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'The mess we are in'

A long letter to the editor, by Prof Y Chucklebutty, in chapters for your reading ease

Published on November 11th 2010.

'The mess we are in'

This personal opinion from one of our readers busted the rant box, so here it is with pictures.

Chapter one: Who benefits?
In response to your latest vote, which asked whether the jobless should be sent litter-picking (click here).

Unless you are one of the elite, your economic situation will never change. You will always pay for their greed, their crisis with your job, your future, your children’s future, your home and your health

It really should come as no surprise that the caring Cameron and the even more caring Clegg, with his practised pained expression (Reminds me of young David Alton up a ladder pointing at a broken streetlamp) have immediately revealed themselves as calculating, nasty little t*rds, intent on kicking hell out of the poor.

The re-emergence of the Victorian ideas of the deserving and the undeserving poor. Litter picking. Indeed. The open prison version of The Workhouse.

Of course we know there are people that have become institutionalised to life on benefits and may have no intention of seeking work. Well there are other ways of tackling this problem and it is not just a question of cutting or stopping benefits.

There is a whole array of social, cultural and educational issues to be considered. Cutting or stopping benefits to people who probably have little alternative to their current lifestyle and who, in reality, may be currently unemployable will make life even worse for the general population.

To overcome cultural issues like that will take a generation of serious planning, education and work to provide real alternatives and opportunities. The current proposals provide none of these, they are intended to punish these people, using the need to make savings and reduce the deficit as the excuse.

They are about diverting people’s attention away from those who caused the worldwide economic collapse, who still continue to enjoy their lifestyles and bonuses and they seek to give us on a plate a new enemy that is preventing our recovery. The work shy and the scrounger.

We have heard it all before. Divide and conquer. Look at the vote here at the time of writing; it has already entered the psyche of people that it is time to suddenly take the convenient path of scapegoating. Let’s find somebody to kick. Yes those dole-ites have been getting away with it for too long, get the bastards out on the streets shovelling up shit. Oh no, I don’t mean my mother, she’s got poor circulation and asthma, you can’t expect..Oh you do?

You are cutting her Housing Benefit as well? But how will she pay? But she’s been there 30 years she won’t leave, it’s where dad died. Oh a council house isn’t for life. Oh ok she can come and live with me…except I’ve just been made redundant from the council. And the Housing Benefit is going to leave me £200 quid a month short, the landlord wants us out.

It’s not just scapegoating those on benefits, this is a fundamental ideological attack on working people, because a lot of them won’t be working for much longer. Then you too, those of you who voted in the Liverpool Confidential poll, you can have a go at picking up the litter, because the competition is going to be bloody tough and you are obviously not trying hard enough to find work.

Chapter two: “Propaganda and lies”
So while we all start fighting and blaming each other and pointing at those on benefits - the latest in a long line of scapegoats for greedy exploitative bastards to divert attention away from themselves - let me also ask this.

What if the Coalition Government had targeted say, the Jews? Now you may think that is an extreme analogy. But think of this. The Nazis created a vicious de-humanising image of Jewish people, churning out abominable propaganda and lies about them as a people, presenting them as the cause of all the ills in society.

They presented them as being responsible for the economic situation in which Germany found itself. In other words they created an image that would appeal to the lowest elements among the workers, vagrants and the uneducated masses from which they needed support, and succour to the undercurrent of anti-Semitism rife throughout Europe.

They also provided a common enemy to the disaffected middle classes who despised the poor due to their fear of becoming poor themselves. And that simplistically is how you sway the masses towards a way of thinking that would normally, hopefully be abhorrent.

The principal of divide and rule is exactly the same, no of course not in terms of the Holocaust and Final Solution, nor am I suggesting this is the direction but it is an example of the power of the state to turn people's minds towards a target for hate - where ordinary decent people are made to feel worthless and ashamed, dehumanised. Labelled as a burden on and a barrier to our prosperous future.

The future we shall never enjoy while we have such a state apparatus that is capable of turning us against each other and where, despite the way we are fooled and bought off by credit, debt, gadgets and commodities, the reality is that unless you are one of the elite, your economic situation will never change. You will always pay for their greed, their crisis with your job, your future, your children’s future, your home and your health.

You will pay for their lifestyle and be thrown crumbs from the top table. Some years they will throw cake and you will think, ah ha, I’ve made it. You may even start thinking then about those scroungers on benefits as you sit in your conservatory watching the 47 inch LCD surround sound TV.

Until, your job goes and your telly isn’t much use if you haven’t got a socket to plug it into since the bank took back the wall and the rest of your house that for years you never missed a mortgage payment on, where you were a good citizen and neighbour. It is all of us they are attacking, and they always will unless we do something to stop them.

Chapter three: What went wrong
So what about Labour and the way the Tories and Lib dems simply now hang all the economic problems on the shoulders of New Labour and Gordon Brown. Well why wouldn’t they?

That is the reality of politics: low level claptrap to be lapped up by a largely ignorant electorate. Ignorant, not because they are stupid and incapable of rational thought, but ignorant through the tidal wave of lies and deception that masquerades as a media.

The wave of support Blair enjoyed in 1997 was a euphoria at seeing the back of 18 years of Conservative anti-working class, anti-union, anti-youth, anti-progressive rule; a brutal period were industry and communities were decimated.

It is not understood by the new generation of voters. why would it be? Look at how quickly we came to hate Blair when his own party couldn’t wait to ditch him and how we saw a replay of the Thatcher-Major hand over, where suddenly people wanted her back as it all started to fall apart for them.

Blair and new Labour had the greatest opportunity of any Labour Government to make a radical difference to the lives of working people. They chose not to. They stuck to Conservative economic policies and enjoyed the market boom in the world of international finance that boomed all right, right in their faces.

They took us into an unjust war, they set about an unprecedented erosion of civil liberties and don’t forget that as proclaimed socialists they created legislation to make it acceptable to have institutionalised destitution in respect of asylum seekers by cutting off the right to seek employment claim benefits or to have secondary health care and threatening to remove their children into care.

If you can do that to one set of people, regardless of the validity of their asylum claims, i.e. starve them out or force them into the hands of gang masters and vice, then you can do it to anyone.

It was a long step towards dehumanisation and a badge of shame to be worn alongside the decision to commit our troops to fight a war on behalf of US oil interests and construction contracts. If you look at the euphoria (which in this case I didn’t share, I had learned my lesson) and now great disappointment around the presidency of Obama, at least he has the excuse, in some cases of Congress blocking anything progressive or seen, God forbid, as “socialist”, such as preventing people from dying due to an illness that could easily treated if they could afford it.

But I fear that he, like Blair, is just another in the long line of those selling us an image that they can never or have no intention or ability of living up to. It is heartbreaking, in Obama’s case, as so many disaffected minority people thought that this was the final act of change and acceptance and equality. Welcome to the world.

Chapter four: 'The Brothers Grim'
So what fight-back are we expecting in Britain, given the total let down from new Labour and that in a very real sense they are responsible for giving this opportunity to the Tory ideologues. They, who retain their seats, their homes, their incomes and their platform from which they wag a finger at the naughty Bullingdon Boys who think it’s a wheeze to kick the beggar.

Our great hope was apparently in the Miliband dynasty, but apparently we got the wrong one due to the counting rules. And what was the first act of the Brothers Grim, the loser storms off amidst a cloud of press release bullshit about how it would damage the party if he stayed, as the press would pick up on every policy where there is an element of disagreement between them. Do me a favour, Dave. Although I’m glad he’s leaving politics, he represents everything many came to despise about Blair. Arrogance, self promotion, and an absolute sense of I am right and know what’s good for you.

So, what of Edward Miliband? There is great risk for this country and the people he claims to care about. Times like these are ripe for fascists to tap into popular unrest. Ed’s last government eroded civil liberties to such an extent that the people have little legal protection or privacy, as the country marches blindfold a little closer each day towards totalitarianism. There is no organised opposition to the attacks against the working people and the poor, no credibility left that is not tinged by discredited theories or Trotskyism or falsified views about what those theories mean. The so-called left alternatives on the fringe are led by people who are as much part of the charade as many of those self serving expenses- and mortgage-flipping thieves in Parliament.

There is no progressive student movement in this country, they too have been bought off long ago with a diet of cheap ale and iPods. And soon there will be far less students, unless their parents have the hard cash to pay for their education.

Is Ed Miliband the only alternative we have? We tut-tut at the one party state, well now we are in reality reduced to a two party state and on most issues you couldn’t get a Rizla between them.

We had a million people on the streets opposing Labour’s unjust attack on Iraq and the illegal act of regime change, which was clearly the intention from day one. We had a Labour Party in power that accepted, condoned and re-introduced torture as the norm for dealing with prisoners of war. Is that acceptable for our enemies as well? To torture our sons and daughters?

We have only just seen New Labour leave office and we are all saying, “see we told you so, we knew this would happen if we let those Tory bastards back in”. What we don’t know and never will, is how savage would be the cuts Labour would have made. They got off the hook at the election. And they needed to get off the hook. They needed to be out of office.

Chapter five: What is Labour for?
This type of social and economic realignment is not the job Labour is designed for. They exist to throw slightly bigger crumbs from the table at targeted groups. Throughout the reign of each successive Labour Government, the rich have got richer and the poor have got poorer.

Labour offer to, or try to make the poor a little more healthy and try to make the bosses a little less mean to the workers. Make your house a bit less damp. That’s how they win us over. They were the first to start dismantling their own Free Health Service.

Cynical? Well before making that charge, please be realistic: although many progressive things happened under Labour, I don’t deny it, the reality is that in the great scheme of things, they are crumbs. If there was any real social progress made, how is it now all being dismantled with such ease?

They have done nothing to protect the social and economic position or the security of the most vulnerable, otherwise what the Tories are proposing would be illegal and impossible. They did nothing to repeal the anti-trade union Laws of Thatcher, and they what they gave with one hand, they took away with another.

But when the brutality of the current onslaught against the poor is complete, when enough people have been thrown out of their jobs and homes so as to properly re-align the pool of required labour deemed necessary; with wages driven down to suitably low levels so as to maximise profit and when enough people have become brutalised towards their neighbours and fellow citizens, that we can stand by and watch them being thrown onto the street, because at least it’s not us, when the guilt sets in and becomes too much, we can vote Labour back into power and play the whole game all over again.

And for those who genuinely want social progress, and see an end to the policies committing to war and invasion, the unnecessary deaths of our sons and daughters and of mass murder for the profits of the rich, to those who want to see fairness, equality, access to free health care, the guaranteed protection of the most vulnerable and an end to discrimination…get ready for the next disappointment and betrayal of those ideals under the next Labour government.

And in spite of this, I still hope Labour win at the next election, so I am as much a victim of the charade as everyone else and will remain so until we find an alternative, whatever that may be.

Chapter six: Fear of fascism
My biggest fear is that the continued betrayal will one day really open the door to the fascists in the UK, it is getting closer in other parts of Europe, and while we may get worked up about those who, through no fault of their own don’t remember or are too young to understand the Thatcher years, we should be more concerned about those who have little understanding about the reality of fascism. False patriotism and targets for anger and hate avoid the need to think and give all too easy answers to an increasingly disaffected people.

We need to find an alternative and quick, and we need to get out there and stop this attack, which will economically, spiritually and morally undermine us all. An end to racism, an end to discrimination an end to stigmatisation of groups or individuals is the only way forward. Despite many good people within their ranks, Labour and its leadership elite still have a long way to go to meet that criteria.

The last few years has shown more than ever that the people who rule us are not fit for purpose, they never have been and never will be. Many are thieves cheats and liars who act only out of self-interest in order to preserve their lifestyle and maintain their rule. They have created this crisis and are intent on making us pay. Labour and Labour supporters must decide what and who their party represents.

The lies and deceptions are unsustainable. There’s not going to be a workers revolution but there could easily be military coups or openly fascist parties coming to power in Europe as a result of what has happened. Without fundamental change of direction, you risk unleashing a destructive political backlash that will send us on a downward spiral of brutality.

But that's nothing compared to how annoyed I get by singing bus drivers.

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23 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

saladdazeNovember 10th 2010.

Apparently there's another good book on all this excellent stuff with a more detailed historical www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=17975…

AnonymousNovember 11th 2010.

I managed to get past the "turd" personal insults and the class war impications but when I got as far as the Nazis and the Jews bit I had to stop reading as all credibility evaporated. Look up Godwin's Law. You lost the argument right there, which is a shame because it is a flawed policy and deserves criticism.

Private GodwinNovember 11th 2010.

Oh dear Captain Mainwaring, did sister Dolly offend you with the use of the word T*rd?
Have you heard of Get-Outs Law? It's where you say any use of a reference to Nazis presumably even when discussing the risk of the rise of neo fascism, means you can smugly switch off, close your eyes and avoid answering any points.
Hide Hitler!

Shadowy MinisterNovember 11th 2010.

Today from The BBC News

Labour has said it will co-operate with the government where it is rewarding work but stressed there must be jobs for people to take up.

"If the government gets this right we will support them because, of course, we accept the underlying principle of simplifying the benefits system and providing real incentives to work," Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Douglas Alexander said.

So there's the opposition, let them get away with slashing benefits labelling the unemployed as scroungers and the barrier to economic recovery and then we will say how unfair it is later when we see there are no jobs becuase they have slashed millions of jobs in the public sector with who knows how many losing their homes as a result.

Prof ChucklebuttyNovember 12th 2010.

This was merely an off the top of my head rant commenting on Larry's piece, he knows how to get me going. Mr Pilger in the New Statesman on the other hand, has some sililar conclusions ablbeit drawn from a more concise and considered analysis. Although he mentions Pinochet so you may have to stop reading if, depending upon your interpretation, that counts as invoking Godwin's Law. I recall when we I once attended a rally against the National Front, somebody called John Tyndall a Nazi and he shouted aha Godwin, so we all had to go home. Have a look at Pilger anyway.


Danger AheadNovember 12th 2010.

Thank you Professor. I had been thinking of the Jewish analogy myself (I am not Jewish)but did not dare speak it. You only have nto look at the rants in other media, including the BBC, to realise many people have this thought process .... out of work/on benefits/scrounger/cause of all our ills/punish them.... end of. There are hundreds of thousands of decent people, including many professionals (no dount around here many journalists) out of work. They are not scroungers, they have paid thousands and thousands of pounds over the years into the system. They are fully entitled to help. Just because somebody is unemployed and drawing (meagre) benefits, please, please, please don't make assumptions. Go down to the Job Centre and have a look at the vacancies available and then think that just in our city we hav e tens of thousands of people without work. As for Labour's reaction to the attack on the working classes, yes - well some of us will remember.

lest we forgetNovember 12th 2010.

Why is any mention of Nazism and fascism becoming taboo? Unspeakable? The Holocaust denyers must be loving it.

Jack BooteNovember 12th 2010.

It seems to date back to the world of the Internet Nerd and this Godwin originally writing a sarcastic piece that as a thread of usenet insults progresses somebody will eventually call somebody a nazi or or raise the holocaust at which point the usefullness of the thread is continued over. As with a lot of tripe on the net, this is now quoted with glee by people who have no other answers.

So you can't say Pol-pot or Milisovic were like Nazis or you've lost the argument and presumeably neither can you say it about Nick Griffin. It's a very convenient get-out when you see something you don't agree with or dislike but have no answers. Fascism as an ideology is not restricted to Jackboots and deathcamps and you can march towards it with boots and banners or you can sleepwalk into it by increasingly brutal legislation, gradual erosion of civil liberties, increasing surveillance,racism,state and media led bigotry and xenophobia and isolating groups or individuals as a common threat, all wrapped up in saving the nation.

AnonymousNovember 12th 2010.

I made the Godwin comment as I saw the raising of the spectre of National Socialism as unconnected with welfare reform. As I see it people who want to work and try to work will still be properly looked after. Those who really are workshy, and there are enough to cause concern after three generations of Welfare State, are to be tackled. And the Nazis didn't have a monopoly on aggressive policy enforcement. In order to get the whole population to agree to state control of all enterprise the communists found it necessary necessary to kill all those who disagreed. All in all, we're a long way from either of those scenarios. The coalition hasn't actually done anything of note yet, except dismantle the id card scheme.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 3rd 2012.

You really are a special kind of gullible aint you! "those who want to work & try to work will be properly looked after" according to govmt figures there are 400,000 jobs out there and over 2 million out of work, under new rules if you dont have a job after a year your benefit will be cut if thats properly looking aster the

Better Read Than TedNovember 12th 2010.

There's the other classic get-out clause from "Anonymous" First nothing to say because Basil Mentioned the war (personally, I think he got away with it) and now the other old chestnut if anyone raises any criticism seen to be leaning left, it's either Hatton & Militant or as in this case The Communists were as Bad as The Nazis. Well actually i don't think they were quite as bad, although The Man who would be King and his American wife clearly preferred the Nazis, lucky for us Churchill didn't. C'mon you said it's a sahame the argument was thrown away becuase it's a flawed policy and deserves criticism, put Godwin back saved files box and give us some of it then. Although now your telling us, the coalition haven't really done anything yet, Wow, another get out - let's wait til it's on the statute books and then we shall rise up as one and say....er excuse me but we don't think that's very nice (might be hard to fit that on a placard)

AnonymousNovember 14th 2010.

So you reckon Stalin's 20 year reign of terror wasn't quite as bad as Hitler's? Are you trying to excuse him because he was following Lenin's noble cause, an ideological expediency, to eliminate the opposition so all that's left are supporters? How can this be connected to Welfare Reform policies which haven't been even implemented? The argument is flawed because of a polarisation of ideas. It isn't a matter of "deserving poor" & "scroungers", though they are both represented but in between there are the people who have never worked and can't for a whole spectrum of reasons good and bad. A blanket policy will carry with it too many injustices but a considered and balanced policy might well bring out opporunities previously ignored by Labour and Tories alike. Legisltation which might help businesses create employment could be seen as pandering to the rich yet if it creates jobs then it's serving society properly - what is just here? Talking of 6 million deaths, or Mao's 60 million political murders contributes nothing at all to the discussion but it does reduce a very serious attempt to unburden the country and individuals of the hopelessness of long term unemployment engenders to a mere shouting match.

AnonymousNovember 14th 2010.

Not argument is flawed, policy is flawed, sorry for that

Better Read Than TedNovember 15th 2010.

Stalin had a better moustache for a start and if the west and almost every major industrialised nation had not tried to intervene, undermine and then finance the rise of Fascism and Nazism to oppose it, it's hard to tell what would have happened. Still pretty bloody brutal I would imagine, but then that's revolutions for you. They can get out of control and the leaders end up paranoid and murderous. But you missed the whole point. It is about turning one group of people against another and how easy that appears to be. That is the basis of the analogy. The ploys still work and people still lap it up. You sound sensible enough to know that the reform of the benefit system and the savings to be made is miniscule in proportion to unclaimed benefits the corporate tax fiddles and deficit as a whole. And surely sensible enough to see that cutting benefit and taring all unemployed with the same brush when millions may be about to lose their jobs is a cruel hoax of a policy and attempts to disguise a pernicious ideology of attacking a section of society to draw attention away from the cause of the problem. They are the ones who made the link of welfare reform to the defecit. Nobody else. Sadly Labour have yet again decided to climb into bed with them. That is the real danger, with no representation or party fighting for them and such apathy at the polls (although it's hardly surprising) extremists from the right or the left could seize the opportunities for social unrest as this and the rest of the cutbacks start to really bite. Look what's just happened in Liverpool, the ill thought out lunacy that was HMRI is probably going to result in people living in a wasteland with no hopes of a job from that postcode for the next 10-15 years. Anyway, mission accomplished, got an opinion out at last, even if by the sound of it you got it from John Craven's Newsround.

DigNovember 15th 2010.

Great read Prof but never mind all that. Who got kicked off the X Factor last night? You should focus more on the important things in life.

AnonymousNovember 15th 2010.

John Craven's Newsround does seem to distil the essence of the story. All parties have yearned for welfare reform for decades and although the problem is simple i.e. the abuses are very widespread and the needy aren't helped enough, the possible solutions are very difficult. As a "Welfare Tory" I wish to Gord they'd tackle the tax abuses and reconsider what they're spending on defence but we're not talking about that, we're talking about welfare reform. Stalinism, Nazism, divide & conquer, class war and all the other spurious arguments simply detract from the issue. The solution to the problem will have many aspects, job creation being fundamental. Means testing isn't unfair though it is thought to be unacceptable. Further I'd like to see curbs on gambling, long described as a tax on the poor. To be honest I'm just a layman who is happy to pay reasonable tax to live in a civilised country and I'm very glad that fixing the broken bits isn't my job!

Better Read Than TedNovember 15th 2010.

Thank you Anoymous assuming you are the same person(it's always hard to tell who you are addressing when people don't give a name) Apologies for being somewhat churlish. We differ on our views and solutions but now you have elaborated, I can respect your view.

yes that anonymousNovember 15th 2010.

I read an editorial somewhere last May or June that appointing IDS as Minister in charge of welfare reform was a very wise move. It said he's a politician without an axe to grind, a decent chap who only wants what's best for the country. New Labour had asked him to look into welfare problems so he already had a good grounding and he already had some ideas to develop. He's said to wants to help the poor, not harass them so what's being proposed is seen differently depending on who's looking and who's spinning. If the Parliamentary Tories can stand aside from their petty meannesses and tunnel vision and let him give it his best shot he might well make something of a difference. I hope so.

Ian Duncan DoughnutNovember 17th 2010.

He's a clueless dope. With a cough.

The Hearse WhispererNovember 17th 2010.

Never under estimate the damage that can be caused by a quiet man.

I'm turning up the voluuuuuuummmmeee ! Of those who are in poverty.

Prof ChucklebuttyNovember 17th 2010.

Excuse me, can I say something?....

EveryoneNovember 17th 2010.


Prof ChucklebuttyNovember 17th 2010.


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