Aristotle, one of the first political theorists we know of - has as much relevance today than perhaps two-thousand three-hundred years ago. As everyone should know he was the pupil of Plato, who went on to teach Alexander the Great, the then youth, son of king Philip of Macedon. In 1998 the political thinker and linguist, Noam Chomsky, said the following about the great philosopher:
“Aristotle also made the point that if you have, in a perfect democracy, a small number of very rich people and a large number of very poor people, the poor will use their democratic rights to take property away from the rich. Aristotle regarded that as unjust, and proposed two possible solutions: reducing poverty (which is what he recommended) or reducing democracy.”
Unfortunately Britain has decided to go for the latter rather than the former, just as most societies have, but Britain is an extreme example, not as extreme as the United States but extreme enough.
In 21st century Britain, the government and shadow government, whoever they may be, and evidently change from time to time, but in name only, would prefer the welfare state to be abolished outright. The government of its day would willingly wish to see the poor and abused homeless, dying in the gutter. The welfare state is slowly being privatised to private companies, and the social and human costs are terrifying. Private companies dream about making stupendous profits each night, they do not dream about what other people dream of, these people are dysfunctional, psychopathic and amoral. They look into people’s eyes and see large pound signs, euro signs, dollar signs or whatever. Getting people jobs in the most obnoxious and shocking places of work is of no significance to them. People must slave away for profits, profits, profits! And this is the rub; if the individual refuses to work in such barbaric conditions, any money they receive is taken away from them for a large period of time, forcing the poor into petty crime and prostitution.
The economy is structured around the free market, that is, towards, largely wealthy capitalists who enjoy using sweatshops in the third world to accrue their vast profits, then complain they pay too much tax. They further complain their well-earned money, that is paying third-world microscopic wages, is wasted on “benefit scroungers”. Such venture capitalists, as they like to call themselves, do not speak openly about such disparagement about the Royal family and politicians in the House of Commons, and members in the House of Lords, but benefit claimants of another kind. These two groups of people differ indeed.
It is generally accepted people on the welfare state do not work, or indeed, are incapable of work, which is why they are on the welfare state. The Queen and her sordid family, on the other hand, are a different matter entirely. The Queen, it maybe argued, is too old to work, so in theory, she should receive a pension instead. It is very well known this does not happen, far from it. The Government is literally robbing money from people’s bank accounts and handing it over to the imperial family. It is not £150 a week either; the Government are robbing billions of pounds from working people, and much of it is going to the imperial family. This is known as proceeds to crime. It is one of the imperial families lesser crimes; it is a crime nonetheless.
Dealing with those tiresome and thuggish politicians is a far more serious and grievous matter. For the people, if we may use that term, are working and claiming benefits. First and foremost the members of Parliament should not be paid a penny. After all, they are representatives of the people, at least that is what we are told. They ought to be paid expenses, and they should be glad of it. It is true they are representatives of something more unpleasant than the people they claim to represent, and that is corporate fascism. It is these so-called men and women who remove billions of pounds from the welfare state and give it to the rich in windfall taxes as well as other conniving schemes; tax havens; reductions in taxes for stupendously rich, supine, and avaricious individuals; the reduction in capital gains tax and corporation tax. This is following the Reaganite “reforms”. Reagan, in the 1980s, took billions of dollars out of the welfare state and put it into the Military Industry Complex. So, naturally, politicians of all types have to use a kind of a scapegoat; people to abuse in public; the downtrodden; the people nobody cares about; the people Orwell would describe as ‘unpeople’. They do not exist, they are of no significance, they do not matter. The is the attitude to the poor and needy in 21st century Britain. It is something of nightmares.
The days of Tony Benn and Barbara Castle are over. James Purnell, a former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, toyed with the idea of having people who take out emergency loans for the unemployed pay 50% interest back. These are called crisis loans, and the name of them elucidates what they are for. They are for people, and families, who have no food, sometimes no home, no hope, many have lived tormented lives, tolerated untold abuse, experienced homelessness and whatever else they have endured. This, coming from a former Labour Minister. He also proposed jobseeker’s ought to be forced to work for nothing, or rather, for their benefits, Mr. Purnell, it was found, was “fiddling his expenses”, such a man should have been convicted in a court of law, but Mr, Purnell, so it appears, is well above the law, just as many of his former colleagues are.
In the mainstream media, and this is not even restricted to the tabloid press, the word “benefits” always comes with a suffix: “benefits scroungers” or “ benefit cheats”, they have even taken to calling them “benefit scum”, and so on. Rupert Murdoch, that crazed lunatic, who surveilles his victims, destroys his enemies and roots out and destroys his competitors; he is the worst offender in this regard. When his newspapers talk of these “benefit scroungers”, the reason for this is very simple. It is looking away from the real criminals, like Rupert Murdoch himself. Such a man, and his newspapers do not concentrate their energy on “tax dodgers” or “tax cheats”, if he did we may read how much the British Government are losing every year through tax evasion and tax avoidance. Just to clarify the difference between the two: tax evasion is the one which is illegal and tax avoidance is the one which the state long ago made legal, that is allowing millionaires to pay less than 1% tax, but makes it compulsory for the poor, bruised and battered to pay much more. The Murdoch press leaves information like this out.
It is not just the Murdoch press either; they are all at it. The Government have devised an ingenious tactic and it appears to be working. They have created a chasm between welfare recipients and those on the minimum wage, prostituting their bodies for an absolute pittance: is it right these scroungers ought to get this money, when you have to work hard for yours? So instead of working people being infuriated at the real criminals that run the country: bankers, lord's, company executives, business leaders who exploit their workers in countries with weak labour laws, they are venting their fury who are the very weakest in society.
20th October, 2012