Benevolent-sounding words are cheap - and easily forgotten. Theresa May's alleged concern for the mentally disabled and JAMs - the "Just About Managing", which includes most workers, has disappeared without a trace.
It is predicted that the bottom half of the population will face yet another 2% fall in income over the coming 4 years. And this is even before taking Brexit into account - that is, rising inflation and the impact on jobs and wages! Meanwhile, this year’s Rich List shows that the £576bn combined wealth of the country’s 1,000 richest fat cats increased by £900 per second, over the past year!
Far from doing anything against this soaring inequality, May’s government is exposing what really lies behind its Brexit obsession.
On the one hand, she is bending over backwards to attract from all over the world, rich speculators seeking to take advantage of the cheap pound, by buying huge chunks of real estate in Britain - thereby pushing housing costs artificially high for all of us. While on the other, she is targeting the poorest - and in fact the most vulnerable - among us, for cuts and sanctions, or worse.
Unsurpisingly, the Brexiteers’ slogan, "putting Britain first", really means, "putting Big Money first"!
Raids against the weakest
Indeed, Theresa May is about to clamp down on the same mentally disabled on whom she was shedding hypocritical tears not so long ago.
This Thursday, she’ll be rushing legislation through Parliament to annul several court rulings requiring that current benefit rules for the disabled should be broadened, to include people suffering from heart and mental conditions. To make matters worse, next week’s budget will implement Osborne’s long-planned £29/week cut in benefits for half a million disabled claimants.
However, while causing misery to the weakest, under the worn-out pretext of making "savings", May’s ministers have no intention to clamp down on the DWP for wasting £285m last year, for the sake of "saving" £132m - by imposing hundreds of thousands of benefit sanctions under the most spurious pretexts, like failing to turn up for job centre appointments. Apparently, for May, this sadistic harassment of vulnerable claimants is far more "cost-effective" than providing them with the help they need! And never mind that such sanctions have had lethal consequences in several recent cases.
Meanwhile, the catastrophic saga of rolling out Universal Credit is to carry on. After nine changes since it was first announced by Iain Duncan Smith in 2013, each resulting in a benefit cut for one kind of claimant or another, yet another cut will come into force next month. This will restrict child tax credit to 2 children per family. Under May’s "benevolent" Brexit, the poor are no longer supposed to have more than 2 children! In a different time, this would have been exposed as a "totalitarian" policy by the entire media. But, in May’s world, this is just par for the course: the poor are just not supposed to have a life of their own!
We’re all part of the same working class!
The growing numbers of attacks on foreign-born workers are part of the same anti-working class policies.
Every week there are new cases of workers being refused permanent residence status, or even deported, despite having worked and paid taxes in Britain, often for decades - and, for some of them, despite having a British spouse and kids born here.
These punitive measures are taken under the cover of all kinds of legal provisions against migrant workers, which were surreptitiously introduced over the years, but never used so far. Whether they are now used as a result of explicit Home Office instructions, or whether they are just enforced by over-zealous faceless bureaucrats whose anti-migrant prejudices have been boosted by the government’s Brexit rants, makes no difference. The fact is that many of our fellow workers are under attack. And it is both our interest and our duty to defend them against these attacks, whatever their nationality.
Indeed, how can it be in our interests to allow this government to use the livelihoods of migrant workers as a bargaining chip in its horse-trading over Brexit? Or to turn a blind eye on the fact that the 140,000 EU citizens working in the NHS or the over 10,000 GPs born in the EU, have to live under the threat of being deported? Not to mention the many more non-EU migrants working in public services, who are being just as viciously targeted!
Whether disabled, poor, foreigners, or whatever else, we’re all workers. Our only enemies are our exploiters and their stooges in government!