UKIP: disability benefit claimants are “parasitic underclass of scroungers” – Political Scrapbook


UKIP members’ hopes of putting clear blue water between their party’s policies and those of the Conservatives were dealt a blow last week when Nigel Farage told the BBC Question Time audience he “never has” criticised people with disabilities.

His comment encouraged the good folk at Political Scrapbook to look in their copies of old UKIP manifestos – and what did they find in a policy document which was mysteriously deleted from the UKIP website last year?

Over to the Scrapbook: “The party claimed that 75% of incapacity benefit claimants ‘are fit and healthy’, dubbing them ‘a parasitic underclass of scroungers’ and handing them a £1,300 cut in state aid:

“The welfare state has also created a brazen culture of benefit “scrounging”, whereby individuals who are perfectly capable of working refuse to do so, and go on benefits instead. They frequently justify this by feigning illness.

“This gives rise to a parasitic underclass of “scroungers”, which represents both an unreasonable tax burden on the working population

What is that if not an attack?

Now, it might seem perfectly legitimate for UKIP assembled to rise up and complain that this is no longer party policy, which might be fair enough, but for the Right’s apparent inability to stick to its promises.

Remember when David Cameron promised “no top-down reorganisations of the NHS”? Remember when he promised not to raise the rate of VAT? Remember any number of other promises, up to and including the promise to make offshore tax evasion a criminal offence? All broken.

Remember the many claims that UKIP is not racist? That its members are not homophobic? That it is the party of the people? How many examples do you need, before you believe the opposite has been proved?

It seems right-wing parties like UKIP (and UKIP is a right-wing party, no matter what its advocates may try to dupe you into believing) are adept at saying whatever gets them into a position of power and then doing the exact opposite.

There is no reason to believe this case is any different.

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  1. Chris Blackmore (The Walrus) December 15, 2014 at 6:13 am - Reply

    UKIP and the Tories are two ends of the same t**d.

  2. garside38 December 15, 2014 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Why do people fear anything on the right in politics. It’s time for a change of direction in the way the country is being run. There is still time to put things right if people wake up and vote instead of being apathetic and leaving it to so few.

    • Mike Sivier December 15, 2014 at 11:34 am - Reply

      People fear right-wing politics because it is always about taking from those with the least and giving to those with the most, and about telling people what to do instead of making it possible for them to make their own choices.
      It is time for a change of direction but even further to the right is not the way.

      • Tony Dean December 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm - Reply

        Quite. I really hope no canvassers from the Tories or UKIP knock my door in the run up to the general election.
        Because quite frankly I won’t be responsible for my actions.

  3. aturtle05 December 16, 2014 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    The UKIP are just, as Russell Brand so eloquently put it on Question Time, a bunch of Poundshop Enoch Powell’s

    As Chris Blackwell said above, “UKIP and the Tories are two ends of the same t**d.” but I’d add that it’s horse-shoe shaped and Labour are in the middle bit.

    We have no choice, Snobs to the left of us, snobs to the right and no hope left in sight!

    • Mike Sivier December 16, 2014 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      I disagree with your opinion of Labour, of course. Look at the policies; the differences are bigger than you might think.

      • Worms December 17, 2014 at 10:36 am - Reply

        Please look up neoliberal economics, Mike, and revise that statement. It was grossly offensive.

        • Mike Sivier December 17, 2014 at 11:18 am - Reply

          No revision necessary.

  4. TheMightyRedBaron December 17, 2014 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    Look, buddy. I’m no ukip supporter but that manifesto you’ve brought up didn’t attack people with disabilities. It attacked hypothetical people who claim to be disabled in order to claim DLA/PIP/ESA but are in fact not disabled at all.

    So as much as I hate to say this is in no way evidence of Farage or his party attacking disabled people.

    • Mike Sivier December 17, 2014 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      But UKIP was saying that the “parasitic underclass” of fit people claiming such benefits was a much higher proportion of claimants than is actually the case. If we take that 75 per cent figure, the number claimed by UKIP was 107 times higher than it actually is – so people with real disabilities would have been attacked by the UKIP policy.

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