The assault on the unemployed by the government constitutes a hate crime. In fact, the cynical attempt to stigmatise, demonise, and dehumanise millions of people up and down the country, regardless of their personal or individual circumstances, surely ranks as one of the most vicious and brutal acts of any British government in living memory. It leaves us in no doubt that in 2013 the nation is being governed by a clutch of extreme right wing, rich, privileged, dangerous sociopaths, people who are completely out of touch with reality and whose conception of fairness is founded in Darwin's theory of natural selection.
Placing aside for the moment the false premise upon which the reductive and simplistic shirkers v strivers mantra is predicated - i.e. the fact that 70% of those who will suffer as a result of the government's Welfare Reform Bill are in work - it is the lie attached to the perception that everyone who is unemployed has chosen to be and/or remain so as a lifestyle choice. Making this attack on the most vulnerable and powerless section of the population even more vile is that it comes in the midst of the worst economic recession since the 1930s, one that has decimated the jobs market and which has been made worse by the policy by the extreme, nay religious obsession with implementing austerity by Cameron and co in response. Indeed to describe what they are doing as an economic policy is to ascribe dignity to what in truth amounts to a mass experiment in human despair.
It is difficult, even when trying to step into their shoes, to understand what the coalition front bench thinks will be achieved with what can only be adjudged as a declaration of class war. I mean, do they believe that the millions of people they have blithely written off as 'shirkers' will suddenly scurry around and secure employment, thus saving the taxpayer the millions they are accused of stealing? Do they believe their hate campaign will help the untold thousands of the children of those unemployed 'shirkers'? Or are they fully aware that the stress and sense of worthlessness already felt by the unemployed will now be increased, leading to a spike in incidents of suicide, domestic violence, mental illness, and the various other maladies that are connected to poverty?
If the former, it means they are too ignorant to govern the country, while if the latter it means they are too wicked. Perhaps it is a combination of both.
The economic logic behind austerity remains as flawed now as it was when first announced by the coalition. Rather than understand the deficit as a consequence of a global recession decimating demand in the economy, with a sharp fall in tax revenues due to a sharp rise in unemployment, the government is intent on deepening the same cycle by introducing drastic cuts in spending in the forlorn hope that the private sector will invest and create new jobs to replace those lost. But with a lack of demand for goods and services, the private sector is refusing to invest. The most obvious example of this is the banking sector's continuing refusal to lend, despite repeated pleas by the government, and despite being bailed out by the UK taxpayer to the tune of tens of billions of pounds over the past four years.
It is here that, when it comes to the vacuum left by the lack of private sector investment, the government's role as the investor of last resort is desperately required. The reintroduction of demand into an economy suffering a crisis of under-consumption is needed as a matter of urgency, yet instead this Tory-led coalition remains determined to continue down the path of austerity even in the face of the fact it isn't working.
But rather than admit this and change tact, instead it has turned its guns increasingly on the poor and unemployed. It is a recipe for social unrest, which promises refractory consequences for society in general, including the rich friends of the Tories, people for whom recession remains nothing more than a word in the dictionary.
Malcolm X once made the point that "Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about change."
For increasing numbers of people in Britain in 2013, sadness and despair over their condition will inevitably give way to anger. When it does, and when this anger reaches the point of critical mass, the blowback that ensues is anyone's guess.
One thing we do know - every day that this government of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich is in power is a day too many.
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