A Chilling Sign of the Times

Dearly beloved friends,

Cordial greetings and a very good day.

As a resident of Great Britain I have become increasingly concerned with the climate of hostility towards my countries sick and unemployed, fostered by politicians and misguided ultra right-wing journalists. It now seems that these, often very vulnerable people, are considered fair game and somehow deserve to be vilified and demonised. Odious comparisons are drawn between ‘skivers and strivers’ and the mentally and physically sick are subjected to harsh and unsound work capability assessments, simply designed to declare them fit for work, regardless of how unwell they actually are. The grim reality is that many poor and vulnerable people are either loosing or being denied essential welfare benefits to which they are rightfully entitled. Many find themselves unfairly ‘sanctioned’ by the DWP (the British government department responsible for administering welfare) for *alleged *violation of the rules. Now am I alone in thinking that all of this highlights a new and troubling trend in this supposedly tolerant nation? Why, it is now almost tacitly assumed that the vast majority of unemployed are feckless ‘scroungers’ and that those claiming sickness benefits are probably swinging the lead and almost certainly exaggerating the extent of their medical condition. Is it any great wonder then that in the current age of austerity the unemployed and disabled have become easy scapegoats?

It is a chilling sign of the times, dear friends, that such a harsh new mood towards the sick and unemployed has become acceptable and normative. What admits of no doubt is that there has most certainly been a hardening of attitudes among the British public, so much so that if one even dares now to defend the sick/jobless then one may find themselves being branded a ‘bleeding heart liberal’ and even a Socialist. Unfortunately, much of the blame for this sad state of affairs must rest on the shoulders of the extreme right-wing press and the present governments ill-conceived welfare reforms. There has in recent times been a new dialogue respecting disability, characterised by the unremitting drip-drip of stories implying that the vast majority of benefits claimants are bogus and live a carefree lifestyle at the taxpayers expense. We are continually told that benefits have been doled out without proper checks and that people have, for example, been given indefinite disability payments just because they feel a little depressed and stressed. Alas, very few people are prepared to stop and ask if this is merely ultra right-wing political propaganda, designed to curry the favour of the chattering middle-class and secure their vote on the ballot paper.

Alas, dear friends, it is a sad fact that there has been a significant increase in articles about ‘benefits cheats milking the system’ and ‘feckless scroungers and skivers’ in the media. Moreover, this propaganda, for such it is, is not only to be found in tabloids like the Daily Mail, but also in quality broadsheets. However, what is also very noticeable is that alongside the increase in such shameful articles is a gradual reduction in reports on discrimination and sympathetic stories about the sick and unemployed. Politicians remark that they cannot be held responsible for the actions of the media, but they are clearly not ignorant as to how the game is played.

However, dear friends, it is not only the press who is to blame. Much of the propaganda has emanated from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), which has twisted facts, manipulated statistics and distorted data to win widespread support for its drive to cut costs and crack down on benefit abuse. Now it does not take rocket science to see that this cascade of spurious claims and scandalously spun stories results in demonising the sick and unemployed and hardening public attitudes towards them. In reality, levels of fraud for disability benefits are 0.5%, much lower than for other benefits and, indeed, less than the level of errors made by government officials. This is certainly a glaring and despicable social injustice, but what is far worse is that the British public have largely allowed themselves to be duped, hook, line and sinker. Sadly, you will always find a celebrity to voice their disapproval on the plight of badgers, but you would be hard pressed to find any who will champion the cause of the sick and unemployed and denounce the shameful injustices being perpetrated against them.

If, dear friends, there is one group who have really suffered as consequence of the British governments recent welfare reforms, then it is those with mental health problems. Incontrovertably, they have felt the coldest chill of the new mood of intolerance of which I have been speaking. The problem for these poor souls is that often they do not look obviously disabled and are therefore targeted as being workshy or of not thinking positively about what they can achieve. This is jolly patronising and based upon sheer ignorance.

My plea, dear friends, is for the Catholic faithful in Britian to champion the cause of the sick and unemployed and be a voice for them. Please write to your Member of Parliament and raise the issues which I have discussed, stating your dissatisfaction with the way that your fellow citizens are being treated in a supposedly civilised society.

God bless and thankyou kindly for taking the time to read the above.

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait:tiphat:

In Christos

I would like to see the Catholic hierarchy in Britain speaking out against this. I have e-mailed the Archbishop of Westminster THREE times on this subject since July and haven’t had as much as a token, automated reply. I gave up in the end. If that’s the level of indifference we are dealing with at leadership level, then I guess it** is **up to ordinary Catholics (again) to do as you suggested. One does wonder if the architect of these reforms (a Catholic) has his feet under the table at Archbishop’s House…

Best wishes,
Padster

The welfare reform doesn’t seem unreasonable based off of what wikipedia has to say.

I’m from America though, so I don’t really know much about the situation in Great Britain.

Dear Padster,

Cordial greetings and a very good day. Thankyou for your response.

Indeed, dear friend, I am quite surprised that the Catholic Church here in Britain has remained silent on what is a shameful and unrelenting attack against the sick and unemployed. The recent welfare reforms are both inequitable and iniquitous and are causing untold misery to multitudes of vulnerable people as well as severe financial hardship. They are a national disgrace and are without any doubt the most draconian since the creation of the welfare state.

Unfortunately, dear friend, the sick and unemployed are always seen as a soft target, but this present coalition government especially have been exceptionally harsh and callous. They have gone after them to raise a bit of money to make up for the reckless spending of the wealthy and powerful a few years back. Look, no man would stop to deny that we now have a deficit in Britain, the proverbial billion pound black hole, and people understand, no matter how basic their grasp of economics, that we must needs fill it somehow. However, why should this be from the pockets of those who need help most and who are already of jolly slender means? Moreover, why are we employing punitive measures, for example the so called hated ‘bedroom tax’, against the sick and disabled for the irresponsible misdeeds of the wealthy and powerful? Why instead of directing all this national vitriol at the sick and jobless, as Conservative politicians and ultra right-wing newspaper columnists have done (shame on them), are we not hauling over the coals those at the top of the financial hierarchy who led us all into the present calamitous financial mess in the first place - including, but not limited to, CEO’s and Bankers? In so far as a man cares about social justice at all he will not fight shy of facing up to these uncomfortable questions.

Many, are of the opinion that the government of the day in Britian are waging a sort of ideological war against the countries sick and unemployed. Perhaps there is much truth in that belief, but what does admit of no doubt is that the avalanche of benefits cuts have reduced many of our fellow-men to a grinding poverty (witness the appearance of the ubiquitous ‘Food Banks’), possibly triggering or exacerbating existing mental illness. Moreover, it is surely manifestly obvious, dear friend, that the whole raft of harsh and cruel welfare cuts will, at least in the long term, be counter-productive and will only engender further division and social unrest. As I understand it, Mr Duncan Smith (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) himself once lived on the breadline, so one would think that he would have a little more fellow-feeling and understanding for those who had fallen on hard times or who are chronically sick. Sadly, like many who have been able to escape poverty by being diligent and resourceful (good on them), they are strangely unkind and impatient of those who, for all manner of complex reasons, are losers in the struggle to survive. It is these poor souls that his government are failing to care for and who’s plight they are making so intolerable.

The only clergymen that have publicly protested regarding the unfair and iniquitous welfare reforms appear to be from the Church of England. The Catholic hierarchy need urgently to denounce these wicked reforms, which are not working anyway and are actually costing the British taxpayer an immense amount of money (witness the problems with implementing the new ‘Personal Independence Payment’, which is proving hugely controversial for the DWP).

Finally, dear friend, the British people, including the Catholic faithful, ought to be jolly proud of a welfare system that was designed as a safety net for those who, through circumstance, genuine unemployment or disability (mental as well as physical), were unable to care and provide for themselves.

Thankyou again for your response and a very warm welcome to the world of CAF. Hope that you find your time here informative and spiritually enriching.

God bless.

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait

In Christos

Thank you for your input and kind welcome.

I tried to contact Vincent Nicholls about this because I am one of those termed ‘chronically sick’. At the time I e-mailed him I was undergoing review of my DLA by ATOS and I was very worried I would lose it completely. I wanted him to at least address the situation, even if it was only in reply to me personally. I got nothing in return, which hurt doubly because despite my illness I give my time and talent freely to the Church as an organist. But anyway, in the end even the DWP realised that I really am too ill to work, and I managed to hold on to my much-needed benefit. Sadly many people haven’t been so lucky and with the appeals process being toughened up they are facing real hardship.

But the people I really feel sorry for are the ex-Remploy workers. To date 80% of those made redundant haven’t found new jobs. Who speaks for them?

Best wishes,
Padster

Dear Cross of Christ,

Cordial greetings and a very good day. Thankyou for your response.

Change is always good, dear friend, provided it is change for the better and not the worse. Unfortunately, this has not been the case with the recent British welfare reforms, which have actually proved to be exceedingly expensive for the British taxpayer.

First, dear friend, the work capability assessments that are used to determine whether people are able and capable are seriously flawed and ATOS (the company employed to carry out the assessments on the sick and disabled on behalf of the British government) have faced severe criticism after it emerged that a staggering third of decisions that went to appeal were overturned by the tribunal judge. The system is manifestly not fit for purpose and is woefully failing many vulnerable and sick people, including those suffering with divers mental health problems. However, this is hardly surprising given that the evaluation process used by ATOS is based upon a computer-based tick system that simply is unable to address the numerous health issues with which men can be afflicted. For example, most sick and disabled people have a series of illnesses that accompany the prominent one. Moreover, no scope is given to discuss complex mental health problems and thus the DWP ‘decision maker’ could be easily misled by the ATOS work capability test into thinking that a chap was able and capable when in fact he is profoundly unwell. Needless to say, all of this is terribly distressing for the benefits claimant, who is required to undergo these flawed tests or risk loosing his benefits. The tests are supposed, at least in theory, to compliment medical evidence from the client’s doctors and consultants, but it is the tests that are heavily relied upon as the deciding factor, otherwise you would not have all the appeals against erroneous DWP decisions. ATOS has a lucrative contract with the British government to conduct these assessments and therefore its impartiality must be seriously brought into question. In any event, the whole screening process is actually counter-productive as the stress and high anxiety occasioned by the benefits claimant only serves to exacerbate the symptoms of existing illnesses, thus rendering him even more unfit for work than he was in the first place. Look, regardless of our party politics, we can surely see that reducing disabled people’s symptoms to a box-ticking software program is downright cruel and unacceptable in a civilised society.

Second, dear friend, whilst it is perfectly true that welfare dependency should not be encouraged as a lifestyle choice, one cannot help but think that the governments savage attack on the sick and unemployed has more to do with appeasing the self-righteous, ‘I’m alright Jack’ chattering classes of middle-England, than genuinely wanting to help men back to the world of work. Welfare cuts will always prove popular with the electorate and will always win votes, especially from the wealthy and elderly. However, instead of begrudging our taxes being spent on the welfare budget we should, especially if we profess the religion of Christ, have compassion upon those who are unable to work through no deliberate fault of their own. Contrary to popular belief, most recipients of state benefits are deeply ashamed of having to rely upon government welfare relief, indefinetly in some cases. Some could not hold down a job even if they dearly wanted to.

Third, the governments so called ‘Work Programme’, designed to move the long-term unemployed back to work, has simply failed to provide full-time employment for most of those signed up to it by Department for Work and Pensions. This is because in many instances those that are enrolled on Programme are just too physically and mentally unfit for work, being failed by the flawed Work Capability Assessments to which I referred to above. It does not matter how loudly they protest to the ‘claimant adviser’ at the labour exchange concerning their illness, they must enrol upon the programme or risk being ‘sanctioned’. They have been declared fit for the Work Programme and that is all that matters. Certainly, they can appeal a decision, but they may not necessarily win and what about all of the stress and anxiety over loosing vital benefits? It is, dear friend, utterly scandalous that men are being treated in this shameful fashion in a civilised Western country.

Fourth, how very sad that the final three Remploy factories were tragically closed this week. These were sheltered factories for the disabled of Britain and for many poor souls it will mean not only losing their place of work, but their social life, their dignity and, indeed, their very world. Many, dear friend, would have faired much better at Remploy factories than on any temporary Work Programme scheme that leads to nowhere.

Finally, an infinitesimal number of welfare claimants are indeed feckless and wrongfully exploit the system and it is right that these are brought to book, if only because they tarnish all other bona-fide benefits claimants. However, men should not believe the propaganda of the ultra right-wing press who would have us believe that there is a bloated benefits culture where systematic daily abuse is normative. People should not buy these dreadful newspapers, which only feed upon middle-class prejudices and have their own agenda.

God bless and may I wish you and all other viewers of this thread a jolly splendid weekend, whatever are your plans.

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait:tiphat:

In Christos

I see. That doesn’t seem very fair.

Second, dear friend, whilst it is perfectly true that welfare dependency should not be encouraged as a lifestyle choice, one cannot help but think that the governments savage attack on the sick and unemployed has more to do with appeasing the self-righteous, ‘I’m alright Jack’ chattering classes of middle-England, than genuinely wanting to help men back to the world of work. Welfare cuts will always prove popular with the electorate and will always win votes, especially from the wealthy and elderly. However, instead of begrudging our taxes being spent on the welfare budget we should, especially if we profess the religion of Christ, have compassion upon those who are unable to work through no deliberate fault of their own. Contrary to popular belief, most recipients of state benefits are deeply ashamed of having to rely upon government welfare relief, indefinetly in some cases. Some could not hold down a job even if they dearly wanted to.

I’m not entirely familiar with the history of the British welfare system (I think it might have started with something related to the military?), but one thing that bothers me is that, at least in America, there are plenty of able-bodied men who are unemployed and don’t seem to care about finding work. At least after some period of time, IMO those who are able should be put to work in public works programs, like the CCC under FDR. Not only would it help our infrastructure and encourage those who can to get employed, but it would boost morale in the nation. Granted, things are probably different in GB, but to some extent I think the stereotype about Americans being fat slobs is deserved.

On the other hand, I agree with you that often the media will pander to the wealthier and try and demonize the truly poor. This support to an antigovernment and individualistic mentality that comes from liberal capitalism is something I don’t see how any Catholic can support either.

Third, the governments so called ‘Work Programme’, designed to move the long-term unemployed back to work, has simply failed to provide full-time employment for most of those signed up to it by Department for Work and Pensions. This is because in many instances those that are enrolled on Programme are just too physically and mentally unfit for work, being failed by the flawed Work Capability Assessments to which I referred to above. It does not matter how loudly they protest to the ‘claimant adviser’ at the labour exchange concerning their illness, they must enrol upon the programme or risk being ‘sanctioned’. They have been declared fit for the Work Programme and that is all that matters. Certainly, they can appeal a decision, but they may not necessarily win and what about all of the stress and anxiety over loosing vital benefits? It is, dear friend, utterly scandalous that men are being treated in this shameful fashion in a civilised Western country.

It seems to me the flaw isn’t the work program, but how one is assessed to see if they are fit for work. Correct?

God bless and may I wish you and all other viewers of this thread a jolly splendid weekend, whatever are your plans.

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait:tiphat:

In Christos

God bless you too. :slight_smile:

The cuts to social welfare programs, both here and in Europe, will continue as long as the economy remains in a slump, with high unemployment and underemployment, and people afraid of losing what little they have. The poor and the sick, without power and influence, are then left to fend for themselves, due to austerity cuts. In Catholic circles, these cuts to the social safety net are often justified by the principal of subsidiarity, the idea that a central government had no business helping the poor in the first place, when it might have been done on some local level. I suppose this is sensible and noble in theory, but all too often very inhumane in practice.

However, some cuts will be needed at some time. We’re living off of future generations by piling up more debt.

Something needs to be done. It started with deficit spending for unnecessary wars and a poorly put together “war on poverty”. Because of them we’re going to suffer sooner or later. Unfortunately. :frowning:

Yes, I agree. We should not spend what we do not have, and never-ending borrowing can not end well. How we allocate what funds we do have is another issue, and again, when money is tight, those least able to care for themselves are the ones who suffer most.

I just get frustrated when I hear folks extolling subsidiarity, seemingly without compassion. I understand that charity and help should occur on the local level, within families, parishes, and communities. But when that local help is not forthcoming, when the need becomes overwhelming, should we in good faith turn our backs on the poor and sick? Does a principle trump our brother in need?

You’re right, something needs to be done. I doubt my little rant is helping much…

The same exact thing is happening in the US too, its not limited to the UK.

And what are you basing this upon? the prattling of a few nitwits who wore their tricorner too tight,
Or what about the cries for the blood of the rich, to eat the rich? I don’t think this sort of thing is happening in the US, I’d say there is a general break down of civility yes, but not specifically targeting anyone.

Dearly beloved friends,

Cordial greetings and a very good day.

Since my last contribution to this thread I am so very pleased to say that the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, has, in a recent interview The Times, given some pertinent criticisms of the shameful way the UK coalition government is focusing the brunt of its austerity policy on the most vulnerable and needy. Moreover, Archbishop Nichols correctly observes that too many people are being left behind in the so called economic ‘recovery’.

So much for Mr. Cameron’s “big society” that has, alas, failed to happen, which is hardly surprising given the “I’m alright jack” attitude that now, more than ever, prevails in Great Britian. Archbishop Nichols said: “Charity isn’t an alternative to public service. At our last bishop’s meeting, a number said that they never thought they would use the word ‘destitute’ again, but there are families with nothing : that’s shameful and shocking”.

It admits of no serious doubt, dear friends, that the British governments draconian and inhumane welfare policies are chiefly responsible for the present hardship endured by so many, including the sick and unemployed. The Church sees the tragic consequences of these heartless policies at first hand. Victims, for such they are, turn up on the doorstep and thus the churches see, in Archbishop Nichols words, that “there have been clumsily targeted cuts and the most vulnerable are suffering…The way assistance is administered is very degrading and the language around benefits recipients has become much harsher”. These words are absolutely bang on target and the future for those dependent upon social security payments is exceedingly bleak, indeed, I would go further and say utterly frightening. For example, many of the chronically sick will find themselves locked into an interminable battle with the Department for Work and Pensions, having to repeatedly ‘prove’ that they are unfit for work - endlessly going through the revolving door of flawed ‘Work Capability Assessments’. Apart from being the occasion of intolerable stress and anxiety, being treated in such a fashion will only serve to exacerbate existing symptoms, thus rendering them even more unfit for work than they already are. How is this gradually moving the long-term sick and disabled towards the world of work?

How lamentable, dear friends, that so called ‘food banks’, now feeding over a half a million people, exist in a modern Western country. Mr. Ian Duncan Smith, (Secretary of State for Social Security) the most prominent perpetrator of the ill-conceived ‘welfare’ reforms, says that the charities that draw attention to the plight of the hungry and dispossessed are merely scaremongering and have a “political agenda”. Well, so they ought to have a political agenda, given the widespread distress occasioned by the coalition governments Dickensian welfare policies. However, what of the governments own political agenda, which is to reduce public spending not because it needs to be reduced, but because those running Conservative party have an ideological belief in implementing tax cuts for the higher echelons of society at the expense of the social safety net. How can this be morally acceptable, let alone equitable?

Mr. Cameron has at various times indicated his admiration for past Conservative stalwarts such as Harold Macmillan and Ian Gilmour, but both men would, I believe, be utterly appalled by what is going on now. What many of us find very disturbing is that the present government appears to be woefully bereft of any sense of humanity or fundamental decency when speaking of welfare - and, indeed, administering it. They seem to have it in for the sick and unemployed in a way that is quite unprecedented and have recently announced even further cuts to the social security budget. One can only earnestly pray that this madness will stop, before many more sick people die or prematurely end their lives in despair, fearful of having to undergo yet another flawed ATOS assessment, simply designed to declare them able and capable of work.

God bless.

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait:tiphat:

In Christos

Dear Portrait,

I watched the Welfare State as it unfolded in the 1960s in the United States. During that decade, President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty, which was followed by Medicare and Medicaid. At the time, government assistance was called Welfare. I lived in a Middle Class neighborhood and knew many people who were kind and generous. However, by the end of the 1960s, a new type of Godless “Freedom” began to rise. So-called Underground Newspapers railed against all authority and I did see an “Eat the Rich” poster in one of them. Sin and more sin crept into the media, and gradually poisoned men’s minds on both sides of the pond. We weren’t free/sinful enough, they said.

Wall Street then deliberately brought the world to its knees in 2008. Are any of the architects of this planned disaster going to see jail time? So far, the answer is no. Only fines are being levied. The Middle Class has been decimated. We live in feudal times. The wealthy, though no longer wearing crowns and robes in most cases, are still wealthy, the poor are getting poorer.

In the US, the President has effectively nationalized the Health Care Industry, but it is not going well. Millions more need to be added to his plan to make it work as a business.

As someone with mental health issues, the only thing saving a lot of people is improved medications that can keep them out of the hospital, if they can afford them.

Let’s leave politics out of this and the media. Catholics should, on their own, contact the actual people who deal with those who can’t find work or are mentally and/or physically unable to find a job and publish the facts. This is a chance for us to help bear one another’s burdens, so that the world of Charles Dickens does not return while we wait on others.

I used to live in a strong Catholic Community where Catholics and non-Catholics lived mostly the same values. That sense of building communities needs to be strengthened. Perhaps a government will help, but those few, who are tied to agendas and other important people/influences, are the few. Let’s see what the intelligent peasants can do.

With God’s help. Talk. Learn. Find out. Don’t wait for those at the top. But don’t release the pressure either.

My best wishes to you and yours, my friend,

Ed

I would say to those who are worried about the restrictions or strictness applied to the provision of state welfare payments to disabled or sick people in the UK…

Be thankful you’re not living in Greece, where such provision has all but ceased as a result of the axe taken to government spending.

Some may argue that the rich should bear more of the burden through higher taxation, but the practical effect of this has to be that you can’t tax the rich excessively otherwise they up and leave and take their money with them, at which point you get less revenue that you would have done - i.e. none - and those that are left (the middle classes who can’t afford to escape) have to find even more.

There’s a point at which there are diminishing returns to the state when it is suffering under unsustainable debt. Look at France where a top rate of tax of 75% has just been introduced. Rich French people are leaving in droves.

When a State is simply incapable of continuing to fund itself, then what it provides has to be cut back, either by restricting or reducing what it pays across the board, or tightening up the rules to prevent access to State funding to all but the absolute neediest.

It’s not pretty, it’s not often popular, but ultimately there aren’t many other options. Debt cannot be heaped upon debt infinitely because at some point the country runs out of the ability to service the debt - i.e. interest payments consume more and more of the country’s tax income and leave less and less of it to pay for the things that need to be provided thereby requiring even deeper cuts than before. It’s relatively simple economics and unfortunately that’s the position the UK is in right now and has been for the past 5 years or more since the world financial crisis.

What matters is that where the state is unwilling or unable to support people who have a measure of need, there should be others willing to step in where they are able to. It is our Christian duty to do so. Tax and state spending on benefits is a blunt instrument, Christian charity can be finely tuned to individual need. It’s not worth complaining to the government - it can only spend what is realistically available to it and it has to protect the overall economy of the country. By so doing it thereby enables those who have the resources to be charitable to actually do so by ensuring that their resources remain available to them. The government needn’t take credit for that, but we can take credit for doing what we can and should do.

Sorry for posting about this topic but I am new and don’t know how to use this website very well. I’ve been reading a book on the Saints and their lives for help with mine. It’s called MYSTERIES MARVELS MIRACLES In The Lives of The Saints to help out with my problem. I am 17 years old and wiser than most my age and don’t want to say my name for protection and security reasons, but I need help on a question. Small miracles are starting to happen around me. Like lights coming on when I am praying and I reach a point of ecstasy. Or animals within their own home on their yard, dogs and cats on their yard following me home. Birds following me while I’m walking and praying at the same time. Easily befriending vicious animals. And my most concern is eating now. Its like I’m never hungry anymore and I break out in welts when I do eat too much if I try to. I went 7 days without eating a full meal just bits and pieces here and there and I gained weight not lost GAINED. The doctors still can’t find out what is causing my breakouts but I think it has to do with the meat I’m eating. Now that I’ve been starting to look to God for help,again for my life has been nothing but pain and through God I feel love and give it to others. I’ve always been like this, spiritual when I was younger I was told by everyone, even my mother would say I was the most faithful person she knew when I was 7. But after being helped after much sorrow and stress recently, I turned to God through Mary for good this time. The Marian Consecration. I’m reading a book called 33 Days to Morning Glory A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration and was wondering if the breakouts were the work of the enemy or of God, because I’ve been praying my Rosary 3 times a day and I feel great now, but the breakouts when I eat are starting to get worse and hurtful Please someone tell me if this is the work of Love through God or the enemy! Have a Blessed Week and love through the journey of life. ~1st Corinthians 13:4-8

I’m an old Tory, Portrait, one of those teenagers who grew up enthusiastic about Maggie but I do have to say that we have, currently, the most annoyingly inept government that I can remember . . . . nevertheless . . .

How much is enough, do you think?

I ask that as somebody who gives up one day a week to do what I do every other day but for free, for a Charity. Some have pointed out that it might make more sense for me to work normally and donate what I’d earned but ‘more sense’ for whom?

You see, I think that one of our central problems is that we’ve all become terribly disconnected - poor/crazy/refugees/cats/dogs/donkeys, spend more taxpayer money, throw more coins in the charity bucket outside Tesco and consign it all to being ‘somebody else’s problem’ while feeling very smug about how much good you’re doing with your small change.

One of the effects of this disconnect is that the vacuum of interest/involvement allowed the growth of a huge Adult Day Care System known as Working In The Public Sector - work as ‘Day Care’ - where people have earned very significant sums of money for spending their time knowing what’s best for everybody else.

They’ve known it so well that we ended up with housing estates unfit to live in, children who learned little, accident and emergency units full of drunks and benefits squandered in fixed-odds machines down the bookies.

The answer to all that, Portrait, is neither ATOS nor spending more and more and more money on Adult Day Care Jobs - it’s more people getting involved.

Dear DexUK,

Cordial greetings and a very good day. Thankyou for your contribution to the discussion.

First, I am quite sure that the vast majority of Britian’s sick and unemployed are grateful for their meagre welfare payments, but the present coalition government have forced through some of the most punitive and harsh measures against the sick and unemployed that I have ever witnessed in my lifetime. Now the question to be answered is, are these iniquitous and inequitable measures fully justified, given the austere times in which our lot is presently cast? A resounding no. Unfortunately, the sick and unemployed, among whom are some of the most vulnerable members of society, are being used as scapegoats for the reckless spending of the rich and powerful a few years back and this is downright despicable, to say nothing of a grave injustice. Why should the sick and unemployed, who already have the odds stacked against them, have to carry the can for a financial crisis which was clearly not their doing? Moreover, it morally unacceptable that Britian’s sick and disabled are financially disadvantaged, for it is not their fault that they are unwell and therefore unable to support themselves. Surely, dear friend, we have entered a wholly different morality when we rob the poor and sick to pay for the misdeeds of the rich. Rather than all the shameful vitriol directed against sick and workless, let us go after the financial hierarchy who led us into the present calamitous mess, including CEO’s and Bankers, and make them pay. The unemployed and sick are already among the poorest in Britain and therefore ought to be protected by law and not subject to any welfare cuts, just as the pensioners already are.

Second, no country with a modicum of decency can allow itself to be held to ransom by the rich and their disgraceful threat to forsake the country of their birth if the burden of taxation becomes intolerable to them. This is simply to allow state sponsored oppression of the poor and most vulnerable to flourish, leaving them at the mercy of the charities and the good will of men. It is very sickening to hear the rich moan about ‘draconian taxation’ when they want for hardly anything. True, many of them have undoubtedly worked jolly hard for their money, but they must understand that in any society their will always be those who are losers in the struggle to survive, for all manner of genuine reasons.

Unfortunately, dear friend, many affluent people, who selfishly begrudge their taxes being spent on welfare relief, seldom, if ever, visit the decayed, damp and depraved inner city areas of our cities and are probably not cognizant of the lot of those who have to live in such dreadful places. Comfortable well-healed Britian needs to stand in the shoes of the other Britian and just ponder for a while about poor damp housing conditions, heatless homes, poor opportunities, the hard choices that have to be made (e.g. between heating and eating in the cold winter season) and the huge sense of feeling socially excluded. The fact is that all this is exacerbated by reduced and unfair welfare spending. It is high time that the rich and privileged understand that no country can truly prosper if it abandons its sick and poor. Certainly the charities and churches have a role to play and this I would not stop to deny, but with the best good will in the world they could not provide, on a week to week basis, for all of Britian’s sick and unemployed. No, higher taxation is unavoidable and morally justifiable. The rich must be re-educated to see that that they are their “brother’s keeper” and that a government in a civilised country is under an obligation to provide welfare relief for those in genuine need, sometimes even indefinitely.

Finally, let me conclude by saying that I, along with a vast multitude of other British residents, are jolly proud of our Welfare State, which since its inception has provided a safety net to so many who have fallen on hard times. That a very small number do exploit the welfare system admits of no doubt, but to talk of a burgeoning benefits culture where abuse is rampant is nothing more than hysterical extreme right-wing nonsense. Tabloids such as the Daily Mail are infamous for grossly overstating the incidence of benefit abuse and fraud by highlighting flagrant and rare cases, that no man would defend. It is simply untrue that the British taxpayer is funding a “vast army of benefit cheats”. However, what is sad is that the present government are more than happy for the public to believe such lies as it feeds their own political agenda.

No society, dear friend, will attain lasting social peace if its government imposes harsh and unfair measures against God’s poor and the sick and disabled.

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait

In Christos

So, what taxation rates are you suggesting?

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