Skip to main content

The Conservatives brand the unemployed as 'shirkers'


The Conservative Party has adopted an aggressive set of campaign advertisements targeted at 60 constituencies contrasting "hard-working families" and "people who don't work." This divisive advertising represents once again their attempt to label the unemployed as lazy 'benefit scroungers'. It also demonstrates how little they understand unemployment and poverty.

The notion that there are 'hard-working families' and 'people who don't work' assumes these groups exist as separate social groups. One result of the recession is that hard-working families are affected. Company failures, factory closures, and lay-offs don't just impact on 'scroungers'. This is why the results of austerity are so devastating. It is indiscriminate in its effect. It is also why austerity doesn't work. It drives families, hard-working families, into poverty. 

Unemployment is a key driver of poverty. Two-thirds of working-age adults in families where one or more of the adults are unemployed are poor. Unemployment, particularly long term unemployment, grinds away devastatingly on families creating poor housing, poor diet, and ill-health. It leads to a cycle of debt and targets for loan sharks. It leads to homelessness, eviction, repossession. It destroys lives. It leads to a loss of dignity and well being.

This is why it is unethical of the government to target those most affected by austerity, brand them as work-shy scroungers and attempt to turn those better off against them. Mr Cameron once said, 'we are all in this together'. Now the unemployed and those receiving benefits have become the government's scapegoats for the failure of their economic policies. 

In the aftermath of the riots of August 2011, the Prime Minister said: "This is a country of good people." Now it seems he is saying this is a country of 'good' and 'bad' people; the haves are 'good'; the have nots are 'bad'; 'strivers' and 'shirkers'. It is a disgraceful turnaround, and he knows this is not true. It is cynical politics at its worst.




Comments

  1. Afraid to evoke the Godwins law, but this is a repeat of something that happened many decades ago, I had thought we had evolved beyond that. but guess not

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, sadly we have been here before. It is the same 'on your bike' mentality.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The lion and the wildebeest

Birds flock, fish school, bees swarm, but social being is more than simply sticking together.  Social groups enable specialisation and a sharing of abilities, and enhances ability, learning and creating new tricks. The more a group works together, the more effective they become as a team.  Chimpanzees learn from each other how to use stones to crack nuts, or sticks to get termites.  All around us we see cooperation and learning in nature.  Nature is inherently creative.  Pulling together becomes a rallying cry during a crisis.  We have heard it throughout the coronavirus pandemic.  "We are all in this together", a mantra that encourages people to adopt a common strategy. In an era of 'self-interest' and 'survival of the fittest,'  and 'selfish gene', we lose sight of the obvious conclusion from the evidence all around us.   Sticking together is more often the better approach.  This is valid for the lion as it is also for the wildebeest.   We don't

Noise pollution puts nature at risk

 "I just want a bit of peace and quiet!" Let's get away from all the hustle and bustle; the sound of endless traffic on the roads, of the trains on the railway, and the planes in the sky; the incessant drone; the noise. We live in a world of man-made noise; screeching, bellowing, on-and-on in an unmelodious cacophony.  This constant background noise has now become a significant health hazard.   With average background levels of 60 decibels, those who live in cities are often exposed to noise over 85 decibels, enough to cause significant hearing loss over time.  It causes stress, high blood pressure, headache and loss of sleep and poor health and well-being.   In nature, noise has content and significance.  From the roar of the lion, the laughing of a hyena,  communication is essential for life; as the warning of danger, for bonding as a group or a pair, finding a mate, or for establishing a position in a hierarchy - chattering works.  Staying in touch is vital to working

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba