Thursday, 11 November 2010

When in doubt, blame the victim.

A classic right-wing move when one of their policies turns out to be very bad for people is to blame the victims of that policy. There are probably a gazillion examples but when I saw IDS's nauseating plans, the first one that leapt to mind was Norman Tebbit’s ‘on yer bike’ attitude at a time when Thatcher’s policies had just cut 2 million jobs from the economy.
It is an exact replication of the same calculated idiocy (by which I mean that if you look at it for a moment you can see how stupid it is, and assume that the ministers responsible are cretins rather than what is actually the case: they are committing deliberate acts of evil in public), whereby employment secretaries conveniently forget that we don’t live in an industrial democracy, and most people don’t have much choice about work, and assume that the reason there is so much unemployment must be because there are so many unemployed. Therefore, goes the ‘thinking’, if you make life hard enough for people who have 'chosen' to be unemployed, this will incentivise them to find the work that 2.5 million of their comrades also seem to be a bit too lazy to find.

Actually, a more accurate title might be: When in doubt, don't just blame the victims. Beat them up a bit more. 'Hey you, you haven't got a job! That makes you basically a criminal, yeah? Here's a bin bag and a rubber glove. Off you go.'

I think what sickens me most is that it’s not even new. I’m assuming that when drawing up the policies, one of the remaining civil servants/photographers were sent round to get some clippings from a 1981 copy of the Times.

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