This is my story, posted here http://austerityuncovered.org/whats-your-story/; the 1,000 character limit meant most of it wasn’t sent- so here it is.
Journalists and politicians are asking for stories about how the cuts are affecting us. Yet nobody seems to be interested in the stories of those not affected or minimally affected that are against these measures. To gather a portfolio of such stories would, in my view be a great coup; a show of strength so powerful from people not affected who KNOW it’s wrong!
I’m working, a very low paid job and apart from the continuously rising cost of living, the only other relevant factor is the weekly housing benefit I receive of around £6. Come October, when Universal Credit is introduced I imagine I will be expected to attend work-focused interviews and seek better paid work for 35 hours a week, they will be told in no uncertain terms what they can do with their £6.
I am a life-long socialist, who incidentally believes that Labour is no longer the party of the people, and came to this fight using my strengths to disseminate information and support those who were hit hardest because it is the right thing to do; because austerity is wrong; because there is ample money in this country to solve all the economic problems we are experiencing, but we have a middle-to-upper university educated political class who, despite their rhetoric to the contrary, know little of the realities of being unemployed, low paid or even well paid in a job that leaves you too tired to enjoy what little leisure time you have!
Austerity isn’t just about pay and benefits; it is about profits, tax evasion, tax avoidance and the simple things in life- like days out with your family rather than days in, too tired to enjoy.
One thing the nouveau political class doesn’t seem to grasp is that the working class do not care about your wages, your expenses, profits or bonuses IF we were allowed to work; IF we were allowed to earn enough to live a decent lifestyle; IF our work didn’t leave us too tired to enjoy our leisure time and IF that leisure time were longer. It is when, as Michael Foot put it, we see “…a few fat men exhorting all the thin ones to tighten their belts” that we feel exploited, marginalised and abused and it is those feelings that cause dissent and, in extreme circumstances revolution.
This is my story- one of working to approach retirement with massive debt and a dwindling income; with the prospect of leaving nothing but debt; of fearing, as I never have before, that my retirement will be a cold, hungry one despite the aspirations of the socialist movement I once knew. Never have I feared for my future and that of my children as I fear today because we have no opposition, we have no party to fight our corner and we have no hope- the one forlorn hope, of a future Labour government reversing the trend to depositing our wealth in a few greedy hands and instead redistributing it equitably among those that created said wealth- the working class through their labour is gone.
And yet, my fears are for the future; how much more terrible is the plight of the hundreds of thousand’s already experiencing my future fears of being cold and hungry. How much more reprehensible are the politicians who allow this and will, despite their clever oratory do nothing to reverse this trend.
I’m not going to comment. I don’t think I need to, just post some of the pics of protests around the country- because they will, in all likelihood be all but ignored by the mainstream media.
Over a thousand gather in George Square against the bedroom tax
More from George Square against the bedroom tax
“A possible future: The city of London is sacked by barbarian hordes. As a priest watches from the steps of St Paul’s, a burly Brixtonian drags David Cameron away from his wife Samantha. “
Did you know that the fall of the Roman Empire began when its richest citizens decided not to pay their taxes anymore and withdrew to their private estates? Public services were divided up and sold off, and the bulk of the tax burden was placed on the poor, who were in no position to pay up.
Mark Hoban, the employment minister said “…it was unhelpful to “demonise” the system with “adverse media coverage”.
But it’s ok to demonise the disabled- and the poor in general with cherry-picked stories (some of dubious heritage) of scroungers and skivers?
Reading this I have to say anybody else reading it who still thinks the government is right, go and buy yourself a nice black shirt, armband to match… oh, and don’t forget your nice, official looking peaked cap.
For those considering or who have decided not to vote; you think it isn’t worth it because they are all much alike. But when you think ‘all alike’ I will assume you mean the Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats. And I agree; but a vote for an independent or a fringe party will not make a difference- or will it?
Consider this; in your area, one of these three is elected with, let’s say a 30% turn out. Imagine, if the other 70% voted! Firstly, in my area there were five choices; the big three and UKIP or the Greens; if the other 70% voted for either one, they would be elected instead. A vote for a fringe party is not a wasted vote IF you get out and do it! Remember, they were all fringe parties once!
Even if your vote doesn’t elect an alternative choice, when the analysis of the voting is done, a massive turnout with large numbers voting against the ‘three’ will be as significant as a landslide victory for anybody.
We need to show our dissent- we need to go out and vote, if we cannot vote for them THEN VOTE AGAINST THEM!
This is just the old earnings related benefit that were taken by Thatcher and successive governments- including Labour- refused to re-introduce them and now Miliband thinks he is being radical by making this suggestion.
So, I suggest, if he wants to do this, make a small change to current National Insurance contributions, higher at the richer, high waged end and re-introduce earnings related benefits as we had before.
And if the money is to be recouped once people are back in work, then it isn’t an insurance scheme, is it?
And it appears to be a ‘those that can afford it can benefit from it’ scheme, much akin to the recent suggestion by Lord Freud that the poor can afford to take more risks; they seem to be saying the very low waged can afford to lose their wages! What they should be saying is the rich can afford to subsidise the low waged benefits, at least for an interim period while the GENUINELY seek work.
And this has been the problem with our social security system for 35-40 years; nobody employed in the system, from the lowliest advisor to the highest managers have had the will to stop benefits for those refusing to take suitable employment or not genuinely actively seeking work. And because of this very tiny minority (I’ve heard 0.2% to 0.7% of claimants quoted) we all now have to suffer- and may see a two tiered benefits system that pays more to those that can afford the premiums.
Yes that’s got your attention hasn’t it reader! And its correct there is a huge issue that can be termed a loophole in the bedroom tax decision making process – it’s the Rent Officer service.This loophole gives all 660,000 a very powerful argument and ground of formal appeal to have their bedroom tax decisions quashed and their respective councils will all have to go back and do the decision again and properly this time. If that’s correct this may mean local government is hit with a bill of over a billion pounds. More importantly it means none of the bedroom tax decisions made can be relied upon in law and they should all be thrown out for that reason especially given the dire financial consequences the bedroom tax decision holds for each tenant household.