Scare tactics

WHAT WILL they think of next? The leaders of the Con-Dem Coalition are very creative; forever coming up with new ideas to make poor people more and more miserable. Two years ago it was the massive cuts in public spending that closed down local services that made people’s lives a little better and at the same time threw thousands of people who worked in those services on the dole.

Then they started on the disabled and long-term sick, destroying the benefits that help them to live an independent life — hounding them, calling them scroungers and making their lives as miserable possible by forcing them to try to look for jobs that don’t exist and that they couldn’t do anyway. They have already driven hundreds to suicide.

Now they are bringing in the “bedroom” tax that will hit people claiming housing benefit. If someone claiming benefit has a larger house than they need they must seek a smaller home or face having a big cut in their housing benefit. This will affect the elderly whose children have left home but sometimes come back to stay, for example at Christmas.

It will also affect the sick and disabled again. It will have a really brutal effect on couples where one partner is looking after the other but sleeps in a different room because of the needs of the one being nursed — but the Government deems that they ought to sleep together.

Looking for smaller properties in most cases is just not practical — there are no such places available at affordable rents. It simply means that people with a spare room will see their rents rise to levels where they simply cannot pay.

And there is a new wheeze in the pipeline to make the poor suffer even more. It is already being imposed on asylum seekers. It takes the form of a smart card, like a credit card and known as the azure card, and their very meagre benefit is paid on to it regularly. But it can only be used in certain shops and for certain goods. It is supposed to stop the underserving and feckless poor spending all their money on booze and fags. Ian Duncan Smith wants to extend this to all Department of Work and Pensions benefits.

But the shops where these magic cards can be used are few and far between. There is no way to draw cash in order to travel on public transport to get there. They cannot be used to make phone calls or buy stamps. The children of claimants must walk, sometimes many miles, to and from school every day. Thus the poor are again humiliated and their lives made a misery for no other reason than the irrational prejudices of the rich and powerful.

But we have a ruling class and a Government that believes the only way to stop the working classes being idle and lazy is to make them afraid of poverty. Like the workhouses introduced in Victorian times, their main purpose is to make life as miserable as possible for those who are not fit enough or lucky enough to have well-paying jobs.

They count on poor people being too demoralised to vote in large numbers. But we need a bigger change than voting could bring; we need a revolution. And the ruling class now is making us angry enough to start losing our inhibitions and apathy; “Come the revolution” becomes no longer an idle phrase but a statement of serious intention.