Thursday, 30 May 2013

It's not my fault!

Any parent or teacher knows the scenario.  The child has committed some act of wrongdoing.  You saw him do it, and he knows you saw him do it.  But he keeps on insisting that he didn't do it, because he thinks you will have to accept that and not chastise him.  And eventually he comes to believe that he really didn't do it.  That seems to be the mindset among government ministers at the moment, especially in the DWP.
There's a report out, called Walking the Breadline, by Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty, which calls for an urgent parliamentary enquiry into how "welfare changes and mistakes by Jobcentre Plus staff are causing benefits errors or sanctions, which push vulnerable people into precarious situations".  (Guardian)  There's much more on the report in the article, including the fact that it wants the DWP to publish the data on the number of people sanctioned.  (Remember the DWP has just refused to do so.)  Other papers also report this, including, with breathtaking hypocrisy, the Express and also the Telegraph.  "Half a million can't afford to feed themselves after benefit reforms" is the headline in the Telegraph.  Whether any of the papers went to Iain Duncan Smith for a response I don't know, but there isn't one.
The report is also concerned about the possible impact of Universal Credit.  A recent Cabinet Office report said that UC was in danger of failing.  But that couldn't be IDS's fault.  According to an article by Isabel Hardman in the Spectator, it's all the fault of the civil servants.  "One loyal cabinet colleague of Iain Duncan Smith says the Secretary of State was 'extremely badly let down' by his officials on the 'shockingly bad' set-up of Universal Credit."  Interestingly, if a local councillor blames his officers for anything, it's a hanging offence.  Or rather, he gets suspended.  But MPs can apparently do it with impunity.  There's a longer quote from this article which I find fascinating.  "In his biography of the Chancellor, Janan Ganesh reported that Osborne was suspicious that the Christian sense of mission behind the plan might blind those advocating it to whether it would really work. But those close to the Work and Pensions Secretary believe he has since managed to make the case to the Treasury for this reform. ‘Iain has taken George with him and we do have the support of George now on universal credit,’ says a source close to the minister. Indeed, Osborne seemed happy to praise the Credit in a speech on welfare in April."
So however bad things get; however great the suffering of the victims; it won't be the government's fault.


  1. Always someone elses fault never theirs, it was then they use excuse of the day.. isolated incident, it was the last group, it was x or y..

    This is the UC that he claimed was on track and on budget a few months ago.

  2. It is obvious that the Universal Credit is not going to be put into effect in October this year.

    The computer systems are not ready, and the charities who are expected to pick up the pieces are already reaching breaking point.

    Ian Duncan-Smith and his chums in the right-wing press have been waging an organised and systematic propaganda campaign specifically designed to daemonise, dehumanise, and denegrade the poor for the past three years. Does Ian Duncan-Smith (or anybody else) think that the public is going to give money to charities so they can distribute emergency food?

    What if charities do begin to advertise for cash to fund emergency food banks because people are starving in modern Britain? Will Ian Duncan-Smith start to protest that there is no hunger and it's all some sort of conspiracy which will further deter the public from giving.

    How will Duncan-Smith react if there are food riots in major cities? Will he say that it is all a conspiracy organised by latte slurping lefties?

    It is blindingly obvious that the Universal Credit has the potential to be an ever bigger political disaster for the tories than the Poll Tax, only they just don't seem to see it.


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