Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Theresa May's message to Britain: "don't get old, don't get sick, don't lose your job"

The 2015 General Election was an absolute disaster to any non-Scottish person with even remotely progressive social values. The Scots could celebrate their remarkable wipe-out of the neoliberalism-fixated Westminster establishment parties, but elsewhere there was little to celebrate after Ed Miliband squandered his golden opportunity to win a landslide victory by opposing ruinous Tory austerity dogma, because he chose to offer a disgustingly unpalatable and uninspiring prescription of austerity-lite snake oil instead.

One of the few highlights of the 2015 election was the people of Wirral West seeing sense and ditching their atrocious MP Esther McVey.

The ruthlessly self-serving McVey had spent the previous three years acting as Iain Duncan Smith's merciless henchwoman at the DWP, and the people of Wirral West were rightly sickened and appalled at her callous attitudes towards the poor, the sick, the disabled, and the unemployed, so lost her seat, and her role in government.

McVey used to brag about how rising dependency of food banks is a good thing, and she also had a central role in promoting the draconian Tory sanctions regime.

The mainstream media rarely address the issue of the benefits sanction regime that McVey had such an important role in expanding, but even fleeting analysis reflects extremely badly on the Tory party, so it's no surprise it gets so little coverage.

The first thing to note about McVey's beloved sanctions regime is that despite a barrage of lies and denials (including from McVey herself), the Tories operated a system of benefits sanctions targets and league tables designed to incentivise Jobcentre staff into sanctioning quotas of people per month. The purpose being to drive down the unemployment figures by throwing people off benefits for the most trivial of infractions (people out of work and not claiming benefits are not classed as unemployed!).

The next thing to note is that the most likely people to get caught up in the Tory benefits sanctions regime are the most vulnerable. Just think about it for a moment. If you were a hard-pressed Jobcentre employee with a target of sanctioning let's say two people a week, would it be easier to go after the minority of hardened benefits scroungers who probably know the benefits rules better than you do yourself, or to trick a few people with mental health issues or learning disabilities into committing sanctionable mistakes?

Just take the case of the former soldier David Clapson who was sanctioned and left penniless. He died at home from diabetic ketoacidosis after his electricity was cut off leaving his supply of insulin to spoil in the fridge. When opposition MPs questioned McVey over the dangers of sanctioning vulnerable people like David Clapson, she responded by accusing them of "inflaming" the issue

Just imagine the scheming callousness of a woman whose own policies have resulted in a man's death, who refuses to accept any responsibility, but instead tries to play politics by posing as the victim herself.

Another important thing to note is that Esther McVey repeatedly talked out of her posterior claiming that the sanctions regime exist to "help" the unemployed. 

The reality is the exact opposite. Numerous studies have shown that leaving people penniless hinders their ability to find work. Just think about it. If you can't afford to eat properly, clean your clothes, get a haircut, public transport fares, your phone/Internet bill, the cost of printing CVs ... would you really be more likely to find a job? All the research says no you wouldn't. Esther McVey says yes you would.

Then there's the absolute kicker. It turns out that deliberately thrusting hundreds of thousands of people per year into absolute destitution actually costs the taxpayer more money than it saves in reduced benefits payments!

This means that Esther McVey's draconian system of condemning hundreds of thousands of people per year to absolute poverty actually costs the taxpayer vast sums of money, making it a grotesque example of taxpayer subsidised Tory malice.

After she was rejected by the people of Wirral West the Tories handed McVey a ticket back into Westminster by parachuting her into the super-safe Tory seat of Tatton at the 2017 General Election. Now, within the space of a year, Theresa May has actually appointed this callous and scheming woman as the head of the DWP.

Make no mistake, this appointment is a clear statement of intent from Theresa May. She's not going to reverse course and stop squandering taxpayers' cash on the kinds of wasteful,  socially destructive, and downright malicious Tory impoverishment schemes favoured by Iain Duncan Smith.

In fact she's decided to double-down on this kind of disgusting hard-right malice by appointing the cruellest and most uncaring of Iain Duncan Smith's minions to carry on his work of punishing and abusing the poor and vulnerable.

You couldn't really get a stronger indication of Theresa May's absolute contempt for the welfare of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society than the appointment of Esther McVey as the head of the DWP.

So be warned. This is Theresa May's unmistakable message to the people of Britain: "don't get old, don't get sick, and don't lose your job".

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