If you voted for the Tories you consented to the splintering of Britain into six nations

Original post from The Independent

‘…………By Yasmin Alibhai Brown

This government’s brutish front-benchers have sharpened their biggest knives, and introduced planned poverty

 They gloat and smirk, do not give a damn about those they are deliberately and pitilessly reducing to sub-human status. Well, why would they? The nasty party won a majority, has the mandate to slash and burn the welfare budget. Yesterday, George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith penned a joint declaration: benefits would be cut by a further £12bn, starting this July.

They do this to stop “the damaging culture of welfare dependency”, cure people of persistent indolence and ensure the welfare system has returned to “sanity”. The millions of voters who backed the Tories – including some of my own aunts and uncles, cousins and second cousins – will one day, I hope, understand that they consented to the splintering of Britain into six nations.

The wealthiest, the Brahmins, are zoned off from everyone else, eating gold-leaf-sprinkled chocs, purchasing mansions and penthouses, hunting and shooting on vast estates, protecting their billions from impertinent tax collectors, buying political influence. The upper classes are similar, but with millions rather than billions of pounds to play with. They suffer untold anxieties about their shares, status and money.

The largest group, the middle classes, live the good life but are increasignly defensive. The working poor, scandalously, cannot achieve a decent standard of living (read the Trust for London reports on this exploited group which gets no respite). Then, in this caste system, come the workless poor, many of whom resent migrants and other indigents. And, finally, the homeless or illegal migrants, the untouchables who matter less than stray dogs.

In Dagenham last week, Bernadette, a 73-year-old ex-council worker, told Labour MP Tom Watson that, to stop them from coming, we should “microchip the immigrants”. A young chap also moaned: “We are forced into being racist.” Of course, it is easier to blame the outsider when life is hard. For our current lords and masters, the scapegoating is a godsend. It diverts folk from intolerable facts.

Here are some: according to research carried out by Professors Danny Dorling and Benjamin Hennig at Oxford University, Britain is more divided than it was in the 1980s under Thatcherism. There has been a 68 per cent increase in the number of poor households and a 33 per cent increase in the number of wealthy households.

Last year, Labour MP Frank Field warned that “a large number of children are turning up at school hungry and returning to a cold, dark, home at the end of the day”. Figures just released show that child poverty rises will reverse the real advances made in the 1990s. (Tony Blair pushed those policies. That bloody war ruined his reputation.)

The Child Poverty Action Group is deeply concerned that the next raft of cuts will lead to more children living on the breadline. Disabled groups are terrorised by existing regulations and those to come. The TUC and Women’s Aid believe “financial abuse” is a growing problem. With changes in the system, women have lost access to their own benefits. Many have to depend on the men to give them cash and suffer violence and deprivation.

In some parts of the country, there are no jobs. In Rochdale, where I went before the election, despair hangs over the place like thick smog. There are jobs in Manchester, but rents are prohibitive and travel expenses too high. How can we then blame the unemployed for such structural obstacles? This is worse than Victorian poverty because some among the great and good then defended and helped to raise the wretched. George Cadbury, Joseph Rowntree, Sir Montague Maurice Burton, for example, were all rich manufacturers who pushed for profits as well as fairness. The post-war idealists who created the welfare state were inspired by these righteous Victorians. Christianity has been replaced by naked capitalism. Piety and social conscience now seem old-fashioned.

But hark, here come the revivalists, beating their drums. On Saturday, thousands of Britons came out to protest against punishing austerity measures. Walking with those on benefits were teachers, lawyers, nurses, students, trade unionists and others. A school librarian from south London was there because a friend who was “benefits sanctioned” was suddenly destitute. A small businessman thought the cuts were immoral. The MPs Diane Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas were there; so, too, Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Lucas spoke with conviction: “It wasn’t people on jobseeker’s allowance who brought down the banks. It wasn’t nurses and teachers and firefighters who were recklessly gambling on international markets.” Singer Charlotte Church reached out to the “most disaffected, desperate fringes of society”.

I wasn’t at the demo because it all seems so futile and hopeless these days. I am now sorry that I stayed away. We cannot give up and roll over. That is the point made by the stunning documentary film We Are Many on the massive, global protest against the Iraq war. Produced by the comedian Omid Djalili, it is showing in selected cinemas. The objectors could not stop the war, but Western leaders haven’t dared to go to war since.

This government’s brutish front-benchers have sharpened their biggest knives and are ready to hack into the state. Labour is cowering in unlit corners.

Remember that the poll tax revolts helped to bring down the Iron Lady. We who oppose austerity must take up cudgels against planned poverty. It is a patriotic duty surely, not to let these savages destroy the bonds between us.




Tory Government’s £12bn Welfare Cuts Agreed

Original post from Sky News

‘…………By Sophy Ridge, Political Correspondent | Sky News

Sky News - Tory Government's £12bn Welfare Cuts Agreed
Sky News – Tory Government’s £12bn Welfare Cuts Agreed

Welfare cuts worth £12bn a year will be announced in next month’s Budget, after the Government agreed “significant” spending reductions in the last few days.

On a weekend during which tens of thousands of protesters marched against austerity , Chancellor George Osborne and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith signalled they would press ahead with cuts.

The welfare changes will include capping benefits at £23,000 a year for each family. Cuts to  are also expected, defying speculation the promised cuts to the welfare budget would be watered down.

In an article in the Sunday Times, the joint letter from Mr Osborne and Mr Duncan Smith wrote: “This government was elected with a mandate to implement further savings from the £220bn  welfare budget. For a start, we will reduce the benefit cap, and have made clear that we believe we need to make significant savings from other working-age benefits.

“We will set out in detail all the steps we will take to bring about savings totalling £12bn a year in next month’s Budget and at the spending review in the autumn.

“It took many years for welfare spending to spiral so far out of control, and it’s a project of a decade or more to return the system to sanity.

“Reforming the damaging culture of welfare dependency and ensuring that work pays has been central to our mission to make Britain fit for the future.”

The planned cuts emerged as anti-austerity protesters demanded an end to government cuts.

Organisers estimated that 250,000 people took part in the demonstrations in London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Bristol, including celebrities Russell Brand and Charlotte Church.

The decision to write the article on the same weekend as the protests will be seen as deliberately provocative.

The two ministers wrote: “All our reforms will have these central aims: to ensure the welfare system promotes work and personal responsibility, while putting expenditure on a sustainable footing.

“Welfare reform is fundamentally about opportunity and changing lives, supporting families to move from dependence to independence – a vital point, because without social mobility there can be no social justice.”