Wednesday, 5 November 2014

It seems I’m just another feckless ‘welfare’ scrounger……

11:54:00 Posted by Sheilagh Dyson , , , , , 3 comments

We are all searching for things that make sense of our world, looking for reasons why things that happen in our lives happen and, increasingly, for someone to blame when things go wrong. In the public sphere we do not lack assistance in identifying the guilty parties, from government propaganda to the powerful, unaccountable media all too happy to dance to the establishment’s bidding. Unfortunately, those searching for the truth will be hard-pressed to sort out the wheat from the chaff, to separate out the inflammatory language used from the reality of the situation. Most people are conditioned not to probe too deeply, not to question the words used, but just to accept them at face value. And repetition is a valuable tool in bludgeoning the public into acceptance of the terminology and its associated narrative.
Take the word ’welfare’, for instance, with its connotations of getting something for nothing, of undeserved hand-outs to the feckless and workshy. Replacing the previous more anodyne, factually accurate and less emotive description of ‘social security benefits’, welfare has become a catch-all, shorthand for ‘that which scroungers receive.’  Therefore all benefit recipients are scroungers, no question about it.
After a lifetime of not being, I suddenly find myself a scrounger! The State Retirement Pension, which I foolishly thought I’d earned through my payment of National Insurance contributions throughout my working life, is actually a hand-out. And I’m a scrounger, just like all the other benefit recipients, for our benefits, received for whatever reason, including Retirement Pension, are all crudely lumped together under the umbrella and disparaging term of ‘welfare’. It’s a useful device for an unscrupulous government to use, for it means that the overall figure of the cost of ‘welfare’ is hugely inflated by millions of contributions-based Retirement Pensions. This in turn fuels the resentment of those struggling on poverty wages that they are subsidising a vast pool of layabouts. Still, it’s better that they focus their ire on hapless disabled, sick, unemployed, retired people rather than questioning a system that produces scandalously low wages, exorbitant rents and unaffordable fuel prices, isn’t it?
In its tireless efforts to educate us, the government is about to issue all taxpayers with a breakdown of how their personal tax is spent. Guess what – by far the largest portion of this is our old friend, ‘welfare’. £168 billion of it. All those scroungers, living off my taxes! Oh wait, what it doesn’t tell you is that this huge amount includes social care for the sick, the disabled and the elderly. And the costs associated with children in care. And millions of retired public servants’ occupational pensions – nurses, fire-fighters, soldiers etc., etc. Once again, I find myself on ‘welfare’ - a scrounger! The hapless taxpayer will search their statement in vain for this contextual information. Most will not question the basis of the information given, will tut contemptuously at the scroungers and nod approvingly at the next round of benefit cuts. Mission accomplished – again!
Here’s a poem By Anna Travers that gives a flavour of what is going on.
Thank you for reading,

Divide and Rule

Dirty Government
Rotten Scoundrels
Taking away from the poor people
And giving it all to the rich
Twisted morals
Pure Lies
Dirty Tactics

Bedroom tax
Smaller house
Breaking up of the family unit
No more room for the grandchildren
Empty Purse
Empty Heart
Empty Space

Redtop Papers
Real Propaganda
No ways of discovering the truth
Can you see the bigger picture
To Divide
To Rule
To Conquer

To Unite
To fight
Time to stand side by side
Help each other , time to thrive
in solidarity
In Unity

Anna Travers



Adele said...

Medically retired former public servant with 38 years full NI Contributions - also caring for 94 year old deaf/blind mother also classed as a welfare recipient - at your shoulder and ready to march with you to Westminster. Great post Sheilagh.

Sheilagh Dyson said...

Thanks, Adele - makes my blood boil! Can you tell?!?! Next week I've resolved to write a gentle post, rather than my usual rant. Trouble is, there's an awful lot of injustice to rant about nowadays.

Steve Rowland said...

A righteous rant, Sheilagh - thank you. Do not go gentle.