class war in the UK (essay)

Why are the Tories declaring class war?

I listened with horror to the Conservative Party speeches, as one after another, their leadership announced cuts and penalties for the less-well off- benefit freezes, an entire generation of under 25s to be denied any benefits, and some kind of food stamp programme. It was basically a plan outlining how to create and exacerbate an impoverished underclass of the unemployed, youth, disabled and poorer working people. At the same time they announced they will implement tax cuts for those better off.

So surely this is the formula to create and entrench a class division amongst the population of this country? One class dirt poor, living hand to mouth, the other comfortably well-off.

So let me describe my situation- I have been diagnosed with secondary progressive MS, and have also been registered blind, one of the side effects of MS in my case. This has been a process of years, the majority of that time I have been living off my now deplete savings. In January my savings ran out, so I began a claim for what used to be called disability benefit, but is now called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). At the same time you need to apply for Employment Support Allowance (ESA), and until (or if) that is awarded can receive Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) if you provide sick notes from the doctor. 

Quite a maze to navigate if you are blind and have a condition such as MS, right? Multiple massive forms, numerous phone calls, letters, proofs, such as proof of citizenship, need to be dealt with. This cannot be done without assistance, which is where the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) are really the only port of call, though some charities do offer support, it depends on your location.

Once all this paperwork is dispatched, to a company called Athos, you wait. They tell you not to call them for the first six months.

After about 8 months, on advice from CAB and the MS Society, I called my MP. It turns out MPs have a higher level of access to Athos. So after this call the MP was able to secure an assessment for work interview at Athos, apparently the first of 3 such assessments. You are quizzed for over an hour on things such as ‘can you make toast?’ It is all rather disingenuous, because the more independent you have become the less points you score. I mean, at the end of the day, if you are blind and suffer all the symptoms of advanced MS who is going to give you a job and doing what exactly? Making toast? Sometimes burnt?

Anyway, so that is where I am currently, in limbo, and receive £72 a week state assistance. The only reason I can use a computer is I wisely spent £500 of my savings on a software for blind people called Zoomtext. In the next parliament MPs will be debating whether or not to allow assisted suicide for people with my condition. Oh joy.

So my experience is just a drop in the Ocean- multiply it by millions in various degrees and you have the new underclass.

So the Conservative argument is the UK cannot afford it anymore, we have a deficit which needs to be cut by freezing, stopping and basically wilful non-payment, humiliation and stigmatisation.

Surely a formula to create a very angry underclass? Therein lies Detroit, wastelands where the rich fear to tread, where people lack even basic facilities such as electricity and water.

There is an ideological vacuum on the left- Labour seems unwilling to stand up for this newly emerging underclass- except for the odd fringe MP like Dennis Skinner.

So as the right wing has its English Defense League, UKIP and the National Front, I imagine the left is going to see the growth of some radical party. It hasn’t emerged yet, but I believe that if the Conservatives implement all the measures they outlined in their conference this force will emerge, and class war will be back on the front pages of Britain’s newspapers.

To answer my own question- why are they doing this?

Its not really to pay off the defecit- they could do that at a stroke by making corporations pay the taxes they are actually supposed to pay.  I believe the Conservative leadership see lining the pockets of themselves and their constituency as their prime reason for existence. That is blatantly obvious, even to a blind man such as myself. When George Osbourne’s best man at his wedding made millions on the sale of Royal Mail was this not made too blatantly obvious? And to me it really is that simple- they are creating a class of haves, which is them, and have-nots, which is everyone else. But this being Britain the have-nots may wake-up at some point. But not for a while, the situation has to get a bit worse.

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