UK Coalition idiocy of the week

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Today the Government announced a massive series of prison closures, the plan is to reduce costs. They will be closing six old prisons and partially reworking some older jails into a more modern facility at the cost of capacity. They will replacing them with a new "super prison". Fair enough, new prisons are needed as many of the older ones where built when the operation of these facilities was very different (like more manpower and prisoner regime difference) or are in a increasing state of disrepair with increasing maintenance costs.

But and this is a pretty big but not only will the closures happen before the new facilities are ready it will also provide less space for hundreds of inmates, thousands when you factor in the growing prisoner population. It is no coincidence that this announcement follows the announcement earlier this week announcing "reforms" in the probation service, reforms that include more convicted criminals being released earlier or receiving community sentences. "Reforms" that will also include budget cuts...

Bonus idiocy

Fifty three ambulance stations will also be closed, the government proudly announced the place was "well received". It seems they missed all the angry protesters at the meetings and local authority offices...

Voted Tory? Well GL with that, when your stuffs getting smashed or stolen and it takes 20 minutes for an ambulance to get to you when your family needs it the most. Oh and don't expect to much from the police when the roaming criminals target you, thousands of front line officers have been sacked from each regional force and their operating budgets slashed by 10s of millions too. Oh mkII when the ambulance finally gets too you don't expect too much from the hospital either, private healthcare might be a good investment right about now. That is if you can afford it and are perfectly healthy and never been ill in your life.

That ambulance station closure makes me mad especially when they say the NHS is ringfenced, whats the fucking point of ring fencing that and then cutting the ambulance service?

Uhm, I fail to see what's so bad about that? Longer prison sentences do not deter or rehabilitate anyone. There's no purpose to keeping people in antique prisons longer.

adamsaccount:
That ambulance station closure makes me mad especially when they say the NHS is ringfenced, whats the fucking point of ring fencing that and then cutting the ambulance service?

The NHS itself is under assault too. Many trusts have announced closures of A&E departments, closed wards & lost beds and an increase in operation waiting times. The "ring fencing" promise was an outright lie.

The whole infrastructure of the country is under all out assault.

Local councils where promised that "the front line services would not be affected" yet the budget cuts have been so harsh many councils are now in a position where they had to sack 50,000 of their staff and are wondering how will they be able to continue operating.

The police service is under attack, many Regional forces have had to sack thousands of front line officers. The Operational Support Groups are facing budget constraints. These are the specialist teams that can carry out a raid effectively and safely, they also provide servailence and covert officers that help secure the conviction of drug dealers if the are canny enough not to be caught with drugs on them. These guys do all the stuff the first response officers don't do, all technical and specialist work that helps the police to be as effective as they can and its the way a modern police force operates.

I could list many more things they have, just a whole heap of lies and broken promises they never intended to keep. They where empty words know that the public does not notice as you slowly trickle in the damage a bit as a time here and there. Only local news tends to report them which people soon forget about "a hospital in Yorkshire has lost one hundred beds so it can meet its budget for the next year" or "West Midlands police announced this week 300 officers will made redundant". These are stories repeatedly repeated, a few losses here and a few losses there. Ultimately it adds up to thousands. These are just regional losses to if you added it all up this government has sacked over a million people by shutting down the services that employed them. Important services that are the living breathing infrastructure of the country and most members of the wider public are not aware of the over arching scale of the damage.

Blablahb:
Uhm, I fail to see what's so bad about that? Longer prison sentences do not deter or rehabilitate anyone. There's no purpose to keeping people in antique prisons longer.

I agree with you, but in this case in a country where the rehabilitation is failing its all about containment. Keeping them locked up keeps them from committing crimes, our sentences are pathetic as it is and our methods of rehabilitation fail so badly that criminals in these programs are out offending whilst on them and view them as an inconvenience to be endured.

Makes me wonder if the tories are just using budget cuts as a smoke screen to attack public services, but maybe thats too cynical

J Tyran:
I agree with you, but in this case in a country where the rehabilitation is failing its all about containment. Keeping them locked up keeps them from committing crimes, our sentences are pathetic as it is and our methods of rehabilitation fail so badly that criminals in these programs are out offending whilst on them and view them as an inconvenience to be endured.

That seems unlikely. It's quite unlikely there's something inherent about the UK why rehabilitation of criminals would fail there, while it works in other places.

Of course it takes an investment in rehab services, but if that's there, why wouldn't it work?

Otherwise you'd end up keeping people in prison, and paying quite a lot for that, because the public is unwilling to pay for (cheaper) rehab services. And that sounds like a bad strategy. It would be more expensive and worse for everyone involved.

Blablahb:

J Tyran:
I agree with you, but in this case in a country where the rehabilitation is failing its all about containment. Keeping them locked up keeps them from committing crimes, our sentences are pathetic as it is and our methods of rehabilitation fail so badly that criminals in these programs are out offending whilst on them and view them as an inconvenience to be endured.

That seems unlikely. It's quite unlikely there's something inherent about the UK why rehabilitation of criminals would fail there, while it works in other places.

Of course it takes an investment in rehab services, but if that's there, why wouldn't it work?

Otherwise you'd end up keeping people in prison, and paying quite a lot for that, because the public is unwilling to pay for (cheaper) rehab services. And that sounds like a bad strategy. It would be more expensive and worse for everyone involved.

It's not that there's something inherent about the UK that means rehabilitation wouldn't work, it's that we've got a Conservative[1] government, who are the last people who are going to go for it. Not to mention that New Labour swung to the right in order to win some of the rural England vote.

[1] Technically Coalition, but do tax cuts for the rich and budget cuts for everyone else sound Lib Dem to you?

adamsaccount:
Makes me wonder if the tories are just using budget cuts as a smoke screen to attack public services, but maybe thats too cynical

No you are right, that's exactly the plan. The Torys are blaming Labour for the deficit and public are eating this shit sandwich when in reality there "plan" the publicly released and touted plan at least is not working. The deficit is not coming down and government spending actually increased.

Tory voters are eating this shit sandwich too.

Their goals are simple, to create a government as small as possible and to privatize as much as possible. Roads, the NHS even the prison service, maybe even the police if they could. The have done this every time they have formed a Government since the 1950s, each got a little bit worse until the 70s. They made such a mess of it all then the country couldn't create enough electricity, literally they where so incompetent they couldn't even keep the lights on. Things got even worse in 80s and 90s. Whole communities and towns destroyed by strife and faced with forced migration to actually find a job.

Blablahb:
Uhm, I fail to see what's so bad about that? Longer prison sentences do not deter or rehabilitate anyone. There's no purpose to keeping people in antique prisons longer.

I beg to differ. Because by that logic you could dismiss the whole principle of imprisonment. (You could keep on saying that until you're faced with the choice of: Why keep the prisoners one day in prison, obviously jail time is useless let's just put em back on the streets again)

While the effects may not be strong and may diminish the longer the sentences are jail time is still a good deterrent and at the very least it keeps criminals away from society. And there are some people i'd rather see locked up until they reach an age they can barely cause any harm anymore than sent free after a couple of years.

DJjaffacake:

Blablahb:

J Tyran:
I agree with you, but in this case in a country where the rehabilitation is failing its all about containment. Keeping them locked up keeps them from committing crimes, our sentences are pathetic as it is and our methods of rehabilitation fail so badly that criminals in these programs are out offending whilst on them and view them as an inconvenience to be endured.

That seems unlikely. It's quite unlikely there's something inherent about the UK why rehabilitation of criminals would fail there, while it works in other places.

Of course it takes an investment in rehab services, but if that's there, why wouldn't it work?

Otherwise you'd end up keeping people in prison, and paying quite a lot for that, because the public is unwilling to pay for (cheaper) rehab services. And that sounds like a bad strategy. It would be more expensive and worse for everyone involved.

It's not that there's something inherent about the UK that means rehabilitation wouldn't work, it's that we've got a Conservative government, who are the last people who are going to go for it. Not to mention that New Labour swung to the right in order to win some of the rural England vote.

Exactly, I believe in the rehabilitation of offenders. I myself am one, I did it with the support and love of my family and a real desire to change. Many criminals don't have the support I had and although they have the desire to change they do not know how to escape the lifestyle, social pressures or way of thinking that makes them offend.

There are many ways of actually making rehabilitation work but the truth is the Tory government wont spend the money, not unless they can privatize it somehow. They have announced "reforms" that include budget cuts in the probation service which is the government agency responsible for the monitoring and rehabilitation of all offenders released from prison and the ones that received community sentences that never went to prison

Just makes me wonder how the fuck did we ever manage to have an empire?

Not that i think it was a good thing, i dont, fuck imperialism and fuck the tories but seriously, politics has reverted into "lets see how much progress we can undo and how long we can stay in charge". I dont even understand the problem with having a large deficit, if a country can provide a decent quality of life to its people does it really matter how much imaginary money weve borrowed? Im very ignorant on this subject i admit but these are my thoughts.

I support the logic behind the prison reforms, but it remains to be seen whether they actually work or not. Therefore I'm sort of ambivalent about its privatisation. The NHS is a different matter, that's just stupid and should be reversed while we still can.

J Tyran:
I agree with you, but in this case in a country where the rehabilitation is failing its all about containment.

Don't worry.. the only reason rehabilitation hasn't been working is because public sector workers are fat. In fact, the only reason they are public sector workers is because they're too lazy and too stupid to work in the private sector.

Now that the probation service is being privatized, it will be run by sexy people who use words like "integrate" and "implement" and "challenge" a lot, and they will come in and fix everything with their amazing efficiency. I mean, we all know G4S is an efficiency powerhouse and would never short-sightedly take on a contract they couldn't deliver in order to gain a "reputation advantage", so now they're going to be running parts of the probation service I'm sure there won't be any further problems with re-offending.

Because there could never possibly be any problems with having a vital public service run by multiple conflicting institutions with no centralized administration or case-handling.

The other great thing is they'll be so efficient that even though we'll have to pay them proportionally more for the same service and it will actually cost the taxpayer more money, they'll be so efficient that they'll be able to do many times the amount of work which public sector workers currently do. In that sense, it's totally not a senseless ideological move with no discernible benefit to anyone save the management of a bunch of security companies, it's about promoting efficiency and accountability. Because a public sector overseen by elected officials just isn't as accountable as a private security company on a fixed term contract.

image

Chris Grayling, basically trolling the entire fucking world..

DJjaffacake:
It's not that there's something inherent about the UK that means rehabilitation wouldn't work, it's that we've got a Conservative[1] government, who are the last people who are going to go for it. Not to mention that New Labour swung to the right in order to win some of the rural England vote.

I used to respond to that sort of thing with "Surely it won't be that bad and they won't be that stupid", but since the tories allowed creationism in school, all bets are off I'd say. ;-)

Sure hope they don't both release and not rehabilitate though. That would be silly.

generals3:
I beg to differ. Because by that logic you could dismiss the whole principle of imprisonment. (You could keep on saying that until you're faced with the choice of: Why keep the prisoners one day in prison, obviously jail time is useless let's just put em back on the streets again)
While the effects may not be strong and may diminish the longer the sentences are jail time is still a good deterrent and at the very least it keeps criminals away from society. And there are some people i'd rather see locked up until they reach an age they can barely cause any harm anymore than sent free after a couple of years.

But that was my whole point: Longer sentences don't deter more. Obviously it does to a point, but after that, more punishment stops being effective, and it seemed when I posted that, that this discussion was heading towards that claim.

Didn't do too much criminology so I don't know if anyone figured out exactly where that point lies for each offense, but I do remember that what they estimated was a lot below what sentences are typically handed out. And that was to Dutch jailing standards. Our prison sentences in verdicts tend to be extremely short by international standards already.

[1] Technically Coalition, but do tax cuts for the rich and budget cuts for everyone else sound Lib Dem to you?

This stupid most criminals tat have been in prison for only a year well re-offend so why are the government doing this.

evilthecat:

J Tyran:
I agree with you, but in this case in a country where the rehabilitation is failing its all about containment.

Don't worry.. the only reason rehabilitation hasn't been working is because public sector workers are fat. In fact, the only reason they are public sector workers is because they're too lazy and too stupid to work in the private sector.

Now that the probation service is being privatized, it will be run by sexy people who use words like "integrate" and "implement" and "challenge" a lot, and they will come in and fix everything with their amazing efficiency. I mean, we all know G4S is an efficiency powerhouse and would never short-sightedly take on a contract they couldn't deliver in order to gain a "reputation advantage", so now they're going to be running parts of the probation service I'm sure there won't be any further problems with re-offending.

Because there could never possibly be any problems with having a vital public service run by multiple conflicting institutions with no centralized administration or case-handling.

The other great thing is they'll be so efficient that even though we'll have to pay them proportionally more for the same service and it will actually cost the taxpayer more money, they'll be so efficient that they'll be able to do many times the amount of work which public sector workers currently do. In that sense, it's totally not a senseless ideological move with no discernible benefit to anyone save the management of a bunch of security companies, it's about promoting efficiency and accountability. Because a public sector overseen by elected officials just isn't as accountable as a private security company on a fixed term contract.

image

Chris Grayling, basically trolling the entire fucking world..

I was going to make a post, but this is just too beautiful a summary of everything I think for me to bother.

I'll just tack on that the conservative government has a track record of contempt for social services and programmes that tackle the causes of social problems, rather than mop up the results. (anecdote alert) My mum works closely with social services, and loads of programmes where practically cut overnight within weeks of the coalition getting elected.

the darknees abyss:
This stupid most criminals tat have been in prison for only a year well re-offend so why are the government doing this.

Would you mind backing that statement up with statistics? If possible with statistics that do not include notorious serial offenders like drug users?

I mean, we Dutch call those 'revolving door criminals', because they in a manner of speaking perpetrate quicker than the revolving door at the police station can spin when they're released again. Many of the people I see at work (drug addict centre) get arrested pretty much weekly. Statistics on that showed that 500 people in the city of Amsterdam, 90% of them drug addicts, were responsible for more than two-thirds of all crime.

That means that about 1,2 million people who form the rest of the Amsterdam (city) population commit not one-third of the crimes there.

This seriously suggest that those re-offending rates aren't all that bad. The rate for the Netherlands is 54-59% within two years after release, but if you only look at serious crimes that plummets to 40% in 5 years, and if you disclude revolving door criminals the rate tumbles to only 18%, according to WODC recidivism studies.

Doesn't at all surprise me and all the crap about the deficit is just that crap, or have people forgot that we were paying off our debt to the States for over sixty years after World War 2? Yet we still managed to create the NHS and bolster the welfare state. It's simple you can't get a country out of recession by taxing people, you need growth, investment and jobs to get people to spend again, but rather than invest in infrastructure and creating jobs the government seems determined to do the opposite.

As for blaming Labour for our debt, yes they played a part but the problems are deep rooted and started way before they came into power in 1997. Or are people forgetting that Thatcher destroyed the unions effectively keeping wages down while the cost of living went up? Which forced people to borrow and get into debt if they wanted to keep up. Just look up the discrepancies between wealth and costs from when she came into power and you'll see a pattern emerging. Not to mention Britain doesn't own any of it's industries anymore and the NHS sadly looks to be going the same way.

What makes matters even worse is that Ed Miliband couldn't lead himself out of a paper bag, let alone the Labour party. So god knows what supporters of the left are going to do because we're certainly not going to turn to Nick 'I sold my soul to the devil' Clegg. Yes if there's any consolation that will make me feel better, then it's looking forward to the Liberal Democrats getting absolutely destroyed in the next General Election, god knows they deserve it, especially after what they did to students who form the majority of their base, well I suppose they did, but not anymore.

evilthecat:
image

I stole this picture, had to do a double take on the post at first when I read the first line in my inbox.

Blablahb:
Would you mind backing that statement up with statistics? If possible with statistics that do not include notorious serial offenders like drug users?

I will chip in here with some stats straight from the Ministry of Justice, basic reoffension rates go up to around 55% and in some cases regional outliers go as high as 70%. http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/reoffending/compendium-of-reoffending-statistics-and-analysis

Jamieson 90:
What makes matters even worse is that Ed Miliband couldn't lead himself out of a paper bag, let alone the Labour party.

We really did "get the wrong Miliband" but the problem is Labour couldn't turn its back on the wishes of the trade unions.

J Tyran:

Voted Tory? Well GL with that, when your stuffs getting smashed or stolen and it takes 20 minutes for an ambulance to get to you when your family needs it the most. Oh and don't expect to much from the police when the roaming criminals target you, thousands of front line officers have been sacked from each regional force and their operating budgets slashed by 10s of millions too. Oh mkII when the ambulance finally gets too you don't expect too much from the hospital either, private healthcare might be a good investment right about now. That is if you can afford it and are perfectly healthy and never been ill in your life.

Please. The Tories may be fucking up our country, but let's not stoop to the same "The sky is falling!" sensationalism that the likes of the Daily Mail use.

Let's save that until after the Tories get us kicked out of the EU!

The Plunk:

J Tyran:

Voted Tory? Well GL with that, when your stuffs getting smashed or stolen and it takes 20 minutes for an ambulance to get to you when your family needs it the most. Oh and don't expect to much from the police when the roaming criminals target you, thousands of front line officers have been sacked from each regional force and their operating budgets slashed by 10s of millions too. Oh mkII when the ambulance finally gets too you don't expect too much from the hospital either, private healthcare might be a good investment right about now. That is if you can afford it and are perfectly healthy and never been ill in your life.

Please. The Tories may be fucking up our country, but let's not stoop to the same "The sky is falling!" sensationalism that the likes of the Daily Mail use.

Let's save that until after the Tories get us kicked out of the EU!

Cant kick people out of the EU mate. They have to 'leave'. To my knowledge anyway.

I guessing you're all part of the something for nothing scumbags. We need money to run these services, money that we simply don't have, and don't give me the whole we can just keep borrowing until we get out of debt crap. The more you borrow the worse it will be in the long run. Do you really want us to end up like Greece and Ireland??

How about we all work a bit harder, stop borrowing and only buy things we can actually afford. The people in this country have gone soft and stupid.

Please Mr government don't take away my benefits I wont be able to afford my sky tv and fags if you do...

snowbear:
I guessing you're all part of the something for nothing scumbags. We need money to run these services, money that we simply don't have, and don't give me the whole we can just keep borrowing until we get out of debt crap. The more you borrow the worse it will be in the long run. Do you really want us to end up like Greece and Ireland??

How about we all work a bit harder, stop borrowing and only buy things we can actually afford. The people in this country have gone soft and stupid.

Please Mr government don't take away my benefits I wont be able to afford my sky tv and fags if you do...

You can't cut your way out of a recession. We do need to reduce the deficit, but first we need to get the economy moving again. All the cuts are just making things worse right now.

BlackStar42:
You can't cut your way out of a recession. We do need to reduce the deficit, but first we need to get the economy moving again. All the cuts are just making things worse right now.

That's only partially true. What you're talking about is classical keynesian thinking. However, with the globalisation, that's been invalidated as the state of an economy is no longer a national but a global thing.

If you invest in the UK heavily, a lot of it would 'leak' across borders. Which is nice, sure, but you're basically getting deeper in debt and end up having only a part of that money actually going to restarting your economy, while you have to pay back all of it.


At the same time, it creates the problem that when everybody reasons like that and cuts heavily, you go down the shitter together because it reinforces itself, but if everybody stimulates, every single member has a reason to be the one who doesn't do that.

Greenbear is right in that if there's services you can't afford, you can't afford them, and you can't just keep postponing the cuts and borrowing more.

Because if one thing is true, it's that a government during an economic boom, doesn't make heavy cuts, because they can afford that level of services. Then comes an economic crisis, and you don't cut for keynesian reason. Then comes the next boom, and they don't cut because they can afford it. And like that you slowly borrow yourself down the hole.


That's why it's a lot better to make those harsh cuts during a recession, when the political urgency to do so exists.

Any economical ramifications are less bad than getting stuck in a collective action problem because our forms of government plans on 4-5 year cycles, and not 10-20.

You saw it in the Netherlands too in 2001, first budget with a surplus in quite some time. The social-democrats immediatly wanted to spend it all on more healthcare and education. Which is nice, but we had a national debt of some € 210.000.000.000 back then. In the end some 1 billion got paid back, but all the crises since, and one spineless leftwing government during an economic boom, have ensured that the Dutch national debt has only been increasing since then, and even the current rightwing government aims to have an even budget by 2017. (meaning: outside of their term, meaning it won't happen because the next leftwing government will keep borrowing)

But in the meantime, the Dutch national debt since 1950 has increased each year, with only 3 exceptions.

Yep, less debt in only 3 out of 67 years.

The collective action problem is obvious in that. Therefore cuts in a crisis time must be made anyway.

Half of the threads in this section make me think, "What's this? Rational discussion on the internet about politics and religion?" and then the other half make me want to flip a table in ANGER. Those are usually because of the Tories.

OT: The conservative government in the UK (and Canada for that matter) seem to be about the economy. I know that there's more to it than that (small government, free reign for corporations, etc.) but when you boil it down, that's it. Everything must be done to save every last penny. But to them I must seem like a godless hippie that smokes weed all day, so glass houses.

Shutting down ambulance stations is a terrible move. They'll spend more money on gas if they want to keep the same amount of ambulances on the road (it'll cost them more in the long run) and it increases the number of vehicles on the road. It will be a minor increase, but it'll be noticeable.

The Plunk:
Please. The Tories may be fucking up our country, but let's not stoop to the same "The sky is falling!" sensationalism that the likes of the Daily Mail use.

Let's save that until after the Tories get us kicked out of the EU!

And the UN for us Canadians!

evilthecat:
Snip

That has got to be one of the best-written satirical posts I have seen in a while. I doff my cap to you, good sir.

Though you did forget about the proposed privatisation of the police force (given both arrest powers and investigative powers) as well as the privatisation of the prison service (and, I think it was Labour's decision but I am not so sure, the decision to remove all of our forensic processing capabilities so that they all have to be done privately in France). There can be absolutely nothing bad to come from such moves.

Jamieson 90:
Snip

I agree with a lot of this post - it is very clear that the politics of austerity are simply not working for Britain. The politicians complain about debts and deficits, yet as you point out the NHS (and also the Welfare system in general) was created in a post-war society with astronomically high debts that put the current "crisis figures" to shame. It is also getting very annoying that two-and-a-half years on the Coalition is still blaming Labour for the fact that the country is in a mess - even when it is demonstrable that it is their own policies which are not only failing, but making the situation worse.

What makes matters even worse is that Ed Miliband couldn't lead himself out of a paper bag, let alone the Labour party. So god knows what supporters of the left are going to do because we're certainly not going to turn to Nick 'I sold my soul to the devil' Clegg. Yes if there's any consolation that will make me feel better, then it's looking forward to the Liberal Democrats getting absolutely destroyed in the next General Election, god knows they deserve it, especially after what they did to students who form the majority of their base, well I suppose they did, but not anymore.

Too true. As an ex-Liberal Democrat voter I have absolutely no idea who I would vote for in a future General Election. hopefully Labour will get rid of Miliband (who is a truly useless party leader) and shift back to being a more leftist party (given their more recent right-wing shifts I would be happy if they became a centrist party, but that's the ground the Lib Dems should be holding, though clearly they are not). I am not sure if I could bring myself for the Lib Dems again even if they radically re-structured their party leadership with fresh blood and reoccupied their proper place on the political spectrum - it is not that they went into coalition with the Conservatives (theoretically that was a good mix, and it was also the only stable political leadership for the country at the time), and that of course requires compromise, but it is the complete and utter lack of backbone and the betrayal of all principles (and political shame-faced lying about pre-election promises and pledges to fall in line with Tory policy).

snowbear:
I guessing you're all part of the something for nothing scumbags. We need money to run these services, money that we simply don't have, and don't give me the whole we can just keep borrowing until we get out of debt crap. The more you borrow the worse it will be in the long run. Do you really want us to end up like Greece and Ireland??

How about we all work a bit harder, stop borrowing and only buy things we can actually afford. The people in this country have gone soft and stupid.

Please Mr government don't take away my benefits I wont be able to afford my sky tv and fags if you do...

Oh goody, as we're complaining we're clearly moochers. I am currently unemployed - but guess what, I am not collecting a single benefit (my landlords will not accept housing benefit, as my partner works over 16 hours a week I cannot claim job-seeker's allowance, and as she is self-employed she cannot claim the tax-credits that other low-wage workers can) - yet still I feel the Coalition is screwing the country up worse.

Thanks to the nature of our economy there is no chance of ending up like Greece or Ireland. The real dangers are that in cutting social care services (such as the NHS, prisons, policing, welfare etc.) you put not only a great deal of people out of work (and thereby reducing their purchasing power, thus reducing demand for products, thus reducing jobs in said products' fields) but that it will impact on those who cannot afford the private services that are picking up the slack.

Money is required to run these services - how about the 70 billion of unpaid, evaded and avoided corporate tax - that'd be a good start. How about means-testing certain benefits (such as the Winter Fuel Allowance and buss-passes for the elderly - there is a fantastic documentary wherein Peter Stringfellow talks about how difficult it was to not receive that money - it took him months to convince them that, as a millionaire, he didn't need them; and also where Ken Clarke proclaims that such payments are "effectively tax-rebates for the work he has done for the country").

After all, if slashing spending works, why are we facing a triple-dip recession under the Tory leadership (it is a coalition, this is true, but the Lib Dems are effectively useless - they sold out on opposing most Tory principles for the AV referendum vote)? Surely the country should be improving at an unprecedented rate?

Also, with this talk of "sky tv and fags", do you have any idea how much money you can actually claim when you are out of work, and how far that actually goes in real life? I can certainly tell you that it is nowhere near enough for Sky T.V. services and a smoking habit - and that is without including such important necessities as rent, bills, food, transportation costs and so on. Hell, the vast majority of benefits in this country go to people who are in low-paying jobs, so please stop with the "scumbags" and "lazy and stupid" talk - many people work very hard (working multiple part-time jobs, as there are few full-time opportunities available), and many of those out of work are desperately looking (even as a graduate I am applying for toilet-cleaning and fast-food service jobs) - there does happen to be a restricted job market at the moment thanks to the economic situation, and an awful lot of people competing for the jobs that there are - hence it is an "employers market" out there at the moment. But no, clearly people are just lazy and that's why we have economic problems. Yeah, right - pull the other one.

Blablahb:
That's only partially true. What you're talking about is classical keynesian thinking. However, with the globalisation, that's been invalidated as the state of an economy is no longer a national but a global thing.

If you invest in the UK heavily, a lot of it would 'leak' across borders. Which is nice, sure, but you're basically getting deeper in debt and end up having only a part of that money actually going to restarting your economy, while you have to pay back all of it.

Oh dear.

Your small amount of knowledge has erroneously led you to think you understand what's going on, but you don't. Spending your way out of recession is not invalidated at all; it is valid or invalid depending on the circumstances.

Money does indeed leak across the border. How much varies for different countries and different times. The key concept here is the "fiscal multiplier", which is what effect on the economy one unit currency spent would have. If it is about under 1, spending your way out recession is perhaps unwise. If it is over 1, it could be considered a viable tactic. The Netherlands is considerably under 1. The UK is considerably over 1. Thus it is a tactic available to the UK and others (leak notwithstanding) and much less so to the Netherlands and others.

Your not the only one who has been unemployed and not claiming benefits, but the majority do and are too bone idle to get a job. If you've got time to complain on here then you are not trying hard enough to find employment. I got made redundant but two months later I had two part time jobs on the go which I used simply to pay bills and now have a nice full time job. There IS work out there, I know plenty of people I went to Uni with that turn down job to stay on the doll because the job isn't what they want to do. If you really cant find a job then do something creative go mow some lawns or clean some windows. If you are a graduate and you cant get a toilet cleaning job then you need to learn how to interview better.

Sure not everything is working quite as it should but at least they are trying to fix things. The cap on benefits was a fantastic idea. Though in my opinion it should be much lower. 26k a year is MUCH more than I earn working 48 hours a week. Nobody should be able to earn more sitting on there arse doing naff all than going out to work. I country is pretty screwed as it is and people not pulling their own weight really isn't helping.

You're right people are lazy. Im not saying JSA on its own is enough but I know for a fact that my neighbors don't work, I also know for a fact they own sky tv and are both heavy smokers/drinkers. But I guess you must be right and they are kindly gifted these things by magical unicorns. Sad thing is its not a one off.

snowbear:

Your not the only one who has been unemployed and not claiming benefits, but the majority do and are too bone idle to get a job. If you've got time to complain on here then you are not trying hard enough to find employment. I got made redundant but two months later I had two part time jobs on the go which I used simply to pay bills and now have a nice full time job. There IS work out there, I know plenty of people I went to Uni with that turn down job to stay on the doll because the job isn't what they want to do. If you really cant find a job then do something creative go mow some lawns or clean some windows. If you are a graduate and you cant get a toilet cleaning job then you need to learn how to interview better.

Sure not everything is working quite as it should but at least they are trying to fix things. The cap on benefits was a fantastic idea. Though in my opinion it should be much lower. 26k a year is MUCH more than I earn working 48 hours a week. Nobody should be able to earn more sitting on there arse doing naff all than going out to work. I country is pretty screwed as it is and people not pulling their own weight really isn't helping.

You're right people are lazy. Im not saying JSA on its own is enough but I know for a fact that my neighbors don't work, I also know for a fact they own sky tv and are both heavy smokers/drinkers. But I guess you must be right and they are kindly gifted these things by magical unicorns. Sad thing is its not a one off.

So, in your opinion, an increase in unemployment isn't due to economic difficulties and less jobs available, it's due to an increase in can't be fucked?

The US didn't cause world wide problems with the GFC, it spread waves of laziness across the globe?

thaluikhain:

snowbear:

Your not the only one who has been unemployed and not claiming benefits, but the majority do and are too bone idle to get a job. If you've got time to complain on here then you are not trying hard enough to find employment. I got made redundant but two months later I had two part time jobs on the go which I used simply to pay bills and now have a nice full time job. There IS work out there, I know plenty of people I went to Uni with that turn down job to stay on the doll because the job isn't what they want to do. If you really cant find a job then do something creative go mow some lawns or clean some windows. If you are a graduate and you cant get a toilet cleaning job then you need to learn how to interview better.

Sure not everything is working quite as it should but at least they are trying to fix things. The cap on benefits was a fantastic idea. Though in my opinion it should be much lower. 26k a year is MUCH more than I earn working 48 hours a week. Nobody should be able to earn more sitting on there arse doing naff all than going out to work. I country is pretty screwed as it is and people not pulling their own weight really isn't helping.

You're right people are lazy. Im not saying JSA on its own is enough but I know for a fact that my neighbors don't work, I also know for a fact they own sky tv and are both heavy smokers/drinkers. But I guess you must be right and they are kindly gifted these things by magical unicorns. Sad thing is its not a one off.

So, in your opinion, an increase in unemployment isn't due to economic difficulties and less jobs available, it's due to an increase in can't be fucked?

The US didn't cause world wide problems with the GFC, it spread waves of laziness across the globe?

absolutely, i mean when your in an area where about 20+ might apply for the same job because there arnt any, its all because we are lasy
its also the same reason i go job hunting ever day and go to my county's employment service to get help with interview skills and such.. its because im lasy

snowbear:

Your not the only one who has been unemployed and not claiming benefits, but the majority do and are too bone idle to get a job.

Mind citing some facts on that "majority being too bone idle to get a job"? I mean, for such a bold statement you must have figures and statements that clearly make the case, right?

If you've got time to complain on here then you are not trying hard enough to find employment.

Oh, bullshit. If I searched for work every waking minute of the day I would go insane. For your information, I am registered down at the Job Centre, I am a member of dozens of employment websites and recruitment agencies, as well as doing foot-work to deliver CVs to the managers of any store advertising solely within their store. There really isn't much more that I can be doing.

I got made redundant but two months later I had two part time jobs on the go which I used simply to pay bills and now have a nice full time job.

Congratulations, I'd settle for even one part-time job right now.

There IS work out there, I know plenty of people I went to Uni with that turn down job to stay on the doll because the job isn't what they want to do.

There is work out there, but there are also dozens, and in some cases hundreds, of people chasing each and every opportunity. I know plenty of people who went to Uni and are stuck on the dole because they aren't getting any work - and they didn't even do the so-called "soft degrees", but subjects such as Engineering, Biochemistry, Physics; many of them taking their studies up to Masters level at the very least in order to stand out from the other graduates. Yet they are turned down for lacking experience, or because there are equally qualified applicants who have been in the field longer who have been made redundant from closing firms.

If you really cant find a job then do something creative go mow some lawns or clean some windows. If you are a graduate and you cant get a toilet cleaning job then you need to learn how to interview better.

I live in a city, there aren't any lawns to mow (and no-one wants their windows cleaned in a blizzard). And thank you for that veiled insult, I interview extremely well. The trouble with toilet cleaning jobs is that I am turned down for being "over-qualified", the employers do not trust me to simply up-and-leave when a more career-oriented job within my field of speciality becomes available (and too right, to be honest).

Sure not everything is working quite as it should but at least they are trying to fix things. The cap on benefits was a fantastic idea. Though in my opinion it should be much lower. 26k a year is MUCH more than I earn working 48 hours a week. Nobody should be able to earn more sitting on there arse doing naff all than going out to work. I country is pretty screwed as it is and people not pulling their own weight really isn't helping.

The cap on benefits was a stupid idea (so was freezing the pay of public sector workers) thanks to this little thing called inflation. Whilst you can claim up to 26k, the majority of claimants are not on such a high amount - for instance, claiming the maximum amount of JSA as a couple is 111.45 per week (which is an equivalent payment of 2.32 per hour, for two claimants). More typically, if you have worked for some of your life but now find yourself unemployed (such as myself), you will get a maximum of 71 per week (which is an equivalent payment of 1.48 per hour).

Yes, there are council tax benefits and child support in there too, but if someone is so lazy that they do not want a job I can hardly see them investing so much time or interest in raising a child. People who are working and on low pay (such as yourself, if you are not breaking that 26k pa level) are also entitled to a certain degree of council tax benefit, and a large amount of child support benefit. Therefore the only fair comparison is that above of Jobseeker's Allowance rates versus income, which as you have seen for even that maximum amount of JSA is far, far below the National Minimum Wage of 6.19 per hour.

And these people "sitting on their arse doing naff all" (who I highly doubt exist in significant numbers, given the government's own breakdown on where the majority of benefits payments go - to those people already in work) are actually contributing to the economy. By retaining a level of spending power (which, if you cut benefits, will only decrease) then they are helping contribute to economic demands. Everything they buy is something that has to be produced, distributed and sold, which means it creates (or maintains) jobs, which means the government is collecting additional revenue in the form of taxation from those still in employment and therefore it helps to off-set the cost of benefits. Slashing their spending power will only put more people out of work, and will ultimately only cost the government more in the long run.

Hell, the benefit cap also includes such benefits as the Severe Disablement Allowance, thus it is punishing people who cannot physically go out to work.

You're right people are lazy. Im not saying JSA on its own is enough but I know for a fact that my neighbors don't work, I also know for a fact they own sky tv and are both heavy smokers/drinkers. But I guess you must be right and they are kindly gifted these things by magical unicorns. Sad thing is its not a one off.

Got a source that all these people are lazy? Am I, or my friends, who are working our arses off in attempts to get low-skilled, low-paying, part-time jobs; often ending up doing volunteering work to increase the amount of experience on our C.V.s and increase the amount of connections in the business world? Are the people who are working as many hours as they can get, but still not earning enough to survive, and are being helped out by the government (hint: the vast, vast majority of benefits claimants) lazy? Are disabled people lazy?

Or are we forgetting about the massive global financial crash, the ~21% youth unemployment figures, the ~8% unemployment, the fact we're facing a triple-dip recession, that large high-street employers such as JJB Sports and HMV have gone into administration (amongst others), and a further 150 large retail chains are potentially going into administration over the coming months?

To be honest, your neighbours are probably paying for their cigarettes and T.V. either by getting themselves into crippling debt with credit cards (you know, one of the massive consumer problems during this recession), or even through illegal means - because lets face it, you simply cannot live a life of Riley on benefits. If they both have a 20-a-day habit, that will cost them 84 per-week (assuming an easy, though to be honest low - I used to be a smoker, 6/pack price). Given the absolute maximum cash-in-hand money they are getting is 111.45, that leaves only 27.45 to pay for bills (which will be very high if they're watching T.V. all day, especially Sky) and food. It could potentially be done, but their life will not be anywhere near as rosy as you are trying to claim. Hell, if they are "heavy" smokers then you are perhaps looking at a 40-60 a day habit, which would cost more than they are receiving in government aid thus they are financing their lifestyle by other means rather than government handouts.

snowbear:
Your not the only one who has been unemployed and not claiming benefits, but the majority do and are too bone idle to get a job. If you've got time to complain on here then you are not trying hard enough to find employment.

Ah, the kids from the wealthy suburbs far away from society reporting in, always so knowledgeable about matters regarding society and especially the bottom of society.

And I'll tell you what, when I graduate and they offer me a job cleaning toilets, they can go fuck themselves too. If you start accepting stuff like that right away, it hurts your career bigtime, because your resume looks as if something impaired you from working at your actual skill level.

Both wanting a job exactly suited to your education and desires, and having to accept any job no matter how crappy, or extremes which are a bad idea.

snowbear:
You're right people are lazy. Im not saying JSA on its own is enough but I know for a fact that my neighbors don't work, I also know for a fact they own sky tv and are both heavy smokers/drinkers.

Do you also see where they are cutting corners to afford that?
I see guys like that a plenty, and ussually they're cutting corners on other things. Like not buying tickets for public transport, or not eating, or not eating healthy enough. Or they're engaged in criminal enterprises or other economic activities, like occasional trading. Sure there's some unfair stuff with most benefits, but the idea that you can not work and live like a king is just not true, not for any country.

We had a row like that too a few years back "Jobless get free plasma televisions!!" the headline went. Turned out they had raised the budget for all electrical appliances, not just televisions, because they'd found you can no longer buy deepscreen tvs and everything's flatscreen these days. And it involved a sum of € 450 per 3 years time, of which people were expected to purchase refrigerator, washing machine, computer, television, oven, microwave, everything. Not just that, but it applied to an income level, and not to unemployment status. If you work fulltime but still can't meet that income level, you also get it. And the money is not given, it's a loan transformed to a gift after you show proof the old one's broke, and the purchase receipt of a new one.

Hmm. I need to save some money. If I sell my car and cut my Gas and stop spending money on the bus I should be able to get into the green. I mean, I won't be able to go to work but the money I save on gas should be more than enough to cover it! Conservative Economics.

snowbear:

Your not the only one who has been unemployed and not claiming benefits, but the majority do and are too bone idle to get a job. If you've got time to complain on here then you are not trying hard enough to find employment. I got made redundant but two months later I had two part time jobs on the go which I used simply to pay bills and now have a nice full time job. There IS work out there, I know plenty of people I went to Uni with that turn down job to stay on the doll because the job isn't what they want to do. If you really cant find a job then do something creative go mow some lawns or clean some windows. If you are a graduate and you cant get a toilet cleaning job then you need to learn how to interview better.

Sure not everything is working quite as it should but at least they are trying to fix things. The cap on benefits was a fantastic idea. Though in my opinion it should be much lower. 26k a year is MUCH more than I earn working 48 hours a week. Nobody should be able to earn more sitting on there arse doing naff all than going out to work. I country is pretty screwed as it is and people not pulling their own weight really isn't helping.

You're right people are lazy. Im not saying JSA on its own is enough but I know for a fact that my neighbors don't work, I also know for a fact they own sky tv and are both heavy smokers/drinkers. But I guess you must be right and they are kindly gifted these things by magical unicorns. Sad thing is its not a one off.

You know, there was a survey done recently, and you are a perfect examplar of the results, do you know what those were? That people who express negative views about social security(even the word "benefits" is part of the calculated neo-liberal push to demonise the practice) are also the people who are most ignorant of the facts regarding social security. Interestingly, how negative the views were scaled quite well alongside how ignorant.

You can pull all the questionable anecdotes out of your backside you like, you're factually incorrect. The rate of benefit fraud is between 0.2 and 0.8%, depending on who's issuing the figures; that's right, the rabidly anti-benefits Tories managed to find a whole 0.8% fraud in the system. I forget the exact amount, but I believe that comes in at just over 1 billion per annum - somewhere around 16 billion a year of benefits to which people are fully entitled goes unclaimed. Corporate tax evasion runs into the tens of billions. As does tax evasion among wealthy private citizens.

I seem to recall reading there are only a handful of thousand people in the entire country who have been on Jobseeker's Allowance for 5 years or more, most find work within 6-8 months, and the rest within three years. A few thousand out of a nation of 60+ million is hardly the plague of shiftlessness you decry.

As for the benefits cap, you do grasp that it applies to ALL benefits, for ALL people, right? The cap has to be high enough to take into account the needs of a badly disabled person in recipt of maximum-ESA, maximum-DLA, housing benefit, council tax benefit, fuel allowance; or a large family who's sole breadwinner has been made redundant etc etc etc etc. You can't just throw out "brarglewargle twennysix fausand smackers? blaady ripoff innit!" and expect people to be fucking outraged, Jobseeker's Allowance is a MAXIMUM of 71 a week for a single adult, or 3692/year. Or in other words, 22308 short of the cap. Tell me, how many jobs have you worked that payed less than 4k/year that weren't Saturday jobs while you were in school?

As has already been pointed out, the vast, vast, VAST majority of "benefits"(once you take away pensions, which is 2/3 of the total welfare budget, and which none of the politicians will touch because old folks are statistically more likely to vote than poor, uneducated, or disabled people) go to low-income working-class individuals and families, in the form of partial housing benefits and various tax credits, and why is that such a big spend for us? Because Tory fucking morons(Blue and Red) ran down the social housing stock in favour of paying rent to private landlords at 3+ times the amount, and because politicians in general don't have the balls to make the minimum wage a living wage.

You're either woefully or willfully misinformed.

i'd just like to drop in the tory MP referring to the house of parliament canteen staff as "servants".

http://news.sky.com/story/1039333/tory-mp-chope-calls-commons-staff-servants

it's maybe a bit unfair (ive been known to talk of "public servants" myself...but then that's not what he said...) but i found it funny.

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