Financially speaking, 2011 will be a difficult year for most people but for the poor and unemployed it will be horrible. With benefit cuts, relatively high inflation, cuts to public services together with the recent increase in VAT, this sad state of affairs is unavoidable.
The response of the Prime Minister, David Cameron is, “We are helping people back into work”.
The trouble is though, the “work” doesn’t exist, except in the collective imagination of the Tory led, predominantly right wing, Coalition Government.
There is a budget in the Spring which we at TheOpinionSite.org believe will bring even more misery to the poor. Yet it is certain that its effect on those at the bottom of the income scale will be receiving little, if any thought from Cameron, Clegg and Osborne.
Why is this? Is it because the three of them don’t care? Probably – but that is not the main reason.
For the real cause of this hypocritical and callous reasoning at the top level of government, we have to look at the political mood of those likely to vote in the next election. The mood not of the people in general but of the voters in particular. People who hate those on benefits and who are unemployed and who, in the view of many who do work, have no place in an ‘acceptable’ British society.
You see, as many ‘working class’ people – what are now often described as ‘the poor and unemployed’ – hardly ever take the trouble to vote in elections, the Government has decided that they are of no consequence and therefore completely irrelevant.
Indeed, one can almost hear the Prime Minister and his wealthy colleagues saying, “The poor contribute nothing, don’t make a difference and actually the whole country would be better off anyway if they didn’t exist at all. We have to write them off as a lost cause”
He wouldn’t dare to say that in public but there are many people who believe that is what he is thinking.
TheOpinionSite.org believes the proof of this comes, as is so often the case nowadays, not from the mouth of Cameron himself but from his faithful pet, his alleged deputy, Nick Clegg who has started talking about ‘Alarm Clock Britain’.
He is referring, apparently, to those who are basic rate taxpayers who, the Deputy Prime Minister says, “Get up in the dark, get their children ready for school and then go out to work.”
People, who Mr Clegg accepts are seeing their already fairly modest living standards hit by pay freezes, job losses and price rises.
He also points to the government’s welfare reforms which he believes are popular with working families, who perhaps resent claimants on housing benefit who are able to live in homes they cannot afford.
In other words, he is referring to what Tony Blair called ‘Middle Britain’. Those who fall into the category so beloved by all British politicians; that is, those who are married, have children, are employed, have a huge mortgage they cannot afford and who vote in elections.
People who are trapped and ‘locked in’ to the social norm which makes them so easy for the government to push around and manipulate and who, most critically from the point of view of the government, are far too afraid to fight back against social injustice.
Transition into disaster
The real problem for the Government arises though when more and more of those employed, responsible, eager to vote ‘middle class‘ citizens lose their job and are suddenly transformed into one of the undesirable, irrelevant and politically despised ‘poor and unemployed‘.
At that point, Mr Cameron no longer includes them in his thinking.
Those who previously had an income and were paying tax find themselves claiming £64 per week Job Seekers Allowance, then Housing Benefit and finally, extra benefit for their children. They become aware, probably for the first time in their lives, of what ‘hardship’ really is.
They are forced to realise that life on benefits is not pleasant, is not easy and is not entered into deliberately by anyone.
As time goes on, these new members of Britain’s poorest club also come to realise that once you are on benefits and out of work, it is extremely difficult to do much about it.
The sad fact is that the longer you are unemployed, the more unemployable you become.
Furthermore, if you are over 50 or have any kind of criminal record (30% of working age men do), you may as well start digging your grave now. Re-employment rates for that social group is less than 2% (source: NAO).
It is estimated by many organisations on both sides of the political divide that over the course of this year, unemployment may rise by as many as 500,000 people, perhaps more. It is also estimated (source: IFS) that after another 3 years, the vast majority of them will still be unable to find a full time job; and that, of course, is the disaster that is waiting to happen.
Many ‘jobs’ that the Government talks about are only part-time and simply do not deliver sufficient money to those who have to pay mortgages and support their families.
Worse, many do not pay anything at all and are called ‘internships’ where the ‘intern’ is expected to work for nothing in return for training.
Although this practise breaks the law on minimum wages, the Government welcome it as it takes more people off of the unemployed list, even though they are not actually employed at all.
Cameron wants to “get people into training” for the same reason, even though there is little or no chance of getting a real job at the end of it.
A Bubbling Cauldron of resentment
TheOpinionSite.org predicts that by September of this year, the cuts, tax increases and price rises will be having a severely detrimental effect on the people of Britain.
There will be huge dissatisfaction amongst millions of so called ‘ordinary people‘ who will either find themselves paying to support the unemployed or who will have themselves lost their jobs and find themselves in receipt of benefits.
A bubbling cauldron of collective resentment and bitterness will be waiting to explode onto society with all the anti-social consequences that result from such emotions.
For the first time in many years there may be action on the streets reminiscent of the Thatcher years.
The prisons will be full of people who either cannot find an alternative to crime or who have taken action against the government’s measures and have fallen foul of the Law as a result.
Nevertheless, despite all of this, the millionaires in the Cabinet will refuse to acknowledge that they are responsible for the social carnage that they will have caused.
As for those with their heads in the sand who believe that such a state of affairs is impossible and would be pure fiction, TheOpinionSite.org has this to say to them: Just wait and see.