While it isn’t news that David Cameron hates supposed “benefit scroungers”, (see my last post on why benefits isn’t even a problem in our country here), his new plans to scrap the youth’s benefit scheme and replace it under the veil of “paid compulsory voluntary work” – which in itself, has blaring obvious contradictions – is not that much of a shock. In typical DC fashion, he’s managed to snake his way into victimising the poor, once again, by literally forcing them to work if they want to eat.
Think that sounds decent? Well just you wait. I’ve not even told you the worst bit.
Victims (because that’s the reality of what they are) of this new scheme will be getting paid… with a joke. Literally, a joke. Because that’s what £1.91 equates to. A huge, nasty, mockery of our welfare state, destroyed in one foul blow. The future of our generations lies in these people’s hands. The hands that will sculpt and build Britain, starving and with only £1.91 in their wallets. If they can even afford a wallet. It really begs the question, perhaps homelessness has a better wage begging on the street.
At first, the idea doesn’t seem so bad. Unemployed? Here’s the solution!
That’s until you realise that 30 hours a week for less than £60, with no housing benefit entitlement or transport pass, you probably won’t have enough money left to buy food. And, as one person pointed out, large corporate company’s will thrive when they realise they can fire their workers, and replace or rehire them under basically free labour.
Nevertheless, I can’t see how being paid a FRACTION of the minimum wage for working is even being considered. Whilst I believe that our youth should be more active and influential in their local communities, it should be kept to volunteer work. My school helped me significantly build on my CV during school as I worked in a variety of places, gaining experience and learning about the working world. But that’s not what this is. This isn’t “gaining experience”, this is punishment for the “idleness” of the poor in our country.
“The members of the board were very sage, deep, philosophical men; and when they came to turn their attention to the workhouse, they found at once, what ordinary folks would never have discovered, – the poor people liked it! It was a regular place of public entertainment for the poorer classes, – a tavern where there was nothing to pay, – a public breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper, all the year round, – a brick and mortar elysium where it was all play and no work. ‘Oho!’ said the board, looking very knowing; ‘we are the fellows to set this to rights; we’ll stop it all in no time.’ So they established the rule, that all poor people should have the alternative (for they would compel nobody, not they,) of being starved by a gradual process in the house, or by a quick one out of it.”
I wrote about this quotation in my exam this morning. It’s dated from the Victorian era and appears in Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, and as I scribbled my thoughts and Dickens’s satirisation of the upper classes (who have no idea about the realities of being poor), I couldn’t help but think of our current crisis.
Putting aside for one second that I’ve basically just implied that we’re degenerating into Victorian England where the gulf between the working and upper classes couldn’t have stretched any wider if they tried – it’s alarming how Dickens’s portrayal of authority and the class system in 1838 have similarities to now… in 2015.
Like the workhouses and the new Poor Law, designed to keep ‘idleness’ at bay so these damn gutter-rats stopped having offspring and wallowing in charity donations, the poor today are similarly portrayed. The concept that ‘benefits’ are a luxury that can pay for your holidays, your piss-up at the pub, your children and their children’s children food, is a bizarre notion that has swept the conservative Daily Mail readers in a frenzy of false belief. Or, as I should more rightly say, propaganda.
Nevertheless, before I get onto a whole separate discussion, the 30 hour a week scheme that forces young people to work for a meagre wage, only fuels the belief that they “like being poor” and ought to be punished for it. After all, if you could choose between working a high salary job and providing well for your family, against receiving tuppance to scrape by and afford food to live by queuing every week at the job centre, why would anyone choose the latter? Yet the conservative party and tory supporters think that’s exactly what they’re doing. Henceforth, the punishment that’ll crush their idleness, and have them running to the nearest job that’s just waiting to be snatched up!
If this new scheme is implemented as a deterrent for those who aren’t working, what about those who actually can’t find a job? Is this really fair?
No, it’s not.
How can forcing the youth to help the poor and needy on a wage so laughable be justified? More importantly, who is going to help them when their £56.35 weekly average of labour won’t suffice? No one. As one of my friends rightfully pointed out, you can barely afford a mars bar after one hour’s work.
So I write this penultimate paragraph to David Cameron, or more importantly his brainwashed tory supporters. Or at least, if you’re not brainwashed, you’re certainly evil and heartless. Where is your humanity? Can you not bare to contribute a tiny percentage towards the needy who will never know what it’s like to live in a house you live in? Or own their own car? Or afford their children’s Christmas presents? How would you know what it’s like to live in the gutter and rely on the charity of others for a hot meal?
You don’t, and you won’t. But imagine it. Imagine being spat in your face by people who ought to help you, and can help eradicate homelessness and hunger completely. Imagine looking up to your government, and pleading for help, for them to stand on your outstretched fingers on the cliff-face, and laugh menacingly as you fall and fall, the rich folks’ houses getting bigger and bigger in the distance, and you’re just a lost and forgotten statistic, dead and buried and swept out of the way for the new generation. The generation of the Selfish, that will destroy our humanity, destroy our future, and destroy our planet.
I sure hope your slight increase of tax tastes good, because it’s dripping with the blood and the tears of this nation’s most vulnerable.