Iain Duncan Smith Denounces Plan to Introduce Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income, the scheme by which governments give a specified guaranteed income to all their citizens regardless of personal wealth or employment, has been widely discussed in recent years. I think some countries may already have such schemes in place, and there might be a programme about it this week on Radio 4. It was also one of the ideas mooted to help people out of their financial difficulties caused by the Coronavirus lockdown. Ten days ago, on Friday, 20th of March 2020, Mike put up a piece reporting that Boris Johnson was then considering the idea. And not only that, the idea had the support of some British industrialists, like Liam Kelly, the chair of the Baltic Triangle group of companies. Kelly said that the scheme wasn’t quite as radical as dropping money from a helicopter, but was a plausible solution to the problem of the present crisis. He said “It will help stave off the unprecedented economic challenges we face and protect us from another. This is a sensible fiscal stimulus and it’s time it went directly to the people, not just to the banks.” This might be a reference to one of the criticisms of the government’s financial bailout of the 2008 banking crash. The money went to the banks, who have carried on as before. Some critics have said that what Brown should have done instead is given the money to the public, so that their spending would solve the crisis the bankers had created. Who would have to face the consequences of the massive financial bubble they had created, rather than expect everyone else to bear the costs imposed through austerity while they continued to enrich themselves.

One voice, however, spoke against this scheme: Iain Duncan Smith. The pandemic has had a profound personal effect on some people. It’s brought out the best in them, as friends and relatives rally round to look after those, who are too vulnerable to do things for themselves like go shopping. IDS, however, has remained untouched by this. He still remains a shabby, deplorable excuse for a human being. In an article in the Torygraph stuck behind a paywall – because the Tories don’t let the proles getting anything for free – IDS issued his criticisms of the scheme. He blandly stated that the scheme would make no difference to the financial problems of low-income households and would not alleviate poverty. For which he provided no evidence whatsoever. He also said that it would disincentive work, and cost an astronomic amount of money. This is despite the scheme being budgeted at £260 billion, which is £70 billion less than the £330 billion Rishi Sunak has already imposed.

Mike says of … Smith’s appalling attitudes that they come from a man, who seems to believe that the solution to poverty is killing the poor themselves. Why else, Mike asks, would he have imposed policies that have pushed the vulnerable so deeply into poverty that many have died.

Mike also makes the point that he’s also trying to protect his own political vanity projects, like the Bedroom Tax, Universal Credit, PIP and ESA assessments, which would all become redundant with the introduction of UBI. Mike concludes

And he wants to ensure that we do not get to see the beneficial effects of UBI, even if it is only brought in for a brief, experimental period.

It seems clear that, while the Tories are claiming to be doing what they can in the face of the crisis, the evil that motivates them remains as strong as it ever was.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/03/20/coronavirus-trust-iain-duncan-smith-to-try-to-wreck-our-chances-of-survival/

This is absolutely correct, though it can be added that the Gentleman Ranker isn’t afraid of seeing his own political legacy discarded, but the whole Tory attitude to poverty and the question of wealth redistribution. The Republicans in America and the Tories over here hate redistributive welfare policies. The rich, they believe, should be left to enjoy their wealth, ’cause they created it and its all theirs, and the poor should have to work for their money. If they can’t work, or are poor, it’s because of some fault of their own – they’re idle, or simply don’t have the qualities to prosper in the meritocratic society created by unfettered market capitalism. And since Maggie Thatcher, Tory and Blairite welfare policy is based on the assumption that a large percentage of people claiming disability or unemployment benefit are workshy scroungers. Hence the fitness to work tests, in which it has been claimed that the assessors are instructed to find a certain percentage fit, because Tory ideology demands that they do. Even if in reality they are severely disabled, terminally ill, or in some cases actually dead. This also applies to Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit, and the system of sanctions attached to them. It’s all the principle of less eligibility, by which the process of claiming benefit is meant to be as harsh, difficult and degrading as possible in order to deter people from doing it. It is designed to make them desperate for any job, no matter how low paid or degrading. Or if they cannot work, then they are expected to find some other way to support themselves or die. The death toll from benefit sanctions runs into hundreds, and the total death toll from Tory austerity is 120,000, or thereabouts. And many of these deaths are directly attributable to IDS’ wretched, murderous policies.

If Universal Basic Income were to be introduced and shown to be a success, it would effectively discredit Tory welfare policy. The idea that state welfare stops people from looking for work has been a Tory nostrum since before Thatcher. But with Thatcher came the belief that conditions for the poor should be made harder in order to make them try to do well for themselves. I can remember one Tory, or Tory supporter, actually saying that on the Beeb during Thatcher’s tenure of No. 10. But these ideas would be seriously damaged if UBI were successfully implemented. It would also help undermine the class system the Tories are so keen to preserve by closing the gap between rich and poor through state action, rather than market forces. Which, indeed, have never done anything of the sort and have only created glaring inequalities in wealth.

Iain Duncan Smith couldn’t bear to see this all discredited. And so to stop this, he blocked UBI, even though it offered a plausible solution to some of the financial difficulties people are suffering.

Which shows you exactly how despicable he is, and how devoted to the maintenance of a welfare system that has done nothing but push people into poverty, starvation and death.

 

 

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10 Responses to “Iain Duncan Smith Denounces Plan to Introduce Universal Basic Income”

  1. Joanna Woolston Says:

    Hi Beastie,
    If UBI desentivises people to work then fine, there are lots of potential artists out there who could work on their talents, not everyone is made for average work, why should artists always be considered as a hobby which is usually for rich people?
    This country could be so Much better if people are given the means to live and work more creatively!!
    Let poorer people find their creativity and therefore their niche in life, i think that would also Cut mental health problems by at least a quarter!!! Less people would be worrying every single day about living.
    Everyone is worthy and entitled to find a place where They belong!!!
    Forgive my rambling
    Take care and stay safe to you And all of your readers, you have some awesome peeps on this blog!!!

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for the comment, Jo! I do have some great peeps on this blog, and you and Jeffrey Davies are two of them. And we should be aiming at a society where nobody should have to worry about where their next meal comes from, and everyone has the opportunity to develop their artistic talents.

  2. Jeffrey Davies Says:

    While whiling away his time has caddy boy to higher ranker he was to get the name RTU oh dear this IDs can survive on fifty quid a week the spiv sais I wonder could we have live on it for a yr while he looks for work nah his kind are the ones who hide behind others when the rounds start to fly

    • Joanna Woolston Says:

      You got that right Jeff, IDS is a coward.
      I forget did he get knighted?
      Stay safe and well!!!

    • beastrabban Says:

      No, IDS definitely couldn’t survive on £50 a week. And you’re right – he is a massive coward. He’s supposed to have hidden from demonstrators in a hotel laundry basked, and had armed guards and police surround him from possible attack by the disabled when he gave his testimony to the Work and Pensions Committee in parliament. And you’re right, Jo – he did get knighted. Which is just adding insult to injury.

      • Joanna Woolston Says:

        If I Have mentions it’s name I Never ever refer to his title, he doesn’t such deference!!! To me he doesn’t exist!

  3. trev Says:

    Smith is a maniac. He’s obsessed with forcing other people to work. What is a Roman Catholic doing vehemently pushing the PWE ? They are esoterically polar opposites, in the Rosicrucian (Masonic) teachings the two are described as the ‘Sons of Seth’ and the ‘Sons of Cain’, the former pinning their beliefs on Salvation through Faith, the latter seeking Ascension through WORK in the Light of Knowledge. I did once attempt to email the Pope with the hope of having IDS ex-communicated but of course that didn’t happen and I never received a reply, probably because the Pope never got my email as it would have been filtered out by the British Embassy, plus he’s a busy man.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Sorry to show my ignorance, Trev, but what’s the PWE? This isn’t something I’ve come across before, so I’d be glad of a bit of information. 🙂

      • trev Says:

        The Protestant Work Ethic.

        Here’s some very esoteric writings about the deeper meanings behind the PWE and how that belief differs from Catholicism:

        https://www.rosicrucian.com/frc/frceng01.htm

      • beastrabban Says:

        Ah, I get it. He probably doesn’t see the work ethic as uniquely Protestant. If pressed, I dare say he’d probably quote something like the monastic maxim, ‘Ora et labora’ – prayer and work. That’s if he quoted anything. He doesn’t come across to me as someone particularly well read in the spiritual classics.

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