The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Benefits Britain

Have any of you been watching the series on "Benefits Britain"?  I guess this is quite an inflammatory subject but this is my take on it.

I feel that producing programmes like this is designed to rabble-rouse and set the country against these "benefits scroungers".  Goodness knows they certainly pick "suitable" candidates don't they?  I think it was Jane (I hope I got your name right) over at Shoestring Cottage who recently highlighted the case of an older disabled lady, unable to work, who by virtue of losing money due to the "bedroom tax" was in a very dire situation indeed.

You know, I think the aim of these programmes is to pave the way for more cuts in the system and by highlighting some (though not all) "benefits scroungers" as foul-mouthed, beer-swilling, lazy, fat b***stards" the powers that be are trying to make cutting all  benefits acceptable to the rest of us.

Now while many of the people on these shows do need a bloody good kick up the backside, some, through no fault of their own, are caught in the benefits trap.  My own family lived for over 30 years in a 4-bedroomed council house while we kids were growing up (and all now working I would add).  If my mom and dad had not been able to buy it many years ago, my widowed mother might well have ended up in a position of having to move away from the neighbours and neighbourhood she had known for so many years because, (like the "Shoestring" lady), the council couldn't find her smaller accommodation.

I realize of course that the country is in a mess and the issue of benefits is hugely controversial.  I had a friend staying with me one weekend last year when one of these programmes was on and he was getting more and more furious watching it.  But to my mind, the makers of these programmes were getting the reaction from him that they wanted in order to push through their own agenda.

There are many foul-mouthed scroungers who have no intention of ever working - of course.  But conversely there are many, many people in seriously difficult situations often through no fault of their own.  Obviously when you look at the hundreds of "refugees" and "asylum-seekers" desperate to get through Calais to Britain you can see that there is something very wrong with a system that would encourage them to want to come to the UK and start claiming.  And while I feel for the people of Calais these refugees/asylum-seekers should indeed not make it further than their point of entry into Europe - which obviously will never be Calais.

I don't know the answer but it seems the politicians don't either except maybe to make cuts for the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.  I recently read an excellent book called "Chavs" by Owen Jones.  It makes a great read if you are at all interested in this subject.  When did the working class go from being the salt of the earth to the scum of the earth?  Particularly while being robbed blind by certain people, for example those involved in the "expenses scandal", who will never know what it is to go cold and hungry.

Anyway, not quite sure where this post came from but I felt I just had to get my thoughts down on paper to get it clearer in my mind.  Again, this isn't meant to be inflammatory but I'm buggered if I can figure it out.  A


  1. I can't stand watching these types of programmes. You're so right in that they're designed to be inflammatory. My eldest son has M.E. and mental health issues as a direct result. He simply can't work and survives on the barest benefits available. I don't know how all these people get everything paid for by the state. Even with help from a mental health charity and Citizens Advice he has £25 a week left after rent etc to feed and clothe himself. *gets off soapbox*

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Looks like we've had a similar journey except I didn't have financial independence when my ex left our 24 year marriage for a 'friend.' He removed me from all the joint accounts. I had no bank account or credit card in my own name. Took me months to get one as I had no job or credit score (I'd always been the 2nd name on the card) I didn't have a bad credit score, I simply didn't have any score! Lesson learned and I tell every young woman I come into contact with to have their own bank account and credit cards even when they're married. You never know what life will throw at you.

    Like you, I'm loving my life now and have a peace of mind that's priceless.

    Ali :-)

  2. Hi Ali, thank you so much for commenting - good to see I am in good company regarding my feelings on "Benefits Britain". I have been reading (and enjoying) your blog for quite some time now BTW.

    You know, women are so strong. That was a comment my nephew made about the women in our family at my dad's funeral and it really hit home. And once you start talking about it it is amazing how many women have similar stories to ours. My sister's husband left her for a Russian woman he had "met" over the internet, 20 years younger than him and who was "madly in love with him". I guess you can fill in the rest of the story for yourself - once the money was gone!!!

    Anyway, good luck to your son - you and I have already made our own luck.