It is ironic that on 25 January, 257 years since the birthday of Robert Burns, when thousands of Scots and others will toast the immortal memory of the Scots’ National Bard, the controversial Work and Welfare Reform Bill will reach its report stage in the House of Lords. There was no National Health Service or Welfare in his day. A man who suffered ill –health and fever most of his life, and latterly Rheumatic Fever which damaged his heart, but he literally kept ploughing on, until his demise working as an exciseman at the age of 39 in1796 in Dumfries.
Burns was traduced by the biographer James Currie, who basically wrote that Burns died stewing in drink. Currie was a Christian Temperance supporter, who blamed all the ills of mankind on alcohol.
For me the parallels and similarities of this rubbishing in Victorian times of our National Bard, and finding reasons for his early death, resonate with the way that Ian Duncan Smith, the DWP and its propagandists treat the disabled, sick and poor today, by constantly alleging that the disabled are to blame for the drain on the Welfare Budget.
Last week, the Disability Benefits Consortium sent an Open Letter to Ian Duncan Smith warning that the proposed cut in the Bill, to remove £30 from the ESA WRAG group will “push disabled people further away from work and closer to poverty”.
Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive of Mencap, is quoted at Disability Benefits Consortium
as saying: “Not only are disabled people telling us loud and clear that this cut to ESA will make their lives harder, with both their health and chances of returning to work being harmed, we also see how the general public are deeply concerned with these cuts. The fact that just 6% of people believe the Welfare Reform and Work Bill will make the UK a better place for disabled people shows the need for the Government to reassess its benefits reforms.”
Contrast this harsh attitude toward the poor, disabled and sick in our Nation by the UK Government, and their “fawning” toward the mega–rich, billionaires and others. These oligarchs treat our nation as a place to buy property and evade tax.
It would indeed seem that the rich are getting richer, and the Government in fawning over them, shows the reality of the lack care and compassion which exists within the DWP in particular.
When people have a strong belief and faith in their own religion or Government policy, the self-delusion that the medicine needed, held by that person or Department alone, is indeed dangerous. This is the idea that they possess the panacea or nostrum for all ills. Robert Burns words in his ‘Address to the Unco Guid’, spring to mind:
“O ye wha are sae guid yoursel’,
Sae pious and sae holy,
Ye’ve nought to do but mark and tell
Your neibours’ fauts and folly!
Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill,
Supplied wi’ store o’ water;
The heaped happer’s ebbing still,
An’ still the clap plays clatter.
Hear me, ye venerable core,
As counsel for poor mortals
That frequent pass douce Wisdom’s door
For glaikit Folly’s portals:
I, for their thoughtless, careless sakes,
Would here propone defences
Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes,
Their failings and mischances”
The rest can be viewed here.
The vote at the House of Lords went against the Government and sends the Bill back to the Commons for a rethink. It remains to be seen if IDS will give up his alleged “equalising measure”.