I increasingly wonder about the standard of journalism in this country today. If you want to find out what is really going on, most times in the tabloids and the media all you will get is a whole pile of Spin, not any real examination of the facts.
At this time more than ever the public is crying out for proper investigative journalism, a clear examination of the facts, and not the incredible amount of manure which is political press releases.
It all seems to be Spin, Spin, Spin,which is just a polite word for Lies!
The public are presented constantly with the same stuff, and to be fair, they are only too happy to buy it if It makes them feel righteous or superior to others.
While I wouldn’t go as far as saying that the press colludes with Government, It is certainly influenced by them, and by the rich and powerful.
After the 2008 crash, what we have seen very clearly is that while the public were made to pay off the debts of the financiers and bankers,whilst society in Britain suffers from job losses, increasing poverty and powerlessness, the rich and powerful have been grabbing everything they can.
Where the Bankers were seen very clearly as the villains, they were not by any means alone, they were encouraged and enabled by government,and by large corporations.
What was a financial disaster soon turned out to be a means for trampling down the masses.
The villains now are not the MPs who stole over a million pounds in fraudulent expense claims, nor is it even the Bankers and the Banks who we still pay for, nor is it the large corporations who avoid paying Billions of pounds worth of taxes, no the villains now are the chronically sick and disabled, the unemployed and the working poor.
Austerity does not apply to the rich and powerful, it is a cruel method to punish the poor and weak.
A visitor from a far off galaxy would see this, but somehow many of the public don’t, as newspaper headlines scream about Scroungers, Foreigners, and Benefit Fraudsters.
So let us pause a moment to examine where the fraud and abuse lies.
Back in 2010 Westminster MPs falsely claimed for in excess of £1 million in expenses, a handful of the worst offenders were selected as sacrificial goats and found guilty of fraud, the others didn’t even have to pay back the full amount of what they had wrongly stolen from us.
Recently Maria Miller the now former government cabinet minister fraudulently claimed for £45,000, only she never got charged with fraud, and indeed David Cameron was very reluctant to lose her from her post of Culture Secretary, and she has only been asked to repay £5,800. If this had been a jobless benefit claimant they would be locked up!
The HMRC let Bernie Eccleston the Formula 1 boss off with £2Billion whilst doing a secret deal with him to only pay £10million, a mere fraction of the tax sum avoided, had that been a small business man or company, they would have hounded him into bankrupty and he would have lost everything!
Vodaphone and Starbucks between them were let off with Tax of £8.2 Billion! Goodness alone knows what the total figures for all those big business’s are? Yet they chased me for £300 which If I had been savvy enough to know their rules and do my paperwork properly, I would not have owed at all.
All of the above is just the tip of the iceberg, In the UK state which has the 3rd worst record in the developed world in the gap between the rich and the poor. It is an increasingly corrupt and unjust country. Morality has been shredded up and thrown out of a passing train.
Yesterday saw the introduction by Westminster of the new benefit laws.
The jobless will now have to report to their unemployment offices every day or face sanction. Alternatively they can do forced voluntary work for 6months. The government also announced that there are no reasons for anyone to be out of work as here are 600,000 jobs available.
On the face of it that may seem fair to some, in realty it is not! People, including myself last year, have been sanctioned unfairly in up to 80% of cases gone to appeal.
This means no money for 4 weeks, which in reality is actually 6 weeks. This forces further and further pressure on foodbanks.
The new rules will mean that more and more people will fall into the sanctions trap, as you may be sanctioned for being 5 minutes late for an interview. So by having to sign on every day, they will be 10 times as likely to fall foul of sanction.
They have to pay their own travel expenses to go and sign on, so for a £3 bus fare to sign on previously, they will now have to fork out £30 a fortnight, this comes off their £71 a week, leaving even less to spend on food, clothing and heating and other bills.
if there are 600,000 jobs available, how many of these are they qualified to actually do?
How many are zero hour contracts where you are not guaranteed to work at all. I have worked for a company since January, and received 6 hours work from them in that time!
I have applied for hundreds or even thousands of jobs, and got nowhere, despite having 3 degrees, and despite going for anything and everything from portering to cleansing, to call center work to research. Yehh, no excuse right?
But the real sickener for me was the announcement highlighted by the single parent group Gingerbread, that mothers with children under the age of 5 face sanctions, and can be sanctioned even if their child is unwell and can’t make the appointment.
So lets have a look at stats provided by Citizens Advice:
“The UK government estimates that total fraud across the whole of the economy amounts to £73 billion a year. UK government figures for 2012 estimate benefits overpaid due to fraud is £1.2 billion and tax credit fraud is £380 million. So just under £1.6 billion in total; less than 1% of the overall benefits and tax credits expenditure and less than benefits underpaid and overpaid due to error.
“So to get some perspective, benefit fraud represents 2% of the estimated total annual fraud in the UK”
“Public sector fraud, which includes benefit fraud, is £20.3 billion a year, so within this category it accounts for just under 8%.”
“The majority of this £20 billion is tax fraud which costs the economy £14 billion annually, or 69%.”
“So we can see that both in absolute and percentage terms tax fraud is a much bigger issue than benefit fraud. In fact, out of all the categories of fraud calculated by the UK Government, benefit fraud is the second lowest. Only identity fraud which costs individuals £1.4billion a year comes below it.”
The Immorality, criminality, and abuse of privelidge in the UK has been going on for years,under one government or another, this has now turned to absolute Abuse and injustice, for the poor, the weak and the helpless, plus a whole host of others in work and struggling by.
That, if no other reason alone, is enough for me to vote for Scottish Independence, as we cannot surely allow such injustices to continue, and while we cannot be certain of our own rogues of which we have our share too, at least they can be more answerable to us.
We cannot allow this travesty of a supposed union carry on any longer and be part of it.