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

Keir Starmer has a lot to offer

The Labour Party is in the process of making a decision that will decide whether it can recover from the defeat in 2019 General Election.  All the candidates have much to offer and are making their case well. No doubt for some the decision will be difficult.  Others may well have made up their minds on the simple binary of Left-wing-Right-wing. The choice should be whoever is best placed to pull the party together.  Someone who can form a front bench of all talents and across the spectrum in the party. That is what Harold Wilson did in the 1960s.  His government included Roy Jenkins on the right and Barbar Castle on the left; it included Crossman and Crossland, and Tony Benn with Jim Callaghan.  It presented a formidable team. Keir Starmer brings to the top table a formidable career outside politics, having been a human rights lawyer and then Director of Public Prosecutions.   He is a man of integrity and commitment who believes in a fairer society where opportunities are more

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