Chairmans Notes October 2013September 16, 2013
The Astonishing Facts
I have noted a recent Guardian column written by Polly Toynbee where she speaks about reality being turned on it’s head by simplistic reporting and Government propaganda driven made-up figures where the public are given false information about the state of the economy and how the people from poorer financial backgrounds are coping. We know they are not.
For example, the CAB reports a rise of 78%, in the last six months, of people needing food banks even though many have jobs yet their pay doesn’t see them to the end of the week. The CAB chief executive says that millions of families face a perfect storm with benefit cuts, low wages, short hours, and the high cost of living; even apparently in well-to-do areas, community halls and churches are opening food banks so all can see the queuing for simple items to fulfill basic calories; no treats nothing fresh.
So how is it that polls continue to show most people think that benefits are too high, that there are far too many scroungers and fraudsters about and that the screw needs further tightening, that the £21 BN cut is not enough?! You Gov polling for the TUC finds overwhelming support for the benefit cap being rolled out further. It’s been reported that 606 households with high rents in Camden will have to move out-yet twice as many voters think ‘the government is not being tough enough’. The poll shows remarkable ignorance of the facts; people think that 41% of the budget goes to the unemployed-the real figure is 3%. They think fraud accounts for 27%, even Iain Duncan Smiths own figure is 0,7%.
Polling for Public Policy Research similarly shows wildly mistaken beliefs about who gets what; people think that immigrants account for the biggest slice. Even so, they do agree that pensioners and the disabled are the most deserving and there is an outcry about disability cuts. There has been a figure quoted of 1300 people who died last year after being found fit for work after the disgraceful ATOS tests.
Why are people being misinformed? Startling but exceptional “shameless” cases in the press fix their ideas. Those ‘benefit scrounger’ TV reality shows never reveal how many claimants were sifted through before selecting a few ‘interesting’ ones. TV does not explain how you will be used. Informed consent is meaningless. Edited to suit an agenda. Sympathy for the poor and unfortunate is sugar coated; the stronger impulse is to blame and punish the real life poor people overtakes, the easier route.Chairman's notes.