The papers are full-on when members or ex-members of the government make a fool of themselves behaving badly when they can’t get their way – Andrew Mitchell foul-mouthing a policeman with the toxic ‘plebs’ allegedly added in because he couldn’t ride his bike through the No.10 gates, and David Mellor ranting at a black cab driver over the best route home to his £8m pad near Tower Bridge.
But what really matters
about members of the government is not their silly misbehaviour, it’s
they way they’re crucifying millions of people even to the point where
they’re denying them food and shelter. On this, with a few honourable
exceptions, the media are largely silent on the grounds presumably that
they don’t matter because they’re not famous.
A million people have
been sanctioned by government ministers over this last year, which means
that they are deprived of all their benefit for often petty
infringements (e.g. being 5 minutes late for a job interview) and hence
have no money for at least 4 weeks and sometimes 3 months, forcing them
to steal to survive.
If they’re caught, the penalty for stealing some meat from a supermarket
might be a fine of some £200 which of course they cannot conceivably
pay, or it might be 6 weeks in prison.
IDS supervises the sanctioning
(though it’s outsourced to a privatised firm doing his dirty work for
him), while Grayling takes care of the imprisonment.
This is the
treadmill of impoverishment to which this government is now sentencing
hundreds of thousands of people every year, a crescendo of wanton
harshness out of all proportion to the treatment meted out to other
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