Life under Cameron… sorry Thatcher!

Poorest households will be hit hardest by benefit changes, Whitehall admits

Work and Pensions department’s assessment released before key Commons debate as welfare bill passed by majority of 56 – Britain’s poorest households will be hit hardest by government plans to limit rises in working-age benefits to 1% in a bid to save £3.1bn by 2016.

This Tory attack on the poorest should come as no surprise.  Neil Kinnock could just as well have been speaking in 2010 instead of 1983.

Neil Kinnock giving his Election speech about life under Thatcher

But even in 1983, the behaviour of the nasty party was not new:

Picture 27

Seumas Milne writes: “As the depression-era cartoonist highlighted, the idea that there can be any equivalence in belt-tightening for rich and poor is a nonsense. Even if the different income groups were paying proportionate shares, or the wealthy were actually shouldering a heavier burden, as Osborne claimed, the impact would obviously be far greater for those struggling on benefits than for beneficiaries of the boardroom bonanza.

“… the bare-faced deceit at the heart of the government’s claims has become brutally evident. Far from being a fair shares package that shelters the vulnerable, it’s now clear that the net effect of [the] announcements will be to hammer the poorest the hardest.”

That pre-war cartoonist was JF Horrabin and his image was first used on a poster by the Labour Party during the 1929 general election and, later, by PLEBS, an organisation connected to the National Labour College.

And even in 1895, they knew what the ConDems were like …

Picture 39

Neil Kinnock’s Election speech in 1983 about life under Thatcher…

” I warn you. I warn you that you will have pain – when healing and relief depend upon payment. I warn you that you will have ignorance – when talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right. I warn you that you will have poverty – when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a government that won’t pay in an economy that can’t pay. I warn you that you will be cold – when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don’t notice and the poor can’t afford.
I warn you that you must not expect work – when many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don’t earn, they don’t spend. When they don’t spend, work dies. I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light. I warn you that you will be quiet – when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient. I warn you that you will have defence of a sort – with a risk and at a price that passes all understanding. I warn you that you will be home-bound – when fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up. I warn you that you will borrow less – when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.
………. I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old.

11 thoughts on “Life under Cameron… sorry Thatcher!

  1. Can the author of this post please give me one tangible justification for the protest against the 1% cap in benefit increases please? I will admit that on paper at first glance at least, it might seem like a spiteful snap back at the poorest in society, by the working people who are frustrated by the seemingly never-ending freeze on their wages; however when you actually get out there and meet the people in the real world who survive on benefits you see a completely different picture. I live in a semi-deprived area of the South Wales valleys, (an area developed as a commuter belt to Bristol and Cardiff by the way, in case anybody is tempted to delve off-topic and blame the economic situation on mine closures) and know many, many people who are completely capable of work yet see no point in getting a job. Of course the majority get out their violins and give the same old rhetoric “I’d love a job” however I can personally vouch that they make no effort to and never so much as browse for a job, let alone apply. I will take one person in particular that I know, let’s refer to him as Jim. Jim is in his early thirties, has NEVER had a job and completely relies on the state to support him and his illegitimate offspring. Jim has been brainwashed into assuming that work is for other people, and yet somehow manages to enjoy a rather comfortable lifestyle. He has a nice house, paid for courtesy of the taxpayer, has a car, funded by benefits, which has car tax (also paid for by taxpayers), insurance (paid for by taxpayers), MOT (funded by the taxpayer) and fuel (usually funded by the taxpayer, unless he manages to ‘taxi’ illegally for drunken friends). Inside the house he has a lovely 50″ 3D TV with Sky, an Xbox, and a laptop, along with superfast broadband Internet. He owns a top of the range iPhone on contract, and goes out to the pub several times a week. I can categorically guarantee that his only sources of income are benefits and the occasional ‘taxi’ trip on the weekend, and he does no ‘cash in hand’ work or anything like that. He is not an isolated case, I can think of (and name) several other people in the same area with similar lifestyles. It feels like a rite of passage that young people here leave school with little or no qualifications, have children and are then looked after by the taxpayer for the rest of their lives without the need to contribute a single thing to society. If the person in my example can cope so well off the current system, then why on Earth should he receive benefit increases at all, let alone at 1%?! If things feel a little tight then make cutbacks like the rest of us for Goodness’ sake! The workshy are always fast to lament the Conservative Party for benefit cuts but every single person I have known (and trust me there are many) who relies on benefits has a flat screen TV with Sky, numerous games consoles and quite often a car. It is no wonder that when elections are looming you tour the local council estates and see the ‘Vote Labour’ flags flying.
    It makes me sick.


    • It is really not possible to take your example at face value. I have no doubt that this is the situation as you understand it but it is not reconcilable with the £71/wk Job seekers allowance even taking benefits for his illegitimate children into account. As you probably know, housing benefit will have been paid to his landlord. I cn only imagine that his shadow economy activities are much more lucrative than you are aware.

      I’d like to ask you why you think it is fair to penalise the unemployed when there are 2.5m people chasing after 500k vacancies? In addition there are 8.5m who are underemployed and 7m who are in low paid work. The use of percentages is very deceptive. Why don’t the gov’t use the real figures? Why don’t they raise benefits by the £36 pounds which is comparable with the prospective rise in private wages.. although neither will be in line with inflation and so are still effectively cuts.


  2. I know the person in question very well and I can assure you that other than his illicit taxi trade and borrowing money from friends he has no other income. His landlord is the council if that makes any difference. The job centre (should that be joke centre?) seem happy enough to throw money at him, in fact a few years ago they even embarked on the comedy of treating him like a potential entrepreneur, giving him substantial grants and funding to start a business. Of course they insisted the money be spent on vital business equipment, which was subsequently sold within weeks, and they were kind enough to tax his car for him too. This is another thing I hear about too often, the Job Centre treating the unemployed as though they are the employers of the future, then throwing money at them to nurture this unquestioned ‘talent’. I find this totally laughable; and would love if the figures were made public as to how many ‘businesses’ they have helped fund in this way and how many of them flourished and are still trading (and paying taxes).

    I think it is fair because they are already looked after well enough as far as I can see. As I previously stated every single one I have encountered seems to be able to afford new clothes, flatscreen TVs, even holidays! I see your point about “2.5m people chasing after 500k vacancies” but I’m sorry although the figures may tell us there are 2.5m in unemployment (not taking into account disabled claimants) I think the true number chasing the jobs is far less. Simply put, this country makes it too easy to sit at home and do nothing. I think the real people affected by this are the people who actually did work hard and do well, and through no fault of their own have become unemployed, and cannot seek housing benefit for mortgaged homes, etc. Whilst clearly aggrieved by people who take advantage of our generous system, I do agree that people falling into that category deserve a little more help.
    You suggest the idea of raising benefits by £36 as it’s comparable with the prospective rise in private wages. Even if that were the case, why should they rise in line? It’s this mentality of entitlement which is eroding the country and I am sick of hearing it.


    • I am uncertain what purpose you seek to serve with your comment. As I have said, your example is not persuasive given the reality of benefit payments. I have not sought to inflict my views on you and you have chosen to visit the site.


  3. The purpose was to offer an alternative to your one-sided view of the issue. You are posting on a publicly-viewable website which offers readers the opportunity to provide their opinions and views via the comment box at the bottom; a feature which I am exercising my freedom to use. You make the suggestion that my example is unrealistic, yet offer no alternative example yourself. You bemoan the Government’s use of statistics, and now bemoan me for providing a real-world example (when you can offer no example yourself to contradict what I am saying). I fear that you are simply narrow-minded, believing what you want to without preparing to accept the realities. If it was of that much interest to you, I could no doubt provide a dossier of many other similar people/families as my example, however to do that I would be required to join their leagues and not work. Although there are many, many people who are striving to find employment, would that help you accept that, at best, there are many people who simply don’t want to as life is too comfortable on benefits? I sometimes wish that there was a sliding scale for benefit claimants; for example allowing people who were recently made unemployed to benefit from more help, including help to pay for mortgages etc early on for the first few months, then progressing on to lower payments for the people who are in long-term unemployment by their own choice. My theory may sound draconian, but I think no matter what your political persuasion is, everyone has to accept that things need to change.


  4. Pingback: Weep not for Thatcher – but for Lost Society | Think Left

  5. the anecdotal evidence – usually get that from paid shills in right wing papers and to a lesser extent in the more Liberal papers – Report him then definite Daily Mail bingo : the big telly , Sky , computer , going to the pub , X – box ….seems a bit odd as DWP JCP + staff say they’re under considerable pressure from above to sanction claimants due to the target culture .


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