Iain Duncan Smith sends a message to welfare claimants – “Know your place”. Sadly, it seems Labour agrees

After the courts ruled DWPs workfare regulations were illegal, Ian Duncan Smith quickly introduced new ones to ensure his spiteful and counter-productive welfare to work schemes could continue unabated. This still left his department open to claims for back-payment of benefits which had been stripped of claimants following them being sanctioned for “not doing enough to find work”. Reportedly, the claims could have amounted to as much as £130m, which assuming an average back-payment of £500, implies that as many as 260,000 people have had their benefits sanctioned illegally.

Rather than do the right thing after months and months of doing the wrong thing, IDS has decided to stick two fingers up to all those people who were given benefits sanctions unlawfully, and is introducing retroactive legislation to ensure DWP is no longer liable to repay any monies to claimants who suffered as a consequence of his department’s incompetence.

The reason given for doing this is to protect taxpayers and also to avoid further welfare cuts to make up the shortfall. This is false though, because we know that nearly every pound going to those at the bottom is spent, and every pound that is spent eventually comes back to the Treasury as tax. There would be no loss to the taxpayer.

No, the real reason for this legislation is to say to those on welfare: “Know your place. You will do what to tell you to do, no matter how unreasonable, and if you don’t like it just stop claiming. We don’t care if you find work or not, just stop being a burden. And don’t try to fight back, you will never win.”

The actions of Cait Reilly and others were heroic, and clearly got IDS rattled. The last thing he and the Government want to see is those at the bottom standing up for their rights and challenging what is being done to them in the name of deficit reduction. It sets a dangerous precedent, and so any means to shut it down becomes necessary, even the introduction of unprecedented emergency laws.

The most shameful part of this story seems to be that the Labour Party looks set to vote through this terrible bill on the nod. After all their bluster about condemning bedroom taxes and other welfare cuts, when it comes to the crunch, it seems like Labour are more than willing to line up behind the establishment and vote against those they were put in Parliament to represent. I hope I am wrong about this and Labour politicians have an attack of the conscience between now and the time of the vote, but I won’t hold my breath.

UPDATE: It now looks as though Labour might abstain in the vote on the legislation, which has the same effect as voting for it, so not a particularly bold move from the official opposition. Sitting on the fence will do nothing for those being screwed by this latest Government shambles.


4 thoughts on “Iain Duncan Smith sends a message to welfare claimants – “Know your place”. Sadly, it seems Labour agrees

  1. I think the real reason for this bill is because IDS can’t face the embarrassing headlines. It’s becoming increasingly obvious he’s unfit for public office. Once a campaign to remove him starts though it won’t get support from Labour either as they’ll worry where such a campaign, one where the suitability of officials holding high office was properly scrutinised and tested, might end.

  2. I’m always reminded of Oscar Wilde’s “The Soul of Man under Socialism” when I see the nonsense these cretins come out with, here’s a few quotes.

    “It is clear, then, that no Authoritarian Socialism will do. For while under the present system a very large number of people can lead lives of a certain amount of freedom and expression and happiness, under an industrial-barrack system, or a system of economic tyranny, nobody would be able to have any such freedom at all. It is to be regretted that a portion of our community should be practically in slavery, but to propose to solve the problem by enslaving the entire community is childish. Every man must be left quite free to choose his own work. No form of compulsion must be exercised over him. If there is, his work will not be good for him, will not be good in itself, and will not be good for others. And by work I simply mean activity of any kind.

    I hardly think that any Socialist, nowadays, would seriously propose that an inspector should call every morning at each house to see that each citizen rose up and did manual labour for eight hours. Humanity has got beyond that stage, and reserves such a form of life for the people whom, in a very arbitrary manner, it chooses to call criminals. But I confess that many of the socialistic views that I have come across seem to me to be tainted with ideas of authority, if not of actual compulsion. Of course, authority and compulsion are out of the question. All association must be quite voluntary. It is only in voluntary associations that man is fine.”

    ” High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people. It has been found out. I must say that it was high time, for all authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and degrades those over whom it is exercised. When it is violently, grossly, and cruelly used, it produces a good effect, by creating, or at any rate bringing out, the spirit of revolt and Individualism that is to kill it. When it is used with a certain amount of kindness, and accompanied by prizes and rewards, it is dreadfully demoralising. People, in that case, are less conscious of the horrible pressure that is being put on them, and so go through their lives in a sort of coarse comfort, like petted animals, without ever realising that they are probably thinking other people’s thoughts, living by other people’s standards, wearing practically what one may call other people’s second-hand clothes, and never being themselves for a single moment. ‘He who would be free,’ says a fine thinker, ‘must not conform.’ And authority, by bribing people to conform, produces a very gross kind of over-fed barbarism amongst us.”


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