Friday, April 19, 2024

Chairman of UK Capitalism Executive Committee threatens sick workers


MailOnline, 19 April, Headline: ‘Sick note squads to crack down on workshy Brits: Rishi Sunak warns 'spiralling' benefit bill is 'unsustainable' and normal 'life worries' are not a reason to shun work as he suggests specialist teams - not GPs - should decide if people can be signed off.’

The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is, once again, threatening those who are not contributing toward increasing the wealth of UK capitalists.

He is reported as saying, ‘He said it was his 'moral mission' to get people in work, as it was the way to improve living standards.’

In a tough pledge set to feature in the Tory manifesto, Mr Sunak said that in future anyone on benefits for 12 months who did not comply with conditions set by their work coach would be stripped of handouts entirely.

'The situation as it is is economically unsustainable,' he said. 'We can't afford such a spiralling increase in the welfare bill.'

‘Mr Sunak said: 'For me, it is a fundamental duty of Government to make sure that hard work is always rewarded.

'I know, and you know, that you don't get anything in life without hard work.

'It's the only way to build a better life for ourselves and our family, and the only way to build a more prosperous country.'’

Rishi Sunak is the husband of Indian heiress, Akshata Narayana Murty (they are listed on the 2023 Sunday Times Rich Listas being the 275th richest people in Britain with a combined wealth of £529 million (US$645 million).

Whose ‘hard work’ got you both that Rishi?

‘... figures released revealed that the number of people considered 'economically inactive' after being placed on long term sickness benefits has jumped by a third since the start of the pandemic and now stands at a staggering 2.8million.

Around half are signed off with depression, anxiety and bad nerves.

Overall, 9.4million people aged between 16 and 64 are economically inactive - meaning they are neither in work nor looking for work.

Sunak also said, ‘the Government's 'overall approach is about saying that people with less severe mental health conditions should be expected to engage in the world of work'. ‘

To those who are thinking, it’s just the Tories justifying their position as the Party of the well off, and it will all change when Labour win the next election, we have news for you.

‘Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Liz Kendall has laid out their intentions;’ ‘Under a Labour government there would be ‘no option of a life on benefits”, the Party has said, as it set out plans to reduce the number of young people not in work, education or training.’

‘Under our changed Labour party, if you can work there will be no option of a life on benefits,’ she said in a speech to the centre-left Demos think-tank in London, where she sought to outline Labour’s commitment on “investing” in young people.

‘Not just because the British people believe rights should go hand in hand with responsibilities. But because being unemployed or lacking basic qualifications when you’re young can harm your job prospects and wages for the rest of your life.’ The Guardian, 4 March.’

The following is an edited version of Are the Workers Lazy? from the Socialist Standard, August 1975.

‘On July 24th The Sun published the first of 1400 letters it had invited and received on "who is to blame for our present economic crisis". The writer— "A. Worker” — subtracted pensioners, at-schools, servicemen, officials and prisoners from the population and reached his point: "Balance left to do the work, 900,000; people who won't work, 880,000."

Interestingly, the next day the headlines — including The Sun's — were all about unemployment going above a million. Would that have altered "A. Worker's: calculation, had he known? Not at all. One of the features of the nineteen-thirties' depression was frequent assertions by the powerful, and the conviction of the comfortable and ignorant, that the unemployed did not want work.

The answer to the assertion that the characteristic of the working class is to loll about all day is simply to look around. Tower-blocks rise swiftly, motorways spread across the country; the harvest is gathered and transformed into daily bread; post a letter today and it arrives a hundred miles away tomorrow— all done by inert, won't-raise-a-finger people is it? The fact is that capitalism nags everyone to work, from birth. It is the yardstick of school reports: "Works well", "Must work harder", "Steady worker", with "Lazy" the depth of disgrace.

"Work fascinates me. I can watch it for hours", said Jerome in Three Men in a Boat. But— and here is the point— the criticism of slothfulness is only of him who has a lot to do and cannot be seen at it all the time. Having the means to do nothing is another matter and leads (or did, until not long ago) to being called a "gentleman" and bowed— and scraped-to. Only the working class can be lazy; the rich twiddle their thumbs or doze in clubs, but that sis how they Carry All the Responsibility.

The aspect which is carefully concealed, in fact, is that the working class is condemned to work. Born into the capitalist system, the only way to get a living is to sell one's sole possession: labour-power. No wonder people think about work so much— without it, they may go hungry. "Plenty of work" is an allure, the prospect of work which goes on and on and has lots of hours. And what does the working class get for it? Wages, while the fat and the profits go to the owning class.

The "people who won't work" of The Sun's thick-skulled contributor are a myth. It is a tragedy that working people should believe in it. It provides them, of course, with a fear when Socialism is mentioned: what about "the lazy people", the mass of good-for-nothings who would sponge on others' honest efforts? The gullible worker who talks like this never sees that he is repeating what his masters say, and they mean him as well. This is, indeed, a curious habit among proprietors of saying they "built" or "made" or "provided" almost anything. They know, of course, that the workers did it, but the workers are of no account.

It can be said also that for most people work is what they can get, and devoid of the capacity to interest. Part of the definition of work, commonly, is that it is something dull or unpleasant: if (by rare good fortune) one does something agreeable or even enjoyable it is not reckoned to be truly work.

Oh yes, men and women work, lifelong. They have no choice: the non-workers are those who live by exploitation. Socialism will end that, and make work rewarding in every sense.’

No comments: