I am being bashed on the void for saying out loud what majority of the society thinks. For trying to defend those on benefits who are doing all they can to manage on little money. Perhaps, I should shut up as alienating your readership might work for the Daily Mail but will probably send my readership plummeting. Here’s a sample comment (re people will struggle when monthly benefits and direct housing benefit payments will be introduced):
If we choose to see creating a similar (or a worse) situation for others as a ‘reasonable’ response to their ‘unacceptable behaviours’, in the same way ‘imposing a sanction’ has at some stage become acceptable to mainstream society, (justified as ‘cruel to be kind’ and ‘helping to motivate’), wouldn’t that be crossing the Rubicon? (albeit DWP are already on the other side).
Sanctions are there to punish in order to elicit acceptable behaviour. When you have a kid, you impose sanctions – clean up the room or no telly for you. You boss imposes sanctions – either you come in and do your job every day or I will fire you. They have always been morally acceptable. Otherwise it would be a free for all.
Let’s say I have coeliac disease. To be able to function and work, I cannot eat gluten – pizza, bread, pasta and loads of other “normal” food. I can eat the expensive gluten-free products but I don’t like them so instead I stuff myself with all the forbidden foodstuffs. Then I suffer the consequences and am unable to work. Over time, my health deteriorates making me more and more disabled and dependent on state help. Oh, I have also been diagnosed with food addiction. I am not going to change anything because what is the point – I have my house, my benefits and I am happy when I eat. It’s me who suffers the consequences of my actions. It’s my life, my health, my choice. Is that ok?
It doesn’t really matter what your answer is because the general public says it is not ok. They already think we are all like that. They voted the Tories in. They will vote them in again if nothing changes. What we are currently saying is that social tenants will not cope with rent money in their accounts. That many benefit claimants will not be able to function with monthly payments and will spend it all at once. That many are addicts. Many are not that great at organisational skills, budgeting, etc. We are giving our “enemies” arguments against us and practically doing IDS’s job for him.
If somebody says that the benefits are too low and then goes on to add that household management is too difficult a skill, then it sort of cancels the initial argument out. It’s like saying “I am a useless driver. Can I take your porshe on a spin?”. No. People might think that, perhaps, if you were better at it, you wouldn’t have the trouble you are experiencing. So many people think they could manage on £53 a week. They make many assumptions about our habits, most of them wrong. The stereotype of the smoking, drinking sky watcher comes to mind. They think we are like them and spend a fiver here and there to treat ourselves. They think we actually like the value food we buy. That looking for clothes in charity shops is such fun. They are even doing it themselves but what for me is an acceptable old shirt with no holes for them is “vintage” because they do have the choice to buy new. They will find it really hard to understand because we are clouding the real issues (benefit cuts, unfair sanctions, Atos and the dismal situation in the work market) by worrying about people who do not worry about themselves. We will be pigeonholed along with them.
Social consensus says that a mother with young children will get help (eg social housing) before a single man. The disabled before the healthy. I am just asking that that poor “healthy” man or woman that are currently getting no points despite doing everything right are not on the bottom of the pile. After all, if you have two kids and one of them is an angel and the other is misbehaving, you do not go out of your way to reward the latter at the expense of the former. If you do, you are destroying two lives in the process: one learns he will get what he wants no matter what he does and the other learns that he won’t get anything no matter how hard he tries. At the moment, both kids are being punished because of the misdemeanour of one.
Anyway, that’s the last I have to say on this matter. I will reply to any comments left on my blog but will not go out of my way to do it anywhere else. If thinking what I am thinking makes me a Tory then so be it.