Once again on Mainstream British Television we are exposed to the scapegoating of the poorest in our society in a show which supposedly scrutinizes the British political process and yet draws no connection whatsoever between the issues raised.
Question Time has been a long running weekly show which, in line with our supposed democracy gives the general public the opportunity to scrutinize politicians and other elites of one kind or another. Sadly the producers, programmers and broadcasters have little understanding of the democratic process they aim to ‘Question’.
After ‘applying’ to appear in the audience, (bearing in mind that those people within society who feel powerless are unlikely to do so, and therefore remain unrepresented) the audience enter a selection process. Any questions which are ‘unplanned’ are mostly brushed to one side by Mr Dimbleby who cleverly asks another audience member a question which is then put to the panel.
OK, so the leader of a fascist party appeared, but do they really pose a threat? I think not! I would even go as far as to say that the coalition in power are pretty fascist as it is. The real threats to the current structure of the system and its institutions in the form of real left anti capitalist movements are largely unrepresented and certainly have been misrepresented. Where are the voices of the alternatives?
And so once again this evening the 29th June 2012 when a member of the audience asked why she should continue working when she would be better off not working and claiming benefits, the whole panel had to agree that some people lazy and that in these times of economic crisis we cannot afford to pay for people not to work. There were a few comments regarding the deserving and undeserving poor. A few challenging a doley’s right to enjoy a drink at the pub with friends or even to have sky TV.
I do not deny that long term doley’s are lazy, and that some have no intention of working. I do not deny that a benefit culture exists. What frustrates and angers me is the lack of empathy. Have you ever had to live on benefits? Take it from me, it’s pretty impossible. The consequences are often a poor diet, malnourished children and adults alike, exclusion from social activities, and a very very low self esteem not at all aided by the consultants you collect your ‘number’ from when you go to claim.
There is no mention of the real trap. The youngster having had a poor education and a disruptive home life which hindered his or her studies. The lack of available funds for that child to enjoy the enrichment of extra curricular activity, and not forgetting the way that poorer, scruffier children are treated as lesser beings from a very young age. Nor is there mention of the impossibility for some to attend higher education because of the necessity to make up a short fall in the loss of child benefit they have inflicted on their parents. That suit that is needed for that interview, that bus fair, train fair or petrol money…….They are not considerations for many of us, but for a family on benefits this is everyday life.
Its tough on benefits, believe me. The self esteem that my child gains from out of school clubs is priceless for me, but then I have that choice. Others with as much and often more talent do not. Gone are the days when children are selected through schools and given opportunity. Equal opportunity? Where?
Along with usual ‘benefit scrounger scapegoating’ was the to often ‘pussyfooted banking regulation’ issue. No comparison was drawn. The conspicuous relationship between elites of all nature was raised by good old Paddy Ashdown, and for a second there was hope. But no, it was mentioned and once again tidied neatly into a quietened corner for a day that it seems will never come. Still no comparison or correlation was drawn.
So here it is. The system we have necessitates poverty. That is why the welfare state was introduced. They were not introduced ‘just in case’ but because politicians and elites of the highest ilk needed to pacify the working class whom they knew would ultimately suffer under a capitalist system. Lets not talk of taking money from the welfare state, lets talk about making wages fairer. It is not the welfare state that is flawed, except that it does not pay the poorest in our society who have been let down by the system enough. No! It is the businesses and politicians who have enabled a system to evolve which is unregulated and self governed, to the point that business and finance holds more power than politics. Politicians are merely the puppets of the powerful. Hence the lack of banking regulation.
If you are born into a working class family, statistics show, the chances are you will die working class. The same applies if you are born at the top of the ladder. That tells us something. Equality does not exist within our British society. OK we live better lives than many around the world. But poverty is relative! How so I hear you cry! How do you explain to a child who loves football that they cannot join the dance club they so enjoyed once, because we don’t have enough money? Is this child any more or less devastated than the child who has to walk five miles everyday for water? We can say that the latter is more severe poverty of course, but the child’s feelings are similar. They don’t compare their situation to the child in Africa, they compare it to their next door neighbor as she leaves for that dance club, even though she may be the lesser talented, and it is she who will become the dancer!
You cannot teach self esteem. You cannot give somebody confidence other than through giving them the ‘opportunity’ to help themselves.
How do we watch the Greeks go hungry and give the Spanish banks Billions? How can we justify excluding children in a country where there is plenty to go round? People don’t choose to ‘scrounge’, most are legitimately out of work, some are incapable of work through overwork, and some have given up the fight and now believe themselves to be worth nothing more than scrounging. But take their benefits? What good will that do?
We have to stop allowing the media, the politicians and the elites blinding us with the light of medicating the symptoms of societies problems because we the people will ultimately pay the price. We have to ask “What are the causes?” and we have to keep asking, and keep asking some more, and when we get answers we have to demand action. I fear, if we don’t take action and demand change, we might just destroy any ‘good’ we have left!