Someone to Blame | The Jackal

19 Aug 2011

Someone to Blame

Last month, the Nation ran a story on Iain Duncan Smith, who is the United Kingdoms Work & Pension Secretary.

As always it was a complete beat up to promote National’s archaic beneficiary bashing policies that have in fact been a complete disaster for New Zealand. So far all their right wing agenda has achieved is an increase in inequality and unemployment.

Recently National announced its privatisation plans for welfare. They will now outsource the "problem" to privately run businesses, paying these organizations around $15,000 per young person to “manage” them into employment. In my opinion, that money would be better spent directly on impoverished families to lift them out of poverty.

Just like his New Zealand counterpart, Smith expresses false concern for the poor and the social costs communities endure because of high levels of unemployment, when really the only concern they have is the bottom line.

The United Kingdom recently dismantled many worthwhile youth courses, cut benefits, implemented stricter eligibility criteria, cut housing subsidies and basically gutted the welfare system. The austerity measures pissed a lot of people off, and none more so than unemployed youth. There is no doubt that one of the main reasons the riots occurred is because of the resentment many felt towards the government.

The conformist questions that Narelle Suisted ask in the video below fit perfectly into the Tory rhetoric we so often hear on the biased Nation program. Ironically Smith says that he doesn't think state control of the media is a good idea. Does he know what program he's being interviewed on I wonder?

You might have noticed that Nuisted says welfare shouldn’t be something the state provides. If not the state, then who? In effect they're promoting tax money going directly to privately owned companies to manage the welfare dependent. It’s yet another money grab for their rich mates that will ultimately increase costs and create further resentment while doing nothing to reduce poverty and unemployment levels.

Just like other so called English Lords, this toffy nosed Tory prick thought his countries welfare system was advanced compared to the little colony known as New Zealand. In my opinion the recent riots have proven him completely wrong. They have shown the end result of negative right wing welfare reform.

You would think that such violence might be a wake up call for those in power, but the only thing I've heard is propositions for state control of social media, harsher welfare measures and punishment for those protestors who did not hide their identities. In layman's terms, they beat them with a stick and got a result. Now they're getting an even bigger stick.

All the while the elitists have largely ignored the fact that you don't get rioting unless there's already social dysfunction. It doesn't just happen. In my opinion, the finger of blame points directly at those in power. Their blinkered reasoning, policies of punishment and blame the victim mentality was only ever going to result in widespread rebellion.

The British governments calculated decision to meet the cost of any potential uprising because of their austerity measures, opposed to ensuring the people do not feel the need to protest, is one that no democratic government should ever make. Careful consideration must be given to preventative measures and a reduction in inequality, but unfortunately this doesn't seem to be what's happening here or in the UK.

Smith thinks the debate in New Zealand is only about cutting funding because of the costs, when the reality is that welfare costs increased in New Zealand because the right wing created more unemployment so as to keep wages low. In this way National clearly had no intention of closing the wage gap with Australia, breaking one of their key campaign promises to adhere to the wishes of big business.

After wading through much rhetoric, I have come to the conclusion that the right wing don't comprehend some simple facts. You reduce unemployment by creating jobs, thus reducing costs. You reduce poverty and inequality by giving the poor enough to survive on. It's not fucking rocket science people.

The government needs to undertake policies that create jobs and reduce inequality, not give more taxpayer money to private organizations to manage the unemployed. Many under funded and understaffed organizations are already in place to help families that are not managing to cope.

If the government wants to help the poor, it should ensure people’s basic needs are met and they have the ability to maintain themselves and their families properly. This is not achieved by employing organizations with ulterior motives and cutting funding to organizations that are already in place.

Privatising welfare will be far more expensive and less beneficial to those caught in the poverty trap. Although sadly lacking in many instances, Work and Income at least has some checks and balances in place to ensure abuse of beneficiaries is not endemic. However there will be no independent authority to maintain proper treatment in a privatized welfare system.

National has shown that they have no plan to create jobs or reduce inequality. We must conclude that their welfare policy direction is in part window dressing and will do nothing to resolve New Zealand’s extremely high youth unemployment levels. It will simply open up the government’s coffers to abuse, and create unneeded courses and fake employment solely for the purpose of achieving payment.

Such measures will also falsely reduce youth unemployment statistics, which in my opinion is the government’s main reason for implementing such idiotic policy. National is embarrassed by the high levels of unemployment, after campaigning on job creation.

With National’s recent welfare policy announcement, it would appear that they’re following Smith’s dogma and the British government's social welfare failure to the letter. In light of the resulting consequences, getting advice from Iain Duncan Smith is pretty god damn stupid! But what else should we expect from a party based on appearances rather than substance?