The Plastic Hippo

March 15, 2013

Bedroom farce

Filed under: Birmingham,Law,Politics,Rights,Society,Walsall,Wolverhampton — theplastichippo @ 11:00 pm
Beware the IDS of March

Beware the IDS of March

Iain Duncan Smith lives in a lovely big house with lots of spare bedrooms and receives substantial state benefits for his food, drink, energy costs, transport and accommodation.

Iain Duncan Smith is about to steal £500million from the poor, from children and from people with disabilities.

Having become firmly established as the boot-boy vanguard of Conservative ideology, Iain Duncan Smith`s Department for Work and Pensions are attacking their fellow human beings with a savagery not usually associated with devote Christians such as Mr Duncan Smith. The demonization of certain sections of our society and the “scrounger” rhetoric disseminated to whip up loathing in a gullible public seems disturbingly familiar and allows the minority in power to unleash suffering that challenges the very definition of civilization. The Bedroom Tax is designed to punish people who are unlikely to vote Conservative.

Iain Duncan Smith becomes very angry when his final solution is described as the Bedroom Tax. He prefers to call his anschluss “under occupancy sanction” or the even more odious euphemism “spare room subsidy” and has bellowed his rage at the BBC for reporting the carnage as the Bedroom Tax. No amount of semantics can disguise the fact that the Bedroom Tax is malicious socio-economic ethnic cleansing that will punish 660,000 households guilty of the crime of being poor. Duncan Smith continues to bray that his Bedroom Tax is “fair” and his weasel apologists regurgitate false and hate-filled bile about “generational idleness”, shirkers behind closed curtains, state hand-outs and “helping” the poor to free themselves from the “cruel misery of benefit dependency” by finding a non-existent job. The alleged one million jobs created in the private sector do not actually exist. A simple stroke of a pen transferred 200,000 Further Education jobs from the public sector to the private sector, Workfare slaves working for no pay are removed from the unemployment register and ATOS “disappear” people with profound disabilities from the figures by removing state support. Evangelical in ending the “something-for-nothing” culture of a welfare state that took generations to develop and less than three years to dismantle, the millionaires on the government front bench are experts in “something-for-nothing” given their vast inherited wealth from their greedy daddies. Long ago and far away another minority in power talked of work making people free.

The Bedroom Tax is predicated by the fact that there is a shortage of affordable social housing. With zero economic growth, debt and deficit increasing and the lies about employment and fiscal mismanagement getter bigger and bigger, such is the incompetence of the coalition government that instead of building affordable housing as a stimulus for growth, they wish to hammer existing social housing tenants. The victims being targeted seem to have three choices; take a cut in housing benefit, take in a lodger or leave your home. Children will now be required to share bedrooms and if a child dies, the parents will be expected to find a smaller house within three months of the death. There is a chronic shortage of small, affordable social housing.

To justify this plunge into barbarity, the DWP insist it is for the good of the undeserving poor and will no longer tolerate benefit fraud. However, the DWP`s own statistics confirm that benefit fraud is at 0.5 per cent of the welfare budget, a lower figure than the money lost through “administrative error” and considerably less than the amount of unclaimed benefit that the DWP keep hidden from those who are entitled to them. When pressed, the department have admitted that 60 per cent of the Bedroom Tax victims are working in low paid jobs and more than two-thirds are people with disabilities or are seriously ill. Duncan Smith does not mention that housing benefit actually goes into the pockets of landlords who charge inflated rent and not to the claimants. The silence becomes deafening when it turns out that the Bedroom Tax will, in reality, cost more money than it saves.

The ever vigilant and vital YamYam carried a recent piece from The Guardian featuring the plight of tenants on the Bushbury Hill estate in Wolverhampton. Forced out of their homes into smaller properties to satisfy the ego and petulance of Iain Duncan Smith, residents will have to move or starve and, more crucially, need to claim increased housing benefit if they are lucky enough to find a smaller house deemed suitable by the DWP. Apart from the financial cost to exchequer, the societal cost is immeasurable. The forced migration and stigmatisation of disparate and abandoned groups and the disruption and distress caused to communities, families and, more importantly, children will scar and blight an already broken society. Duncan Smith will be remembered as a man who took something bad and made it much, much worse.

Faced with this inexorable assault on basic human rights in the seventh richest economy on the planet, we must surely be able to look to the law and to less draconian politicians to redress the madness. When the Appeal Court ruled that the DWP acted unlawfully in sanctioning the benefit claims of Workfare free labour for Tory donors, the response was swift. The second and third reading of The Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill will hurtle thought the Common into law next Tuesday. Without debate or scrutiny the law will change and act retrospectively so the unlawful sanctions imposed by the DWP will instantly become legal. There is, of course, legislation in place to protect human rights but the Home Secretary has already promised to rip up that legislation and, for good measure, the right to legal aid has been removed.

In response, Labour who remain reticent in stating what they will repeal and ambivalent about what they will not repeal should they return to power, have indicated that they will vote with the government to allow the DWP`s illegality to be reclassified as legal.

As for the Liberal Democrats, new depths of duplicity and self-interest have been plumbed. Vehemently against the Bedroom Tax, they voted in favour of it. Claiming that a Mansion Tax was their big idea, they voted against introducing a Mansion Tax. Clegg`s party, that sees men of honour and integrity like Chris Huhne and David Laws promoted to high office, can boast that their main achievement has been to bestow credibility on the barking mad and frankly sinister UKIP and to allow Cameron and his gang to get away with it.

When just some of the Bedroom Tax scam finally came to light, Iain Duncan Smith announced a couple of exemptions to those he wishes to tyrannise. Foster Parents and the families of serving members of the armed forces will not be bullied into deeper poverty. Sadly, like so much of what the government announces, this is not true. On the same day, the DWP introduced a £5million cut to the already woefully inadequate Discretionary Hardship Fund dished out to Local Authorities who are tasked by the government to enforce evictions and misery. As with all despots, built-in denial of responsibility means that the government can blame local councils for doing the dirty work of ensuring hardship and it is no coincidence that the majority of people targeted by the Bedroom Tax live in areas locally controlled by Labour.

Iain Duncan Smith is not the only nasty man with nasty ideas ordering the DWP to kick in the doors of people in need. Minister Mark Hoban is refusing point blank to meet with or even communicate with disability campaigners regarding the inhumanity of the disgraceful ATOS and Esther McVey has taken up the gauntlet thrown down by Maria Miller as Minister Against Disabled People. But, as Secretary of State, it is Iain Duncan Smith who heads the whole sordid cabal. As a failed soldier, a failed arms dealer, a failed academic (he invented his qualifications), a failed unemployment benefit claimant, a failed party leader and now a failed cabinet minister, who better to not only fail the very people he has a duty to protect but to also inflict grievous harm upon them.

Today is the Ides of March and the day might prove to be prophetic for the DWP`s Little Caesar. Tomorrow will see 57 protests across the country demanding an end to the malevolent Bedroom Tax. For any humans in Walsall, there is one in Victoria Square in Birmingham and one in Halesowen Town Centre, Sandwell. Both start at 1-00pm and if you go, go in peace. At least for now.

IDS and Cameron might want to beware the day after the Ides of March.


  1. The problem is democracy (or rather the lack of it). Politicians have become detached from the people, so that there is great cynical distrust of all of them (quite justified IMO). What is needed is to cleanse this Augean stable, with a new party – but with a difference. Its sole purpose would be to pass a law preventing any MP from standing again for parliament. After that it would dissolve itself and hold fresh elections. In effect its policy would be to sack all MPs.

    There is no party I can vote for – they all follow the same policy, they all lie to get power and then betray the electorate. They’re only in politics for the money. I think there would be enough popular support for a party pledging to throw them all out, that the prospect of the gravy train coming to a halt might actually make them serve the people not the corporate lobby groups.

    What should one call it? The ‘anti politician party’, the ‘none of the above party’ or ‘sack them all party’?

    Comment by Anton — March 16, 2013 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  2. Anton

    If you propose to ban people from standing for office after 1 election, by definition, you deny the democratic process.

    Voters decide who should represent them. The trick is to get the electorate interested enough to vote in the first place.

    The only answer is to compel it. Your vote is your choice, but you have to make one – even it is for None Of The Above. In which case, get on and develop something that you can vote for.

    A vote is not a right, it is a responsibility, earned over centuries and not to be ignored.

    The Realist

    Comment by The Realist — March 25, 2013 @ 11:46 am | Reply

    • Compulsory voting is not a bad idea, but it doesn’t address the problem of lack of choice. The 2 main parties have stitched up the electoral process such that we no longer have a democracy in this country which is why I floated the idea to throw out all MPs. MPs wont represent their constituents so long as they are insulated from the consequences of their decisions. How about limiting the income and wealth of MPs to twice the median income and wealth. Obviously to prevent them securing lucrative deals once they have left office this restriction would have to continue a long time after they had left – any money they earn in excess of that would have to be donated to some good cause. The following video summaries where I’m coming from.

      Jared Diamond speaks of Societal Collapse due to Non-forward Thinking and Special Interest Groups

      Comment by Anton — March 25, 2013 @ 1:33 pm | Reply

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