Is this really what people want?

(294 Posts)
mcmooncup Wed 17-Oct-12 21:00:04

I don't post much on the threads about benefits but here goes......I'm going to start.

I have a company that works in the Work Programme with long-term unemployed people. Over the last few weeks / month I have seen a dramatic shift in the provision of benefits.

Many many many many more people are being sanctioned (i.e. their benefits are being taken away from them) for missing an appointment, calling in sick for an appointment or not filling in forms correctly.

If you make a mistake with ANY of these 'obligations' under the Jobseekers allowance contract, you, from Monday, can have your benefits taken away for 3 months for the first offence, 6 months for the second and 3 years for the third.

So, I can recount a few stories for you:
Severely dyslexic man provides his job log sheet to the jobcentre and has filled out as much as he can. The jobcentre is not happy with this and sanctions him, probably for 3 months. His response....."I'm going to go homeless, I can't stand this anymore"

Man goes to an interview for a job instead of turning up for an appointment with his WP provider, called in to tell them this. Sanctioned for 2 weeks for not turning up for the appointment. Message was never passed on, and despite phone records showing he called, he was still sanctioned.

Man sanctioned for 6 months for missing an appointment because he was poorly. He is a single parent. He is thinking of suicide.

Is this really what people want?

Homelessness? Suicide?

Do people really think it motivates people to get a job? Because to believe that you have to believe that people like being on benefits, I guess?

What am I missing?

ttosca Wed 17-Oct-12 21:36:17

I think the problem is that it's not what the majority want, but the Tory scum have managed to get in to power with the Lib Dems who are enabling them to destroy people's lives.

I keep on asking myself how the hell can 30% of the population vote Tory when they are destroying the NHS, killing disabled people, wrecking the economy, increasingly poverty and homelessness, and generally making the UK a nastier, more brutish place to live.

But then a large portion of the Tory voter base are pensioners and rich shire-dwellers, totally disconnected from the lives of most people. These are also the people most likely to vote.

It's a sad state of affairs and the UK is going to be a worse country when the Tory scum are booted out of office.

mcmooncup Wed 17-Oct-12 21:51:52

There has been a concerted effort to stigmatise and demonize unemployed people since they came into power. Now, those who work on the front line have been given powers to act upon these stereotypes...........everyone is a liar, everyone is a scum bag, everyone is taking the piss. And the green light has been given to destroy what little they have left of a life.

The people I meet have been let down at every step of the way..........

Do people who support these cuts then give to homeless charities and buy the Big Issue, I wonder?

I dont think people realise that what they think will happen and what will actually happen are two completely different things.

The feckless benefit cheat has become the only type of claimant due to the propaganda being circulated by the government and the media. People are forgetting that the majority are honest people trying to get by.

Xenia Wed 17-Oct-12 22:01:36

May be it will push some of them into finding work. there is a company with 500 apprenticeships - care home business - available and had only 100 applicants - this is for young people. They don't turn up, they won't do the work. I think it's in tonight's Evening Standard. If those people would not eat unless they turned up may be they would attend the work.

Viperidae Wed 17-Oct-12 22:13:35

Unfortunately the decent majority are being punished for the sins of the scroungers and much as I dislike that we cannot, as a society, afford to continue as we are.

I work in a deprived area and there is a sizeable minority of people who, by choice, will always try to stay on benefits. If they put the same effort into jobsearching as they do into trying to claim extras, appealling decisions, etc they would be great employees

On the news tonight, 7 suicides in 10 days in East Belfast.

Now Belfast has some more complex issues than just these cuts. So they cannot all be down to this and that isnt what I am saying.

But times are getting desperate for deprived areas. I think that this time next year there will be a significant increase in the number of deaths in the UK. Not just suicides, but people dying from illness, malnutrition etc.

This country is at the start of a long miserable road.

mcmooncup Wed 17-Oct-12 22:21:19

That's what I'm saying Xenia - it doesn't seem to push them into work. After 6 months of unemployment, most people are in a state of depression and these sanctions just seem to push them further down into the depths. I have not met one person for whom these actions does as it 'should'.

I promise I am not making this up. If you are motivated and full of self-esteem, it may work, but I have yet to find a long-term unemployed person who actually is motivated and with self-esteem, as uncomfortable as that it.

mcmooncup Wed 17-Oct-12 22:22:31

Just a note on the apprenticeships. These are jobs that are not even at minimum wage - usually about £2.60 per hour. So although it sounds great, a person could probably not afford to live even working full-time unless they have support from elsewhere too.

Xenia Thu 18-Oct-12 06:50:38

Well lots of people from abroad manage to motivate them to mvoe countries as many of our own relatives and ancestors will have done to find work because if the choice is not enough food (although I am not suggesting most people on UK benefits cannot afford food), suicide or move to find work the latter may be the right solution.
The apprentice care home programme was for young people. His company was paying £4 an hour and he said that was well over the £2.60 but many just could not get into the routine of getting out of bed and being on time. I presume the idea is tha if you rae 16 you might still be living with your parents. Perhaps we need a shift ni attitudes in the UK that family supports you when you are young, ill, old rather than the state, a new kind of personal responsibility which many other countries still have and which perhaps benefits them in difficult times such as those through which we are going.

I moved hundreds of miles from family to find work as lots of people have done in earlier recessions. It is not always easy and I know it is harder for those with no money to fund say a night bus to London but it is not impossible.

EdithWeston Thu 18-Oct-12 07:03:12

Missing one appointment or calling in sick does not automatically lead to sanction (I have direct personal experience of this), and people go through forms carefully with you, so errors arising from dyslexia will not lead to sanction. So the examples cited in OP cannot yet have happened, and there is no reason to believe they will start.

Forms filled in incorrectly because you are putting inaccurate information may lead to suspension, whist the claims adjusted or as sanction in fraudulent cases (which may be less than MN's favourite newspaper splashes, but which does exist). Missing multiple appointments may lead to sanction, as can repeated illness with no doctor's note.

These are not new obligations, even if it's being portrayed as such now. They have been in place for at least a decade.

Where was the protest then?

ikigai Thu 18-Oct-12 07:03:44

Family support is a nice idea xenia, but what if everyone in your family is poor? My DH's family are all retired, un or underemployed, or scraping by on minimum wage. We can't afford to keep them all afloat. And i imagine it'll get worse.

helpyourself Thu 18-Oct-12 07:12:55

xenia a 19 year old who's got on a coach from Eastern Europe and is room sharing with 3 others can afford to work for £4.
Someone supporting a family, who will lose tax credits, fsm, council tax credits etc. cannot. Did you mean what you wrote about suicide btw, I'm assuming it was a typo.
OP, I've helped with the forms you mention- surely there must be a discrimination issue there. If you have a learning disability you will lose your benefits.

EdithWeston Thu 18-Oct-12 07:16:39

They have stood to have them reduced by sanction since the regime was introduced in November 2002.

The updates are minor compared to the damage that was caused a decade ago when the principle of having a punitive element was introduced.

But in practice, sanctions are applied sparingly and fictional worst cases are scaremongering.

helpyourself Thu 18-Oct-12 07:27:17

(Just reread yr sentence Xenia, I get it)

Im going to have to hide this thread now.

I cannot take anymore of xenia.

Wouldnt it be lovely if the whole world operated in the way she thinks it should. But it doesnt. People are going to be homeless, they are going to die.

helpyourself Thu 18-Oct-12 07:57:27

If you are motivated and full of self-esteem, it may work, but I have yet to find a long-term unemployed person who actually is motivated and with self-esteem, as uncomfortable as that it.

Is the key to it. Something needs to be done, but this isn't it.

AmberLeaf Thu 18-Oct-12 09:51:44

Have you ever had to sign on EdithWeston?

The threat of sanctions have been there for some time, but this is a huge change.

Re scaremongering; Edith I remember you saying that on another thread about the changes to welfare some time ago, you poo poohed posters concerns there too, surely now you can see it wasn't scaremongering?

As to Dyslexic customers getting help, excuse me while I die laughing.

AmberLeaf Thu 18-Oct-12 09:54:33

If you have a learning disability you will lose your benefits


That has and will continue to happen, the support for people with learning difficulties is laughable.

MrsDeVere Thu 18-Oct-12 10:03:22

I do not want someone who is forced into an apprenticeship, on less than nmw, looking after my loved ones.

Startailoforangeandgold Thu 18-Oct-12 10:22:35

Our local job centre has closed, the nearest one is 13 miles away (3 miles to the bus, even if you have the fare).

The well meaning, but hopelessly disorganised, lad next door has huge difficulty getting there. His family never have working cars and he's never got any phone credit.

He does try to find work, but it's almost always temporary seasonal stuff and coming on and off benefits is a nightmare.
(I know because he often comes and borrows my landline, he doesn't run out of credit when they stick him on hold).

I feel enormously sorry for him, it is not his fault that he was born with not very intelligent in to a dysfunctional family. He's really sweet and he really tries.

The system he has to fight with is shit!

MiniTheMinx Thu 18-Oct-12 10:49:28

"His company was paying £4 an hour"

We are talking about work that is poorly paid even at the full rate, where staff are poorly trained, poorly supervised and supported, where there is little or no career advancement. This work is very unlikely to provide a stepping stone into other employment. Where private companies charge more for beds from private patients, offer enhancements for better food that is never provided and then these same profiteers of human misery exploit their workers on poor pay. NO wonder there is so much abuse in residential elderly care.

"Perhaps we need a shift ni attitudes in the UK that family supports you when you are young, ill, old rather than the state, a new kind of personal responsibility which many other countries still have and which perhaps benefits them in difficult times such as those through which we are going"

Make up your mind Xenia, either you want young people wiping bottoms for a pittance in factories of misery (made that way by private companies and their greed) or you want WOMEN to do this work for free in the hidden sphere of home and family. Of course this wouldn't entail you wiping a bum or two you could pay someone to do that anyway!

The chances are you are just trumpeting your right wing spiel about personal responsibility that is as usual ill conceived.

Solopower1 Fri 19-Oct-12 23:34:52

Thanks for posting this mcmooncup. It gives the rest of us just a tiny insight into what it must be like.

Couldn't agree more, MiniTheMinx.

Cozy9 Sun 21-Oct-12 05:00:21

There's no right way of doing it. Either you're soft and you let people get away with doing nothing while on benefits, or your hard and some people suffer. We've been soft for too long. There are too many people living it up on benefits at the expense of everyone else.

Xenia Sun 21-Oct-12 09:42:30

I watched the Friday night programme on BBC2 Servants. Interestingly it quoted from newspaper articles in the 1920s and 30s about young people choosing to go on the dole rather than take work as servants when there was a desperate shortage of servants. Politicians proposed that there should be no dole for those who could do that work. Plus ca change.

VolumeOfACone Sun 21-Oct-12 09:58:09

My young sister is working for £2.60 an hour on one of these apprentice schemes. She supports herself, is not at home with parents, hence she's living in a horrible mouldy shared room in a flat with no heating, and no cooker. Now it's getting to winter sometimes when I ring her she cries because she's so cold. She can't even have a hot dinner.

VolumeOfACone Sun 21-Oct-12 10:00:08

I've got one of those plug in oil radiator things but I don't want to give it to her because she won't be able to pay for the bills, they're so expensive.

Xenia Sun 21-Oct-12 10:15:45

Why can't she live with a relative or you?

Solopower1 Sun 21-Oct-12 10:18:37

Xenia - why should she have to??

If a person is working for £2.60 an hour, how many options do you think she has? Feel very sorry for her, Volume, and angry on her behalf.

Xenia Sun 21-Oct-12 12:11:08

As a nation we have never been able to afford for young people to be set up by the state in their own place even renting a room in a house. The apprenticeship gives people a chance to make something of themselves.

I think we need a massive shift from state responsibility to family responsibility. As we can afford nothing else it is likely to happen anyway.

VolumeOfACone Sun 21-Oct-12 12:13:42

I have asked her to move in with middle aged me, my middle aged husband and our small child and our marriage problems (appealing or what?), to sleep on our living room sofa, and commute two hours to this job thing.
But when she moved for the job, she borrowed money to pay the deposit for an 18 month lease, which she'd lose, so she's stuck really. She wanted to do it all by herself anyway, she was trying to do it properly. Be independent.
I didn't know landlords could get away with being so awful these days, even to those who can hardly pay anything. It isn't right, and I don't think it's right to expect people to live on less than minimum wage either. sad

AmberLeaf Sun 21-Oct-12 12:17:33

What about people that don't have family support Xenia?

Xenia Sun 21-Oct-12 12:26:58

We all have parents and some relatives. I am not saying have no where for anyone to go but if the general obligation were as I think in Scotland and much of the rest of the EU your parents have a legal obligation to support you that might help us a bit out of the current mess.

The minimum wage for the very young does not exist and then for under various ages it is a veyr low sum mostly because they tend to be living with parents. Even those of university age tedn to be living with parents in university holidays.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Sun 21-Oct-12 12:35:53

I think this might be the apprenticeship scheme Xenia is talking about.

What they are offering are not apprenticeships. Some of my DS' friends are doing/have done apprenticeships. They last several years, involve learning real skills (plumbers, electricians, mechanics, computer technicians) and at the end the apprentice has a real, recognised qualification.

What is being offered at these nursing homes is 6 weeks of cheap labour. The only ones who benefit are the owners; the young people gain nothing, and the people who live in the homes are being cared for by staff who have no interest in being there - I wouldn't want my mother to be treated like that!

Solopower1 Sun 21-Oct-12 12:46:36

Volume, you don't have to justify your/your sister's decisions to Xenia. Although maybe she does need educating.

<Still angry at such blind indifference/wilful ignorance of what some people's lives are like.>

What is the State for, Xenia? I thought it was to work in the best interests of all the people - not just some. It can't just bow out completely, because the way things are set up at the moment, the big boys would just flatten us all.

If you want to get rid of the State, you need to do it in stages: 1) Educate people that sharing what they've got is a win-win situation. All for one and one for all. 2) Once you have a level playing field (and we all have exactly the same amount of everything), you need to educate people about their responsibilities. 3) Once you've done that, you need to eliminate all illnesses and accidents. 4) Finally, genetically modify human beings to make them more caring and sharing and less selfish, oh, and all the same.

So only once we are clones of each other can we reasonably be expected to have the same life's chances.

This must be the Tories ultimate goal, since it's the only logical outcome of removing the State. Weird, isn't it?

Of course there might be a secret plan. Maybe, just maybe, they don't actually want things to be fair.

Leithlurker Sun 21-Oct-12 12:47:07

Xenia you really do need to put a bit more thought in to this (fairy) land of yours For example these "other" family members that are to be found. Would you penalise them if they did not take on the care? How would that work? How far away should these family be before they are discounted, next city, other end of the country, different continent?

If the old person has friends, social life, hobbies, other responsibilities, and does not want to move away, do they get forced? If you as a grand daughter go off and have your own family, work, house, other costs involved in supporting your family, and paying your taxes. What would you do to find your the last relative left standing and are now to be responsible for the care of an adult? I suspect part of the answer would need to be cut back on your work so putting the rest of your family plus your responsibilities at risk.

Xenia Sun 21-Oct-12 15:42:41

I am just saying we cannot afford the current system and care by family members has been the default in just about every culture. I believe even in Scotland there is a legal obligation to support adult children up to a certain age.

MiniTheMinx Sun 21-Oct-12 17:50:02

Hasn't Duncan Smith said to get on your bike to go where the work is. Well I live where the work is and there is not enough housing, it is also extremely expensive and with caps on housing benefit it will be very difficult for unemployed people to relocate here in order to find work. What is more, not all young people want to move miles away from their families and support net work and so moving north to south is not the answer.

Then we have young people who do want to move to take up work and then they are told no HB and work for 6 weeks for less than minimum wage.

I do wish these muddled up Torries (and Xenia for that matter) would get a grip and realise that none of their policies are coherent or joined up.

Lilylightfoot Sun 21-Oct-12 20:59:33

We had to move with my DH's job.So when my Ddad ill I was not there to help my DM.then when DM was ill I was still a 150 miles away so again I was little help 'On your bike' all very well but it dis brake up familys

stargirl1701 Sun 21-Oct-12 21:07:09

If you don't vote you won't be courted by politicians. You want change - vote for it.

niceguy2 Mon 22-Oct-12 09:04:06

...I thought it was to work in the best interests of all the people

Yes except 'best interests' is subjective.

Your interpretation is that we should share the money in the country around fairly and ensure the poor/disabled are looked after. If the world was as simple as that and that statement could stand alone then I'd be right behind you.

But the world we live in is complicated. In order to 'share' the money, we have to have money in the first place. And clearly when our deficit is so large we don't. Despite a crackdown on tax avoidance and tax rises we're still borrowing £120 billion per year. we look at the short term, stick our heads in the sand and keep borrowing?

Or do we look longer term and accept that if we live within our means that more people can be looked after for longer?

You only have to look at Greece to see what happens when a government just keeps borrowing regardless of ability to repay that debt.

MiniTheMinx Mon 22-Oct-12 11:00:41

But the world we live in is complicated. In order to 'share' the money, we have to have money in the first place What about if we had NO money?

We could share equally all resources and commodities far easier than sharing money! The reason for this is that money is both a commodity and the exchange medium between all other commodities. It is precisely because we have more that we can never hope to even come close to equality or even providing half the globe with a life worth living.

Xenia Mon 22-Oct-12 13:00:28

The more you tax the rich the less is available for the poor they have found so I expect the poor would rather like the rich to be taxed at say 20% so they can enjoy their benefits as now. That is the perverse effect of high tax rates.

Also most people wouldn't work at all if they didn't have to so simply doling it out like sweets never does those who are choosing not to work but could much good.

ttosca Mon 22-Oct-12 15:21:34


But the world we live in is complicated. In order to 'share' the money, we have to have money in the first place. And clearly when our deficit is so large we don't. Despite a crackdown on tax avoidance and tax rises we're still borrowing £120 billion per year.

Please quote your source for £120 billion. Whatever the figure, the larger amount is the current deficit, not the structural deficit. The current deficit is the amount we're paying now because we're in the midst of a recession, and tax receipts are drastically reduced.

Secondly, the Tory scum are not cracking down on tax avoidance. In fact, they're doing the opposite, as they have reduced funding for 'HM'RC. we look at the short term, stick our heads in the sand and keep borrowing?

We invest in infrastructure and create jobs, thereby bringing us out of recession. Bleeding the patient is not a cure. It makes the patient weaker.

Or do we look longer term and accept that if we live within our means that more people can be looked after for longer?

The goal of this government is not to 'live within our means', as we can already see that the drastic cuts are harming the economy and thereby increasing spending. The goal is to reduce the size of the state.

If the UK actively and aggressively went after tax avoidance, it could collect tens of billions of pounds annually in revenue. We can start by doing that before removing disability living allowance which is killing disabled people.

You only have to look at Greece to see what happens when a government just keeps borrowing regardless of ability to repay that debt.

The UK is nothing like Greece in either debt or deficit. The two are not comparable in the least.

ttosca Mon 22-Oct-12 15:26:22


The more you tax the rich the less is available for the poor they have found so I expect the poor would rather like the rich to be taxed at say 20% so they can enjoy their benefits as now. That is the perverse effect of high tax rates.

What absolutely nonsense. Do you just say any old thing because you want it to be true? Do you have any proof whatsoever that the optimum rate for tax intake would be 20%? Or is it, as per usual, just hatred and contempt for the poor coupled with nasty Tory ideology?

Also most people wouldn't work at all if they didn't have to so simply doling it out like sweets never does those who are choosing not to work but could much good.

There are more unemployed people than there are jobs. Many, many more. The rate of people committing fraud on JSA is less than 1% according the governments own statistics.
Welfare provision in the UK is not particular generous compared with the EU. You should try living on £68 per week and then see whether your statement 'dolling it out like sweets' rings true.

niceguy2 Mon 22-Oct-12 16:30:15

Ttosca, see my other thread for the £120 billion deficit link.

2000 new tax inspectors

I think you are mistaking the idea that reducing funding = less tax inspectors. It may well be that simply less money is spent on areas which are not priorities. Tax inspectors clearly seem to be a priority. And rightly so.

Thankfully i agree that UK is nothing like Greece. But if we don't sort ourselves out then one day we may well end up in the same situation. What's caused their problems? Very simple. Decades of spending more than they take in tax and borrowing the rest from practically anyone willing to lend. Thankfully we have a much larger and stronger economy but all that means is we don't hit our day of reckoning for longer. But mark my words, that day will come unless we change course now.

Lastly I don't see a problem with having a small state which is just big enough for its purpose. I don't see anything good with having a huge state simply for the sake of it.

Xenia Mon 22-Oct-12 17:45:06

This gives a lot of information on the debt much racked up by Labour who obviously chose to risk the lives of the poor for their own agenda as ever.

It is well proven that when we reduced UK highest tax rate to 40% tax receipts went up, the economy got going. They had been up to 60 - 99% in my lifetime. If tax feels fair and is not too high people buy into the system. If too much is taken they simply move where they can pay less or structure their affairs legally so as not to pay. Clever rich people can always do that . It is not about illegal evasion just the right to live where you choose. I can work from anywhere. if take got too high I would just move somewhere where it was cheaper as most of my work is over the internet. When tax rates get higher couples decide things like both will earn the single person allowance rather than onl one work or that savings will go in the no earnings spouse's name./ This is tax avoidance although in my view the latter is illegal tax evasion and also encourages women to remain at home as housewives./ That is evasion I would like to see stamped out as there is so much more of it than the very very very few rich people who illegal avild tax. There are far too many housewives sitting with savings in their name they never earned - nasty little tax evaders that they are. Let us imprison them all for tax evasion.

MiniTheMinx Mon 22-Oct-12 18:53:28

Why exactly do we have such a massive welfare need. Forget the cost for one second and ask about the cause. We have huge levels of welfare sat beside uninvested capital, we have rising profits and those profits are not invested into creating jobs, we have rising unemployment, that money is syphoned off out of the "real" economy. As the profits increased and wages fell, so tax receipts have also fallen.

Niceguy and Xenia are right, the government are faced with having to shrink the state, what else can they do? but is it right to do so? Welfare needs are growing so how will these be met?......... Well we have private corporations queuing up to make money out of welfare, education and health. As always unfettered capitalism doesn't just create the goods and entice you to buy, it brilliant at creating the conditions under which you have few options. Which is the real reason why so much HAS to be outsourced (if you subscribe to Tory small brained thinking)

You are always pretty keen to talk about China, a _state capitalist economy_ that is the second largest in the world by GDP. They don't have small state grin most of their _industry is under state control_

‘big government’ was established in the UK after the war when utilities and much of our industry was nationalised and the bulk of the welfare state was set up and expanded. By the mid 70s, government-managed expenditure was almost half of national production, and state spending on investment and services had risen to 27% of GDP by 1975 compared to between 10% and 12.5% during most of the years between WW1 and WW2.

Yet at the same time as this _huge growth in ‘the state’, the debt was reduced so rapidly that between 1946 and 1975 it fell from 252% to 45% of GDP_

So a shrinking state is good for business......private business and nothing else. Because neo-liberalism has created the conditions for businesses to prosper but also for states to fail. What would you you think Serco should take up seats in the commons, Atos should take over treasury funds (well what is left) and Murdoch should run schools?

Xenia Tue 23-Oct-12 19:13:55

I don't think it's helpful to include war debt in figures as it is more of a blip around the times of war.

So we will have a smaller state but I imagine nothing like as small as it has been in most of modern English history and people will provide for themselves which they always do better than the state anyway.

MiniTheMinx Tue 23-Oct-12 20:29:21

I give you two examples of how a big state capitalist approach strengthens the economy, lowers debt and increases GDP and still your answer is to shrink the state confused

which they always do better than the state anyway could you give some examples?

Yika Tue 23-Oct-12 20:57:48

Re. Family support in Europe. Indeed Mediterranean countries do rely heavily on family support in their welfare system. Funnily enough, it's not those countries that are weathering the recession well. (And Isnt the obligation to support their children well into adulthood also one reason behind their very low birth rates?) Nordic countries have fairer systems where generous welfare benefits are combined with active support to get people back into employment.

I do agree with Xenia however that tax levels must be 'felt fair' otherwise they encourage large scale avoidance, such as happens in my high tax country of residence. I don't think income tax is unreasonably high in the uk however.

Xenia Tue 23-Oct-12 21:49:46

52% is unreasonably high when you add on 8% stamp duty, 20% VAT and all the petrol and air ticket and other taxes we pay.

We don't want to get like those countries where people simply don't pay - the Greeks have a culture of non payment almost and many many more Germans have hidden money abroad than British have.

The Indians and Chinese have a culture where children support parents etc.

Solopower1 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:16:21

Young Chinese people would find it very difficult indeed to look after elderly parents - plus their childless aunts and uncles, and now grandparents, who are living longer - especially if they are an only child. I expect the State helps out in China, does it?

But most countries are better than us when it comes to looking after old people, imo.

I would find it a huge burden. All my efforts are going into supporting the next two generations - I really wouldn't want to have to choose between aged parents and my children! And my parents, if they were still alive, would hate it even more than I would.

But a lot of people are going to have to make those choices in the near future.

nkf Wed 24-Oct-12 20:23:03

The sister's decisions were poor though. She borrowed for a deposit. That was bad. She shouldn't have taken out a loan to rent somewhere. Unsecured debt is a bad idea. That's one message I want my kids to learn. Don't debt.

nkf Wed 24-Oct-12 20:27:10

And if that apprenticeship scheme was any good, it would be innundated with applicants. It's probably rubbish.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:27:50

how nieve xenia to say we "all have parents and relatives"

No actually.
we dont all.

some people are literally on their own. I was one of them. I know of a plenty young people, who have no one to rely on, one of those is now in prison since the death of both his parents within 8 months of one another.

i cannot actually believe that anyone can think in this way - im gobsmacked tbh. it must be lovely to have come from a stable, loving back ground in which the family all support and look after each other - but there are literally hundreds and hundreds of people for whom this is just not the reality.

i left home at the age of 15 due to abuse in the home that i could not longer stand. At that point, i had no one other than my older sister, who is now also dead.

words really do fail me.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:31:38

my other sister is also now claiming JSA despite having been a secondary school teacher (she cannot go back into teaching as she has been out too long) and her bank closed her business account and literally gave her business to her husband....she is now fighting the legal system, the bank and trying to find a solicitor who will help her as she has no income any more.

JSA is a joke. She has had no advice at all in getting back to work, despite being highly qualified and working for herself for the last 20 years. she has been told she has to seek min wage within a 60 mile radius of where she lives - by the time she has paid fuel she would not afford her rent!

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:34:32

....and a friend with an autistic adult son who has just completed a degree in genetics from a top uni has been told to drop his disabilities from his CV....he is severely affected and its obvious on meeting him that he has ASD and Dyspraxia - yet the advisers are saying that his disability on his CV are preventing him from getting hired in lowly paid retail jobs.

how can anyone think this is working?

Solopower1 Wed 24-Oct-12 20:47:16

How sad, Vicar. No it isn't working, not at all.

Have a brew.

niceguy2 Wed 24-Oct-12 22:23:26

I keep on asking myself how the hell can 30% of the population vote Tory when they are destroying the NHS, killing disabled people, wrecking the economy, increasingly poverty and homelessness, and generally making the UK a nastier, more brutish place to live.

Yeah cos the UK was utopia under the 13 years of Labour rule wasn't it? The rich coughed up their taxes and the poor didn't go without. There were no unemployed and pensioners had to wear bikini's at home because their homes were so damn warm. And surely they only left because of some conspiracy. After all, there was plenty of money left yes?

mignonette Wed 24-Oct-12 22:25:22


ThatVikRinA22 Wed 24-Oct-12 22:54:09

niceguy ive read several of your posts recently and can only conclude your mumsnet nickname is an oxymoron.

the less well off, the disabled, the elderley, the nhs, the police, public services were all better cared for under labour, yes.

MiniTheMinx Wed 24-Oct-12 22:57:15

The more I read the more I conclude he has the repeat button switched to go.

Sarahplane Wed 24-Oct-12 23:29:12

Xenia 'everyone has parents and some relatives' my dh's mum died when he was 17 and his fathers a sex offender who for obvious reasons he has had no contact with for years as soon as he found out. He lost all contact with his relatives on his mums side after get death so literally had no family. He is now 30 and has myself, our children and family through me, but where do you propose someone in the situation he was in as a young adult should turn to if there is no financial support available from the state. He always worked apart from brief periods between jobs, but even when he was unemployed he did full time voluntary work for a charity while looking for work and still remained working for them whilst employed as well. To be honest I think the 3 years he spent working/volunteering for Bethany had a major part to play in how he managed to grow up to be such an amazing and well adjusted adult after his upbringing. Today he would be penalised for doing voluntary work while unemployed

FizzyLaces Wed 24-Oct-12 23:56:04

Xenia, I hate your values and think you are the personification of what is wrong with our compassionate country.

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 25-Oct-12 00:21:22

my step father beat me, almost daily, for 8 years, (he broke my fingers using a garden cane) the last thing i would have ever done, after getting out, would have been to go back there. Had it not been for 2 people, i would have been on the streets. being homeless at 15 is no fun, there is nothing you can claim, and there was no help available. i turned 16 soon after leaving. i had to give up my A level studies and get a job that paid £55 a week. i was offered a room in a shared house that cost £46 per week. at 16 i could not claim anything at all.

that is some peoples reality.

to dismiss this and flippantly say there must be parents or relatives you can live with is astonishing.

if it were all as easy as that there would be no homeless people, yet, there are, im sure given the option, they would rather not be.

it shows a kind of thinking that is so blinkered as to be useless when debating the issues that people enduring any hardship in life face.

i am very lucky, and have been very lucky since the day i was made homeless at 15, but i remember what that feeling of absolute desperation felt like, i really do, and i would never wish it on anyone.

Now i work as a police officer, and i have a disabled adult son. i see and feel the changes markedly. i have friends who have disabled children or young adults, my eldest sister claims JSA now for the first time in her 54 years.

the realities are shit. The only people to say otherwise would be those safe and sound in their ivory towers.

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 25-Oct-12 00:40:35

just seen xenia comments re servants. i have a horrifying feeling that they are not tongue in cheek.

and im sorry i knocked this discussion away from JSA and the current benefit system, but i would refuse to care for my abusive parent. i have no contact and nor do i want any. i will care for my children, and my autistic adult son for as long as he needs it ( i am currently skinting myself to put him through university)

(awaits with annoying familiarity for some fuckwit to come along and tell me that if he can do uni he can care for himself blah blah)

niceguy2 Thu 25-Oct-12 07:01:39

Vicar, I respect what you have been through and personally I am against the idea that there should be a blanket withdrawal of HB support for young people because of the exact experiences you went through. Tighten up, yes. Total remove. No.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against a welfare state. I want one. Just not the current one which is far too big, traps people in a lifecycle of claiming and unaffordable. You think I don't care? Is it uncaring to point out we can't afford the status quo? Is it uncaring to ask where the money comes from and point out 'tax the rich' isn't a realistic solution? Is it uncaring to point out that if we continue blindly down this path, we'll end up like Greece? If so then yes I am guilty. Those who shout me down are usually the ones who want to carry on regardless and whose solution entails taxing 'someone else'.

I volunteer for our local foodbank, collecting donations of food to later be made up into food parcels. My fiancee works in the care sector who deal with vulnerable people. Both my parents have disabilities, my brother too. In fact he will need full time care once my parents cannot do it anymore. So it's not like I live in some middle class bubble quaffing down champagne every night.

But we are not helping anyone by treading down the path we were on. It was a stupid path which would only lead to ruin.

the less well off, the disabled, the elderley, the nhs, the police, public services were all better cared for under labour, yes.

Firstly things were hardly perfect under Labour. The gap between rich and poor widened despite all their efforts. And secondly I'd argue that they were only 'better cared for' because they borrowed the money to fund their schemes. Right at a time during which they should have been tucking some money aside to help us during a recession. Worse still there was in my opinion a real lack of focusing that money. It was just chucked out there.

I can take out a loan today and give my family the illusion of being better off. But that's all it is. An illusion. And when the time comes to repay that debt, we'd all be worse off. Rather like the situation we're all in today really.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Oct-12 09:30:28

6 in 10 children living in poverty live in homes where parents work. Hell, I would borrow myself if I could, to alleviate the poverty of just one more family. niceguy you are very good at trumpeting things you hear in the media or read in the mail, your understanding of economics isn't great and Ttosca has explained dozens of times, some very basic facts which you wilfully ignore.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Oct-12 10:12:45

With regard to neo-liberalisation and the shrinking state, cuts to welfare and state intervention and state ownership, there is a correlation between deregulation and falling tax revenues, which points to the fact that workers also pay less in tax on lower wages, have falling incomes and there is LESS demand in the economy.

"The changed competitive structure of capitalism has altered the political posture of big business with regard to economic policy and the role of the state, turning big business from a supporter of state-regulated capitalism into an opponent of it" which is the real reason the state MUST be shrunk, it must be shrunk because a large state is in opposition to the interests of individual capitalists Although this is short sighted and obscured and caused by competition between capitalists.

There are a number of reasons why one would not expect the neoliberal model to promote rapid accumulation. First, it gives rise to a problem of insufficient aggregate demand over the long run, stemming from the powerful tendency of the neoliberal regime to lower both real wages and public spending. Second, the neoliberal model creates instability on the macroeconomic level by renouncing state counter-cyclical spending and taxation policies, by reducing the effectiveness of automatic stabilizers through shrinking social welfare programs,and by loosening public regulation of the financial sector. This renders the system more vulnerable to major financial crises

Shrinking the state and cutting welfare is ACTUALLY DETRIMENTAL to the capitalist economy not to mention the harm that is being done to billions of ordinary people. In fact if you cut welfare when the need for welfare is both growing in terms of expenditure and need it will negatively impact upon ALL of our jobs and actually disinsentivises investment and precludes capitalist accumulation. interesting paper here from the UMAS

mignonette Thu 25-Oct-12 11:02:30

Just had to C+P these from my post on the Hameron thread-

Shameron, Scameron, HamFaced Cameron-

This is enough to give you nightmares (if he hasn't given you them already)-

And this makes me laugh........

Xenia Thu 25-Oct-12 18:15:54

1. I am right because it is true that everyone has a parent - we don't make babies in bottles yet.

2. Although a few people don't have relatives they can stand not even a granny, uncle, sibling, the vast majority of people do so if we started with making them responsible for their relatives not the state that would relieve the burden on hard working tax payers.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Oct-12 18:18:26

well, stop moaning about the tax you pay and go and find a relative to care for. Take enough hours out of your day wiping the buns of the elderly and you two can halve your income thus reducing your tax bill. hey presto.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Oct-12 18:18:44

bums not buns! grin

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 25-Oct-12 18:35:08

its appears the unreasonable cannot be reasoned with. i am xenia, therefore i am right. Happily for society, i think you are in the minority.

i typed an answer, then deleted it because there are no words. so you just carry on.

twofingerstoGideon Thu 25-Oct-12 19:13:31

just seen xenia comments re servants. i have a horrifying feeling that they are not tongue in cheek.
vicar - I have a policy of reading Xenia's posts, having a private laugh at the ignorant viewpoints expressed therein, and not responding.
Her comments about people not wanting to work as servants post-World War 1 really highlighted for me how she notices what she wants to notice and is completely blinkered to everything else. The television programme that she refers to talked a lot about the outrage of the middle and upper classes when people no longer wanted to work as their servants. They were outraged at the demands of their previous servants, which included the right to be paid a basic wage, the right to have their own beds (ie. not to share with other staff members), the right to have clean sheets on those beds periodically, the right to have access to a bath once a week. Clearly, Xenia is of the opinion that they should have been happy carrying the piss and shit of their employers up and downstairs, sleeping on the kitchen floor, and working a sixteen hour day, while averting their eyes and doffing their caps, presumably.

What I saw when I watched that programme was a group of people standing up for themselves and saying they were not prepared to be exploited any longer. What she seemed to see was a bad case of 'workshyness...'

Her comment 'I am right etc etc.' creased me up TBH. Such joyful ignorance. Such a woeful lack of empathy and emotional intelligence!

Honestly, you'll feel much better if you don't respond to her observations directly... Sometimes I think they're designed to get a rise out of us. I wouldn't give her the pleasure, frankly.

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 25-Oct-12 19:42:13

thank you for that twofingers, that has made me feel better about ignoring in future.

Xenia Thu 25-Oct-12 20:18:48

I certainly saw the bit about servants wanting better conditions but the issue was the same as we have today - some (by no means all) people preferring to live off the backs of hard working mothers who pay tax and stay on the dole than take on work which may not be the kind they want.

There is a huge mood in the country to do something about the squeezed middle who work very hard indeed to support those who don't work. IDS today has commented again about benefits being capped at two children as most people decide to have two children only as that is all they can afford except for the poor who are supported by the squeezed middle who are incentivised to have large families . I think something like 2/3rd of British people support that stance in a recent survey so I am hardly alone in this.

mignonette Thu 25-Oct-12 20:30:57

Well let's hope that Mrs Squeezed Middle who fucked up her contraception and ended up with three kids (or had twins in her 2nd pregnancy) doesn't lose her job and end up on benefits then Xenia.

Or does that not happen in Xenia-land? Quite ironic how inhospitable you are, considering one of the meaning of the name Xenia

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Oct-12 20:41:24

Wasn't it Oscar Wild who said there was only one thing worse than people talking about you, being ignored.

Actually I think X is rather amusing, she always makes me laugh.

Xenia Thu 25-Oct-12 20:43:56

Certainly we should all try to keep a sense of humour however bad things are. Nigerians are the happiest people on earth and not the best off. Money doesn't determine happiness.

My own view is that we just don't have the money for the benefits system as it now is adn the debt labour took on. However we certainly need much more radical policies to encourage industry and the economy.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Oct-12 21:00:10

Actually I think the best way forward is to burn all money and base all human relations not on exchange values but use value.

We can not feed the world on money, only on what we produce, what we consume should be based on need.

My father worked in Nigeria in the 70's, the Nigerian's tapped into the BP oil pipes because they ran along the surface. So poor were they that they tapped into them for miles and flooded hundreds of hectares of farm land. Still we had servants and air conditioning, guards and a driver. So we were fine but it is very dangerous.

Once the chief asked my father's party to move tables in the club. A little later a man came in and sat down, five minutes later he had been shot dead in full view. He was dragged out, when my father left, the dead man was being eaten by the pigs on the side of the road. If children are run over, the driver gets out, pulls the body to the ditch and drives on. When the chief in Benin died many people fled because if you were of a different tribe, you were apt to be beheaded.

I would never call Nigeria a happy place.

cheekymonk Thu 25-Oct-12 21:05:46

I work in a jobcentre and have about about 90 people on my caseload, ie, I am their personal adviser. When i joined I was told off for not getting enough people into work, now, now tha I am gettingt more people into work, i am told off for not stopping enough people's money!!! It is not a 'target' but the general opnion is that stricter benefit regime results in more people signing off. We have been told that if our stopping peoples money rates do not drastically improve that we will be on a performance improvement plan. I notice some staff have no qualms with it and do seem to relish it. Most however, do not enjoy it and take the wrath of their manager over a sleepless night worrying about stopping someone's money. We all refer to a decision make to make that final decision on whether to stop the money but obviously if we choose to ignore it there is no chance the sanction can be imposed. For me there are many genuine cases but i have been told off for being too gullible and even been told to wise up by my boss. it does seem to be assumed that most people are lying and i agree with the comment that the unemployed are demonized! i have a mixture of all sorts, some lazy 18-19 year olds that are comfortable at home and no motivation to get a job, a few in their 50s really lacking in confidence and have worked for years. today i saw a single mum, who was 43 and had done 4 hours work in her life but she hadn't had the life of riley, her son was disabled and she looked like life had been hard. Esteem is often low and I notice that people look worn down by the whole system. On the other hand a guy the other day wanted help with clothes for an interview but instead tried to purchase casual clothes with the invoice he had been given. I love my job but am always shocked at how isolated, disengaged, unlucky and uncared for some people are from society. people aren't born equal, at all sad

Xenia Thu 25-Oct-12 21:09:49
Iggly Thu 25-Oct-12 21:11:37

We don't all have parents or relatives who can help Xenia.

I grew up in foster care as mum went AWOL. Dad - never knew him not even his name. Family? Mum had one brother who she doesn't talk too.

So who would support me if I was on £2.60 an hour etc?

Would you take in a relative who earned a pittance? Bet you wouldn't.

mignonette Thu 25-Oct-12 21:41:49


I hear you.....angry, in fact full of fury at the Cuntservatives.....

mcmooncup Thu 25-Oct-12 22:07:30

I totally agree with your sentiment cheekymonkey and how the sanctioning is going is literally inhuman and totally uncivilised.

Because who are these unemployed people who are "lazy arsed scroungers"?
I see on a daily basis mentally ill people, addicts, individuals who through lack of care have developed personality disorders, ex-offenders, people who have been sexually and physically abused, and those with learning disabilities.

I see people allowed to leave school at 12 without any education. Is this a fault of theirs? Or have they been systematically abused by the system?

I would love to ask how people happily employed would view a CV from someone who applies for a job with them, when they have no education? When they have not worked for a few years?

Do you give them an interview and find out about them? Or do you bin it as a waste of space? Do you interview them then judge them for not having a super immaculate suit? <yet you would criticise an unemployed person for spending money on a good suit>

What do you think of the contracts that are legal - 4 hour contracts for example? Do you think anyone in their right mind would take a job that guarantees 4 hours work a week?

All of these things add up. All of these things matter. It is not an accident that people end up on the floor with no self-esteem and no clear route out of it. Child protection service, education systems, criminal justice - all of these are inter-linked. And cutting these people's benefits on a whim like is being encouraged in the WP is an utter disgrace - how we treat our most vulnerable is the true reflection of a society.

The savings that are made on the welfare bill will certainly be made up for elsewhere either via the NHS or via the criminal justice system. It is UTTER stupidity. And utterly vile.

Do you think everyone should take a look at what this demonising does?

twofingerstoGideon Thu 25-Oct-12 23:27:11

Never mind 4 hour contracts, mooncup, I know two people (both teaching/ training professionals) who are on zero hour contracts. Great for the employer. No security whatsoever for the employee. As a 'carrot' the employer is holding out the promise of an 6 hour a week contract if they are still working for them in two months' time...

You are right. It's not just stupid, it's vile.

niceguy2 Fri 26-Oct-12 00:05:45


There's nothing wrong with my grasp of economics. Whilst I don't claim to be some sort of economics guru, I do grasp the basics. I just don't agree with the left wing views that everything was fine before the Tories and that taxing the rich is the answer to every problem.

What I do hear in your post though is the usual socialist mentality of "There is a solution but you are too stupid/uncaring to understand" The idea being that your moral superiority means you must also be cleverer. Hence why all the long complicated sentences sprinkled with bullshit bingo which frankly are just designed to confuse your average reader into thinking you must know better.

I suspect the real fear is that your average reader actually understands and thinks "Wait a minute....that won't work!"

That's probably the same reason why posters like Ttosca like to poo poo analogies between our economy and a household budget. Whilst there are of course differences, as an analogy I think it's closer than you'd like to admit.

Cuts are inevitable. Is anyone here seriously suggesting they are not? We have a huge deficit which after 3 years of cuts is still projected to be £120 billion PER YEAR. And if you accept that cuts must be made, just where do you think we can save £120 billion from? Hell, even half of it?

It's not about what we should or should not do. It's about what we can realistically do. Right now we're skint. And so we must look at what we're spending money on and decide if it's affordable or not.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 08:23:20

If you wish to use the analogy of household budgets, fine. What you do as a household when you are skint is cut out the luxuries, but make sure the basics are covered.

What this policy is not doing is covering the basics. We have people who without the benefit system and through this very harsh system of sanctioning, will not have food, shelter and erm, life.

So, yes, what we should be doing is looking at the luxuries, not the basics. Somethings are not possible to cut, that's the point. Or at the very least, you cut them while replacing them with something else - i.e. jobs in this case.

As I said before, it is a false economy anyway, the needs of these people will not simply disappear (unless you count death as a solution), they will simply be costs passed onto the NHS, the police, the courts, the prisons, oh and the 3rd sector.

So, I agree we should be looking at what we cannot afford, but in order to survive as a civilised society we need to make sure the basics are covered.

Defence. Monarchy. Tax evaders. Cash in handers. More tax revenue?

Xenia Fri 26-Oct-12 08:33:12

There are no changes which will result in people not eating. The 20% cuts labour proposed and 25% of the coalition are all going to ensure the welfare state remains.

I do not see why benefits claimants have had increases over the last few years when hard working people have not had pay rises. Why is that justified? Why featherbed the idle at the expense of hard workers who have seen no inflation increases and indeed often pay cuts in order to keep jobs?

Vickibee Fri 26-Oct-12 08:41:41

Surely the measure of a good society is how it treats the vulnerable and needy. We have an obligation to look after those fellow human beings less fortunate than ourselves. It is a disgrace that disabled people are being victimised in this way. It does seem that OAPs are the only group who have not been targeted for any welfare cuts why are they so immune when there are. Many mega rich ones out there.

JakeBullet Fri 26-Oct-12 08:47:06

Oh bless you Xenia for thinking I am idle (a benefit claimant), I was employed full time for 30 years before March this year. I stopped work when the combination of that and caring for my disabled child got too much and I was making errors in work.

I don't expect a benefit "rise" as I occasionally had in work. I do expect not to go hungry or cold though given my caring responsibilities.

Yes some benefit claimants are bone idle, the majority of us though are NOT and are struggling to know how we will cope once these changes begin to bite. Am looking forward to Xmas this year...I don't know how I will do it on benefits and it will be e first occasion I have had to do so. Am thanking God for a big family who will ensure DS has a nice time.

What the OP is saying is horrific to be quite frank and I am increasingly concerned about the most vulnerable (and I am not talking about the bone idle here...they will be fine) who are and will continue to suffer.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Oct-12 08:54:18

'I watched the Friday night programme on BBC2 Servants. Interestingly it quoted from newspaper articles in the 1920s and 30s about young people choosing to go on the dole rather than take work as servants when there was a desperate shortage of servants. Politicians proposed that there should be no dole for those who could do that work. Plus ca change.'

Because they are expected to work all hours 6 or 7 days away for peanuts. I watched the series, too.

Plus ca ne change pas!

Solopower1 Fri 26-Oct-12 09:00:07

Cheekymonk and mcmooncup - great posts, thank you. What you describe is horrible, but it rings very true.

NIceguy - I don't think anyone is saying 'no cuts at all' on here. Mcmooncup is right. You have to look after the vulnerable, because if you don't, we are all worse off in the end. What do you think is going to happen to these people? Where do they go when they leave the Benefits office? They are going to end up costing us (you) money one way or another, and far better to give them what they need at an earlier stage than scrape them and their families up off the road later.

As taxpayers, we only have two choices. We pay for them to have a decent life and to at least give them the chance to bring their kids up to be net contributors to our society, or we put the problem off till tomorrow and land our own kids with huge benefit bills that they will need to pay to clear up the mess we are making now.

You are a business man. You should know this!

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Oct-12 09:27:33

Hence why all the long complicated sentences sprinkled with bullshit bingo which frankly are just designed to confuse your average reader into thinking you must know better

Firstly, I do not use long or complicated sentences, <laughing> I don't wish to confuse you but it would seem that even very basic theory does.

Anyway did you read the UMAS? NO thought not.

Do I agree cuts are inevitable.....yes I do, do I think this will harm capitalism.....yes I do.....rather than take my word for it read the UMAS paper. Inevitable does not = right.

Do I believe in Robin it is far too simplistic and I agree that making our country inhospitable to investment would be wrong.

Do I vote labour <falls off chair again>

I do not see why benefits claimants have had increases over the last few years when hard working people have not had pay rises. Why is that justified? Why featherbed the idle at the expense of hard workers who have seen no inflation increases and indeed often pay cuts in order to keep jobs

Xenia you are directing your ire at the wrong people. Take for example the argument over public V private pensions and the common misconception that public sector pensions are too generous at tax payers expense. If a private or public pension is generous then a person would have no recourse to claim pension credits, no need to take winter fuel, help with travel costs, free state domiciliary care, HB or any other means tested/untested benefit to supplement income in retirement. A generous public sector pension is neutral. If private pensions fail to deliver at workers expense it is the fault of the fund holders, take it up with them. The same can be said of stagnating wages in the private sector, if wages fall, take your concern to those who are responsible. Direct your ire at the corporations that impose cuts and wage stagnation and inflation, a shrinking state and the rising tide of unemployed.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 09:50:13

Xenia "There are no changes which will result in people not eating"

No Xenia you are wrong

Homelessness has already gone up 25% in the last year.
And the changes that have been implemented on 22nd October are leaving people with no money to eat
You are chosing not to listen to this. I am not making this up. Read Cheekymonkey's post - she works in the Jobcentre - workers there are being TOLD to strip people of ALL benefits. That is ALL benefits - JSA, HB - AND they are often dismissed for hardship funds at this point too - and this is for a minimum of 3 months a maximum of 3 years - for missing one appointment.

This is happening to parents too.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 09:56:28

What always does confuse me in this argument is this:

You cut benefits for the workless to motivate them to work harder.

You raise taxes for the very well off and this de-motivates them to move abroad and throw their toys out of the pram.

So, which one is right, why does one apparently get motivated by making things more difficult and the other doesn't? How very convenient weird.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 10:05:18

I would LOVE for Xenia to come to work with me for a day smile

Xenia Fri 26-Oct-12 11:57:29

The bottom line is that the money is not there and the more you increase tax the less tax is generated (peversely). Any "cuts" (and by the way the basic benefits are not cut, they have increase by inflation something hard working workers have not currently had at all) are minimal. Capping housing benefit at £20,800 just illustrates how generous we had become. If housing is expensive where you live slum it out where I live instead. I cannot afford to live in Central London so I don't see why benefits claimants should be kept in those areas. I mvoed hundreds of miles away from family for work don't see why others should not and of course they will if that is the only way to eat.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Oct-12 12:01:35

But of course, we have plenty of money for foreign wars, foreign aid, rents for MPs on London properties when they own other properties in London as it is, etc.

Xenia Fri 26-Oct-12 12:18:06

Certainly most women are pretty anti army and defence spending. However there are cuts being made to defence anyway.

Scotland of course if it votes yes will be able to decide all these things differently if it chooses and indeed retain child benefit for all if it can afford it.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 12:58:22

And all that over £20k on housing benefit was being pocketed by some 'entrepreneur'
Who's at fault there? The benefit claimant or the 'enterprising entrepreneur'?
Funny how one party is seen as a hero for actually pocketing the money.

AmberLeaf Fri 26-Oct-12 13:19:36

If housing is expensive where you live slum it out where I live instead. I cannot afford to live in Central London so I don't see why benefits claimants should be kept in those areas. I mvoed hundreds of miles away from family for work don't see why others should not and of course they will if that is the only way to eat

Oh please!

Xenia Fri 26-Oct-12 13:53:31

Landlords make paltry profits - not much more than building society interest if they kept the money in the bank and given the capital value may well be going down they are perhaps not even entrepreneurs.

We could ban housing benefit being paid to the private sector. We coudl abolish housing benefits. Lots of options.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Oct-12 14:19:28

If housing is expensive where you live slum it out where I live instead. I cannot afford to live in Central London so I don't see why benefits claimants should be kept in those areas. I mvoed hundreds of miles away from family for work don't see why others should not and of course they will if that is the only way to eat

How do you square this with your previous comments about young people staying at home and being supported by their parents.

I think we need a massive shift from state responsibility to family responsibility Why can't she live with you

If young people or indeed poor vulnerable people who have no capital or assets have to now move to find work, work for the minimum wage or will they pay their rent? and you what? propose doing away with HB because greedy landlords and greedy land owners prevent YOU from living in central London.

Your opinions are very badly thought out, no wonder the country is up shit creak, the commons is stacked full of lawyers. wink

niceguy2 Fri 26-Oct-12 14:27:35

Mcmooncup is right. You have to look after the vulnerable

I agree. I completely agree. That's why I said earlier that we shouldn't have a blanket ban on HB for under 25's because of exactly that reason.

But we only have so much money right? So we must define who it is we support. And that's the hardest part. Who do we say is vulnerable enough to qualify for state support and who is not.

And that's the crux of my argument. It's not that we scrap the whole thing. Clearly that would be bonkers. But when money is running out and our kids are getting forever in more debt because of policies we are proposing which they have no say over. We must be strict over who is supported and who is not.

As taxpayers, we only have two choices.

If the tax rate was very low say 20% then I'd be certainly with you. And say that there is more scope for a tax rise. But it's not. It was until recently 50%. That's no longer a fair tax rate at all and discourages people from working. And it's the rich workers who actually pay the taxes. If you discourage them, everyone suffers in the long run.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 14:32:58

So who doesn't count then Niceguy? Who would you support and who wouldn't you? Please make it clear so I understand. You never actually say.

niceguy2 Fri 26-Oct-12 14:33:05

McMoon, I think you are confusing cost versus profit. A landlord doesn't just 'pocket' £20k and skips off to the bank for doing nothing. If it really was that easy why don't you do it?

There's all sorts of costs such as repairs, insurance, certificates, agent fees, legals and that's before having to make sure you've enough to cover void periods and not forgetting actually paying the bank back.

Do some research, ask landlords, work it out for yourself. Most landlords would consider 10% gross profit to be very good. Most are barely breaking even monthly and their sole business plan is that in x years time their house has gone up in value so they can sell it then. In the past it seemed like a no brainer that it would.....not so sure now.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 14:35:49

Xenia, it is not true that landlords always make paltry profits. Many many make lots of cash and pay little tax

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 14:37:07

Oh please niceguy. Do me a favour. I do run a business.

10% gross profit is a good returns. Tesco make about 5.4%.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 14:38:11

I fucking love being patronised though. It always makes me feel good that someone felt the need to do it.

niceguy2 Fri 26-Oct-12 14:40:51

That's the million dollar question isn't it mcmoon. Who do you support and who do you not. And there's no easy answer there. If there was, I'm sure the govt would do it. It's not about specific groups. For example I know someone who lost an arm in an accident. He's struggling with pain constantly. Clearly he needs support. A colleague of mine also has one arm. He can work and is a highly paid project manager. Two people with very different needs. It would therefore be ridiculous for me to say "Oh we don't support people when they can work with one arm!"

My father is registered blind. He doesn't recognise me until I speak to him. Should he work? Actually he does. He runs a very successful restaurant. But do I think all blind people should be working? Of course not.

I'm glad I don't have to draw the line but the line has to be drawn. We can't support everyone so unfortunately the simple fact is that someone must choose. And each time a choice is made, people moan how unfair it is.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 14:43:59

I think you should draw the line. You have so much conviction that we can't support everyone.

Bullshit otherwise isn't it?

niceguy2 Fri 26-Oct-12 14:45:51

That's what I said moon! I said LL would say that 10% is VERY GOOD.

niceguy2 Fri 26-Oct-12 14:47:32

And you think we can support everyone? The maths say otherwise.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 14:48:28

LOADS of businesses just break even Niceguy. Your point is shit.

You didn't mean that statement like that, you are completely backtracking. You meant it in a "woe is me poor little landlord having to run around getting certificates and I am lucky to make 10% GP".

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 14:54:09

Just answer the question. You think we should take support away from people.....WHO?

Iggly Fri 26-Oct-12 16:33:47

I've just read in the news that the government have got £1.3bn to hand out in compensation for the new train line.

Oh there's money alright. Just not for the poor.

Xenia Fri 26-Oct-12 16:45:20

The country has massive debts. This is an issue facing much of the world at present. It is a huge issue, not just special to the UK and it is even worse in places like Greece and Spain.

I think everyone in the UK should be fed, yes. I would not remove the basic welfare state although it could be pared down quite a bit. It would certainly hlep if tax rates could be reduced to a flat tax of about 12% including NI.

If people's families cannot support them then like many of our ancestors and indeed many of us people have to move on the planet where there is work. That is terribly common. It is not contradictory. In fact your relative can pay for you to get the night bus to London from Hull for your hunt for work.

Someone stood in the City of London the other week with a sign saying he was looking for work and he got a good few offers. Sometimes you need literally to get on your bike.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 17:01:25

If you think everyone should be fed, then you should be up in arms about what is going on right now.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Oct-12 17:03:54

Standing in the street with a sign around your neck hmm do you know what the response was the during the great depression when people took to the streets with placards round their necks?

Xenia Fri 26-Oct-12 17:33:12

They are fed. 60% of us are over weight. We have nevre had such fat people particularly the lower earners. You cannot suggest the poor are not fed. they are massively over fed. If we got their calorie intake down to 1800 a day with less food they would be so much better.

Iggly Fri 26-Oct-12 17:36:52

Oh dear. Xenia. Oh dear.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Oct-12 17:49:37

Don't eat too many of these biscuit

AmberLeaf Fri 26-Oct-12 17:56:18

The scary thing is that Xenia is real

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 26-Oct-12 18:01:09

Xenia you seem to have a real bee in your bonnet about "hard" workers - i work very hard.
i work shifts.
i work long hours (tomorrow is a 12 hour day - given notice of that today)
i work very very hard.
i still think there should be a welfare state, funded from all of our hard working taxes- if you moved across the planet to find work then and, if you dont like the state of affairs you have moved into, it begs the question, why stay? you seem to think its so easy to upsticks and move - surely if you dont like what you moved into then its as easy to do it again?

JakeBullet Fri 26-Oct-12 18:01:49

The sad thing is the poor diet is real poverty, it's amazing how many people cannot cook a meal from scratch. Also when you look at special offers etc its rarely on fresh foods such as fruit and vegetables but on junk food.
I am fortunate enough to have a decent sized freezer so can cook in bulk and freeze meals, many don't have that luxury.

There are plenty of overweight non benefit claimers too, it's down to education and just sheer choice.

mignonette Fri 26-Oct-12 18:08:15

Xenia is the daughter of Norman Tebbit, I believe. But after she fell on her head, she has never been quite the same. He didn't put a bike helmet on her when they embarked on their famous 'Get On Your Bike' tour of Britain in the mid 80's.

We must be compassionate.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Oct-12 18:16:42

mignonette grin

Would you like us to pitch in so you can relocate to a tax haven Xenia? I can see that paying taxes is really stressing you.

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 26-Oct-12 18:19:29

quote from xenia " In fact your relative can pay for you to get the night bus to London from Hull for your hunt for work.

Someone stood in the City of London the other week with a sign saying he was looking for work and he got a good few offers. Sometimes you need literally to get on your bike."

your relative can pay for you to get the night bus....which relative is this then? and which london - that mythic place where hte streets are paved with gold....?

ive just realised that Xenia is joking. has to be...

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 18:21:33

Yes, demanding people who can't afford to eat maintain not more than 1800 calories a day shows Xenia has really grasped the problem here confused

mignonette Fri 26-Oct-12 18:22:27

The streets of London are paved with people Xenia has stamped on.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Oct-12 18:24:26

Next we will be told that if the poor can't find their way around their kitchens, why pay HB for them to have cooking facilities, it would be cheaper if they hung out with signs on them begging for soup.

mcmooncup Fri 26-Oct-12 18:26:07

I do wonder if Xenia is one of those people who has never left London but knows everything about the UK - except to go skiing or to her island of coursewink

mignonette Fri 26-Oct-12 18:31:04

Soup is too expensive for the poor. What's wrong with them licking the dew off the pavements?

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 26-Oct-12 18:36:24

actually, xenia, are you from a different culture and background i wonder? - that would explain why your views are so very different, and family oriented - but i think its sad that you cannot understand, or try to grasp that some people do not have family, either to care for them, or that they would care for.

it would be lovely if every one had a family that they could rely on to help and look after them, but that is not the reality. i think in some cultures it is, and i admire that, but i do wonder what you would have suggested for me?

i have always worked. i have been lucky.
my DH has always worked, apart from one 3 month spell when he was made redundant about 20 years ago...

i do not resent that we pay tax, and that some of that tax provides a safety net for those who fall on hard times.

i do see, in my work, much hardship. i do see those who live on benefits and like it taht way
i see more that dont.
i would still prefer a welfare system than not.

Solopower1 Fri 26-Oct-12 19:45:35

Can't resist it. Breadandbutterfly posted a great link on her thread, all about how the poor work harder than the rich: socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor, etc. You should check it out.

Solopower1 Fri 26-Oct-12 19:46:35
Solopower1 Fri 26-Oct-12 19:47:50

Hope that's OK Mcmooncup? (Bit late to ask, sorry.)

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Oct-12 19:51:11

I am going to have a look at Breadandbutterfly's post, I had a read yesterday but wanted to read the article that she linked to and didn't have time. smile I just keep clicking in here because I have about 2 minutes while I wait for my uploads (work)

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 26-Oct-12 19:59:53

very good article, very interesting.

no one very right wing will read it sadly.

Xenia Fri 26-Oct-12 20:08:09

We may be opposites but we meet around the back - as a free market libertarian I think we should have let the banks fail as they did in the 20s or early 30s and also not interfere with the natural setting of interest rates.

breadandbutterfly Fri 26-Oct-12 22:27:40

Reminds me of Eddie Izzard's description of fashion as like a circle - the uber fashionable and the complete dork kind of meet round the back, as you put it, Xenia. smile

Glad others enjoyed the link on the other thread as much as I did.

Darkesteyes Sun 28-Oct-12 01:59:20

XeniaFri 26-Oct-12 17:33:12

They are fed. 60% of us are over weight. We have nevre had such fat people particularly the lower earners. You cannot suggest the poor are not fed. they are massively over fed. If we got their calorie intake down to 1800 a day with less food they would be so much better.

Sorry i will be back in a mo with a post i spotted on another board which contradicts this.

Darkesteyes Sun 28-Oct-12 01:01:07

AuscreemaAscareSun 28-Oct-12 00:18:38

It is shameful. When I worked in education, the children from large non-working families who were neglectful visibly lost weight during the summer holidays. They needed that one hot meal every day. They would raid other children's lunchboxes whenever they could and the H.T would berate them for stealing treats as if they were just greedy [anger]

This was ten years ago. A colleague of mine once shared the secret of his success in disciplining the half-starved children who couldn't pay attention. It was to ensure that they were last in the dinner queue. The choice was pitiful at the end, it really was. No protein on most days. Said colleague was also male and for the same money that the rest of us paid would get his plate piled high. And he was a really lovely man! He just had no clue, at all.

I used to ask one particular child who had a chemically-dependent mother and many siblings to tidy my desk at lunchtime and get rid of all the loose staples, elastic bands and coins. He did. That desk needed tidying every day to clear it of those pesky coppers and silvers. A bit Lady Bountiful of me I suppose but I couldn't think of anything else to do

Darkesteyes Sun 28-Oct-12 01:03:03

Ausceemas post was supposed to come before the one at 01.59. Think ive just been caught by the clock change.

Darkesteyes Sun 28-Oct-12 01:05:00

A post of Xenias from a previous thread.

XeniaThu 13-Sep-12 08:48:58
SOme people will always be poor and make up excuses and say impossible. Others get on with things and improve their lives. I hope we can remain a country where there are sufficient people with the personal values to make something better of themselves whatever it take. I accept and have said on iother threads that there is a problem once you start earning in a new business in coming off benefits althoug the new single benefit is going to make it easier - there was a letter in the Times about it last week - you can work for a year to get your self employed business going so things are imjproving thanks to this Government.

Just look at those who have moved here from abroad to see what is possible. I advise them all the time. They are wonderful, hard workers etc I hvae so much more in common with them than the fat lumpen negative white benefit claimants of the UK.

Xenia Sun 28-Oct-12 08:37:24

What is wrong with saying immigrants work hard? Many of them do. Where people move abroad and I include there British moving abroad too, they have made that huge effort so they tend to want to do very well there.

What is the contradiction. I said a lot of the less well off in the UK in particular are overweight. Those who say the poor in the UK are starving just need to look at the vast bulk of some of them.

If people are objecting to the fact that the poor are more overweight than the rich in the UK or that most immigrants work very hard they just need to look at the statistics.

ivanhoe Sun 28-Oct-12 12:10:16

The Tory right wing have an instinctive hatred of the welfare State and the role of the State, which is why they are doing what they are cutting.

These cuts have nothing to do with the economy, but everything to do with ideology.

Wake up people, even the middle classes pay taxes and NI contributions, they are entitled to child benefit.

The role of the State and the welfare State are being whittled away before your very eyes, and all you lot can do is fall into the divide and conquer trap.

ivanhoe Sun 28-Oct-12 12:13:42

Again, the demonisation of the unemployed by their own people.

This is how the Nazis took hold of Germany, by demonising the Jews.

And we know what happened there.

Is there no end to this descrimination ?????????

Xenia Sun 28-Oct-12 12:16:24

I think we tend to go a b it far when we make those kinds of analogies. Most of the unemployed int he UK would love to work. We have a huge shortage of jobs. 3 of my children have graduated in the last few years. I know how very hard it is, even to get bar work. We do though have a core of people who do not want to work and certainly immigrants whereever they are tend to be the ones who have sacrificed all to make a better life. I love it that my children are in schools with other children like that, where the family wants the chidlren to work hard and do well. It really helps the atmostpher in the classroom. It is one reason state schools in inner London have pushed ahead and indeed grades in them are now 2 grades ahead of say comps in Hull - a D in the latter tends to be a B in the former.

ttosca Sun 28-Oct-12 12:28:03

We do though have a core of people who do not want to work

No, 'we' have a tiny minority of people who do not want to work. The idea that there are large numbers of families who live a life of ease on benefits while refusing to work is a fantasy made up by Tories and the promoted by the right-wing press in order to gain public support for reducing welfare costs, regardless of whether it makes people homeless or destitute.

The highest estimated levels of fraud for welfare claims was, I believe, less than 5% for JSA. On the other hand, more money is 'saved' by people who legally can claim some form of benefit, but don't, than lost through fraud.

If you have any evidence to show that large numbers of families are claiming welfare in perpetuity through a refusal to work (which is fraudulent), then please do show the evidence.

colditz Sun 28-Oct-12 12:41:31

Yes, it really is what people want.

Humans have a real problem identifying need in people they don't know.

There are people who give money to charities that pay for music lessons for children.

And they feel good about that charity. And they feel like they are supporting childhood by supporting that charity.

And yet you can show them a photograph of a child lying starved and alone at the side of a road, and they are sad, but NOT SAD ENOUGH TO STOP FUNDING POINTLESS FRIPPERIES AND PAY FOR SOME FOOD INSTEAD.

And it really is not because they are bad people. If that child had been at the side of their drive, they'd have rushed out there and called an ambulance, they'd have been appalled, it's because hearing about something is not the same as seeing it with your own eyes, it really isn't. As a race we have to force ourselves to care about something that isn't affecting us, and some people can't do it very effectively. They aren't bad, they just don't have the ability.

So when you tell rich childless lawyers, solicitors etc that there are real people going very cold and hungry in this country, they actually cannot believe you. If you were to show them the cold hungry person, then they would believe, but until then, they haven't seen it happen, so It Does Not Happen

Darkesteyes Sun 28-Oct-12 15:16:12

If people are objecting to the fact that the poor are more overweight than the rich in the UK or that most immigrants work very hard they just need to look at the statistics.

Err no Xenia they only need to look at Ken Clarke and Eric Pickles.

Darkesteyes Sun 28-Oct-12 15:18:03

XeniaFri 26-Oct-12 17:33:12

They are fed. 60% of us are over weight. We have nevre had such fat people particularly the lower earners. You cannot suggest the poor are not fed. they are massively over fed. If we got their calorie intake down to 1800 a day with less food they would be so much better.

AuscreemaAscareSun 28-Oct-12 00:18:38

It is shameful. When I worked in education, the children from large non-working families who were neglectful visibly lost weight during the summer holidays. They needed that one hot meal every day. They would raid other children's lunchboxes whenever they could and the H.T would berate them for stealing treats as if they were just greedy [anger]

Xenia Sun 28-Oct-12 16:26:18

Obviously there are a few fat rich people and some poor thin people but every set of stats ever produced in recent history in the UK shows many more of the poor are fat than the risk. The lower your social class the fatter you are so to suggest benefits do not give you enough to eat really defies the evidence of the surveys and our own eyes.

Darkesteyes Sun 28-Oct-12 17:13:05

Xenia you are living proof that brains and common sense are two different things!

MiniTheMinx Sun 28-Oct-12 17:23:34

Xenia has a lot of common sense.

Xenia Sun 28-Oct-12 17:31:03

Well the Guardian agrees with me illustrated with a photograph of the typical body shape of many benefits claimants.

claig Sun 28-Oct-12 17:36:14

Xenia, you know full well that obesity may be caused by what is put into processed food - things like high-fructose corn syrup.

It's not that the poor are living it up, but that they are often being fed poor quality food which in itself is fattening.

Darkesteyes Sun 28-Oct-12 17:36:21

Especially for you Xenia since you are the one who bangs on about "immigrants" working towards a better life.
This article proves that they are having it as badly as the rest of the country.

A large crowd in the Hope Centre are from Romania, and say they are waiting for food because collecting scrap metal and washing cars isn't enough to make ends meet. A bigger number is there because of benefit delays and cuts, or simply because they are no longer able to make their low wages stretch.

A local supermarket has delivered a load of stock just about to reach its sell-by date (it doesn't want to be named, to avoid getting caught up in discussion of the merits of giving food that is about to go off to the hungry) and today it is offloading industrial quantities of iced buns, which several families take home by the dozen.

The boom in Britain's food banks reflects a number of worrying and complicated trends. As well as rising unemployment, more people are seeing their hours cut at work. For the past couple of years, charities have been warning that a shift to a less generous way of uprating benefits in line with inflation, combined with rising food and fuel prices, would make life more difficult for people claiming benefits. Then there is the start of a new, harsher benefits regime, as a result of which it seems that more claimants are having their payments sanctioned – cut or stopped entirely – if they miss appointments. At the same time, the state system of a social fund and crisis loans is being wound down, so emergency cash payments from the welfare system for those deemed to be in extreme need are now exceptionally difficult to procure. Around 43% of visitors to Trussell Trust distribution centres nationwide come because of changes to their benefits or a crisis loan being refused.

Darkesteyes Sun 28-Oct-12 17:38:29

And heres some more about those "non existent" food banks that arent needed according to Xenia because according to her the poor are over fed.

Darkesteyes Sun 28-Oct-12 17:40:16

xenia its also the same body shape that Clarke and Pickles and they are not claimants of anything.......oh wait hmm

LeBFG Sun 28-Oct-12 17:57:44

In my old school there were waifs. The teachers used to joke when our school played football matches with the grammar schools because our lot were visibly shorter. 15 years on, I went back to teach at this school. No kids were waifs, obesity had replaced that.

I do think there are poor people in the UK but none are starving through lack of money. Eating crap actually costs a lot of money. Imagine the veg you can buy for the price of a McDonalds for four! I was always gobsmacked when I lived in another city - the bus used to go through the poorest district - at 6pm there were cues of people coming out of fast food places all along the road. Families buying their evening meal.

AmberLeaf Sun 28-Oct-12 18:02:59


At my very poorest [single parent income support level] no way could I afford to buy a meal for 4 in mcdonalds.

Never seen a queue coming out of a fast food place in my whole life. ever.

MiniTheMinx Sun 28-Oct-12 18:43:26

Excellent point Claig, I watched a documentary about junk foos a little while ago and the corn syrup used in foods was found to be extremely harmful and if I remember correctly quite addictive, so people got hooked on this sticky sweeter tasting junk good.

I hate to think what is going to happen when the changes take full effect. Are the Cons building more prisons? they'll need to.

MiniTheMinx Sun 28-Oct-12 18:43:58 of course.

LynetteScavo Sun 28-Oct-12 18:51:24

MrsDeVere Thu 18-Oct-12 10:03:22
"I do not want someone who is forced into an apprenticeship, on less than nmw, looking after my loved ones.


Xenia Mon 29-Oct-12 09:23:45

The poor aren't thick. They could eat carrots and tinned sardines or do we think their IQs are too low to find cheap healthy foods? We could tax those unhealthy foods to the hilt to put people off buying them. We could put the price of alcohol and fizzy drinks up 10 times. If I only drink tap water I don't see why the poor can't. Fizzy drinks are one of the worst things people do drink. Tap water is free. I virtually never eat out. The poor seem to manage that a lot. Their one person's macdonald's could fee me for days.

AmberLeaf Mon 29-Oct-12 09:27:52

The poor do not eat at mcdonalds...not unless they only eat twice a week.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 09:31:25

'We could tax those unhealthy foods to the hilt to put people off buying them. We could put the price of alcohol and fizzy drinks up 10 times'

That is the point; we don't do those things. Why?
It is about education - not just the usual salt and sugar message, but other additives and chemicals that are more dangerous to health.

People trust regulators for financial products, they believe someone has approved them and that they will not be ripped off. Similarly, people trust the food we eat is not harmful.

LeBFG Mon 29-Oct-12 09:37:26

I also knew a very poor family - cousin of a cousin. Their cupboards were just full of shit: packet and processed food. Not one potato in the house - tins of potatoes yes, but not one fresh piece of veg (certainly not fruit). Of course, I'm not saying all the poor eat like that. It is education after all. But I've heard this argument so many times that the poor in the UK can't afford to eat. I'm sorry but IME this is nonsense.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 09:44:08

I remember seeing a programme once about the difference between teh food that the working class in Turin cook and the food that the working class in one of our Scottish cities cook. Both were working class and didn't have much spare cash, but the difference in the goodness of the food was noticeable.

The reason for that difference is education. It has not been a priority to pass down the knowledge of what is good and how to prepare it. It should be a priority in schools to teach these things up until the age of 16. It should be given more importance and there should be rigorous exams in it that are compulsory. this is a life skill that will improve health over the lifespan of every individual.

There is lots of talk about salt and sugar, but little about some of the other additives in food. Why?

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 09:47:33

Why do we not tax those foods to the hilt, same reason that in American Charter schools the kids only have access to certain foods, McDs and Coke out of machines. The coca Cola (doesn't even come up a spelling mistake on google what does that tell you!) pay these private schools a fee and expect no competition, it forms part of the schools income.

OK that is the states but just look at the Olympics here, we should have been using our own home grown businesses and healthy food providers, instead the corporates sqeezed everyone else out. Where did they pay their taxes off all the income made out of the olympics.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 09:51:36

Agree that the profitability of the food processing industry seems to weigh high in this.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 09:52:13

Claig <getting on my hobby horse> it's also because these multinational food and drink companies have been very good at lobbying governments for the last couple of centuries (nothing new here).

And it's because this present government believes in as little regulation as possible.

Imo the only real democratic choice you get in life is to choose where to shop. The govt limits your choice by supporting multinationals that can then sell unhealthy food cheaply. These manufacturers are then directly responsible for some of the obesity and also for the resulting burden on the health service. (And don't get me started on alcohol and cigarettes). Then, as if they haven't done enough harm, they go abroad to avoid paying tax to help solve the problems they have created.

But the problem starts and ends with the government.

<steps down delicately from soapbox>

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 09:53:00

Heaven knowes that I hold no truck with conspiracy theories, but some suggest that there may be even more to it.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 09:53:47

X posted. Good point about Olympics, Mini.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 09:56:35

Agree Solo. The governmentr is in charge of regulation - of financial products and food and everything else. We need tough regulation - no more 'light touch' regulation - in all spheres that affect the public well-being.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 09:57:35

We want a free market, but one in which the government sets the rules on behalf of the people.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 10:02:47

Good points Solo, spot on. I read this a little while back, Let Them Eat Junk: How Capitalism Creates Hunger and Obesity

The cost to governments is huge in terms of public health, the profits realised by the multinationals isn't taxed here at a rate that will offset the costs, not to mention the environmental degradation with almost all food being grown and transported on petro chemicals. Our whole food system relies upon oil. Food security is going to become a huge issue and it will lead to civil unrest here just as it already is in other parts of the world.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 10:04:38

Claig you can't have a free market with regulation, you can either have a free market or state capitalism (think stalin sad) or we could opt for a third more equitable and humane system. Which the lobbying multi-nationals will not allow.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 10:12:53

A free market is just like a fair, unfixed, unrigged game of football. The regulation is the rules of the game, set by the authorities. All teams can compete in the football tournament provided they abide by the rules of the game. It is possible to have a free market with regulation, you just need to set the parameters of the game.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 10:22:38

'you can't have a free market with regulation'

This is a bit like saying tha tyou can't have a free people with the law. We are a free people within the law. We have to wear seatbelts, but we are still free within the law.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Mon 29-Oct-12 10:39:54

Quite simply, Xenia, the reason benefits have had increases while wages haven't is because benefits are classed as the minimum needed to live off.

If the cost if gas, electricity, water and food has all risen, then the previous amount of benefits will not cover that, because it was already the minimum needed to live off.

If your gas, electricity, water and food costs £68 a week, and your benefits are £68 a week, then you can just about cover those basic living expenses.

If your gas, electricity, water and food come to £71 a week, but you are still only getting £68 a week, you CAN'T cover those basic living expenses.

Surely that's just basic Mathematics, Xenia?!

I would have thought that somebody intelligent enough to pay as much tax as you keep complaining that you have to would be able to see that out of £68 a week you can't cover £71 of basic living expenses.

Where do you think they will cut that £3 a week from? Their Gas bill? Most can't afford to turn on their heating unless it is below zero outside. From their electricity bill? They still need to be able to turn on the lights when it is dark, or use their cooker or fridge freezer. From their water bill? They still need to wash themselves, their clothes, their dishes, their floors, they still need to be able to flush their chain. From their food budget? That £3 is a day's dinner. Are they meant to go without dinner for that day?


MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 10:41:01

Sorry I disagree, consider regulated capitalism (which competes very well against the free market) and then consider Unions and the workers fight for better pay and conditions. Then consider supply and demand (shakes head because it's an oxymoron) Under one system the state requisitions profit which provides for welfare and the means to perpetuate state control. In the case of free markets the opposite happens, which is why our own democratic freedom can ONLY be excersised over lobbying shops/food corps etc. but not in any expectation that we shall continue to have free education or health.

This makes a great deal of sense, is very easy to understand marxist economics for numpties! or those not interested in a lot of jargon grin and dispels the myth that paid labour can provide demand, because if labour is paid at too higher rate, the capitalist will not invest. Forget supply and demand (the corner stone of most economic theory) , it is a side show not born out in actual facts. Unions fight for greater pay....without massive structural change, missing the point that greater pay alone may increase demand but not productivity. BUT you can have a government step in as the capitalist requisitioning profit, propping up investment/productivity (as in Keynes) and then acting as a font of all welfare, or you can have private profit making entities under free market economics which actually doesn't have your interests are heart. Either way a welfare need is created, under one system the need is met under the other it goes unmet.

In basic terms....state capitalism wins over free markets.....but ONLY because it is in competition to free markets! neither is humane or has the capacity to self sustain itself indefinately.One is a step in the right direction but still relies upon the nation state and competition and workers always being paid less than the rate of pay/hrs worked. EVEN if the state employed more people, it would have to pay them at less than the real value realised in what they produce.

In short, markets fail through interference, I agree with xenia but unregulated markets burn themselves out not just because of suply at demand but because a contradiction exists, whereby more demand equals less profit, less profit equals less investment, less investment equals less labour required etc,........less demand on so on. It simply will not sustain itself, which is why shrinking states, declining wages and growing welfare need shows us capitalism is in its final throes. Has been since it's inception grin State capitalism isn't in decline but when it is no longer pitted against the west it will also not sustain itself.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 10:43:38

should have said @ claig smile sweetly, if you manage to read all that.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 11:09:58

But we have regulated capitalism. We have a government that we elect that regulates. We know that some of our representatives are lobbied by companies and may earn money from them and some were even said to be "cabs for hire". That is what we must sort out, because these people are representatives of teh people, not representatives of teh corporations. We must strive to remove corruption from public life, because these people in theory represent us not business.

This is not a problem of capitalism or free markets but a problem of government and governance.

Unions are right to demand higher wages as are workers and everyone else. Whether they succeed in their demands is the result of free market labour negotiations.

Capitalism is not bad, it is corruption that is bad. Capitalism unleashes the human spirit and drives it on to excel in innovation which helps humanity. Apple Computer began in a garage and is now the most profitable company in the world and produces goods that are used by millions of people which help increase teh knowledge and lives of millions. The mega corporations were not able to stop Apple succeeding, it is they who have declined while Apple rose. Apple rose because they delivered goods that people wanted. They succeeded in a capitalist system that allows free rein to bright people who were ambitious and dedicated and who flourished in a free market.

Capiatlism offers incentive which inspires people to reach for the prize and to pluck the apple from the tree. It is meritocratic and and free market frees the human spirit.

Corruption is what we are against. It conspires against free markets and free peoples. We need governments to regulate against it and to be untainted by it.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 11:18:54

Heaven knows that I categorically and absolutely hold no truck with conspiracy theories, but corruption is enabled by conspiracy, conspiracy against the public.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 11:42:20

Go a little further, Claig. What causes corruption? Human nature? Opportunism? Greed? Competitiveness? Isn't that the same thing that pushes entrepreneurs to succeed?

So how to suppress those aspects of human nature that are detrimental to the common good, while allowing the creative forces to flourish?

Answers on a postcard, please.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 11:45:51

Good point, Solo. They are two sides of teh same coin. But one is positive, the other negative. We create laws and regulations to curb and punish the negative sicnce teh negative harms other citizens.

'So how to suppress those aspects of human nature that are detrimental to the common good, while allowing the creative forces to flourish?'

The law.

Xenia Mon 29-Oct-12 11:48:34

Human nature, uber alles sadly shall prevail. Capitalism works best. In the book I have almost finished on North Korea the author who worked at the White House is now looking at what would happen at unification if it were to happen. At present the population as in Animal Farm etc think they have the best lives in the world, well fed, easy, lovely Government and that the West has a terrible time (no internet except a few people allowed a N Korea intranet access, one phone for 20 people). If you can keep people thinking this is the best thing ever then they are not competing against capitalism and those in South Korea ,. As soon as you allow comparisons with abroad you get the China situation - no human rights but suddenly allowing some people to get rich.

A communist country - China - now has a much much bigger difference between rich and poor than the US and UK do.

I suspect the lifestyle of the Korean leader and his family, the gourmet meals flown in and the like (which probably killed the last one early as he ate too much and too badly - Western lifestyles can kill) mean an even bigger difference between the very very few rich there and most people.

I don't hvae a problem with big differences as long as the poor are fed though. Life is not supposed to be fair.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 12:18:00

The law of unintended consequences ...

Back a little further, Claig - who makes the law and who advises them?

The law for things that don't change, eg murder, is easy enough. But with our changing world, new technology etc we keep needing new laws, as the criminals (tax evaders) and those who help them(crooked accountants/bankers/politicians, etc) are always one step ahead.

It's obvious that the law alone can't deal with this. If it could, it would have.

I think it might be capitalism itself that is the problem, coupled with lack of democracy, lack of transparency etc.

Xenia Mon 29-Oct-12 12:20:58

I think we have far too many laws. Often an existing law is perfectly able to deal with things and yet even more laws are brought in. Our laws from 1267 (1267 I think being the earliest still in force) are on here )

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 12:25:18

Read the Marxism stuff and don't agree with it. I get the feeling that it is a trick (just like the elite green trick) to take us back to a feudal system of an elite (nomenklatura or nobles) and the proletariat (the serfs). The Marxists' main enemy is the bourgeois (the middle-class); they want to eliminate the middle-class (the strivers who have escaped poverty) so that the elite (nomenklatura) face no opposition to their rule over the proletariat.

'Most food and other necessities were made by the serfs themselves. Workers today cannot grow their own food or make most of their own clothes. They are forced to work for the boss to make ends meet.'

Capitalism freed the serfs from the land, freed them from a subsistence level existence dependent on the weather and storms and hurricanes and droughts that might lead to starvation. It freed them up to partake in enterprise and gain riches that rivalled theose of the land-owning nobles. A working class lad like Alan Sugar rose to become a millionaire and sits in the House of Lords, where before only the hereditary land-owning nobility would have sat.

'Workers create the wealth'

The bricklayer was not equivalent to the architect who designed St paul's Cathedral. The bricklayer was paid for his services but the value was not equal to the work carried out by the architect. The wealth that they created was not equal.

Steve Jobs was paid more than an Apple receptionist because he created more wealth.

The Marxists seem to think that investors and capitalists have an easy time. They invest their capital in businesses, but this investment is not risk-free. The companies can fail, the management may be corrupt and they can and do lose their money.

There is no free lunch in capitalism, unlike for the socialist apparatchiks paid for out of the public purse.

The nobles, the elites and the nomenklatura dislike capitalism because it allows ordinary oiks and hoi polloi to do better than them, because it is a meritocracy and not a heritocracy.

They have created many movements and organisations to squeeze the middle class (their main enemy) and prevent the progress of the population.

They want us back as serfs under austerity with rising fuel and energy prices drowning our prosperity. They want a green new world with low trade, zero and negative growth to keep the people down. They don't like growth, which is why they don't like capitalism.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 12:31:32

Xenia came from a mining family and now she owns an island. The nobles must be fuming. They will have to step up their green plans to keep the public down. But, of course, they will fail because humanity is on the rise, the nobles can't hold onto the prize, because the public doesn't believe their anti-capitalist lies,

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 12:38:03

'It's obvious that the law alone can't deal with this. If it could, it would have.
I think it might be capitalism itself that is the problem, coupled with lack of democracy, lack of transparency etc.'

We need open and transparent government with full disclosure of lobbyists and thinktanks etc. We need a better democracy with referenda and proportional representation so that the will of teh people can be heard. We won't get it overnight, Rome wasn't built in a day, but one day many years hence, it will surely come. They can't keep the people down forever, lies will be exposed and corruption revealed. There is a better future over the horizon, we may not achieve it in a lifetime, but can we get there - "Yes we can!"

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 13:13:59

I hope so, Claig. Not sure what Marxism has to do with it though, or have I missed something?

There must be many ways to run the world, not just capitalist or communist. Both of these systems are wide open to abuse, as has been shown.

We need some new ideas here. It is possible to exist without money in an exchange economy, for example - though that's one of the oldest types of system.

But if we are to stick with what we've got, ie just the two models, then we have to do something about human nature (religion?); and failing that, we need stringent laws and the political will to apply them.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 13:23:23

'There must be many ways to run the world, not just capitalist or communist.'

The best way that humanity has found is democracy. We don't have a perfect democracy, but it will undoubtedly improve over teh coming centuries. That is the whole history of human progress and equal rights. It can't be turned back.

We don't want elites who think they are superior to us or think we are "plebs", just because they went to public schools and Oxbridge. We don't want people who think they know what is best for us and don't listen to what the people have to say.

We need a representative government of the people that carries out the people's will and regulates for the good of the public.

We are not there yet, but every scandal brings us one step closer.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 13:25:12

The Marxists seem to think that investors and capitalists have an easy time. They invest their capital in businesses, but this investment is not risk-free. The companies can fail, the management may be corrupt and they can and do lose their money

Investors and capitalist are having a dreadfully difficult time knowing what to do with the capital absorption problem, capitalism can only sustain itself on 3% aggregate growth. There is now a massive problem knowing what to invest in. You can't invest in goods and services to meet the needs of the proletariat because they can not afford to pay for the goods and services. So here you have demand and no supply. No supply because their is no actual demand when it can not be paid for. Demand is not the same as actual need but is dictated by capital itself. (see something strange there)wink
This is why so much is now being privatised and why government expenditure will in time rise whilst welfare need grows but is increasingly unmet. The capitalist will only invest to make a return, that return of 3% is the difference btw public and private ownership. And that profit will come out of OUR TAXES and also OUT of OUR POCKETS in the difference between labour hours and rate of PROFIT. <hops up and down, please get this smile>

Can companies fail? only smaller ones that have less strategic significance, the states have bailed out the car companies, these companies must now realise a profit so ford is closing it's transit factory here because labour is cheaper in Turkey. Is that a positive development. Banks are not left to fail, the elite (who are the capitalist class Claig) will not allow capitalism to fail, even when in the final analysis it will fail them too.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 13:32:26

We need some new ideas here. It is possible to exist without money in an exchange economy, for example - though that's one of the oldest types of system that is communism smile what happened in Russia, China, Cuba, Korea IS NOT communism but state capitalism. Sorry I linked to some really digestible marxist economics.

Claig, the nobles indeed hate the bourgeois, the rising middle classes dispossessed them of the land and wealth, quite rightly so. Can you not see that the next logical step in the evolutionary chain is the workers dispossessing the bourgeois of his wealth and power. The elite that you speak of claig are all capitalists. Capitalism is fantastic in it's creativity, driven by human spirit, just a stop gap though in the great scheme of things.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 13:34:46

In our so-called capitalist democracy, the rich get more say than the rest of us and keep telling us that it is trickling down ...

If we had a democracy that worked, we would not have so many bullies exploiting the rest of us.

I take back what I suggested about religion, btw - I was thinking of camels, rich men and needles. But it was a silly suggestion, since it hasn't ever stopped people from bullying others.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 13:38:56

X posted Mini, but yes, thanks for the link. I will definitely read it.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 13:39:12

The capitalist class is not the elite. The capitalist class is a business/merchant class and in the days of Ancient Greece and the British Empire, this merchant class was looked down on by the real elite - the hereditary nobility who felt they were above grubby commerce.

The capitalists, the merchants, the traders, the middle classes, grew in power and wealth and their investments and earnings sometimes dwarfed those of the land-owners who had few business skills and whose wealth sometimes stagnated because of it.

The gap between the nobles and the serfs narrowed.

The real elite feel they are above commerce, trade and industry, they are not capitalists. They want zero growth and a reduction in business (which helps ordinary people gain employment). The real elite are conservationists and conservatives who want zero growth and a halt to progress. They want to go back to their "good old days", when the "plebs" knew their place and doffed their cap.

The capitalist doesn't care who you are or where you went to school as long as you can turn a profit. The capitalist admires talent, not privilege.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 13:42:51

'Can you not see that the next logical step in the evolutionary chain is the workers dispossessing the bourgeois of his wealth and power'

No because the workers want to become bourgeois too. We are all the same. We are "in it together". There is no divide and rule or class war among the working and middle class, except the divide and rule that is created by the elite that thinks that both working and middle classes are just "plebs".

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 13:49:50

The capitalist is anti-racist and anti-sexist. America takes people from all over the world into its industries, it doesn't care about sex, colour or creed. There are more women CEOs of American corporations than of any other country.

The capitalist cares not who you are, but cares only what you can do.

The elite are different. They look down on "plebs" and think they are better than the people across the planet. They care about who you know, not what you know.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 13:54:25

I think we need new terms of reference in the 21st century. We're not talking nobles and serfs, elites and workers any more, although it is interesting to get a historical overview.

We're talking about those who are most, more and least-motivated by money. Haves and have-nots are still relevant terms (though they leave out the have-a-bits, the have-more-than-is good-for-uses and the I-want-to-have-what-you-haves among us).

What's happening now has been made possible by technological innovations that could never have been imagined by previous economists. It might not be possible simply to adapt the old ways of doing things to a completely new set of circumstances.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 13:57:45

Who are these people claig? this elite.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 13:58:39

And why does it matter if they look down on us?

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 14:03:47

I don't know who they are, but I do know that they are not capitalists.

'And why does it matter if they look down on us?'
Because they are sometimes in positions aof power and influence policies that may not be to the interest of the public.

The whole history of democracy is that the people have fought for a representative government that reflects their wishes.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 14:09:12

Claig the whole of history has been about class struggle, the nobles though are no more. They have been dispossessed of their wealth and power thankfully. I don't think little queenie wields much power these days.

If you want to talk about the type of elite class that are above all others these people are still capitalists. Rothschilds are not nobility, they lent money to the nobles in the 18th and 19th centuries and then dispossessed them through massive interest and crooked dealing, they were knighted and feted, these people though, this very elite 0.1% are not however nobility. The nobility went into decline in 15th century. In the 19th the working class upstarts became the bourgeois when they CREATED the means of production under industrialisation. The Bolsheviks looked at what the results of industrialisation and capitalism were in western Europe and started a revolution that sought to bypass capitalism. doh.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 14:19:13

I am not sure that the nobles are no more. The Rothschilds are rich but I don't think they are the elite.

When we look at the world, we see that

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,

We see many actors, players and puppets e.g. the Bolsheviks, but we never see their masters.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 14:29:38

Illuminanti ?

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 14:32:00

I haven't heard of them, but I have heard tales of the Illuminati, which I think are rubbish.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 14:33:59

As I understand it, the Illuminati were a Freemasonic group from Germany at around the time of the French Revolution. That may well be the case, but I don't think they are or were the elite.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 14:37:27

I don't know, what I do know is that Rothschild (anshel) was in Germany working as a Goldsmith at the same time! That is not a matter of conjecture but a fact.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 14:44:29

Yeas, but so were millions of other people. That doesn't mean anything.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 14:53:04

Indeed. So we are now left with precisely what.....or rather who?

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 14:53:44

oh the other one has bells on grin hear no see no Claig !

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 14:57:20

Nobody knows, but in my opinion they are not capitalists and they are not Rothschilds.

In my opinion, capitalists and bankers like the Rothschilds created and spread wealth to ordinary people through commerce and investment.

I think that capitalism is a force for good and gives opportunity to ordinary people and that is why zero growth and negative growth elitists do not like it.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 15:01:27

I think that many of the failures of the banking system today are nothing to do with capitalism, just as I don't believe that swindles and scams are to do with capitalism. They are to do with people and lax regulation.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 15:05:41

By zero and negative growth elitists, do you mean people who feel that enough is enough and all this so-called 'growth' only affects them negatively? For example the person who wants to protect green field sites from 'development' and who wants to house people in all the properties left empty by absentee landlords who are just using them as investments while waiting for the prices to go up before they sell them on?

Or were you talking about the people who can see how when one section of the population 'grows', another shrinks.

Or those who believe there is only a certain amount of money in the world. For A to have more than her fair share, B has to have less than his.

I get the anti-growth bit. But why do you call them elitists?

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 15:05:45

'Indeed. So we are now left with precisely what.....or rather who?'

We know that their puppets are communists, but we don't know who pulls their strings.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 15:12:53

I don't mean ordinary people who have fallen for blanket propaganda that is pushed by the media. Of course many people will be influenced by the arguments that they hear and see day on their TV screens.

I mean the people who made the decisions to disseminate that information originally back in the late 60s, early 70s and before.

'But why do you call them elitists?'

I think they are elitists because they think ordinary people are "plebs". I think they want zero and negative growth in order to halt the people's progress. I believe that they are just the inheritors of the Malthusian tradition that want to limit the growth of ordinary people. I think that they are against capitalism primarily because it is teh one system that has lifted people out of poverty over the past few centuries.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 15:19:47

Why would anyone want that, Craig?

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 15:24:59

'Why would anyone want that, Craig?'

Why would a noble want to rule over serfs? They think that we are "plebs", that they are born to rule, that they are a superior elite.

Of course they know it is not true, because capitalism has shown it to them, when they have seen working class children earn greater riches than them. That's why they don't like capitalism.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 15:30:38

In a serf/slavery Soviet system, they made sure that everybody earn a pittance, drove a crap car if they were very lucky and queued round the block for a slice of bacon, while they rode around in expensive cars in special lanes on the way to their publicly paid for dachas.

How could they get away with that under capitalism?: Capitalism is a meritocracy and they had to get out of the kitchen because they couldn't stand the heat.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 15:32:51

Sorry, couldn't reply I am busy trying to extricate myself from all this string grin

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 15:34:32

Really sorry I keep calling you Craig blush.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 15:35:55

That's OK, as long as you don't call me Clegg!

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 15:39:37

right, cut lose now.

So this all boils down to some Thomas Malthus nonsense of years gone and some sort of elite pulling the strings of the Americans. Ri........ght, ok. So what the hell was going on in the 60's and 70's with the communist witch hunt in the states. Are the elite also masochists.

ttosca Mon 29-Oct-12 15:42:41

Claig is confused and incoherent.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 15:43:14

Surely if this elite was putting together greater unity in europe, trade relations btw America and europe, setting up (whispers Bildeburg) why didn't they jump right in and join China and Russia, they must have known that Trotsky????? liked to ride in big cars and he had found the means to keep everyone pushing handcarts.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 15:43:16

The elite are very small in number and they can't keep the people down forever.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 15:46:50

These are very good questions. While I have 99% of the answers, I have to admit that the final 1% eludes me.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 15:50:18

You have to read George Orwell's 1984 to gain a better understanding. There were 3 blocs in that book that were played off against each other in order to control the public, but they were just actors on a stage, each one who played their part.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 15:52:28

Is that a joke.....that 1% is the same as the 1% who through capitalist exploitation and accumulation are picking the pockets of all workers and condemning half the planet to near starvation & debt. Noticed how all states are now indebted. From small african states growing coffee to the largest western states like the USA. So who picked our pockets? not just yours and mine but riffled through the treasury. When the money is gone, nation states could fall.....what then.

These nobles seem quite clever non? or is it Merkel, I knew she was up to no good but who's pulling her strings........greenpeace.....surely not.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 15:57:24

It makes me laugh to think of bankers, owners of multnationals, politicians as nobles. Nobs, knobs maybe, or gnobs even, but nobles???

Fast forward three centuries, please!

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 15:58:30

'So who picked our pockets?'
The bankers.

'These nobles seem quite clever non?'
If you mean they know how to run a good Punch and Judy Show, then yes.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 16:00:32

'It makes me laugh to think of bankers, owners of multnationals, politicians as nobles.'

They are not the nobles, they are the actors on the stage and each plays many parts.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 16:01:32

I suppose it was simpler back in the day. At least you knew who your enemies were.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 16:01:48

'It makes me laugh'

I can assure you that this is no laughing matter!

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 16:03:46

Someone, according to you, is laughing very heartily indeed at our expense.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 16:04:01

hang on, the banks are picking the pockets of us, them and the state, wow, why? because surely someone is pulling their strings. Or are the bankers the elite string pullers? surely the puppeteer wouldn't allow Morgan Stanley to get in the way of a good game of chess.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 16:05:15

'I suppose it was simpler back in the day.'

Have you not seen the Borgias on TV? It was a damned sight more complex then.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 16:06:52

No Mini, keep up. The bankers are the actors on the stage.

But who is the director??

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 16:07:59


because we are back to zero and low growth and austerity which is what the puppeteers want.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 16:08:32

So we've got puppeteers, chess players, pick pockets and poisoners. Feels like we're getting close to a Poirot moment.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 16:10:25

'No Mini, keep up. The bankers are the actors on the stage.'

Correct, and this is only scene 1.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 16:15:04

It happened in the library and i think it was Colonel Mustard.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 16:15:58

Or - penguins! They've been keeping very quiet recently ...

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 16:20:58

'It happened in the library and i think it was Colonel Mustard.'

Can you back that up with some evidence?

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 16:23:54

To get back to the OP, whoever is at the bottom of it all, there are strings of enablers all the way through the system.

You get people like mcmooncup and others who see what's happening day by day, and hate it. But somewhere in the chain of command there are managers who are intent upon doing the government's dirty work for them, and who insist on the targets set by them. For some it must be a question of keeping their own jobs. But for others - I keep wondering why they have bought into the government's interpretation of events so wholeheartedly. What is it that chimes with them so perfectly?

And ... lest you think I am just off on a ramble, there is an elephant in the room.

So maybe it's the Media, Claig.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 16:33:17

You have to realise that austerity is being implemented worldwide and by all parties. If Labour were in power, they would have had to make cuts too. The decision has been made worldwide that this will happen and that is why it is happening. The markets are enforcing it and they punish countries that do not play ball.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 16:37:42

The financial market crash was the thing that brought with it austerity across the world, and that austerity is cutting the living standards, rights and benefits of ordinary people worldwide in one go.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 16:40:01

This is not a failure of capitalism, instead it shows how in a globalised, interconnected financial world, a string can be pulled which can mean austerity for the entire planet.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 16:44:21

And this low growth environment is not good for business or capitalism, since people are not spending and buying. The capitalist does not want a low growth austerity world, the capitalist wants a return to the good times, but the capitalist is not in charge of events.

Solopower1 Mon 29-Oct-12 16:45:23

'This is not a failure of capitalism'. Oh yes it is! It's behind you!

Xenia Mon 29-Oct-12 16:56:45

Even China has had a break in expansion, people are returning to villages from the factories etc. We have always had cycles. The 1929 crash had similar effects.

The more interesting trend is if we are moving from prosperity in the UK/US to BRIC countries, a big shift for a good few generations, the West on the wane after its hey day, economic refugees from the UK in 30 years' time rushing to emigrate to China or India where the money is.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 17:11:08

Yes we are targetted for low growth with carbon tariffs etc while other areas of the world are earmarked for growth. It is no accident. It is wealth redistribution, started with the deindustrialisation of the West, as we witnessed under Thatcher.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 17:18:14
claig Mon 29-Oct-12 17:27:18

'But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.'

Xenia Mon 29-Oct-12 19:45:18

I don't think it is much to do with that at all. We have always had since the beginnings of time one group growing whilst another does worse. At one stage teh CHinese were ahead of us - the invented gunpowder etc before us.

We were reasonably advanced when the Romans were here 2000 years ago but then we fell into the dark ages. Various empires have come and gone over the planet. Does it really matter? Happiness does not equate to having new cars so it's all fine.

Although of course if we reduced people on the planet to a 6th of the number we have now we'd probably all long term have a better future but then who is to say it is morally better that humans are on the planet at all rather than some other kind of bug or air.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 19:52:55

Xenia you sound like you are turning into a green. Please get a grip and read the Daily Telegraph's Christopher Booker and James Delingpole. If they don't put you right and explain why humans are more important than bugs or elitists, then nothing will.

Xenia Mon 29-Oct-12 19:59:55

There is no objective moral reason humans are worth more to the planet than anyone. We are here for a mere blink of an eye, even the 2m years our ancestors have been around. I was pleased to see if you are European you are 2 -3% Neanderthal as we bred with them, but not Africans - they did not as the Neanderthals weren't around in the right places to inter mingle.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 20:08:59

Are you more important than a bug? Of course you are and don't let any green elitist tell you differently. All of us are more important than bugs. The anti-human message has been spread by the media and has convinced many people. Don't fall into the green trap.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 20:23:46

Next you'll be telling us that zero growth and negative growth are good things. Stop watching the BBC and pick up the Telegraph or the Mail.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 20:49:31

I read the link, all that can be concluded from that is that capital flees to where there is growth, it is after that 3% growth, that is all. That is why we have carbon offsetting and the like. The corporations that have the political establishment in their pockets want redistribution. It is nothing what so ever to do with green meanies or bugs being more important than people.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 21:03:15

No Mini, there is no growth here because we are being deindustrialised and there are not enough high quality manufacturing jobs and apprenticeships for our youth. In the 1950s and 1960s in the US and here, you could leave work at one place in the morning and be in another job in the afternoon. There was lots of employment because there was lots of industry and lots of growth. We have been earmarked for low growth by the elite planners, they have deindustrialised us and moved many of our factories overseas in the free trade globalised world. They don't care about people and it is not just about business either. It is done to reduce growth and prospects of our people.

And the reason is as Xenia says. She has been fed the message and seemingly believes in it too. The elite want to limit the growth of the "plebs".

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 21:09:33

Watch a good interview on American TV with billionaire Sir James Goldsmith explaining how globalisation is destroying jobs. He discusses his book called "The Trap".

It is in 6 parts, and this is part 1

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 21:54:38

Hmmm, watched it again after many years since I last saw it. I agree with Clinton's economic adviser, I thought she did really well. I agree with some of what he says, but not other bits. Some of what he is saying sounds a bit green.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Oct-12 22:04:22

I'll have a look later, I'm listening to Paul Krugman at the moment in the background while I work. Still on here......still working.

claig Mon 29-Oct-12 22:11:18

I like Krugman, he is very good

GossipWitch Mon 29-Oct-12 22:24:05

Actually edith missing one apt does sanction you, my boyfriend was sanctioned just before the summer, he ended up with rent arrears and loss of two weeks worth of jsa, he was a single parent to a six year old.

GossipWitch Mon 29-Oct-12 22:25:36

sorry skimmed over first page again ffs must stop doing that !!!

Cozza64 Fri 02-Nov-12 07:22:29

If the Government can assure that there are jobs for everyone then there may be a discussion about the removal of benefits for some who don't try hard enough to find work. It cannot and there are hundreds of thousands of degree educated people without jobs, so where does this leave those who have not managed to attain a good education for whatever reason (family background etc). If you remove benefits and people have no choice then many will turn to crime or have to beg. If they have children then the children will be starving and hungry. Is this what we want from our society?
Look at the numbers of disabled people being found "fit for work" by Atos when they have extremely debilitating illnesses and the huge stress these people are going through. To think that "Dave" had a disabled son himself (who he claimed Full benefits for in spite of being a millionaire) and he is now inflicting so much hurt and pain in the disabled and their carers.
I have never experienced such a nasty Government as this one in my lifetime and I have been around a while. This is truly a Government run by rich men for rich men and sod everybody else.

niceguy2 Fri 02-Nov-12 12:23:26

There will never be 'jobs for everyone' that world has never existed and never will.

The government are not removing benefits for all but restricting who can get them. Clearly we've got a system which is unaffordable. I think most people agree on that. The argument is over which areas to cut and no matter which area you choose, someone will always moan.

With regards to ATOS may I remind you that the contract was signed during a Labour government before the financial crisis. Even back then it was deemed that the amount of money spent was unsustainable and out of touch with reality. Yes the Conservatives/lib dems have continued this. That said, I do have deep reservations about the way the contract has been implemented but it doesn't change the fact that cuts need to be made.

I suspect you find this government 'nasty' because it has been forced to make cuts due to the fact we've no money. The simple fact of the matter is that Labour would have been forced to make the same amount of cuts had they have won. The fact they didn't is very lucky for them in my opinion.

Politics has always been a rich man's game. It's not like Ed Miliband is really a man of the people no matter what the spin is coming from his camp. Ed Balls went to private school and studied at Harvard. Hardly your average joe either.

Cozza64 Fri 02-Nov-12 16:50:10

If benefits are removed for missing an appointment etc then that is the removal of benefits. If people have their benefits removed and they have no money then how do they live? If they have children how do they feed them?

Of course there will never be "jobs for all" that's really my point therefore there will always be people that the state has to support. Or do we want to head back to the days of workhouses?

I haven't made my post party political and of course Labour would have had to make cuts. It is the speed and depth of the cuts that are making a bad situation worse - the deficit is increasing - the high streets are closing and nobody has any spare money with most struggling through from one payday to another.

The cuts are also falling disproportionately on the most poor and vulnerable members of our society with the rich still squirrelling their money away in off-shore accounts. You may be happy with that situation but I am not.

The cuts are also falling disproportionately on women and I am sure that will be reflected at the next election.

I am fully aware that Atos were brought in by Labour and what a shocking choice that was but it is well past the time these bullies were shown the door.J

This Government are also finding billions re-organising our NHS after Cameron personally promised that they would not -and all to hand it over to private companies.

In addition the "cutting back of the" State is really about taking what the state do and handing it over to the private sector. Any savings that are achieved are by cutting services whilst the shareholders and senior managers of these companies get rich on taxpayers (our) money. Of all the jobs that are claimed to have been created in the private sector how many of these were public sector jobs that have simply been outsourced.

niceguy2 Fri 02-Nov-12 20:25:02

For those who miss appointments, they get sanctioned. In other words they have their benefits 'removed' because of a failure to keep up their end of the bargain.

I do have sympathy for some who do have genuine reasons for missing appointments but I suspect the rules are so harsh because so many take the proverbial.

Genuine question for anyone who may know. If you cannot make the appointment for a genuine reason (eg. death in family/job interview/serious illness) can you call to reschedule?

AmberLeaf Fri 02-Nov-12 21:56:18

Sometimes you can call to reschedule, or at least you used to be able to sometimes

Now the smallest slight is cause for a sanction.

People are having benefits removed for unfair reasons, eg a dyslexic who had an agreement that their form where they have to document their job search would be done verbally with their signing on 'person' suddenly put on a sanction because it was not filled in sufficiently!

Actually going back to your question, I know someone who was sanctioned for not attending due to going to a job interview! also someone told not to go to a job interview because it clashed with their signing on time.

niceguy2 Fri 02-Nov-12 22:51:58

Hi Amber

From what I've read it does seem that staff are under pressure to sanction people and not really allowed to use discretion (aka common sense). Again personally I suspect it's a case of the few ruining it for the many.

AmberLeaf Fri 02-Nov-12 23:09:09

Hi smile

Yes I don't think it is staff being malicious [on the whole] I think they are under pressure to reduce numbers basically.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Sat 03-Nov-12 00:04:14

My friend's youngest child was lying in hospital dying, not expected to last another 24 hours. When she rang up to rearrange her Work focused interview, she was told that they wouldn't rearrange as they didn't have a free appointment before her 6 months was up. They told her that if she didn't come in, her JSA would be stopped.

She didn't go. Her 6yo DD took her last breath at what would have been 10 minutes into the appointment.

She had the choice of leaving her DD to die alone and keep her benefits, or to stay with her DD to the end, and have her benefits stopped.

The fuckers stopped her JSA, which also stopped her HB claim.

So don't tell me they have ANY sympathy, NiceGuy.

AudrinaAflame Sat 03-Nov-12 01:38:51

Fucking hell Couthy.

I have no other words.

Brycie Sat 03-Nov-12 02:20:02

"Unfortunately the decent majority are being punished for the sins of the scroungers "

The people who play the system should be blamed for this. The people who defraud and play the system.

AmberLeaf Sat 03-Nov-12 09:14:03

How about, no one is allowed to drive their car anymore, due to those who dont tax and insure their cars, those have spoiled it for everyone else and it is considered fair and proportionate to punish everyone even though it is a minority that behave badly.

Would that be fair too?

MrsDeVere Sat 03-Nov-12 09:32:26

My ib was stopped a few months after my dd died.
I was told I had to go onto to JSA and apply for 10 jobs a week.

I know we are all supposed to suck it up and get on with it, there is a recession and all that..

But I do wonder how many of you would feel able to apply for jobs after two years of watching your child suffer dreadfully and then dying?

Perhaps some of you old take a couple of minutes to try and imagine what that might feel like?

VolumeOfACone Sat 03-Nov-12 10:41:03

nfk who commented on my sister's bad decisions and "shit apprentice scheme" back on page one. - Yes, she did make a bad choice borrowing for the deposit. Some young people don't always make the right choices even when they are trying to do the right thing.
My sister's placement is probably as prestigious as these sorts of things can get for a candidate with a troubled background and lack of other qualifications. Hopefully it will lead to something. She has limited options now but that isn't her fault. Her life previously, leading to this state of affairs, was not her choice, she was a child.

Anyway, I still don't think it is right that it is so so difficult to literally just live, while going through it, if you are not living with parents. I just don't. Many other people wouldn't have carried on, not because they are lazy and workshy, but because they are physically hungry and cold, and it is really really hard to continue like that.

I hadn't come back before because I felt weird talking about something so personal. I will probably regret replying again. sad

GossipWitch Sat 03-Nov-12 22:29:34

Basically the way I see it, the government want to have good statistics when they come to the next election and how better to say "there is now only x amount of people on jobseekers allowance compared to x amount of people in 2010, which means we have done our job and got people of benefits." Whilst totally missing the point that they have now made half the uk, homeless and/or hungry.

Did you know they have cut the budget for school meals too, so that tenner you pay for the school to feed your child would be better off spent on a pack up for the week, because believe me, they would get more food in them. They are also trying and have done in some area's cut funding for sen children school buses, lets not forget all the cuts to dla etc. Yet they manage to send 37mil a day to brussels !!!

Also in my area I have known 150 people turn up for an interview for 1 job, there were seven jobs going elsewhere and nearly 400 people were applying, everywhere turned people were telling others that they were applying for the same job and bitterly wishing each other good luck, its complete madness. There are not enough jobs to go round, and yet more businesses are closing every day? and now they introduce ridiculous sanctions to make people homeless and hungry, I feel so much for the sanctioned families who genuinely try their best, and I feel for the people who have to place them and then I feel for the council homeless officers because in the next year or so there case load is going to go through the roof.

Its a sad state of affairs and I will be voting labour !!

GossipWitch Sat 03-Nov-12 22:34:34

Funny how these horrendous circumstances don't fall into the national papers eh?

Darkesteyes Sun 04-Nov-12 01:30:58

How about, no one is allowed to drive their car anymore, due to those who dont tax and insure their cars, those have spoiled it for everyone else and it is considered fair and proportionate to punish everyone even though it is a minority that behave badly.

Would that be fair too?

Fab post Amber.

ttosca Tue 13-Nov-12 21:28:39

^"Unfortunately the decent majority are being punished for the sins of the scroungers "

The people who play the system should be blamed for this. The people who defraud and play the system. ^

Christ. No, the Tories should be blamed for this, as their attack on the benefit system is ideological.

The rate of fraud for every single type of benefit is below 5%. In some cases, such as for DLA, it is below 1%.

The cost of Benefit fraud in the UK is roughly £1.5 Billion:

Putting that in some kind of perspective, the department expects to spend a total of £148bn on benefits, including income support, housing benefit, disability and unemployment payments and more.

Total UK annual revenue: £600 Billion.

So benefit fraud accounts for: 1.5/600 = 0.2% of the budget!

ttosca Tue 13-Nov-12 21:30:49

These attacks on welfare claimants are ridiculous, and causing deaths and homelessness on a large scale (no exaggeration).

Meanwhile, tens of billions of tax revenue goes uncollected every year due avoidance/evasion and the UKs lax tax regime.

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