It’s war, class war

I’ve been nursing my wrath to keep it warm this week, while simultaneously trying to get it down to a level of mist that enables a coherent post to be drafted.  I had just about managed to shift from scarlet to hot pink and then I read Dr Eoin Clarke’s first class analysis of the personal wealth of the UK Government Cabinet at The Green Benches.

No peeking now, take a guess.  How much do you think our top politicians are worth collectively?  And this is based on conservative (sic) estimates.

£74 million.  Seventy four fecking million pounds.  Our Dave tops the list at £20 million while Lord Strathclyde – the Scot who leads the Conservatives in the Lords – is worth a cool £10 million.  And I’ll bet you a tenner you and I pay more tax in a year on our paltry earnings than some of them.

Knowing this creates a credible context for this Conservative-Liberal Democrat government’s political narrative and belief system.  It explains a lot, it really does.

Like how George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, could stand up in the UK Parliament this week and deliver a slap in the face for the poorest families – the ones who work and receive poverty pay for the privilege – in his autumn statement.

And how Iain Duncan Smith can justify taking money away from poor parents because giving them a larger income will do nothing to address child poverty due to their fecklessness.  Yep, that’s right.  That is why it is much more sensible for folk like him with his millions to keep the money and determine who is deserving and who is not.  Cos, like, he knows what it’s like to support a family of four on £12,000 per year.

Suddenly, David Cameron’s assertion – uttered unto the nations from the relatively safe space of a This Morning sofa – about how unhelpful it is to measure “relative” poverty makes sense.  At least to him and his chums.   “It doesn’t make any child in this country poorer because you are giving pensioners more money at a time when they need it”.

(And some readers might like to know that I had to stand up and walk round the room to calm down enough to continue after typing that quote).

According to the PM, clearly an expert in social and economic policy, it is “illogical” to measure poverty in relation to average income.  How else are we supposed to measure it then smart-arse?  I know, let’s measure the “wealth” of families with children under 16 against the wealth of the families in the UK Cabinet.  That would do the trick, for it would show that in comparison to this little lot, most families with children in the UK are actually in absolute poverty territory.

If we are living in harsh times when pensioners need a bumper income rise – a whole £5.30 a week, not to be spent on an extra bar on the electric fire, mind – because otherwise more of them would be poor, it stands to reason that not displaying similar largesse to poor families with children does make them worse off.  Don’t they need extra money for basics like food and fuel too?

Oh, I forget, giving them that money doesn’t work, cos feckless creatures that they are, they will just spend it on themselves, and not their weans.  Ergo, let’s not give poor families anything extra this year, let’s give it to the yummy mummies instead.  Cos, like, they’ll spend it wisely.  On gym fees and petrol for the Chelsea tractor and bottles of Sauv Blanc.

(breathe in, count to ten, breathe out)

The burd is struggling to work out how they managed to arrive at such a specious, ill-conceived and utterly contrived justification for declaring war on poor families.  One for which there is absolutely no evidence base.  This decision brings a whole new meaning to the idea of defending the indefensible.

In case you missed it, the Chancellor decided to freeze the amount of child element in working tax credit next year.  This is the sum of money that takes account of the cost of raising children when working out if a family earns a paltry enough sum that they need an extra bung from the government.  Think low paid workers – because you can only get WTC if you are in work.

But he decided to raise the amount of child element in the child tax credit.  Undoubtedly, poorer families benefit from this but given that child tax credit is paid to families earning up to £41,300, it’s clear that better off families win out on this decision.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies rattled all the changes announced in the autumn statement into an income calculator and produced the inescapable conclusion that these measures hurt the poorest hardest.  According to IFS researcher, Robert Joyce, “The new tax and benefit measures are, on average, a takeaway from lower-income families with children, and a giveaway to those in the middle and top of income distribution.  It’s a slightly regressive Autumn Statement on top of what was already regressive across most of the income distribution.”

You can almost hear Conservative and Liberal Democrat Ministers guffawing with glee.  While they simultaneously swig champagne and count their own lolly, all £74 million of it.

First, they came for the benefit recipients;  now they come for low-income families;  inevitably, this means they have done for women too.

Readers, it’s war.  Class war.  And I don’t know about you, but I’m up for a fight.  Just as soon as I’ve had a lie down in a darkened room to recover from blogging this.







16 thoughts on “It’s war, class war

  1. I understand the necessity for people to point out that Labour were crap. Yes they were. But they didn’t do this. They are not tweedle dum & tweedle dee. The Tories are far far worse at being just bloody nasty. Can we please just accept that?

    • I do!

    • I think the problem is that New Labour did a bloody good job of doing their best Tory impression, and it’s hard to see what they would be doing differently now. After all, their mantra seems to be “we would do the same, but a bit less severe” – tuition fee rises being an obvious example.

      If the Tories were beating people in the face with iron pipes, Labour would be using aluminium ones instead. If you get what I mean…

  2. I don’t mind people who make their money from scratch, then give away billions (ie Bill Gates), but for the privately educated twerps who sit on our front benches I could rattle on for hours.

    They need to look and understand realities, rather than taking on the public sector. People are simply not spending money. Period. I know a lot of people in retail and outwith food the pennies have stopped flowing.

    We need to be making things, not making chinless bankers richer.

    I’ll stop ranting now……………

  3. Pingback: The Invisible Fightback « The Sun Also Rises

  4. I’d love to read this – it looks really good, but I’m afraid that I find the snow-flakes effects so distracting that they make me dizzy, and I had to sto.

  5. Pingback: The Invisible Fightback |

  6. They’re Tories – it’s what they do.

  7. I’m fairly confident a similar study of the previous Labour Govt and the Tory
    one before that would have had similar conclusions. Westminster is morally bankrupt though clearly not financially.

    Is the current SNP govt packed full of millionaires? Was the previous Lib/Lab one? Does anyone believe that the government of an independent Scotland would be?

    To have a country run by people who have at least some understanding of those they serve, vote for independence.

  8. It’s also terrible economics, which is why so many successful, high-earning business people are in favour of higher taxation for the highest income groups and redistribution of wealth.

    Simply put, in order for a modern economy to work, money needs to keep moving.

    Poor people spend almost all of their income. They have no choice but to do so – they need accommodation, food, fuel etc. Rich people are far more likely to save their money. When poor people have less to spend and more money is saved by the rich, growth slows. In this instance, growth has slowed almost to a standstill.

    George Osborne needs to drop the ideology and wise up to reality. If he doesn’t start redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor in short order, the economy will suffer real long term damage, and everybody at every level will ended up much poorer in real terms.

    • Absolutely spot on. But while I will cry for poor people getting poorer, I’m not sure I’ll bother for the rich he’s working so hard to keep rich!

      • Jennie, you’re so correct (and Burd too, obviously). I have been arguing about this with people until I’m blue in the face. Unfortunately, people read nothing on economics, and simply take their opinions from The Daily Mail. Poor people spend, rich hoard, and the economy relies on spending. You know which “bleeding heart liberals” and “ignorant socialists” I source my argument from? The Professor of Economics at Cambridge, Ha-Joon Chang, writing in The Wall Street Journal:
        The Tories have no clue. These self-important and above all socially-sheltered morons are sweeping the economy off its legs on a daily basis. Then again, how could we expect any differently, based on what Kate has pointed out above. These people don’t exist on planet Earth. They exist in a stratosphere of self-aggrandizing entitlement and Old Boy Network favours. At the end of the day, they are still the landed gentry.
        Only this lot don’t even particularly care for Great Britain any more, rather they favour the postmodern global nation of Great Riches. For the record, “George” Osborne’s real name is Gideon, and he has so much economic nous that his wife handles the family mortgage. True stories.

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