The convenient thing about power is if you hate someone you don’t have to use direct means to hurt them, you can design systems and structural biases that do the violence for you. Thus the budget expressed rich politicians (Austerity cabinet has 18 millionaires!) hatred of the poor, of the sick, of those who have to rely on benefits because the systemic unemployment created by the ideology of the elite requires millions to be unemployed to provide the necessary ‘flexibility’ of labour. A budget designed to appease finance capital even as it threw manufacturing into the maw of a very possible double dip recession. But it was the hate that was remarkable, a visceral bigotry that informed every tiny adjustment and cut, a hatred that many in the commentariat were oblivious to presumably because they cannot imagine or empathise with ever having to rely on benefits. Even as chattering media opposed the budget and decried the cuts they did not pick up on the prejudice that was being directed towards ‘scroungers’ ‘cheaters’ single parents’ would it be easier to those who cannot understand this if I replaced those with more common terms of bigoted abuse. Negative qualities were assigned en masse to entire socio economic groups to justify them being made even poorer while those who caused the supposed need for austerity emerged unscathed. It not only shifted the financial burden to the poor it shifted the blame, the opprobrium the hatred. It was Shock Doctrine, taking advantage of a crisis real or perceived to enact radical measures demanded by the financial markets and because they were the drivers and benefactors of the crisis blame had to be moved, so hatred must be inculcated for another group and the people misdirected (thanks corporate media!). And the party political voices all had their angle, the Orange Book Lib Dems claimed it was still progressive while not really disagreeing with much the ‘progressive’ Lib Dems picked out tiny fragments of resemblance to policy and trumpeted a small victory (all of 3% victory!), Labour got to pretend it would have done it differently, that their cuts would have been fairer and not a manifestation of hate, but 13 years of New Labour tell you different (Hey Field, Hutton). It’s all talk, there is no solution to the structural violence agains the poor and sick from any party political elite, once you live on 50 grand or more with an expenses account empathy dies real quick, that’s part of the design. None shied from the narrative of deficit panic and the need for cuts even as economists not having to appease financiers pointed out it was wrong headed.
So it remains to be explained to erstwhile allies that for all the facts, fictions and figures, for all the objections what has not been dealt with is the sheer hatred that has been expressed and now made into real life damaging reality for millions of people. Sympathy and opposition politically is very nice to be sure, but what was loosed upon us yesterday was a determination by the wealthy and powerful to pursue a vendetta against the poor and sick that is timeless.
Am sharing an office with Andrew Holdenby of Reform who is jumping with delight at every benefit cut announced – laughing out loud with delight.
I cannot believe the callousness.
Although in more defined terms has been intensified since the post war era when a country that survived the horrors of WW2 decided it could no longer reward the few and ignore the majority, that the nation had to include all, with a health service, welfare and essential services run for the common good not profit, ever since that insult to selfishness & greed has been resented-
Such sentiments have a whiff of 1930s Germany, something the Twittersphere buzzed with when welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “Work makes you free” – the same words hung over the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp. “I have faced this accusation,” says Professor Lawrence M Mead ”Hitler was non-democratic, whereas work requirements claim a popular mandate. There is something wrong when because of fascism we have to solve every problem with freedom and benefits.”
Now a global elite contend with the cost of labour being the main barrier to increased profit to the accruing of surplus capital demanded by their irrational greed. As long as conditions prevail where someone will work for a peanut and a bowl of piss they cannot see why all should not ask for anymore. Which is where the other shoes waits to drop, what this budget has done is make it very unpleasant to be reliant on benefits if you are sick or raising children, or to be out of work, yet we still have a minimum wage. That is where workfare is going to come in, when that shoe drops the £65 a week benefit will become the new minimum wage. This budget laid the groundwork, workfare will be the next step and then labour will at last be looking at a peanut and a bowl of piss as preferable to prison, except it won’t be called that, how does ‘Workhouse’ sound to you?
But all that is maybe by the by for right now, this week many people got the message loud and clear- You are hated, You and your children are useless eaters, make money for us or be denied your basic human dignity and if we are honest we’d be very happy if you just fucked off and died. Now will those who argue party politics find alliance with the millions under attack and try to understand living day after day with hatred being directed at you or will they keep just arguing their corners ‘No, my tribe Party would have done much better they are the true friend of the people, support us!’ while pretending not to notice all that ever happens when they get in power is a slightly differing style of the same brutal policies.