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"Strivers vs Skivers" - what do you think?

(494 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 18-Jan-13 09:57:40

Hello all

Prompted by a blog post this week from MN Blogger Sonya Cisco, and this opinion piece by BlogFest panellist Zoe Williams, for our first blog-prompt of the New Year we thought we'd ask for your thoughts on the current debate around benefits cuts.

According to both Sonya and Zoe, politicians have deliberately encouraged us to think of people as either 'skivers' or 'strivers' in order to pit people on low incomes against one another -  and to divert attention from the fact that the economy simply can't provide enough jobs.  

Do you agree with them? And if not - why not?  Post your URLs here if you blog - or, if you haven't got a blog (why not? wink) do tell us what you think here on the thread.

Zavi Fri 18-Jan-13 14:22:47

I think changes to the benefits system were LONG overdue.

Hard-working tax-payers are especially fed up in these economic times of paying for people who have never done a days work in their lives and have a higher standard of living, and are granted more concessions, than they themselves have.

The system had got completely out of control. If skivers wanted 10 kids - no problem! The tax-payer would pick up the bill for their housing, schooling, food, utilities, knickers.

After all, we don't want to see children living without SKY in poverty do we hmm

OF course tax-payers are going to be pissed off when they see that they have to foot the bill created by feckless men who have fathered 13 kids, by 10 different mothers - all of whom are on benefits. Just maybe those hard-working tax-payers would like to spend their hard-earned cash on their own kids.

I think the changes are wonderful smile

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 18-Jan-13 15:03:12

<hard hat & popcorn at the ready>

Snog Fri 18-Jan-13 15:06:40

It's true that there aren't enough jobs and I think the government should address this. I also think it is sad but true that the government do try to divert attention away from what they should be dealing with and aren't. And that trying to vilify or stereotype benefit claimants is destructive for all of us. I would like to see the governement addressing the scandal of huge companies operating in the UK paying little or no tax.

If there is a shortfall of private sector jobs then I would have the government create jobs.

We have the strange situation at the moment where newly qualifield teachers for example who the govt has trained cannot get work. In this situation we should clearly either be training fewer teachers or creating more teaching jobs. Maybe this could reduce the work burden on existing teachers. I am not a teacher but this is just an example of how things could be different.

I believe in the welfare state but am dumbstruck by how many people say they can't work because they could only do a job that fitted between school start and pick up...that may be an ideal but if the alternative is for the state to pick up your bills then I think it is wrong to afford the luxury of choice in hours worked and timing of those hours to benefit claimants.

I guess I think that if you are able to work then you should work - and full time unless you can afford not to without depending on social security. And the corollary is that there should be a job for you which ultimately I see that the backstop provider of work must be the govt.

If you are genuinely unable to work then I think the state should look after you to a higher standard than it presently does.

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 18-Jan-13 15:42:53

The first post shows how well the government have launched their agenda wink

Most people forget that people in work take a higher percentage of benefits home then people on JSA and not everybody who signs on has 13 different children with 12 different partners.

ThePathanKhansWitch Fri 18-Jan-13 15:45:42

Zavi, was that a rhetorical question?
I for one, don,t want to see children living in poverty.

This Governments devisive language is hateful, unproductive and short sighted in the extreme.

How about doing something about tax evasion? If those who don,t contribute fairly to the economy, are to be targeted, at least lets have some parity.

JakeBullet Fri 18-Jan-13 15:50:11

YAWN...... Another benefits thread...change the fucking record please.'s a grip love......go and get it.hmm

On benefits and infinitely poorer financially than I was in work....and my benefits are higher as I have a disabled child. God knows how other people do it.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 18-Jan-13 15:52:06

Zavi. Oh dear love, you shouldn't believe what you read unless you have a bit of education to understand politics sweetie.

What on earth are you going on about? I know many people on benefit myself included and none that fit your description.
I think it would be a different kettle of fish if people criticised your life choices. I wonder who minds the kids of these wonderful tax payers you refer to. Some of us choose to look after our own and don't particularly want material things. Yes we take the benefit, so did many workers until they earned too much and had it stopped. I didn't see many refusing stating they didn't need it and it should go to the needy.

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 15:59:14

Having created a monster in the 1950's, Maggie was the one to open the box and set it lose. Over 30 years wages have stagnated, living costs have risen, two workers now needed to support the family and even then that is not enough so people are forced to take on levels of private debt never seen before. But that's fine because indebted people are always very desperate to keep their jobs at any rate of pay. They even get a great new badge of honour or label "the striver"

Having impoverished the "working class" yes that's all of us who work for wages, (including those that would, if it were not for the fact that they are not needed) they then must divide us because there are more of us than them. How else can these puppets of the rich keep a lid on things. In any other time in history you would have people taking to the streets, well they do now and we don't always get to hear about it because the mainstream press is mostly propaganda and isn't there to enlighten us. Just occasionally you get a piece of well written and well thought out coverage in the mainstream and whilst I don't agree with everything Zoe Williams has said, it gets a thumbs up from me.

So if you are a striver, don't be so flippin smug because you are probably the very subject of derision by the people with the agenda, because it is you who is worked to past retirement, it is you who is paying the tax (because the corporations & the rich don't pay theirs) and it is you who makes the profits and keeps them in knickers.

AmberLeaf Fri 18-Jan-13 16:07:33

The first post shows how well the government have launched their agenda


FanFuckingTastic Fri 18-Jan-13 16:39:42

It certainly stops people looking at those who we should really be scrutinising, those in power. Misdirection, bias and spin - and a problem getting worse by the day, just seen another "striver" laid off due to the crapness of our economy and collapsing high street chains. Now what is he? A skiver because he was unfortunate enough to work for a company that has gone under, and has little chance finding employment in a market that is already tough enough.

This problem is so much bigger than welfare and yet that's what is focused on all the fricking time. The government have used the media well to beat down the poor and have the taxpayers chasing their tails with what I would consider to be almost a non-issue. Sure cuts needed to be made, but to target disabled people and scapegoat the poor, it's not on.

It's not an easy life being disabled, or caring for disabled children, being left to cope on your own with the kids, or losing your job, and yet people want to scream and shout about how greedy we are.

I am already fighting so many battles, three diseases and my ill health, for my daughter to be diagnosed, for her to get the support to do well in school, for my son to get support in school due to his minor disability, to keep the roof over our head, to stop the council discriminating against my daughter and not allowing her her own room, for my DLA to appropriately reflect my disability, for appropriate housing to safely raise my daughter, to get some sort of sleeping through happening with my nearly five year old. I've gone without food to see things happen, without sleep to care for my risk unaware child, without any sort of security - landlord wanted me out, council wouldn't rehouse due to debts, government decides to launch a new check on IS without informing, benefits get stopped for six weeks and I have to use a food bank so we eat. It's not the high life, anything nice we have is given not bought, and I've explained myself to the agencies, I shouldn't need to explain myself to society too. Fuck sake.

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Fri 18-Jan-13 17:05:43

People that assume this, have obviously never been on benefits.
Maybe you should try it sometimebiscuit

MiniTheMinx Fri 18-Jan-13 17:07:37

If the economy continues to shrink at the rate at which it is, they'll be trying sometime soon.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 18-Jan-13 17:16:37


I see your point but whats the difference between parents not working because they can't fit work around school claiming benefit and those working claiming help with childcare?
To me it is a question of choice, fairness and living within your means. If you can't afford childcare don't work, then you can't moan about being a tax payer and paying for others to sah to bring kids up.

Bonsoir Fri 18-Jan-13 17:22:59

There are many problems with the British economy but the cost of housing is one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century. That, and the fact that the British have been encouraged for far too long to live a long way from where they work, thereby wasting hours of their days on non-productive transport time.

JakeBullet Fri 18-Jan-13 17:32:13

Well said Bonsoir

therugratref Fri 18-Jan-13 17:52:14

The 2 part BBC 3 production "Growing up poor" opened my eyes, its worth watching. The loss of hope and the inertia that causes are heartbreaking.

Bonsoir Fri 18-Jan-13 17:52:18

It is also particularly perverse and incredibly irritating when politicians seek to pit voters against one another rather than understand the mistakes of previous adminstrations.

Snog Fri 18-Jan-13 18:15:11

Hugely agree with Bonsoir about the inefficiency of workers living further than cycle distance from their place of work

Travel to work = wasted time and wasted energy imo

cheddarcheeselover Fri 18-Jan-13 19:33:22

It's just good old fashioned divide and conquer. It's horrible and cynical.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Fri 18-Jan-13 20:13:10

As we're on the subject of the "lovely" Zoe Williams, I had the dubious privilege of hearing her speak on the issue of the current Government's policy some while ago, when she delivered herself of the following charming rhetorical question:
"What do they think we are? Educationally sub-normal, or something?"
As the parent of a child she would no doubt regard as belonging to that category, I literally couldn't believe my ears. I was also very disappointed that no-one else appeared to register what was wrong with that question.
it's not germane to this debate ; it's just something I like to mention when I see the woman held up as some kind of icon of progressive ideology, which is all too often in these parts.

MrsDeVere Fri 18-Jan-13 20:43:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JakeBullet Fri 18-Jan-13 20:48:13

<high fives MrsDeVere for her fabulous post>

cheddarcheeselover Fri 18-Jan-13 21:24:50

absobloodylutely mrsdevere

Zavi Fri 18-Jan-13 21:44:00

It's not bollocks. There ARE strivers and there ARE skivers. And strivers have to support the skivers.

I live by one very simple rule in life: if everybody did what I'm doing would it be OK? If it is OK then I crack on with it. Living within this simple yardstick gives me self-respect.

If you can say the same thing: that if everyone did what you are doing, and it would be OK, then crack on with what you're doing. There's nothing wrong with it.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that the govt have manipulated me into feeling animosity towards the skivers. I already felt animosity towards them! I recognise of course that successive governments have created the status quo.

I'm not suggesting that people should be left destitute or in poverty. But I am saying that the availability of benefits, over the long term, strips people of their dignity and their self-respect. And their motivation. I'm aghast to hear of people who "can't afford to go back to work. I'd lose too much money in benefits". I guess it doesn't occur to them that if they got back into work they would eventually improve their skills, their experience, their opportunities for further training and promotion all of which will put them in a better position to negotiate salary increases further down the line.

And I feel sick when I think about newly unemployed people who have been working for 20 years getting the same income support as someone who has worked for 2 years sad...if at all.

And don't even get me started on people who bring kids into this world without being able to support them.


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