Ian Duncan Smith’s policy: starve the poor into committing crime

The papers are full-on when members or ex-members of the government make a fool of themselves behaving badly when they can’t get their way – Andrew Mitchell foul-mouthing a policeman with the toxic ‘plebs’ allegedly added in because he couldn’t ride his bike through the No.10 gates, and David Mellor ranting at a black cab driver over the best route home to his £8m pad near Tower Bridge.   But what really matters about members of the government is not their silly misbehaviour, it’s they way they’re crucifying millions of people even to the point where they’re denying them food and shelter.   On this, with a few honourable exceptions, the media are largely silent on the grounds presumably that they don’t matter because they’re not famous.   A million people have been sanctioned by government ministers over this last year, which means that they are deprived of all their benefit for often petty infringements (e.g. being 5 minutes late for a job interview) and hence have no money for at least 4 weeks and sometimes 3 months, forcing them to steal to survive.

If they’re caught, the penalty for stealing some meat from a supermarket might be a fine of some £200  which of course they cannot conceivably pay, or it might be 6 weeks in prison.   IDS supervises the sanctioning (though it’s outsourced to a privatised firm doing his dirty work for him), while Grayling takes care of the imprisonment.   This is the treadmill of impoverishment to which this government is now sentencing hundreds of thousands of people every year, a crescendo of wanton harshness out of all proportion to the treatment meted out to other miscreants.   During and after the Napoleonic wars there were up to 200 offences for which a person could be hanged, usually for stealing to keep their family alive. The people of this country sitting on the juries finally got round this draconian repression imposed by the ruling class by refusing to convict.   That is what juries and magistrates should do now when faced by the stark injustice of the criminal justice system.

MPs who 5 years ago stole big ticket expenses to which they were not entitled, including many on both front benches, suffered no penalty worse than being named and shamed in the newspapers, with no more than half a dozen fall-guys, not the main offenders, sent to prison for a few weeks.   Not a single banker has been prosecuted for presiding over the wrecking of the financial and economic system by the most brazen arrogance, recklessness and incompetence, even though it has ravaged the lives of millions of innocent people.   None of the super-rich who have been avoiding due payment of taxes by the most artificial forms of contrivance have ever been personally brought to book and sent down.   We are now seeing one law for the rich and another for the poor in its most vicious and nasty form.

7 thoughts on “Ian Duncan Smith’s policy: starve the poor into committing crime

  1. One law for the poor and the worst offenders getting off scot free, indeed. So what happened to the famous British sense of fair play and British justice!? Gone out of fashion!? Judges and magistrates especially seem to be appointed from the upper classes and the far right; and they have a very poor opinion of lower classes.

    The Tories are not just starving people and driving them to crime, but many are also being driven to their deaths. Yet, some people are still saying they can’t see any difference between the Tories and Labour!! It’s so very frustrating. This must be the worse government we’ve ever had; it’s certainly far worse than anything Thatcher ever did.

    People are either sticking their heads in the sand, or just can’t believe that our government can be so very cruel and unfair. I can’t believe that the good people of this country think the poor, the sick/disabled and unemployed deserve to be treated so badly. Perhaps they’re just too busy trying to keep their heads above water themselves or don’t read the papers that print the truth of the situation. Or perhaps they think they can’t do anything about it.

    Too many papers still print articles about benefit scroungers. I called into my hairdressers a few days ago (usually a good source of information). The main theme however centred on the few people they knew who had never worked. I replied that this minority was no reason for treating genuine cases so badly. The whole attitude needs to change, but that’s difficult if the papers continue to print rubbish, biased articles. Can’t they be stopped?

    I and others try to point out that misfortune can happen to anyone, even to them or their family members (unless they’re very rich). I myself was perfectly fit and healthy, didn’t drink or smoke, until I caught a virus that ruined my life, forcing me to give up work after 40yrs. The NHS can’t help and my insurances didn’t cover me, so I too have had to rely on the state’s help. Perhaps it’s mainly people who have been personally affected by the system who are more aware of how bad it really is.

    I only hope that Labour can find a way of getting the message across to the country and change attitudes prior to the election in May.

  2. Here’s a link to some better examples of sanctions than the one you’ve quoted:


    • You get a job interview. It’s at the same time as your job centre appointment, so you reschedule the job centre. You attend your rearranged appointment and then get a letter saying your benefits will be stopped because going to a job interview isn’t a good enough reason to miss an appointment.

    • You are forced to retire due to a heart condition, and you claim Employment and Support Allowance. During your assessment you have a heart attack. You are sanctioned for not completing your assessment.

    • You apply for three jobs one week and three jobs the following Sunday and Monday. Because the job centre week starts on a Tuesday it treats this as applying for six jobs in one week and none the following week. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks for failing to apply for three jobs each week.

    The worst situation is when people are placed in the WRAG part of ESA and are sometimes far too ill to attend their Job Centre appointments, and are then sanctioned. People who have been ill for a long time have used up any savings they may have had, so this is devastating, especially when it comes on top of their illnesses.

  3. And their judges spoke with one dialect , but the condemned spoke with many voices
    And the prisons were full of many voices, but never the dialect of the judges.
    And the Judges said “No-one is above the law”

    Tom Leonard Reports form the present.

  4. its called norman law we see daily ministers with their hands in the till yet they changed the law to suit their needs we see ministers who have links to private conractors getting paid or promises of jobs yes its called being a crook but they changed the law for this also giving these private compaines tax payers monies and much more all for that greed yet on it goes misheal are labour party now going to change who this crooked lot did allow companies to rob the workers while the torys took that whot wasnt right back handers from these who want that take all our money away into offshore accounts are we now back to 1070 were normans ruled jeff3

  5. It reminds me of the Father Brown story of the hammer dropped from the high church tower. Someone way down there on the ground looks like an insect, he commented to the murderer, and that’s how the crime seemed so easy to you.

    That’s what we are to them – those ‘insects’ (poor people) down over there, to whom they feel no human connection – and then, what does it matter if some of them get squashed? They have no value.

    It’s the double-think of it! They initiate everything that can be done to undermine wages and conditions, and then they treat those who they have deprived of employment stability and protection as if it is they who are the miscreants.

    For when community workfare involves doing the same jobs as are done by those on community payback, by those who have been convicted of a crime, only for longer; that indicates that unemployment has become viewed as a worst criminal condition than many criminal acts (which may have a poverty cause anyway).

    Few people not having come into direct contact with what is really happening seem to be aware of what is really happening. Yes, indifference in some parts, but more especially because most of the media obscure it from public view, and dress up the injustices as justice. The media, the majority of which is owned by very wealthy people, has all along been fully complicent wiht the intentions of the corporacracy.

    Where the real purpose of sanctions is to compel enforced free labour, and for the labourer to be expendable – to have no rights.

    When the convicted may not want to be spared prison, as at least that means a roof and regular meals.

    The tribunals do usually reverse the unfair sanction decisions, and the benefit gets returned; but as it takes months to get to a tribunal court, it doesn’t help at all at the time. While of course the claimant may feel too much in despair, and many, many unwell or with learning difficulties, are not aware of their rights, nor encouraged to pursue them; or just don’t feel up to the fight.

    The purpose of the present Job Centre is to agitate (distress the ‘client’ as much as possible), sanction and sell free labour. The one thing it no longer does nor is capable of doing is to help people find (real) jobs.

    The DWP has become toxic and a cruel human-rights violator, and needs to be completely overhauled, starting with its chief instigator.

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