“In prosperous times, this dependency culture would be unsustainable. Today it is a national crisis.”
From The Telegraph
I am forced to live off the state due to illness. My weekly income is £67 a week short of the amount recommended by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for a minimum standard of living. I am apparently "unsustainable" at best, responsible for a national crisis at worst. (Love how it's not the bankers that crashed the global economy, oh no. It's me and my sickly ilk.)
By "reforming" (read: demolishing) the welfare state the government aim to save £18bn over four years. I know they're staggering the cuts so the fourth year will be more austere than the first, but for the sake of making the maths easier (because I'm a mathematical dunce) lets say they're planning to save £4.5bn a year.
The Windsor family don't live on next to nothing, they have millions of taxpayers money. The same taxpayers that begrudge me having the little bit of money that's not enough for a minimum quality of life. The Windsor family live in palaces, I live in a council flat that's not accessible enough to really meet my needs but if I move my tenancy will be insecure. There's no such insecurity around the Windsor family's multiple residences. The Windsors have staff waiting on them to meet their every whim while disabled people who aren't incontinent are being told to use incontinence pads because they're not allowed the care hours to safely use a commode.
The Windsors and I both depend on the state for our income. Why is there such a discrepancy in the amounts and qualities of life? Yesterday Morrissey quite appropriately pointed out that the royals are basically benefit scroungers too.
Which brings me to today. The Prime Minister declared today a bank holiday to commemorate two people tying the knot. The cost of that holiday to the economy? An estimated £2.9bn. Policing the event cost an estimated £20m (partly because the police were on double time due to the bank holiday).
So in one day the government has blown at least £2.92bn on 2 people getting married. That's well over half of what they want to save in a year by slashing benefits. In fact, when you bear in mind that the first year of benefits cuts is the least brutal of the lot, that £2.92bn is probably around the mark of what they're hoping to save this year.
And Iain Duncan Smith says we're in a "national crisis"...
Edited to add David's comment in response to this post because he put it so much better than me:
It isn't about whether we're Royalists or Republicans, it isn't about whether it should or should not have been a Bank Holiday, it's about the government saying that we have a critical need to make savings in every area possible (except where it might inconvenience their friends' profit margins), a need that is so critical it justifies their assault on disability benefits, yet simultaneously having the fiscal fluidity to throw away the taxes on £2.9Bn. It's about whether we have a debt crisis, or whether the Tories say we have a debt crisis, which are not at all the same thing.