A brief and blunt discussion about ‘economic competence’ before the general election

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The question asked shouldn’t ever have been how will Labour fund their costed manifesto. We have permitted this expedient Conservative diversion for long enough. It should have been exposed for what it is when George Osborne was rebuked for lying about Labour’s administration and economic management, and David Cameron was rebuked twice for claiming that his government were “paying down the debt“. They have done no such thing, however, and despite a substantial number of official rebukes for telling lies, the Conservatives have remained blatantly conservative with the truth

The real question that matters is this: where is the public’s money that citizens, their parents and grandparents have paid into the Treasury all these years? Why is there nothing to show for it over the past seven years? Why are increasing numbers of citizens of every age experiencing hardship and distress

This is a despicable way for a government to treat people who have contributed to this country’s fortune and development.

Why are older people being robbed of their lifelong national insurance contribution and tax investment and now being told they must fund their own care?  Why are older people being forced to work longer before they may retire? New government “calculations” suggest a “hard Brexit” – with migration being dramatically reduced – could push up the age of retirement and force people to work into their mid-70s. It has created further uncertainty regarding the future of state pensions.

At the same time, there has been an unprecedented rise in the mortality rate, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data. For the past few decades, there has been a very strong improvement in life expectancy in the UK, both at birth but also for older people 

But that trend has slowed down since 2011, and is now reversing. According to the actuarial company, Mercer, winter deaths of people aged 65 and over has increased by 11 per cent over the last two years. Yet the Conservatives are planning to cut winter fuel payements to “target those most in need”.

There’s that Tory phrase again, which reflects a euphemising tendency of a government that does not care for the welfare of UK citizens, and signals the intent to strip away every single civilised public support mechanism and provision that has grown from the social gains of our post-war settlement. The social gains PAID FOR BY THE PUBLIC FOR THE PUBLIC. 

What kind of government does not care that citizens are dying prematurely because of their policies? Or that cases of malnutrition in the UK are rising?

Why are d
isabled people being left without adequate living standards, dignity, independence and sometimes, being left to die, because we have a government that can’t even observe their basic human rights? The only rights that matter to the Conservatives are the property “rights” of the wealthy and the right of millionaires to accummulate more money by dispossessing everyone else.

The “Economic Enclosure Acts” would be a more fitting name for the Conservative “reforms” and austerity programme.

Where has the money gone that was taken from those people targeted with punitive policies and a deeply patronising “behaviour change” agenda that simply reflects a government’s traditional class prejudices, all in the name of “economic growth” and the ideologically driven Conservative austerity programme, the burden of which fell on our poorest and most vulnerable citizens?

What kind of government financially punishes disabled and elderly people simply for being disabled and old? It’s the Conservatives that need to change their behaviours. Perhaps someone should inform the economic Darwinists in government that we moved on from dehumanising eugenic policies after the terrible consequences of them in Nazi Germany. 

What is the point of a government in an “economically stable”and wealthy first world country that does not ensure a basic standard of living and health for the majority of citizens, and fails to fulfil basic human rights obligations?

This is a government that has failed to protect the human rights of our children.

Why are our children going hungry, fed by food banks and by concerned school teachers when their parents are in work or have worked? Why are young people under 25, disabled people and people in social housing not considered worthy of having a secure home of their own? 

Why are those in low paid or part time, insecure work being punished by the government with in-work sanctions, for the sins of exploitative, increasingly unregulated employers and rubbish government supply-led labour market policies that clearly don’t work?

We have permitted a government to relinquish its responsibilities and obligations towards some members of the public. Why doesn’t the social and economic welfare of these social groups matter to the government? Are we not citizens in a so-called first world democracy?

Where is the investment in our public services? Why are rogue multinationals making billions from the public on the pretext of “saving money”? If that’s “economic competence” then I’m Jerry Cornelius, one of the greatest fictional and darkly hilarious anti-hero nihilists of all time. 

What have the Conservatives done wth OUR money, our NHS and our public services? And why on earth would we continue letting them “disappear” our money, adding to the now massive national deficit? The Conservatives have borrowed more money this past seven years than every single Labour government combined throughout history. There is NOTHING to show for it, except for a few rogue multinationals like Atos, Maximus and G4S making huge and private profit and a few millionaires hoarding our wealth and demanding more.

The UK now has the highest level of  socioeconomic inequality in Europe.

THIS is what Cameron meant when he said he would “tackle” the “culture of entitlement”. He meant that ordinary people would no longer be treated as democratic citizens with rights. He meant that our society should regress to a time when there was no legal aid, social housing, welfare state and no National Health Service. Despicably, the Conservatives have deliberately stigmatised groups of citizens in order to get away with dismantling our social safeguards, caliming that they are a “burden” to “tax payers”. As the older generation about to be hit with pension cuts and the “dementia tax” will tell you, ordinary people are ALL tax payers. 

The authoritarians need to go.

The NHS and welfare state are essential for the lives, health and wellbeing of our fellow citizens as well as ourselves. Without being able to meet basic needs, people are unable to meet higher level psychosocial ones, such education and work. Ancel Keys once said “Starved people cannot be taught democracy.” Abraham Maslow would certainly agree with that. He said  “Man lives by bread alone when there is no bread.” When people are hungry, food becomes their only priority and motivation.

Any effective measure of a government’s economic competence must surely include an evaluation of the proportion of a population that are able to meet their basic living requirements. 

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If you value our public services, including those providing emergency care such as the NHS, the the fire service, police, social care, mental health services, social security and pensions and education, all of which have been savagely cut these past 7 years, then you need to know that they are NOT safe in Conservative hands. Nor are our human rights. A genuinely strong and stable economy ought to include everyone. 

The Labour Party has made a comittment in their manifesto to ensure that our public services are safe, funded and there for everyone who needs them. They will also preserve our human rights act. Human rights are there to ensure the wealthy and powerful are accountable to the rest of us, and to ensure governments don’t abuse and exclude social groups, such as disabled people, elderly people and children. Like access to justice – and legal aid has also almost gone at the hands of the Conservatives – human rights are the bedrock of democratic societies.

If you value the civilised and civilising features of our society, then you must vote on 8 June to preserve them. If you don’t have need of them yourself, consider that your parents, children and friends may do in the future. Let’s halt the socially regressive destruction of our public services.

Let’s make sure that everyone is included in our society, and ensure that we live in a democracy.

Let’s make June the end of May. 

Let’s take our country forward again.

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12 thoughts on “A brief and blunt discussion about ‘economic competence’ before the general election

  1. A family friend who has serious health problems (Brain tumours and epilepsy being just 2 of them), was in hospital, fighting for her life, when she missed her f2f assessment, to change over her indefinite DLA to the new PIP.
    Despite letters from her consultants and doctors, the DWP cancelled all of her benefits, so she is now living with her 4 year old son, on £20 a week child benefit, while trying to fight against this cruel decision, and trying to get her health back to what is ‘normal’ for her. She is also trying to prevent herself and her son becoming homeless, because she has to find £120 extra each month in rent, above what is allowed to her by the local council, to pay for the small house she rents privately, because ‘she’s too young for a bungalow’, or so our local council has told her (her health problems make stairs a real safety issue).
    This is the ‘strong and stable’ society the tories have made for us! 😦

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    1. Sadly this seems the way that the Benefits system is going, a nasty and sanction based situation. I saw that for myself in 2016 when I was out of work, I had housing benefit cut without warning and I appealed against it, this case is still going on although my claim is ended.

      I fail to see why we are spending billions on foreign aid yet people here who need help are cut off from it.

      The Benefits system is a shambles and needs to be replaced with a one size payment for all working or claiming, it will stimulate the economy and is the answer, Universal Credit is in chaos – they send me letters even though my claim ended months ago saying I informed them of a change of circumstances, which I have not.

      Whoever gets in to power in June needs to sweep away this failing shambles and look after our people first.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree with you, and especially about giving a citizen’s payment to everyone, which can then be increased by working, whether full, or part-time.
        It would stop the shaming of people who, through no fault of their own, have hit rock bottom, either through health problems, or disability, and it would, hopefully, free up jobs that could help our youngsters get started in their work life.
        With this sort of thing, I’d hope that true appreticeships would be revived, so that our future workers will be trained properly, and well, in whatever craft they choose, without the fear of starving (my husband had to endure ridiculously low wages, in his printer’s apprenticeship, many years ago now 🙂
        And, as you say, it brings more money within our economy, which will stimulate growth in real terms, with real products, thus bringing more tax via sales and VAT, for the government to use on keeping our NHS going, along with everything else that was sold into private hands, and run down purely for the profit.
        I prefer to see a slow and steady growth that way, than the constant boom and bust the tories seem to delight in.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re right, but sadly the Government I was told were not even looking at this option.

        I wrote a paper for the government on the failings of the benefit system and I urged them to consider Basic Income.

        I was out of work in 2016 and many of the jobs that used to be in the middle level have simply gone, automation and robotics is massively hitting our way of life, silently and unnoticed until it is too late.

        Those science fiction ‘dreams’ of 50-60 years of driverless cars and not having to work are coming true.

        When we get proxy living with machines doing our menial stud, connect that to big data and you will have a different world to today where we may not have to work as we do now.

        Much of what we can do now such as marketing, finance etc can be handled electronically. It is only the transferable skills jobs that robots cannot do that will give us work, but for how long?

        Having fought a claim against the DWP for over a year which is still not resolved, it is clear that they have caused errors but are trying to make me financially responsible for them.

        The DWP is out of date and trying to continue in a 1990’s model of operation that is no longer a reality, it is neither an employment agency or a skills agency offering training because I have seen it fails at both those aims.

        Their idea of training is to send you out to work in charity shops etc, just to add filler to a CV, I refused to do that having 20 years of marketing, business development, sales and graphic arts skills, it would damage my CV. They also tried to put me in ’employability training’ working at a Tesco store, thankfully I got a job offer before I had to decline that offer.

        They’re largely offering 1st and 2nd jobber positions to people like me over 50 with far more experience, even the Tesco interviewers surprised with my level of skills why I was going for their 1 day a week job, it was down to a pushy job coach who wanted me off her books. She also didn’t like the fact that I had worked for the DHSS 22 years ago briefly and I knew the job she was doing.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s stories like my daughter’s friend, and now yours, that convince me that you are right – the DWP seem to be living, not actually in the 1990’s as you said, but actually in the 1890’s,- something the conservatives have been doing since those times of negligable wages, poor houses, and slave labour.
        As you say, until it’s brought up to the realities of the age we actually live in, I feel pity for anyone who has to deal with them, especially for our own age group 😦

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      4. They cut off my housing benefit with no notice and left me in £3000 of arrears in rent owed, letters were sent ‘for office manager’ with no name on so I could not even speak to people, apparently this rent stoppage was because the DWP had fouled up and not asked for a commercial tenancy agreement.

        So instead of asking me for it they held a secret review and cut the money off there was no way to appeal it or was I told why until some 3 months later.

        I had to involve my local MP because I could get nowhere, my job coach wouldn’t help me at all, now they are trying to recover £900 from me because they screwed up. I wanted to compel the person who cut off this benefit to appear at the tribunal but the Judge has said I can’t do this, great. Someone screws up my life when I was already in a very bad position and I can’t even ask someone whose wages I help pay to account for their gross negligence?

        The DWP is hiding its head in the sand over the need for a Basic Income payment system, it costs £389 million to run the DWP, it is money wasted in my view, it needs largely automating and a flat payment made to everyone 16 and over.

        Basic Income is the future, the need for it was predicted 60 years ago along with driverless cars, that time is now fast approaching. It appears I am not alone in having to deal with people at the DWP who don’t care and there is no management of situations like mine by anyone.

        Some of the staff are good but I have had to wait 10 plus minutes on a £premium rate line to get someone ‘end the call’ when they can’t or won’t help me. My complaint has gone to the Universal Credit Director. They should just admit they cocked up and leave me alone!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on stewilko's Blog and commented:
    Please, if you haven’t made your mind up, or you’re one of the few who are considering voting Conservative. I for one don’t think any less of you voting Conservative but I beg you to reconsider. Just read this, or some of Kittysjones articles. Either though WordPress or on Facebook. Then you maybe inspired and whole new chapter of your life will open. You may see our country, some of our supposedly caretaker MPs. Voted in by us. Voted in to work in our and the country’s best interests. Although, with a little help from billionaire, millionaire media and coperative friends using all the apparatus open to them to keep them in power. Please, once again read the excellent informative articles and decide

    Like

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