Just had a bit of a break for the extended holiday and thought that I really show write another blog before the end of January. So here it is.
I have long argued that for many of us, me sometimes included, fact often is less important than perception. I, after all, am a Spurs’ supporter. So why is this important? Well because when we make decisions, especially important ones, they need to be based on reality and not what we would wish it to be. Also because sections of the media and government peddle opinion and lies based on these perceptions so that we have to sort out fact from reality even before we start. This is not just the prerogative of this government, although it does have an appalling bad track record in this respect. Getting people to believe that the current economic situation is due to government overspending and not the fault of some within the banking industry being a notable example. This enables them to penalise those on the receiving end in our society, yet again, while letting those who really caused the problem off the hook. Yet again.
So now we have further cuts of £12m proposed from our benefits system; this largely on the basis that some in our society are strivers and some shirkers. The use of the term “hardworking people” carries with it the implication that others are feckless. The truth is that, although there may be some who are one or the other, most of us can be one or the other at different times in our lives but that, mostly, we try. Quite why, to get wealthy people to work harder, you pay them more, whereas the opposite is true for everyone else, is beyond me. It, also, is a perception.
So, to try to set the record straight, it needs to be said that a substantial part of our social security payments go on those in receipt of a state pension while far more is spent subsiding employers who pay low wages. What this mean in practice is that many of those on benefits are actually in work. They are strivers even though they receive benefits that the media tell you are spent on shirkers.
Some other interesting figures are, according to a recent survey, most people think that 41% of the welfare budget goes to those who are unemployed, whereas the real figure is 3%, that 27% is claimed fraudulently, whereas the figure is actually 0.7%. In reality, this amounts to about £1bn which is still a great deal of money until you realise that the estimated figure for tax evasion is £70bn. So, when the media and some of our politicians throw out these figures, remember that they are, largely, inaccurate to say the least. As was demonstrated recently with the distinct shortage of immigrants that we were led to believe would flood in from Easter Europe.
What’s interesting about this debate is that my perception is that most politicians are hard working and honest (yes, silly really but there it is). So that, when they do come out with such lies, they become hoist with their own petard. Ironic, isn’t it.