Skip to main content

Duncan-Smith at it again!

Tory scourge of the unemployed,  Iain Duncan-Smith is at it again.

Now he urges the government not to bring in a universal income during the pandemic because it would 'be a disincentive to work'.   One really does wonder which bit of the planet he lives on!

But he has form with this.  His view of those on benefits is that they are mostly shirkers.  He was one of the Tories that relished the prospect of cutting benefits to the 'workshy' poorest.



A clue to his attitude came many years ago from a comment made by Duncan-Smith in an interview with Nick Robinson on the BBC.

Speaking of people on benefits, he said

"I want to change your life..to be a better person'. 


This clearly reflects a view held about those on benefits: they are not 'good' people. At best it represents an inadvertent viewpoint 'look we want to help you back to work'. At worst it reflects a deep-seated attitude that stigmatises those on benefits as 'work-shy scroungers'.

It is an almost messianic vision of the poor being miserable because of their own bedevilment, and the self-righteous such as Duncan-Smith will drive the devil out of them! 

I have commented on this in previous posts. To stereotype a group as 'scroungers', 'work-shy' or suffering from 'welfare dependency' seeks to set them apart so they can be attacked and made to experience the most significant potential harm in the utilitarian equation.

It tries to win public support by turning them one against the other. It is profoundly unethical because it is applying judgement to a group as though it applies to all within the group.

Let us not believe the Tories have changed their attitude.  They haven't.  Regardless of the huge sums, they are now making available by borrowing to save us from the worst ravages of the coronavirus, they will revert to type once we are 'saved'.   They will not spend to rescue the poor from poverty.  

Why would they? They believe that the poor are poor because they are 'poor people'.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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

A time for every purpose

All life moves. Or, more precisely, all life moves purposefully.  This is true even for trees and plants.  Movement is essential for maintaining life.  Animals migrate; plants disperse.  Some form of migration is an ingredient of all life.  For many organisms, it is a key function of reproduction.  We don't reproduce merely to create a new organism, but also to disperse the population - finding new fertile ground, or resources. Reproduction is a form of migration. Reproduction isn't merely to replicate. Reproduction produces change and diversity.  While we may have strong resemblences in families, we also have differences.  Creating a difference is how evolution works.  In this sense, nature is a continuous exploratory process, finding what works best.  Nature senses change and responds.  Some of this is immediate and physiological or behavioural; some of it is over generations.  If we look at a forest over long periods of time, we would see that it shifts. There is a movement

A weaver's tail - the harvest mouse

Living in the grass is a tiny mouse: the tiny harvest mouse, with a wonderful scientific name that sounds like the title of a Charles Dickens Novel,  Micromys minutus.   It is the only British mammal with a prehensile tail. It uses its tail to hold on to the slender grass stems, at the tops of which it builds a nest. Photo: Nick Fewing These tiny mammals (just around 5 cm long) build a spherical nest of tightly woven grass at the top of tall grasses, in which the female will give birth to about six young.  In the fields, we see cows and horses brushing away flies with their tails; often they will stand side-by-side and end-to-end, and help each other.  Two tails are better than one!  In nature, tails are put to good use.  Just as a tight-rope walker uses his pole for balance, so for some species, a tail provides balance. When running, a squirrel uses its tail as a counterbalance to help the squirrel steer and turn quickly, and the tail is used aerodynamically in flight.  But many anima