No bread for the quick or the dead, but you’re still expected to work

27_september_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,213

Sunday 27 September 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Contrary to popular opinion in what are laughing called the minds of Tories, we are not ‘the common herd’, nor are we ‘stock’, nor are we beasts of burden to be forced into any job vacancy that becomes available regardless of what that job is and whether we are fit and able to do it. Back in 2010 Iain Duncan Smith said it was a “sin” that people failed to take up available jobs.

Very recently Smith told parliament that he wanted to get disabled people in work up to the levels of ‘normal, non-disabled people’, meaning proportionate numbers comparable to the general population. Of course in Smith’s twisted mind all illness and disability is thoroughly abnormal and aberrant and will be improved by work and people made well through hard labour. Only the other day my best mate, who is being treated for cancer, told me the DWP had closed his claim for support because he did a few hours work and that if he still needed support he’d have to make a new claim. In one of many phone calls, he managed to talk to a human being instead of a DWP robot in human form, who told him no action should have been taken because printed clearly at the top of his claim was information clearly stating his claim was awaiting a decision maker to, er, make a decision.

Of course it still remains that Smith’s incentive of preference to support and encourage people into work is his despicable sanctions regime. This applies equally to paid work and unpaid Workfare or ‘mandatory voluntary work’ as Lord Hodgson, member of the all-party parliamentary group on civil society and volunteering, put it. It doesn’t say much for the ennobled gentleman that he knows not what an oxymoron is, nor yet that forced labour is illegal under human rights law, but then, to be fair, nor do the police as my visit to them on this very issue revealed when I was told I needed to pursue it as a civil issue.

So profound is Smith’s touching faith in the efficacy and healing properties of work that he even finds people in a coma fit for work and sanctions them for not filling out their ESA50 forms without good cause, a coma clearly not being a good enough reason. I can only wonder whether Smith is himself not in some kind of permanent coma as he seems incapable of any kind of joined up, coherent, thought but wanders through life causing mayhem, death and destruction as if he’s on a holy moral crusade (which he is).

What has become abundantly clear is that it is the Tory view that if you squeeze ordinary people hard enough, deprive them of the means of survival, test them and retest them, ignore all evidence from experts and hound them to the point of death and beyond, we will, like butterflies emerging from chrysalises, suddenly be transformed into ‘hard working people’ who will ‘do the right thing’, for whom low pay, no pay, will be no object to our ability to labour at as many jobs as possible in the vain hope that some one will grant us a crust of bread one day.

Comment: Iain Duncan Smith is undoing years of struggle for disabled rights

6 thoughts on “No bread for the quick or the dead, but you’re still expected to work

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