The myth of those on benefits

9 Dec 2012

I’ve been thinking for a while on what to base my first article around and immediately it came to me. The stigmatisation of the poor. Cameron and his speeches on aspiration and cutting down on those who cheat the system and those right-wing newspapers all talk about this class of people, mainly poor people, who use the state as a bank with an unlimited amount of money, free to give away.  Well, frankly who are these supposed ‘benefit thief’s’, as they call them? As far as cheating the system is concerned, it’s the rich, wealthy business leaders, for example, Philip Green CEO of Top Shop, earning their masses of wealth in Britain, but setting their companies up in Monaco, who are the biggest offenders. 


This common headline used by the Tories, ‘getting people working and not stealing off the state’ is an excuse created by the Conservatives and the right-wing newspapers, an excuse to justify the terrible cuts, an excuse to get the anger off their backs and shift the anger on to the poor. This Tory made belief has made it so that the upper class, those responsible for the mess, have again treated the poor of society like sheep, scapegoating them off into a field. How dare they even try to shift the blame of these horrific times on to those who had nothing to do with it?

I live in Birmingham, home to the worst hit, most unemployed areas in the whole of the UK, and yes I see one or two people in these areas with phones and several children, things which don’t reflect their income, but these people are the minority of the minority. What I see most is people struggling, struggling more than ever. These people are working like hell, to get a job, to provide food for their families only they are constantly knocked down, constantly being told they are thieves because they don’t work at all. Unemployment is ripping through them like a disease, a disease which cannot be cured and the pills the doctor gives them are almost designed especially to hurt them more.




The above photo again highlights how those jobless people, those on benefits, are not settled on living a life of living off the state, they are driven to work, they are not lazy, and they are not what the government portrays them as. These people stand outside Job Centres, waiting for a job. 

This, the real story of what is happening. Think about your community, think about how many people the media says claim off the state, compared to the reality figure of people who claim off the state. It is a huge difference; the media claim it would take you a long time just to find ten of them. Yet by cutting back on these one per cents it is hurting a sizeable portion of society. 

The recent autumn statement again highlights this Governments complete and utter incapability to get down to the real world and cater for the needy. George Osborne cutting his slippery fingers into the poor and their pockets, well what they had of pockets- as the amount of times this government has dug into them is frankly unbelievable. 

The vast majority of those on benefits are people who six months ago, or maybe last year had a job of some sought, they are not scroungers who have been on benefits a long time. If Osborne was really speaking the truth when he attacks the shirkers of society then he should attack the rich business owners, cheating the system, depriving the country of millions of millions of pounds of justified tax money. But the government is too cowardly to do that. We saw that last year with the ‘Jimmy Carr case’ , highlighting one person doesn’t do anything, if you’re going to highlight one you have to highlight the whole group, but that would mean Cameron insulting all his best friends, and he’s not going to do that is he?

I think this unemployment map of Britain reflects this government’s attitude to the non-rich. With areas in already deprived areas in the UK bearing the brutal force of the government’s attacks, and more well off areas particularly in the south getting off lightly. 

As Owen Jones put it- ‘the demonization of the working class’. This government is cutting back on benefits, making the people who have been made redundant and suffered already out of the government’s failed austerity plan, even poorer. It is frankly a myth, a myth that all people on benefits are scroungers because that is only a headline, a headline invented by Cameron and Osborne, trying to shift the blame to the easy targets. By cutting back on those on benefits they are widening the gap between the rich and the poor, shifting the two classes further away from each other, this will not create the inspiration class that Osborne talks so much about. 

As I have said before, look at your own communities, look at the amount of cheaters who are poor, it is tiny, and then look at the rich cheaters. The people so wealthy they can afford the best accountants to fiddle their earnings, so they pay less tax than a cleaner does- now that is more common than the ‘Supposed under class in the poor’. It is a myth, the amount of people skiving the system, a complete and utter myth. The government is cutting the amount of benefits people receive, for political gain only. 

Instead of chasing the poor, the once employed, but government made unemployed. They should be chasing down the fiddlers, the guys with top accountants, not cutting the amount of jobs in the department of government which hunts tax avoiders down.  This will only make the army chasing the avoiders smaller in proportion to the people they’re chasing, so they’re not exactly going to win, are they?

People are angry, angry about the fact that the government has made it so that when you see a poor person, you think ‘benefit thief’, and they know the class they say they’re hitting is really invisible, but they are just out there to hurt the easy targets.

Why are the poor struggling to get around, the benefits they receive being cut, the thing the government gave them, the only thing showing remorse for the government’s failed economic policies being taken away? If we are ‘all in this together’, then why are the poor, receiving less benefits, while the rich receive a tax cut? The government is playing the child’s game, shifting the blame on to the needy and the electorate aren’t stupid, they will punish the government in 2015.

By Gabriel Dobrashian-Yates


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