzza, we’ve never been well informed or thoughtful when it comes to how we vote, if we vote at all. Key winning in 08 speaks volumes for the atitude and gullibility of even the bluest of followers and yet they still think him and his henchmen have our best interests at heart.

          The frogs don’t even know the waters becoming warm with a fire and momentum under it that will take a huge groundswell to affect.

          Their greatest tool is having the MSM onside, I bet they never thought they’d be able to bully the lower levels and dismantle democracy in the way they have and plunder as easily also with SCF and ECAN being the most obvious examples.

          Depressing to think Key probably wouldve be cut to pieces over Tranzrail, blind trusts and his other lies by a half decent 4th estate and they would be ripping them apart over GCSB, TPP, solid energy, Tiwai and the power generator flog off revelling in all this great material supplied by Collins, brownlee, Bennett, etc.

          All of that and a toothless opposition led by the hollowmens first choice….ditherer DS.

          • red rattler 2.1.1.1.1

            No point bemoaning the MSM, they are the corporate media.
            Raising consciousness is the duty of the left, on blogs, rallies, marches, occupations etc.
            The big problem in NZ is to convince people that there is no way out with capitalism.
            The opportunities to become self-employed and then rich, the kiwi dream, is foreclosed except for a few in high tech who spin out of the unis or silicon garages but for how long?
            The system is going down and taking the planet with it. The only question is how long will it take?
            My pick is that the present divisions manufactured in the working class, and between Maori, Asians and the rest, is the biggest barrier to overcome, but that will happen when The NACTs devotion to profits at all costs drives us all up against CC.
            I don’t think that a slide into barbarism and extinction is inevitable.
            Once the majority loses its fear as we have seen happen many times in history, there is nothing standing between it the few parasites clinging onto power but a few mercenaries.

            • Ugly Truth 2.1.1.1.1.1

              The big problem in NZ is to convince people that there is no way out with capitalism.

              There’s a difference between capitalism and corporatism. Capitalism has a level playing field, but with corporatism you get taxpayer funded bailouts and emphasis on the master-slave model for employees.

        • xtasy 2.1.1.2

          muzza:

          “There are various roads which can be taken, but there are not enough people who have any idea whats going on. They might be feeling the effects, or they might not, still too many are in the dark.”

          People do not get information about what goes on. I recently spoke with my GP, who should bloody well have known a bit about the welfare reforms that are being pushed through under this National led dicta-government.

          In all honesty, he had NO idea, about 57,000 sickness beneficiaries going to be turned into “job-seekers” at the stroke of a pen (when the law will be assented). He had no idea about the reforms at all, not in detail, he had no information about the future harsh and to be outsourced assessments in UK style (ATOS Origin Healthcare).

          His comments shocked me, but ask anybody out in public, who is not that seriously interested in politics and in social issues, they also will not be able to tell you what is being passed through the Parliament as ‘Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill’.

          The reason is: The media have NOT at all reported on it, not since the bill was introduced last September. There is NO reporting, NO informing about what is involved, NO discussion, NO debate, NO mention in current affairs programs, NO articles in the print media.

          Last week right wing talk-back host Michael Laws only metioned briefly the welfare reforms, and all he mentioned was “drug testing”, “social obligations”, and nothing else. So this mischievous piece of human being did not even enlighten his listeners what else there was involved, after an email about this (sent to him) informed him of this.

          The key persons in the media are not interested, and those that make decisions, they do not even want to report on it, as they all are soft on Key and government, are mindful of the prejudice they themselves nurtured against beneficiaries over so many years.

          And without media informing we have uninformed public and voters. Hence nothing will change as long as this goes on.

          • Mary 2.1.1.2.1

            Yes, and for the same reasons very few people have really bothered to familiarise themselves with the same sort of reforms that Labour pushed through. The difference here, though, is that the general public, importantly including your average run of the mill Labour voter, never got see what Labour, their “party of the Left”, was really capable of. Large numbers of traditional Labour supporters still think Labour is the party for the poor. How wrong they are.

      • Jenny 2.1.2

        I can’t see a plausible road ahead at this point.

        Colonial Viper

        I can

        CV you ask; “what is the way to breakthrough this”.

        CV, The only hard part is deciding where to start. There is so much good stuff in Karol’s post.

        An opposition party only need to pick up on any one part of it to make gains.

        For instance, this bit;

        …..the biggest survey of deprivation across the UK, found that a third of adults now suffer from some form of financial insecurity, with more than a quarter admitting they can neither save £20 a month nor put money away for a pension.

        I would say, that it not that different here. (probably, for even more than a quarter)

        The Labour Party for instance could make a public announcement that they are planning to dump their controversial neo-liberal plan to raise the age of retirement.

        Will they do it?

        Not likely, as people like Rob and yourself all fall into line behind this policy coming down from the top.

        What about the environment. Here is another good piece of policy direction in which the opposition parties could differentiate themselves from the government and pick up votes. Karol points out, rightly; That the piecemeal nature of the government attacks on DoC are similiar in strategy to how the British Tories are breaking down social provision everywhere. That this attack is all part of a whole. National is actually waging an undeclared war on the environment on behalf of those who wish to despoil it.

        Labour could make a stand here as well. Publicly denouncing National’s war on the environment. And declaring that they will reverse the cuts in DoC that have resulted in the current (and previous), round of lay offs.

        At the same time also announce that a Labour led administration will reverse the repressive anti protest laws that are nothing but another part of National’s assault on civil liberties on behalf of the polluters which is all part of the National Government’s undeclared war on the environment.

        Just these two simple things would create a huge uproar in the media and the blogosphere. That would clearly differentiate the opposition from the government in the public’s eyes.

    • Plan B 2.2

      A fantastic post, well argued. I even bothered to look up ‘untermenschen’

      Untermensch (German for under man, sub-man, sub-human; plural: Untermenschen) is a term that became infamous when the Nazi

      Would question this point. about overpopulated, as I think the place looks overpopulated because the masses are kept in vast city ghettos rather than there being a real problem of space.

      • xtasy 2.2.1

        Plan B:

        If you want more info and enlightenment on mental “Untermenschen”, just tune into Radio Live between 09 am and midday, when a Michael Laws “entertains” a fair number of such specimen. He is the “Untermensch” Leader and manipulator, par excellence. Never ever would you dream of the lowest levels of human thought, emotion and views to be found, that are there, until you start listening in to his show!

        • gnomic 2.2.1.1

          In fresh news to hand I’m afraid ‘Lawsie’ has left the building to follow a new career path. And the replacement is … tada! Sean ‘I’m Significant Me’ Plunkett, formerly of National Radio. Where he was rather annoying at times with his relentless attack dog approach to the art of interviewing. So far I have learned that Sean is by his own description “a charming drunk.” Fascinating. As opposed to a belligerent drunk you see. Ah well, something else not to listen to. Except perhaps once in while to briefly sample the thoughts of the mighty mainstream.Some predict Sean will take listeners from National Radio with its Nine to Noon offering. Only time will tell on that one.

          As for Lawsie, at least that’s over. It was occasionally interesting as a study in abnormal pyschology. Where do all these legends in their own lunchtime come from? Maybe the reason why so many of the radio commentariat are asshats is that only an asshat would want to do it. You can always tune to 1ZB if you need an egotistical ignoramus for your listening pleasure.

  3. johnm 4

    The Artist Taxi driver:
    SNOW; Tory/Coalition Britain like a bewitched Narnia always Winter but never Christmas :-( :-( :-(

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI6hzlcyQtE&list=UUGThM-ZZBba1Zl9rU-XeR-A&index=6

    Plenty money for the private predatory banks taken from the Public’s commonwealth. :-(

    “They can afford to waste billions of tax payers money yet they can’t afford to feed the poor or the sick, the disabled and the elderly!, this government is not for the people, they are for themselves the Nazi Swines!!!!!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3uAPwn3t9Y&list=UUGThM-ZZBba1Zl9rU-XeR-A

  4. RedBaronCV 5

    The tipping point like Margaret Thatcher’s poll tax?

  5. johnm 6

    “Big London Protests Against Austerity”

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=9018

    “”Are such mobilizations enough to stop the cuts?”Good question.
    In my view, no.
    Until enough people recognize the necessity for a simple, clear, focused solution to this crisis, then the resistance will continue to drift between a hundred different “solutions” which will ultimately prove to be no solution, (as the conditions for a radical swing of the masses to the right gathers steam).
    Yet the solution to this social crisis, (and practically all others for the last 100+ years) has always been the same: arrest the top 1% and confiscate their wealth; take back the monetary system from the banksters, and cancel the public debt for the fraud that it is.
    Simple concept that near-everybody understands; but very hard to implement because of the well-armed and financed Elite that would oppose it tooth and nail, and because the vast majority is not prepared to face the full implications of reality, (including most “progressives” it seems).
    “We” are not yet prepared to give up our lives, (non-violently) to the cause of truth.
    Alas, those not prepared to face reality are destined to have reality imposed”

  6. Phil 7

    http://youtu.be/pFCkG9UJGjc
    Max and Stacy, telling it like it is…again

    • kiwi_prometheus 7.1

      Max is my hero.

    • xtasy 7.2

      So fuck the beneficiaries, having to cut and tighten the belts, to go and look for non existing work and jobs, and otherwise commit suicide, while property owners in debt get offered government bail-outs of a questionable nature.

      Welcome corrupt right wing, Anglo Saxon, bull-shit finance and economic policies.

      And Kiwis vote for the same bullshit kind of government here, damned, what a disgusting ignorance!

      • kiwi_prometheus 7.2.1

        What choice have they got?

        Its either Slimy Keys or the equally ideologically bankrupt Marxist/Socialist/Lesbian Liberationists.

        So of course they are flocking to Keys.

        Sigh.

        • Ugly Truth 7.2.1.1

          They have the choice between civil government and the law of the land aka common law.

          • Mary 7.2.1.1.1

            “They have the choice between civil government and the law of the land aka common law.”

            What are you trying to say? What does “civil government” mean? “Law of the land”, whatever you mean, isn’t just common law. It includes all “law of the land”, including statute law. So what do you mean when you say people have a “choice” between what ever “civil government” means, and law (i.e. statute and common law)? Enlighten us.

        • xtasy 7.2.1.2

          KP – a bit of a ridiculous cop out argument you deliver. What about voting Mana or Greens, what about starting a NEW, real progressive, NEW LEFT PARTY???

  7. Dv 8

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Salisbury-School-Closure-in-disguise/tabid/367/articleID/291882/Default.aspx

    Here is a disgraceful example

    The Govt lost a legal battle to close Salsburry

    BUT

    The committe to recommend pupils now only has MOE members

    AND

    There have been no recommendations for enrolment this year.

    Closure by starvation.

    Disgraceful.

    • Yes, it’s stealth bombing in the political sphere – under the radar stuff.

      As I mentioned in another post, Colin James has claimed that Ministers are already privately boasting about this tactic.

      It is a form of ‘radical incrementalism’ dressed up as pragmatism. All the supposedly ‘pragmatic’ decisions just happen to head in the same ideological direction, cumulatively producing the desired result. In addition, the size of the ‘increments’ has been ramped up over time to accelerate the process while still not ‘scaring the voters’.

      Clever, but a very deceptive approach to politics when you don’t make clear the destination you have in mind and that you hope becomes locked in by your incremental, structural and technical changes.

      As well as being morally repugnant it undermines the very idea of democracy as an open and transparent debate over fundamental ideas and values.

      The current government has attempted to make this tactic an art form.

      • aerobubble 8.1.1

        One way to create consent is to reverse the timing of events. For example, Austerity policies in the UK preceding rather than following the UK riots would have had a whole different outcome.

        Now imagine the newsspeak media doing that to real events, say the attack by N.Korea on a boat, is brought forward to after N.Korea’s declaration of war. It could be used as documented proof of an attack, to garner massive public support for a war on N.Korea.

        This is why we can’t trust the media, Murdoch papers played with the truth about Saddam’s WMDs to invade Iraq.

        The west is no longer free in the full sense of the term while media-government-industry work together for their interests at the expense of the people. Poverty should not be happening in the world, starvation, diseases long since cured running rampant, etc. We gave our economy to bankers and they sowed up compliance of the media-govt-industry with lavish cash hordes.

    • johnm 8.2

      Hi DV
      This government is hell bent on ruining the public commonwealth in all respects and substituting a privatised predatory bank funded profit oriented system where they’ll just sit back and watch without any responsibility to the people of New Zealand, until finally NZ becomes N$Z, a money grubber’s paradise. :-(. Salisbury is an example. They really have 100% loyalty to the business shark side of things people don’t matter.

  8. millsy 9

    I have always thought that Thatcher had her limits and knew where to stop.

    Cameron doesnt.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Thatcher had very powerful political enemies eg the mining unions. Cameron doesn’t have that constraint.

    • xtasy 9.2

      The loss of an empire and privilege make for a nasty mix of resentment, and here we have it, the upper class and privileged in the UK, once again, dishing out against the weak and poor, to show they can “survive”. For damned shit sake, start another LONDON BURNING!

      • The Al1en 9.2.1

        “For damned shit sake, start another LONDON BURNING!”

        Or give the leaderless someone to follow and their votes will burn much brighter and longer than any lawlessness ever will.

        And loss of empire as a motive for bene bashing, do they teach that in the colonies? Is that why the nats and Shearer do it?
        As always it’s about money, who owns it, who wants to keep it and who wants more of it.
        Just greed and an easy target to scapegoat all the way to the bank.

  9. big bruv 10

    “so goes democracy, social security and a fair and functional economy and society.”

    Lol….

    A fair and functional society would be one where every member of that society took personal responsibility for their actions. A fair society would be one that took the attitude that to be on a benefit is something to be ashamed of, something that made the beneficiary strive to get off and find there own form of legitimate income.

    The trouble with the left is that you people keep telling the bludgers that it is their right to be on a benefit, that they have “entitlements” when the only entitlement that society should expect from parasites is for them to work, pay tax and contribute to society.

    • One Tāne Huna 10.1

      The trouble with wingnut trash is illustrated perfectly by the likes of Capill, Garrett and Banks.

      Look at this creep, calling fellow citizens “parasites”. What a low-life.

    • kiwi_prometheus 10.2

      “the only entitlement that society should expect from parasites is for them to work, pay tax and contribute to society.”

      LOL

      big bruv it is the ultra rich and the global corporations who don’t pay their tax contributing to public deficits.

      Is engaging in criminal activity like laundering Mexican drug cartel proceeds considered ‘work’ by you? If not, none of the ultra rich banksters like JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon are working.

      Is collapsing entire economies with financial manipulation, shoving 100 000 000s of people into financial hardship or poverty “contributing to society”?

      big bruv, the ultra rich seem to think it is their right to trash democracies and economies.

      And all you right whingers can come up with is benefit bashing.

    • xtasy 10.3

      big bruv or “big bluff”?

      “A fair society would be one that took the attitude that to be on a benefit is something to be ashamed of, something that made the beneficiary strive to get off and find there own form of legitimate income.”

      You should be bloody ashamed for bludging off the public of NZ by ripping them off as a selfish workaholic on a too low tax rate, who wants to make sick and disabled suffer and be pushed to self harm and suicide.

      Here you go on again about your paranoia, phobia and madness, “parasites”, “parasites” and more “parasites”. The biggest parasites there are is people with a mindset you propose.

      Have you not phoned the help line to see a counsellor yet, as I strongly advised you to do?

    • Plan B 10.4

      big bruv
      where to start? Of course you are right, when will we get the bludgers off welfare. Why did we bail out South Canterbury Finance? Why did we bail out leaky home owners why all this fuss about the red zone. Why vcan’t these people stand on their own two feet. If they can’t stand up to predatory insurance companies with deep pockets then that is there problem. It has nothing to do with us.

      Why do we allow a complete lack of real competition in sector after sector of our economy. Why is the side show of people on benefits allowed to dominate all discussions about welfare. The welfare they get is a pittance when contrasted with welfare for insiders?

      Do you know that 60 ‘insider firms get 30 million a year from NZTE that the funds are handed out in such a way that makes it almost impossible to find out who got what and why?

      In sector after sector you see , low or zero competition sanctioned by government. in each of these areas you get, low competition, low innovation, low investment, and high profits for those inside the tent.

      NZ is being squeezed to death not by people on benefits that we can see but by corporate interests on benefits that we can’t see. People are on benefits because it suits some people to keep them there. To keep wages down at the margin. To help us live in fear of a feral underclass.

      Take your brilliant statement.

      The trouble with the left is that you people keep telling the bludgers that it is their right to be on a benefit, that they have “entitlements” when the only entitlement that society should expect from parasites is for them to work, pay tax and contribute to society.

      If you only aimed that statement at the real bludgers you would gain a lot more from the insight.

      People on welfare need an economy that needs them. We have to invest in our own people. If we do not then what is the point of democratic capitalism? Our only purpose in life is to tend and nuture the next generation. The fact that in modern society parasitic, sociopaths can prey on the population at large is something we have to recognise and act against in our own best interests.

      Our investmenst as a society should be in our own, through our school system, our sport, our parks, our local environments, our health system. We have to over invest in areas that many people have trouble investing in for whatever reason.

    • millsy 10.5

      There was nothing to stop you from drawing up a private members bill to chop the social safety net when you were in Parliament, David. Why didnt you do so? Would have had a better chance for getting public support than posting on here…

    • Brian 10.6

      It has always amazed me, why it is that when Tories hate benificiaries so much, they always end up creating thiousands more.
      As for your parasites comment it merely demonstrates what a twat you are.

    • Ugly Truth 10.7

      A fair and functional society would be one where every member of that society took personal responsibility for their actions.

      Personal responsibility has strings attached, it implies that an obligation is owed to the state, which isn’t always the case. A just society would be one in which every member was responsible for their own.

      • karol 10.7.1

        In my view, a just society is one where people are socially responsible; ie have some responsibility for the way others in the society are treated.

        • Ugly Truth 10.7.1.1

          I agree that it benefits society when there is some kind of mechanism to assist the less well off. What I’m wary of is this mechanism being overused or hijacked for political ends.

          I’m wary of assumed responsibility, it’s too easy to abuse IMO.

          • karol 10.7.1.1.1

            I’m wary of a focus solely on self-responsibility – too easy to become just about a selfish, “what’s in it for me? – damn the rest of you” approach: one that ignores the fact that humans are social beings in societies that require extensive collaboration with those beyond the home fire.

  10. kiwi_prometheus 11

    The UK IS MORE BANKRUPT THAN CYPRUS.

    EVERY BANK (aka crime syndicates) IN THE WEST INCLUDING THE RESERVES IS INSOLVENT.

    Even Marx couldn’t have dreamed this up in his wildest dialectical materialist wet dream!

    EXTEND AND PRETEND, it is just a matter of time…

  11. johnm 12

    ‘I could live on £53 a week': Iain Duncan Smith defends welfare cuts claiming new system will let people ‘break free’ of benefits

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2302343/I-live-53-week-Iain-Duncan-Smith-defends-welfare-cuts-claiming-new-let-people-break-free-benefits.html

    ‘Not with the lifestyle you expect you pompous prat and it’s not just one week it’s every week. God I despise these rich idiots they truly have no idea.’

    ‘Yes —–He probably could live for ONE week on £53—just for show—— Let him try to live for TWO YEARS on £53 a week ——That would soon shut him up.’

    ‘Really? What rubbish, he has no idea of what a struggle it is. I would love to see him try. My husband has just got a job earning £18k per year, he comes out with just over £1k a month which is not enough to cover our mortgage, bills, food and our old car. I can’t get a job, have been trying for over 6 months but only one interview, because of my age and medical history. My ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) has been stopped because my husband works over 24 hours per week so I now have to ask him for money for my sanitary towels. It is like going back to Victorian times. I hate the smug arrogance of politicians like IDS and Clegg who think they can live on the breadline or stay at home all day caring for children. They never had to and thus they have no idea.’

    ‘”But when challenged on whether he could live on £7.57 per day, Mr Duncan Smith replied: ‘If I had to, I would.”, But you and your parasitic cronies don’t have to! Not when as well as collecting your high salaries you continue to take, take take, from the taxpayers funding to pay for your second/third mortgages, food, fuel, dog food, holidays, pay for your parents, children’s pretentious lifestyle leaving the poor and vulnerable to go hungry, cold and without any life!! Time to remove these parasitic, freeloading sc+m from office!! Stand up and be counted!!!’

    ‘Why do people lump everyone together who are benefits has scroungers, drink and drug users! I lost my job and can’t get another I volunteer 16 hours a week to contribute back into society! I get sick of being called horrible names because a few give the rest a bad name!’

    ‘Another rich boy plonker living in cloud cuckoo land.!!!! Prove it, but then I don’t suppose you have the courage to. Ridiculous little man, paid far too much.’

    ‘Fine, Mr Smith. Give me a job now – I desperately want one! I speak languages, I have degree and certificates as well as years of experience, I work as a volunteer for over 30 hours a week so I am not afraid of work, I am smart, reliable and hard working. Where is the payed job you are telling me someone does not want, Mr Smith? I am here and ready to start this job tomorrow morning at 8 am.’

    ‘Seems a rather strange comment to make from a man who was embroiled in a scandal years ago when the charge against him was that he was fleecing the public purse when paying his wife to carry out so called “secretarial ” duties.’

    • millsy 12.1

      Hmph.

      Cabinet ministers always say “I can live on that” when they cut benefits.

      Earlier this year, the Australian families minister, Jenny someone or rather, she said that she could live on 240-something a week, and our own Katherine O’Reagan, back in the dark and horrible 1990’s, reckoned she could live on a newly slashed DPB.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        As long as they’ve stocked their fridge up with Veuve the week before

        • xtasy 12.1.1.1

          As long as the wealthy or at least employed rellies and mates are around to chip in, to keep the courage up, to lobby for a job through the network. Those that are up the top have those damned networks and also old boys and girls ones, they would never have to suffer longer term benefit dependence.

          Have you heard of any MP for instance, who has ended up on the scrap heap, in a Housing NZ house to be taken off them at some stage, struggling on UB, SB or IB, or also DPB for any longer period?

          No, the only one who may have some real life experience on benefit life and survival is Sue Bradford. She though takes a stand, no others do, not even the left of the Labour brigade or of the Greens!!!

      • aerobubble 12.1.2

        With savings and some assets (a home), and no car, freeze in winter, its entirely possible without any outgoings like friends, family, or hobbies, to live on the benefit. Its not a life unless you are a hermit whose self identity comes from things intellectual, so no politician could survive as they are noted social people who crave attention. And as anyone, anyone but a politician, would recognize, we live in a society where money is necessary for social activity. A human right, to food, housing, health AND social connection. But hey, lets just turn a sector of society into a open concentration camp, deprived of basic human needs.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.1

          An open concentration camp? Shit dude, why not make it an actual concentration camp? You know, with poor people in their own isolated suburbs etc. Oh look, that’s happening in AKL right now…

      • Colonial Weka 12.1.3

        “Katherine O’Reagan, back in the dark and horrible 1990′s, reckoned she could live on a newly slashed DPB.”

        It was Jenny Shipley, and she lived on the DPB for two weeks, just to prove that it could be done. Unfortunately she failed to realise that she had proved just that – that one can live on the DPB for two weeks :roll: The media seems particularly dense as well.

    • rosy 12.2

      Who’s the National MP from the 90s who wrote up menus to show it was possible to feed your kids properly on a benefit?

      Said she’d live on it for a month but then reneged because she was ill and it wouldn’t be good for her health.

  12. Russell 13

    Austerity? When did the government stop borrowing billions a year to fund existing spending?

    • karol 13.1

      Austerity for the least well off, more money for NAct’s cronies.

    • trickldrown 13.2

      from 2000 till 2007 Russell and even Cullen managed to save money by taxing the well off!
      Austerity has forced chancellor Osborne to admit that his borrowings have gone up as opposed to going down as he had promised when he started his austerity program!
      Even Osbourne backers big business have lambasted Osbournes failings!
      Reagans chief econmic adviser has taken to G W Bushes shambolic destruction of the US economy during his reign (huffington post )

  13. johnm 14

    Monbiot comments on the U$K Austerity class war on the poor. :-(

    “With a most inhuman cruelty, they who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them of their blindness.” This government, whose mismanagement of the economy has forced so many into the arms of the state, blames the sick, the unemployed, the underpaid for a crisis caused by the feral elite – and punishes them accordingly. Most of those affected by the bedroom tax, introduced today, are disabled. Thousands will be driven from their homes, and many more pushed towards destitution. Relief for the poor from council tax will be clipped; legal aid for civil cases cut off. Yet at the end of this week those making more than £150,000 a year will have their income tax cut.

    Two days later, benefit payments for the poorest will be cut in real terms. A week after that, thousands of families who live in towns and boroughs where property prices are high will be forced out of their homes by the total benefits cap. What we are witnessing is raw economic warfare by the rich against the poor.”

    Seventy years ago, in the United Kingdom, the transformative idea was freedom from want and fear through the creation of a social security system and a National Health Service. It swept a Labour government to power which was able, despite far tougher economic circumstances than today’s, to create a fair society from a smashed, divided nation. This is the achievement which – through a series of sudden, spectacular and unmandated strikes – Cameron’s government is now demolishing.

    “A basic income removes the stigma of benefits while also breaking open what politicians call the welfare trap: because taking work would not reduce your entitlement to social security, there would be no disincentive to find a job: all the money you earn is extra income. The poor are not forced by desperation into the arms of unscrupulous employers: people will work if conditions are good and pay fair, but will refuse to be treated like mules. It redresses the wild imbalance in bargaining power that the current system exacerbates. It could do more than any other measure to dislodge the emotional legacy of serfdom. It would be financed by progressive taxation: in fact it meshes well with land value tax.”

    http://www.monbiot.com/2013/04/01/the-spark-of-hope/

  14. johnm 15

    ‘Millionaire Tories take benefits from millions: How Dare They’
    ‘A blizzard of cuts is set to rob billions from people on benefits this month.

    Ministers with spare mansions think they can punish poor people for having spare bedrooms.

    The MPs who fleeced their expenses say disabled people are scroungers.

    “I’m actually afraid to sit down and figure out the impact the bedroom tax will have on me,” said Marion Nisbet in Glasgow. “My benefits are being cut while my rent is going up.’

    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=31016

    The NHS under privatisation attack:
    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=31029

    A simple fact about the market: The market that John Yankee subscribes to doesn’t give a flying fuck if YOU end up in the workhouse. :-( That is the market’s history.

  15. johnm 16

    ‘The Tory offensive on benefits enrages poor’

    ‘The millionaire Tories running the government are on the rampage.

    This week they launched the biggest offensive in generations against the welfare state and the lives of working class people.

    They declare this is not solely about saving money. In fact Tory millionaire and baron George Osborne has the gall to claim that benefits “trap people in poverty” and that the cuts will help them.

    So what’s his answer to the trap of poverty? To cut welfare and make the poor even poorer.’

    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=31018

    The Artist taxi driver http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-4NYsPJN_8&list=UUGThM-ZZBba1Zl9rU-XeR-A&index=21

  16. johnm 17

    Margaret Thatcher’s Legacy

    “”We understood the Conservative government’s determination to use the state machine against us. In order to dismember the welfare state, they had to break the trade union movement and they needed to break the miners first.” – Mick McGahey, Vice President of the National Union of Mineworkers 1972-87.”

    Confer John Yankee’s attacks on what’s left of our own unionised workforce: The teachers and Port Workers.
    ‘With an economy no longer underpinned by manufacturing, but by finance capital, speculation, hedge funds, credit derivatives and all manner of secretive dodgy dealings that eventually hit the fan, ordinary folk are now being saddled with paying off the debt incurred by covering the losses of those who indulged in such criminality. What price a sound manufacturing infrastructure and decent wages and jobs now? ‘

    ‘During the Thatcher years, as Britain de-industrialised, mass unemployment kicked in. Britain witnessed a spiraling gap between rich and poor. Thatcher’s legacy is a banking crisis coupled with a vulnerable and weak economy, worklessness, unemployment, consequent social breakdown and a pervasive greed culture of me-first acquisitive individualism, the effects of which are so graphically witnessed in our towns and cities today: a descent into drugs, alcohol, crime, community breakdown, fear for personal safety, youth offending and a range of other social problems. According to a study by York University in 2006, British children were among the unhappiest and unhealthiest in Europe. A UNICEF report came to similar conclusions: children growing up in the United Kingdom suffer greater deprivation, worse relationships with their parents and are exposed to more risks from alcohol, drugs and unsafe sex than those in any other wealthy country in the world.’

    Basically a country that doesn’t look after its own people eventually goes to sh*t . That is the route asset stripper John yankee is doing here: he can retire to Hawaii. :-(

    Thatcher’s destruction was covered up by the oil bonanza of the North Sea. Now that’s going going gone the sh*t is hitting the fan in ole U$K.

    • aerobubble 17.1

      Riots bad. I noted when the UK riots took place that they seem odd, almost as if some group had needed to back burn social unrest. Now people know the consequences of rioting there is less likelihood of them taking place. Which is good. But it does chime into the new government timetable of introducing austerity.

  17. johnm 18

    “British people are committing suicide to escape poverty. Is this what the State wants?”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2117718/British-people-committing-suicide-escape-poverty-Is-State-wants.html

    “Anxious wait: Thousands of sick and disabled people are waiting to hear whether the DWP considers them fit to work – even though some have been given mere months to live”

    “it is very clear that Cameron and Co are guilty of mass genocide to the amount of 11,000 deaths. will he learn when millions take to the streets, there is going to be civil unrest on a scale that has never been seen in the uk before, with every tory and libdem council, mp, atos and dwp the brunt of uk citizens anger. the queen needs to remove these fools now. they are not fit for purpose. she is the only one that can do so. Has everybody forgotten that mad woman thatcher wrecked this country and cameron is going to completely destroy it”

    “Unfortunately I’m one of these unlucky people. I use a crutch at all times and I have nerve damage and a twisted knee cap and I’m still under the hospital, I have been advised another operation is needed. Yet, somehow I’ve been deemed fit for work, yes I’d love to work but I suffer with mobility problems – which quite frankly wasn’t assessed at my ATOS assessment. I’m unable to socialise and the only means of socialisation I have is with close family and the internet, however, this is one of the causes why I’m apparently fit for work – how do I get there? And the DWP have cut my finances by £150 a fortnight. I study online, and now I’m going to struggle to access my study needs as I won’t have the financial support I had previously. This is another reason why I gained zero points, for studying – but it’s in my own home, on a computer and I am unable to attend tutorials. Well, I thought proving that I actually do something proactive would go in my favour, how wrong I was. ”

    “My benefits are due to stop at the end of April. I have received a phone call to confirm this. I have done this before, but this is my list of medical problems. How can I work? There’s no possible way I can. I did for 22 years until I became too ill to. This government is casting aside the sick and disabled, it is cruel and evil. DIABETIC AUTONOMIC NEUROPATHY (GASTRIC, CAUSING UNPREDICTABLE AND SEVERE DIARRHOEA), GASTROPAERESIS (CAUSING UNPREDICTABLE AND SEVERE BOUTS OF VOMITING), DIABETIC RETINOPATHY, PARTIALLY SIGHTED (LOSS OF PERIPHERAL VISION IN BOTH EYES AND SOME CENTRAL VISION IN LEFT EYE), NEWLY DISCOVERED HEART CONDITION (NEEDS TO BE INVESTIGATED WITH ANGIOGRAM SO IT CAN BE RIGHTED), CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE- Egfr – 11 (BEING PLACED ON LIST FOR KIDNEY/PANCREAS TRANSPLANT), VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY, ANAEMIA, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, HIGH CHOLESTEROL, UNDERACTIVE THYROID, CHRONIC TIREDNESS DUE TO COMBINATION OF MULTIPLE MEDICAL CONDITIONS, ASTHMA”

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      It’s only a matter of time before people self-immolate in UK town squares and in front of government buildings

  18. johnm 19

    “Fine, our IDS petition is a ‘stunt’ – a stunt to shame the oblivious aristocrats

    So far 350,000 have challenged Iain Duncan Smith to show he really can live on £53 a week. No wonder he seems rattled”

    “While I really would like to see Duncan Smith trying to live as he obliges others to live, I suppose you could call our petition a stunt, if you mean an act whose purpose is to draw attention to something. It highlights the hypocrisy of a government of millionaires which arraigns the profligacy of the poor. It dramatises the character of a government which, insulated by inherited wealth, accuses people living on a few pounds a day of suffering from a “culture of entitlement”.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2013/apr/03/iain-duncan-smith-petition-ids-stunt

  19. johnm 20

    “There will be much more of that soon. You can only kick people so far till they turn and hit back. …even if the target for revenge are not really the ones to blame.
    I know it’s irrational to attack people just because of their accent, but the class war being created by this government and the Daily Mail means millions of people are being attacked for simply being, unlucky, poor and disabled. They will hit back!
    Welcome to the world the rich and privileged have created, best book your place in a gated community asap.”

    Don’t get mad about the Mail’s use of the Philpotts to tarnish the poor – get even

    Thirty years of widening inequality stoked by post-2010 rhetoric have built a Tory Narnia riven by distrust. It doesn’t have to be like this

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/03/dont-get-mad-about-use-of-philpotts-tarnish-poor

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2303120/Mick-Philpott-vile-product-Welfare-UK-Derby-man-bred-17-babies-milk-benefits-GUILTY-killing-six.html

    • karol 20.1

      It is very disturbing to see how the class war is developing under Cameron’s Tories.

      I don’t think the class war was created by them, but they are certainly intensifying it. From the 50s – late 70s, the working classes made inroads into decreasing the inequalities and animosity between classes. But even when I was living there, up to the mid 90s, speech was still a significant marker of class that people attended to.

      For the less well-off classes, their language was often embraced as a marker of class solidarity, while the upper classes used it to reinforce their sense of entitlement. Those of us born and raised in non-England, English language countries, often fell outside this division – Kiwis, Aussies, Scots, Irish, Welsh, etc. Though for the upper classes, the Aus & NZ accents were often seen as being a bit uncouth like working class accents.

      The Philpott case, and the way it is used to demonise all beneficiaries, is chilling.

      Thanks for the links, johnm.

  20. Mike S 21

    More on UK austerity, possibility of general strike? (not likely but would be awesome)

    Sorry if link already posted, didn’t have time to read through all posts.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britains-biggest-unions-put-weight-behind-plan-for-general-strike-8559027.html

  21. Walter 22

    The only party to vote for is the National party, because all labour governments sell the hard working tax payers out to dry while providing every thing from housing to food for the non working. no wonder every country thats had a labour government was broke at the end of their term.

    People should get ahead by there own actions not on the tail of the tax payer.

    • lprent 22.1

      Unfortunately, you have just revealed yourself as being a political moron about NZ (and probably everywhere else.).

      The 4th Labour government stopped the ever rising debt level caused by Muldoon and his National government who’d raised so much debt that the country was in danger of defaulting on debts to the IMF.

      The 5th Labour government dropped the debt down to virtually nothing, but has been followed a pack of spendthrift bozo’s who are raising the countries debt by millions of dollars per day.

      But don’t let reality get in the way of your fantasies. I’m also *sure* that sure that the image you’re watching on the screen is really in love with you and really is sighing at the size of…..

      Ummm. Fantasy addicts – whatever will they think of next eh?

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