Saturday, 19 May 2012

Hatred of those on benefits; discuss!

When I heard about what had happened to the Philpotts, my reaction was not dissimilar to that of Carole Malone, though for completely different reasons. I was shocked obviously, and sad that anyone would lose one child to fire, let alone six. Like Carole though, I was almost not surprised. Over the last few years the government and media have been stirring up so much hatred against those on benefits, that when someone with 17 children, living purely on benefits comes to the publics attention, it isn't all that surprising that one person, out of the thousands or millions that have a grudge against such people, 'takes action into their own hands'. Of course, we don't actually know that is what happened, because as yet they don't know who caused the fire. This is the opening to the article I've linked below though. An article in which it discusses this hatred.

Owen Jones "Hatred of those on benefits is dangerously out of control"

The media have mislead people so much over benefits that everything is now completely misunderstood, even the simplest things. I've read comments on articles recently where people simply cannot comprehend the difference between Disability and Sickness. People seem to think that if someone is a little bit sick they suddenly receive a free car for the rest of their lives. My own father, when I told him of the predicament I was in a few months ago, responded by telling me that I would be fine as I could claim £26,000 a year in benefits and have a council house. Worse than this though, some journalists are deliberately misleading the public (Rob Liddle, to name one).

I want to throw my toys out of my pram and declare that it isn't fair. I never chose to be ill. I certainly did not choose to lose everything I had in life. I don't want to be unemployed or struggling. Sometimes, these people deliberately stirring up hate against me is more than I can take. I don't see why I should be ashamed of who I am. Why should I dread meeting new people because of the inevitable question 'so what do you do?'.

I often wonder how anyone can believe the ridiculous claims made in the media. I cannot personally imagine hearing a 'fact' and not questioning it or thinking about it. It seems that people just accept these things at face value though. If they actually stopped to think about it surely they'd realise it's all rubbish. How can they possibly think that ALL families on benefits have countless children, a free car, a free house, plasma televisions, Blackberries, Nike's, etc? Surely the evidence before them contradicts what they are being told? When they drive through drab council estates who do they think lives there? A class even 'lower' than the 'lowest'?

I'm lost in working out what it is that they're trying to achieve. I understand that they are demonizing those on benefits ... all benefits, not just disability and sickness benefits ... with the aim of getting people on side, so that decreasing benefits actually goes down well with the general public. I understand that they wish to decrease benefits to make what is truthfully a minute saving in the grand scheme of things. But what do they think is going to happen? The truth of the matter is that people living on benefits are already struggling to make ends meet. An amazing amount of people are simply living on Housing Benefit and Job Seekers Allowance. Housing Benefit pays only 80% of their rent, so a huge amount of their JSA goes on paying off the rest. They receive £67 a week; this has to pay the rest of their rent, their bills and living expenses. It's not easy. If this amount if cut further they will be pushing people over the edge. As it is many people are relying on the generosity of others; on handouts, spare rooms, free meals. Not everyone has generosity available. People will starve, or freeze. They are essentially pushing people to suicide, or at least that is the way I see it. I'm sure they realise that, and I'm sure that the thought of claimants decreasing, no matter what the cause, makes them quite happy. It decreases that 'class' after all.

Last year, when I was too sick to get out of bed, too brain fogged to work out how the benefit system worked, one of my friends said to me 'Do you think they'll just let you rot?'. He truly believed that the system has the best interest of every individual at heart. But how does the system magically know when I cannot do anything for myself? How can they know there is one person out there who is totally alone, without internet access, unable to get out of their house; someone who simply has all usual avenues cut off? They will let you rot. They will, and they do.

So that's me. I've said my piece. I am glad and a little encouraged to see The Independent covering the hatred of those on benefits in this manner, and I hope that others start to finally see the light too.

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