Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Sometimes, the Tories makes mistakes when they decide to take away people's benefits. They're only human, after all. Well, apart from Michael Gove. And Iain Duncan Smith, who I believe is a robot with a turnip for a head. And also, all the rest of them also aren't human. But apart from literally all of them, they're only human.

When the government makes mistakes, people can appeal to have the mistake corrected, and their benefits re-instated. It's a concept you'll be familiar with, called "justice". Well, David Cameron thinks justice is bullshit. Get a load of this: the government is considering CHARGING people on benefits who want to appeal against the decision have their benefits withdrawn.

Of course they fucking are. This is exactly the kind of pioneering, blue-sky thinking we've come to expect from the team that launched the idea of "working for no money" as a solution to unemployment.

And I expect there's even more juicy morsels in the pipeline too, like "force people to pay their boss for the privilege of an honest day's work", and "stop kids lounging around in the library reading books, and put them to work in the slaughterhouses".

Perhaps by the end of next year we'll even hear about plans to "send the unemployed to the Moon to look for work". After all, our grandparents got on their bikes to look for work. Why shouldn't we be expected to get in our spaceships and hunt for a job around the galaxy? If there's a new zero-hours part-time job in a Burger King in Sector 9, you should get off your arse and fly there at the speed of light. Like the Iain Duncan Smith would. Admittedly, he has an advantage because he's a cyborg, but that's not the point.

The story gets even more astonishing: it turns out that 58% of appeals are successful. 58%!! In other words, the government actually gets it wrong more often than they get it right. Which means that essentially, the government plans to charge innocent people for its own mistakes!

I like the idea of expanding this brave new idea into other areas. Next time you do a supermarket shop online, and they bring you the wrong kind of apples, perhaps they could charge you for their mistake by taking away all the food in your house.

Or maybe if you go in for heart surgery and they remove a leg by mistake, the doctors could demand that you give them your other leg as payment for their mistake, because after all, what use is just one leg to them? They need the full set - collectors would demand it.

Perhaps when banks mis-sell PPI or charge us incorrectly, they could apologise by charging us again. And if ever the police lose the paper work on an important case, it seems only fair that we citizens be punished by having the police take away our house and family. Otherwise, how can we honestly say that justice has been done?

It does seem quite extraordinary that people who are already vulnerable, poor and confused could be sent into even further despair. And as always, the excuse given is that it's a way of raising money. And that is literally true, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. Putting the NHS on eBay would raise money, but it doesn't mean we should do it. Especially when there are so many things we genuinely could sell. How much would America pay for the Queen? I reckon we could fund the entire NHS for a year with that profit.

It's no wonder that so many mistakes happen when we also learnt that Job Centre employees are actually rewarded and incentivised for cutting people's benefits. In what must be the saddest commission-based motivation in history, Political Scrapbook have received evidence of job centres that have a ‘scoreboard’ where they record the number of sanctions the staff have made using "shiny gold stars".

Which is really all that anyone wants in life, isn't it. A beautiful shiny gold star to call your very own. I assume that all the staff there think it's made of actual gold, and that they're using them as a substitute for a pension. Or maybe the Job Centre is actually just staffed by magpies. Please let it be the magpie one. Because the idea of actual human beings making someone go hungry just so they get something shiny next to their name on a wall... well, the thought leaves you rather empty, doesn't it?

I wonder if we could solve all the problems at the Job Centre just by giving all the staff a pack of gold stars each. I mean, they only cost like £2 from Ryman's. Can't we just have a whip-round?

In fact, this is a marvellous idea for a KickStarter. Let's get people on the internet to pledge £1 each. We'll launch a viral, celebrity-driven, highly re-tweetable campaign to raise awareness. And when we've raised the dizzying heights of, oh I don't know, £16, I'll pop down the shop and buy every staff member their very own pack of gold stars each. That way, they'll be able to stop destroying people's lives, and instead swim, literally swim, in all the gold stars they could ever dream of. It's a win-win.

We found out about the government's plans to charge people to appeal thanks to a leak. And I must confess, I do wonder how things like this get leaked. I used to just assume it was a disgruntled civil servant that wanted to expose the truth. But then I read a story about how the Tories control the news narrative. You know those public spats between David Cameron and Boris Johnson? Turns out they're all stage-managed public relations exercises. False, the lot of it.

It's the sort of thing that utterly alienates people from politics. There's no sincerity any more. It's all theatre, it's all fake.

And the consequence is that now, whenever I hear a story has been leaked, I don't trust it. Because why was it leaked? It must have been deliberate. Perhaps to distract us from something else. Perhaps the fact that it was too extreme is exactly the reason it was leaked, so that Cameron can come out and say "Of course we won't be charging people to appeal. But we do need to look at these legal costs, and that's why we need to cut 30% from yada yada yada".

So now, I don't trust any of it. I don't want to be so cynical as to think that every news story is planted, that it has an agenda beyond the obvious - but when you see how these creeps work, it's hard to think anything else.

The one silver lining to all this is that I think I can learn from these dark arts. If ever I get into power, I'm going to use this tactic in the opposite direction. I'll leak a story of my government's extremist plans to bundle the royal family into a cannon and fire them into the sun. And then when people get outraged, I can say "Don't be silly; of course we don't plan to shoot the Royal Family into space!

"But we do need to deal with the fact that this one family has been leeching off the state for centuries; this family that has over three generations out of work; this family that constantly has children at the tax payer's expense. And that is why we propose simply to get the entire family working full time - in Morrison's. To finally give back to the community from which they have so greedily taken."

On its own, it would seem like a silly idea. But compared to shooting them into the centre of the sun, it seems entirely reasonable. Thank you, Cameron. You have taught me the art of spin. For this, and this alone, I will always be grateful.
I make friendly socialist political stand-up comedy, and fun YouTube videos, with varying degrees of success.

I tweet at @Chris_Coltrane.

Please go to my website to download The Lolitics Podcast - a podcast of live political stand-up comedy from me and my friends.

And click here to see my YouTube show, The News For Idiots. I watch TV news, so you don't have to.

Latest Month

April 2016
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow