It’s amazing what you can get away with if the brass in your neck is sufficiently thick. George Osborne and his Cameron cabinet cronies have decided that too much money is going on benefits, so they’re planning to cut them by £10 billion. That’s on top of the £18 billion cut they’ve already got in the pipeline. Osborne says he simply must cut the budget further - the “wallets of the rich” alone aren’t going to get Britain out of recession.
You never spoke a truer word, George. The wallets of the rich will stay firmly in the pockets of the rich. For example, remember the ‘mansion tax’ - the proposal to put a 1% tax on wealthy homes? The howls of the rich will make that one a non-runner. And just to make sure it’s a non-runner, they’ve managed to convince those who are hard-working tax-payers that people on benefits are a shower of lazy cheats who should really be forced to get off their bums, pull the curtains and go out and get a job
There are a lot of questions that need to be asked here. The first and most obvious one is, how many of the people shaping up to pass these cuts in the British parliament - how many in Cameron’s cabinet, for example - will be affected? How many of their relatives? It’s a safe bet the answer is none, zilch, zero. Cameron’s cabinet is stuffed with people who are extremely wealthy - millionaires and in some cases multi-millionaires.
What you have here is a classic example of the top of society kicking the bottom of society until they do what they’re told. The Tories, who were never done telling Labour about the need to free people from the interfering hand of the state, have now themselves reached into the heart of families and squeezed with deadly intent.
You thought you had the right to decide what size your family would be? Uh-uh. Theoretically, you still can decide. But while you’re deciding, Georgie Osborne will be pressing a financial pistol against your forehead. The more children you have, the more you’ll suffer as your benefits shrink rather than grow to match need. The state, in short, is going to decide the number of children you have. Now where have we heard that one before? Ah yes - China. Mmm.
The other change the Tories are keen to make is to have anyone under 25 go back home living with their ma or da, rather than draining the benefit system. You think that by 25, people should be running their own lives, rather than returning to the family nest, maybe with a husband/wife/partner? And that if they do, it could well mean friction and discord for family relations? You think right. But hey, this is a recession and David Cameron is worth £12 million.
They say you can tell the level of civilization a society has reached by looking at how they treat the most vulnerable in it. You don’t get much more vulnerable than being on benefits, or being dependent on a funds-starved health service, or being a second or third or fifth child who, along with his/her parents, suffers financially for having been born. Meanwhile, the British government plans to spend somewhere between £20billion and £35 billion on a replacement for the Trident nuclear programme. In other words, Cameron and Co. are happy to spend billions upon billions in building weapons aimed at killing foreign civilians (that’s what nuclear weapons do, Virginia) while they kick the financial stuffing out of those at the bottom of the social scale at home.
All this, by the way, will have a direct effect on similar people here in the north of Ireland. Which goes to show how dependent we are, despite our Assembly, on Mother Britain.