Thursday 20 February 2014. A culture of fear.
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Dear Mr Cameron,
No matter the meaningless sound bites to the contrary, you and your government have created and are presiding over a culture of fear. Only in the most feral Tory imagination can your treatment of the poor, the sick and the vulnerable be described as 'doing what is right'.
With record numbers of people being forced into destitution, the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols was right in saying, 'the welfare state was growing increasingly punitive'.
No matter how much you pretend otherwise, rhetoric does not overcome reality. The lived experience of hundreds of thousands of people across the country is one of life threatening fear. Iain Duncan Smith has turned the social safety net into a living hell, a vicious pogrom of retribution for being poor, disabled or out of work.
"A survey of 700 staff working for ten social landlords in the north west of England found that 45 per cent of housing workers have dealt with tenants threatening to kill themselves in the six months last year from May to October." That's the lived reality of the effects of the bedroom tax and changes to housing benefit.
You state that welfare reforms 'are about giving new purpose, new opportunity, new hope - and yes, new responsibility to people who had previously been written off with no chance'. The very opposite is true, and driving people through terror is no way to instil responsibility. I talk to and hear from people every day from whom the will to live is draining away. That's not a sound bite, that's reality.
Whilst you refuse to cap bankers bonuses, the very people who were the cause of austerity and who have been rewarded in every way for crashing the global economy, you drive the victims of austerity, who bear no responsibility for the crash, into the ground with ideologically driven terror tactics.
Our once great welfare system, the NHS, our education and vital services all paid for by us are being sold off and we are being sold out by you and your government.
People are working for poverty, more than half of those living a life of penury. It is an absolute abuse of your position to attempt to dominate the dialogue by pretending that the poor are in any way to blame for the state the country is in. As Owen jones put it, 'most people in poverty get up in the morning and earn that poverty.' The benefits they receive support the companies who pay poverty wages, making profits from poverty. That is the reality in Britain today, these are the facts behind your fiction.