McVey loss is no compensation as unemployed wait for the pain to come

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 13:37 -- nick

It was a night that few people expected, and fewer poor people will welcome.

All the noises before last night's election were about the political deals to be made, how a hung parliament might stack up and which bits of the party manifestos would be dumped in the race to squat in number 10.

Instead we got a Tory majority government and a wipeout of compassion in England.

In one tiny bright spot Esther McVey, who has forced unemployed people and other benefit claimants through such misery, lost her seat in Wirral West and was carried out of the building kicking and screaming lies about her Labour opponent, who must have felt he understood what it was like to try to claim welfare under the erstwhile employment minister.

This small victory will be wiped away soon; another cruel cookie-cutter Conservative will be along shortly to enact the vicious policies the party has promised in the run up to the election.

Let's not forget what these policies are: the manifesto shows the damage that will be wrought, from another reduction in the benefit cap to £23,000, meaning claimants will be removed from the sight of any person who votes on this law, to another £12 billion cut from benefits on top of the huge chops already enacted, from a gradual reduction in the real value of benefits to the promise of another crackdown on (statistically-insignificant) welfare fraud and a continuation of a Universal Credit system that has been a money pit and failed to work.

This is to say nothing of the unofficial actions a majority Tory government are likely to continue: sanctions targets which have led to the suicides of dozens; the work capability assessment that has seen terminally ill people hounded to find work for the last months of their lives; an erosion of the guarantees the welfare state used to provide so it can no longer be depended on if you fall into hardship; poor-quality services for jobseekers which provide little help to find work; and a range of everyday harassments as claimants take the blame for the failings of others.

This will be a terrible time to be unemployed or to need the state's help. Some who voted Conservative will suffer at the hands of this new, unfettered government, and still be encouraged by politicians and the media to blame the workless and disabled for their plight.

They should look around more carefully at who really benefits from a government that has promised inheritance tax cuts for millionaires, and taken huge money from big business and the wealthy who will want to be paid back.

Only the 'haves' will truly enjoy this Conservative majority. For the unemployed the advice must be: that zero hour contract you were offered (and that Iain Duncan Smith wanted to rename)? Even if you can't live on it, you should take it, because the alternative of a civilised period on benefits with quality jobsearch support while you you look for real work is even less likely now.