Blood From A Stone
Blood From A Stone
I was listening to the news yesterday and again today, and I should have known better, as I just felt there is too much squabbling going on about issues that are just wrong. Yet we see one side line up against another, all fighting for the public support over their points of view. Often it reminds me of boxers squaring up to each other, side stepping round the ring toe to toe, weighing each other up for potential weaknesses. Fists raised high across the face defensively, who will blink first, who will make the first move. As fast as a striking rattlesnake the Government representative jabs furiously to the face of the opposition, forcing them backwards to the ropes, and before a breath can be taken roundhouse blows are returned to the Government as they cover up to protect their face. An uppercut explodes their fists apart and jabs strike heavily through the gap that has been created. It’s the turn of the Government to be forced back as the opposition hit to the body then change to the face, pounding away like sledgehammers. The Government dodge and weave to make the opposition miss, refusing to answer what has been asked of them. They counter with an attack to the ribs and abdomen but the opposition is toned and tough, and has right on their side. They bob and side slide the punches and come back with an almighty thud to the ear of the Government, who rollback on their heels as the stunning shock starts to register. The presenter steps in as they see the Government are helpless and not able to defend themselves, their points, their argument, their morality lay on the canvas lifeless. The audience don’t need a count of 10 to declare this fight done and dusted, as not one single answer was forthcoming to any questions posed. There was no real defence or effective response, no conviction or any counter argument to the points jabbed out by the opposition. The Government just stuck to the sound bite based script some Civil Servant media graduate had given them – the party line gone mad.
Once again who were the targets of the Government? No points for guessing the most disadvantaged, the most lacking in money, the most vulnerable, the very bottom of the social class structure. Why them yet again? Because they rarely vote and never make financial contributions to political parties, they never add to the Conservative party coffers. So they feel free to rip the heart out of this group directly and indirectly. By indirectly I mean cutting funding to the Councils that have amongst their wards some of the poorest areas in England. Why do this? Yes to save money but mainly because they won’t fight back, these people surviving on benefits, on minimum wage (also called the ‘Poverty Wage’), not scroungers but real survivors of this crumbling Welfare State we were once so proud of. These human’s that warrant and deserve the support of our state have been targeted by the Government for 2 ½ years now, and all that has really been achieved is the alienation of the poorest in our society, as if poverty wasn’t alienation enough on its own, and make this group of mostly hard working survivors of our state the scape-goats. At the same time our lords and masters fail to control tax avoidance of some of the biggest revenue generators in the UK. Easier to target the poor when you know they can’t fight back, smacks a little of cowardice and this is not a quality we want our Government to have.
As the news unfolded the fight just humiliated the Government spokesperson. I suddenly realised that if the current cuts (directly and indirectly) weren’t enough, the Government managed to finally get blood from a stone. Let me explain, the poorest people in this country have had to put up with:
- Rising home fuel costs (whilst profits soar for the big six energy companies);
- Rising petrol costs (and I note that the Consumer Affairs Committee has reported that there is no price fixing, profiteering, etc., related to fuel companies – not a single motorist believed the findings);
- Stagnant wages (as if being on minimum wage wasn’t stagnant in itself), how many people do you know on minimum wage that feel they have a career pathway up the dizzying heights of the corporate ladder. So let’s not give them a rate of inflation rise to the minimum wage either, it’s not like they need the money with all the vast sums they are earning);
- Reducing benefit support (the Government have done a splendid job of dismantling support by reducing benefit thresholds to Working Tax Credits and implementing savage cuts by anyone’s standards. These cuts Centrally and to Local Government hit the people that can least afford it – this is where the Government normally go on about the tax cut for the poorest increasing the tax threshold, well that doesn’t mean a lot when you lose three times this amount in the cost of living rise alone!)
And this is where the blood flows freely from the stone with two new taxes (they may not call it that but that’s exactly what it is) aimed only at the poorest in the community, and only them, the ‘have not’s’, the ‘have nothing left to give’ but still they take more, the ‘have not enough to live on’ so why bother working! Yes, two new taxes are here to leach even more blood from only the poorest:
- The poorest now have to pay Council Tax (in one Council they give the poorest working families a discount on their Council Tax and charge them Council Tax more than they discounted them – How much does that cost to administer and why give an assessed discount to now charge them more than was discounted?!?! Sometimes I just can’t make sense of the lack of logic in these local leaders of our communities);
But this last one really burned my long-back bacon:
- People receiving housing support, working families being the biggest users of housing support, are now going to be charged for empty rooms, especially if part of housing association, council properties, etc. So yes another tax that smacks of the 1600’s and the window tax, the more windows you had the more you paid. At least they were paying for light, this new tax means people are paying for emptiness;
I have to admit that when a Government representative was challenged over this, the ‘Bedroom Tax’ as it is becoming known as it is evident that it is just cruel and appalling, he had no answers other than to say the same ridiculous response which was totally non-committal. Let me explain my annoyance and that of 10’s of thousands of people who are going to be affected. If you have a son or daughter serving in the armed services abroad and receive housing support in any form, you will be charged for the empty bedroom. If you are married and one person is severely disabled and needs their own room then it is tough and you get the bedroom tax applied to you and lose £80 a month. Well usually the next of kin is the main carer and the level of income coming in is so low, to then take another £20 a week off is cruel, just cruel.
The above only affects the poorest in our communities and it is truly a miracle as the Government have got blood from a stone. What’s next, people using any form of benefit are to be executed but are taxed first to pay for their own bullet!
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