Op-Ed by Michaela Whitton
March 22, 2016
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(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — The loud noise resounding across the U.K. on Friday evening was a collective cheer at the news of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation. After presiding over some of the most brutal welfare cuts in a generation, the benefits-slasher said:
“I am unable to watch passively while certain policies are enacted in order to meet the fiscal self-imposed restraints that I believe are more and more perceived as distinctly political rather than in the national economic interest.”
Begging and bribing
A heroic martyr who has suddenly developed a conscience?
Not according to backbencher, Nadine Dorries, an MP who took to Twitter minutes after his resignation to slam him, claiming he recently “begged and bribed” her not to vote against his cuts to Employment Support Allowance. “Stunned at IDS resignation letter. I was about to vote against ESA cuts when he sought me out – he personally and angrily begged me not to,” she wrote.
Last week’s Budget announced an extra £3.5 billion in cuts to public spending and welfare, which according to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, will keep Britain on course to end its deficit by 2020. With an apparent lack of cash on hand, he chose to spend on those who needed it the least. The long-term shafting of the economy and penalising and condemning of those suffering most continued unabated.
Britain’s unrelenting quest to “stimulate growth” has left safety nets for the most vulnerable increasingly depleted. Reacting to the Budget, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said Osborne could not have made his priorities clearer and called it “a recovery built on sand on a budget of failure” with “unfairness at its core.”
The Labour leader said in a Facebook post that Duncan Smith’s resignation reveals a Government in disarray and a Chancellor of the Exchequer who has lost credibility. He claimed the latest Budget has exposed Osborne’s record of profound unfairness and called for him to follow in Duncan Smith’s footsteps by resigning, too.
“Not only must the cuts to support for disabled people be abandoned, but the Government must change economic course. The Chancellor has failed the British people. He should follow the honourable course taken by Iain Duncan Smith and resign.”
For more signs the latest savagery went a step too far, look no further than the lifelong Tory supporter and disability campaigner who quit the party last week and took a party website down with him. Wheelchair-user and diabetic Graeme Ellis chucked in his Tory membership in disgust, and the 58-year-old, who owns the hosting package for the Conservative Disability Group’s website, took it with him in protest.
The website of the Conservative Disability Group, which was associated with the main party, went down shortly after Osborne’s latest attempt to cut funding for the underclasses while looking after his friends. A website statement now reads: “This website is temporarily closed owing to Disability Cuts.”
Ellis, who runs a benefits advice service, told the Mirror distraught clients were calling him all day on Budget day. He said people were in tears and anxious about the future. He accused Osborne of destroying lives. “How can I morally represent clients when I remain in an organisation that’s doing these cuts?” he said. “I changed the website this afternoon. I’m appalled by what’s happened and wanted to make a very public statement.”
Many hope Iain Duncan Smith will one day have the experience of lying in bed sick while Back To Work demands drop through his letterbox. Most were under no illusion his resignation would bring a halt to the merciless welfare reforms. For evidence that a queue of ambitious Tories were only too ready to step into his size tens — look no further than his speedy replacement by former Welsh Secretary, Stephen Crabb — announced early on Saturday morning.
This article (Sabotaged Websites and Bribing Ministers: UK’s Savage Welfare Cuts Go Too Far) is an opinion editorial (OP-ED). The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Anti-Media. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Midnightblueowl. If you spot a typo, email firstname.lastname@example.org.