Friday, 1 May 2015

"A life on benefits is frankly no life at all" - Why David Cameron is wrong

"Starting a life on benefits is, frankly, no life at all."
- David Cameron, BBC Question Time 30/04/2015

In that one sentence last night David Cameron dismissed my life as nothing. My family were poor. We received benefits when my dad worked, and we received benefits after work made him disabled. I went to university in spite of this background, and received a student grant. While I was studying I became sick with what I would later find out was a mitochondrial disease. I still worked when I could, albeit intermittently and claiming incapacity benefit at times. Later I started a computer repair business but became too sick to work after a year of that. Now I live on benefits - I am in the Support Group on ESA, which is for people that even Atos and the DWP admit are unlikely to be able to work in the foreseeable future. I also receive DLA, Housing Benefit and various others.

What none of this has done is make my life worthless. I do not have "no life at all." I am a person, with experiences, who has contributed to society just by being myself. I enjoy things, I create things, I learn things, I say things. I talk to friends and make new friends. And all of this despite starting my life on benefits and continuing it now on benefits. All of this despite the fact that I may never be able to undertake paid employment again.

David Cameron, though, disagrees. Asked to stop talking about the economic reasons for his policies and talk about the moral issues, he said:

"helping people into work is the most moral thing"
- David Cameron, BBC Question Time 30/04/2015

Except it's not, though, is it. Helping people to find paid employment is not the most moral thing, even if that was what the Tories had been doing rather than yanking away support and telling people to sort themselves out. What is actually the most moral thing is making sure that all people have food and shelter, and the ability to live a life that they find value in. Paid employment is only one path to that. Paid employment (or attempting to start your own business, for that matter) is an option that is for many not available - whether that is from lack of available jobs, lack of training, sickness and disability, caring responsibilities, or some other reason.

We as a society are able to provide for everyone. Less labour is required to feed and clothe us with every new day. We do have jobs that need doing, such as in care and healthcare, but private employers aren't going to pay for those. If we want more people to be employed then others are going to have to work less. But employers want to extract maximum profit from the minimum amount of pay so that isn't going to happen any time soon.

One thing is certain: People like David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith have no idea what the lives of people on benefits are like but they judge us anyway. They decide we have miserable meaningless lives but then make everything so much worse by snatching away support and telling us to get jobs that aren't there or that we are unable to do.

First posted on A Latent Existence


  1. I agree. As our so called leaders this group of people have done very little leading and a great deal of bullying. They have divided the opinion of the entire nation on the basis of have and have not. They have lied and misrepresented facts. They have stolen the nation's belongings to fill the accounts of their friends. In short they have plundered the country far more efficiently than any invader ever did.

  2. I agree with all the above. People carnt help becoming ill & am meaning serious illness not those who fake or play on minor ones. My mam worked running a business for over 15yrs of her life as well as being parent & helping care for my nana when she became unable to look after herself. Now my mam is under a neurologist & suffers from pain so bad she carnt sleep well or sit or stand for too long. My dad has worked almost all of his life too & been supporting my mam. He has only recently been able to stop working to help care for my mam by applying for pension credits. This is not definate but hope they will get it. If not they will have to try survive on my mams pension alone. I think there should be more help & support for genuine people who suffer from chronic illnesses or disabilities & shouldn't have to feel like they're under pressure to be part of work environment

  3. Your ideas have deeper meaning then someone with £ signs in front his eyes and the unlimited expenses they claim can't imagine what it would be like to live with such a small weekly bank balance. I am also disabled. I have a muscular condition that satisfied a tribunal in 2011 that I am "disabled enough" to receive dla. I got that indefinitely but of course pip comes along and tips my anxiety right in front of my face. I am not looking forward to the pip transference. I am still on income support so that will also change to esa. I have 2 kids that always come first, they eat first, they are clothed first which is the way it should be. But being disabled myself doesn't make me any less valuable as a human being even if I feel a burden depending upon state support. I can't work as my condition doesn't allow me to be reliable as an employee as 80% of the time I am in agony. The other 20% I am recovering. I will however bring my children up with the knowledge that they should learn and grow physically and mentally I hope they then get a good job that is not dead end. I like how osbourne justifies his cuts to disability benefits by saying he wants to help the most vulnerable into work. What a complete moron. Some people with disabilities work because they can but that doesn't mean that all disabled people can work !!