Universal Poverty

Russian politicians get a bad press, and for the most part quite rightly so.  I’ve lost count of the number of times in Moscow I’ve seen a large executive car (usually a Mercedes, BMW or Audi) whizz past at ridiculous speed, blue lights flashing, oblivious to any other road user.  They have immunity and can go as fast as they want, break any traffic laws and run people over without a care in the world.

Another time in Russia I saw a fat slimy man in a shiny suit standing in the middle of the apartment yard explaining to a group of residents how wonderful he would make their lives if only they voted for him.  As you might imagine, he vanished with their cash and the touted improvements to the apartment block never materialised.  I would imagine they are now safely invested in a villa in Cyprus or Montenegro, a flashy car and a fur coat for his mistress.  Most politicians care only about how much money and power they can milk out of the system, and care little for the people they are alleged to represent, plebs as they are known in the UK.

One thing I haven’t seen in Russia though, is total hostility, open contempt and criticism for the poor, low paid and unemployed.  I’ve never seen a Russian politician brazenly attempt to make the poor, disabled and unemployed work for free.  This is happening right now in the UK.

The biggest change to the UK welfare system since 1945 is taking place and the mass media are completely silent on the issue.  There is wall to wall coverage of whatever reality tv show, z list celebrity and anything but the real issues.

Most people are carrying on as normal, unaware of the changes, despite what will soon be a triple dip recession, falling real term incomes and growing unemployment.

Universal credit is touted as the panacea to worklessness, a system that will encourage and reward work, but looking at the plans in detail they seem to be more of an attempt to bring Britain back into a Victorian era of the undeserved poor.

I wonder if the smokestacks in the summer Olympic ceremony were a tribute to the future, not the past.

Is the UK on a rapid decline to a 3rd world banana republic, combining an orwellian surveillance state with a new form of fascism?

Look beneath the veil of universal credit and the touted benefits aren’t quite so clear.

A lot of existing benefits will be combined into one single simple payment, fair enough so far. The only problem is that “sanctions” now extend to 3 years and encompass almost all benefits, meaning any perceived failure to comply with the jobcentre, the “work” programme or workfare means a total loss of benefit for up to 3 years.  Work for free for whatever multinational corporation you are sent to or starve to death.

At a time of economic turmoil, rising utility, rent and food prices, benefits will be slashed and even those in work will face “conditionality” and falls in income as tax credits are gradually erased, leaving many to resort to whatever they can do to feed their families.

Conditionality means part time workers and anyone not earning enough or working enough hours will be subject to Orwellian state interference, intrusion and monitoring.  There will be pressure to perform compulsory workfare, attend low quality training and spend hours chasing a dwindling number of vacancies.

Even those in real full time work aren’t safe, as employers will realise that a steady stream of free workers sent by government costs less than employing a real worker.

The effects on UK society will be profound.  Within the next 5 years I can see many ending up homeless and resorting to crime just to eat.  I’m shocked at the changes happening in my country.

I guess its time to start prepping for the impending riots and collapse of society!

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