Tag Archives: survival

After Universal Credit pushes women into survival sex, the Tories say ‘other work may be on offer’

Esther McVey MP: Other work may be on offer.

Esther McVey’s harsh verdict on women who were forced into sex work after the Tory government’s cruel Universal Credit left them struggling to survive should tell you everything you need to know about her.

The fact that she was parachuted into her current constituency – Tatton – after the people of Wirral West kicked her out in 2015 tells you everything you need to know about the Conservative government; Theresa May – and now Boris Johnson – considered her brand of heartlessness exactly what they wanted.

Words that she spoke as Work and Pensions secretary have come back to haunt her after they were included in a harrowing report detailing the lengths to which the Tories have forced people – mostly women – to go in order to feed themselves and find shelter.

I’m not going to go into the grisly details here. If you want to know, read the BBC’s report and/or the commentary in The Guardian.

The facts of what these women have had to do, after the Conservatives imposed a ‘benefit’ system that punishes people rather than helping them, is bad enough.

But the Tory response when confronted by these facts shows that they really are, as Aneurin Bevan described them, lower than vermin.

In its report on the scandal, the Commons Work and Pensions committee stated: “The former Secretary of State, Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, suggested that the Department’s Work Coaches (frontline Jobcentre staff) might tell ‘these ladies’ that there are ‘record’ numbers of job vacancies in the UK and ‘perhaps there are other jobs on offer’.”

It seems she does not consider such work to be as humiliating, demeaning and de-valuing as the rest of us. Speculate for yourself on whether her comments are borne of experience – although it seems far more likely that she was merely parading her own offensive ignorance.

It was after receiving this comment from Ms McVey that the committee launched a full inquiry into the scandal – and the official response from the Department for Work and Pensions was, again, abominable.

In a written submission described by the committee as “defensive, dismissive and trite”, the DWP described reports linking universal credit and survival sex as “anecdote” and said the benefits system could not be “robustly attributed as a sole cause” of the issue.

These Tory-employed civil servants were suggesting that women wanted to prostitute themselves, simply to survive.

Now, after being forced to face the evidence published by the committee, Department heads have reluctantly changed their tune – but only as far as saying there was a need for better understanding of the issue.

Where are the apologies – from both the DWP and Ms McVey? Do they not realise that their behaviour in this matter has been enormously offensive?

No. They don’t care. They won’t be looking for votes from Universal Credit claimants in any forthcoming election.

And after that? Perhaps there will be other jobs on offer.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.


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An hour of honesty at the Daily Mail

Image: Crowdwish.

Image: Crowdwish.

Have a good look at the picture above. If you click on it, you should get a larger version.

The sign it depicts was erected on the wall of the Daily Mail offices in London yesterday by an organisation calling itself Crowdwish (@crowdwish – “The most popular wish of the day actioned. Today, tomorrow and forever.”) and the tweet accompanying this picture stated: “For one – very satisfying – hour the sign below adorned The Daily Mail offices this afternoon.”

The blogpost accompanying the picture explained that it was in response to a wish that the media would focus more on the good things that happen in the world.

“The fact is that bad news sells; negative events cause spikes in TV ratings, sales of papers to rise and increases in traffic online,” the article continued – and this is fair comment; Vox Political‘s own highest reader figures have been generated by disasters like the passing of the Gagging Law.

The article explained: “Man’s (and women’s) most primeval survival skill is to stay out of harms way; to be alert to threats or danger, and our brains are therefore hardwired to be highly responsive to negative stimuli. Bad is stronger than good because bad is inherently more threatening.

“As a result the media cater very directly to that powerful physiological reaction, giving us more of that which we fixate on and respond to, resulting in a slant towards negative news.”

The article went on to quote a specific example: “a very comprehensive list of all things that the Daily Mail have claimed ‘may’ cause cancer. The list includes water, soup, wearing flip flops and switching on the bathroom light at night.

“It’s more hilarious than offensive but led us to want to have a cheap laugh at the Mail’s expense this afternoon, it being Friday and all.

“So we made a faux-marble sign that we thought displayed a more accurate depiction of the Mail’s true editorial values, and sent someone – dressed as a workman in hard had and Hi Vis vest – to fix it to the side of their building in Kensington.

“Amazingly, it was a full hour before somebody noticed and removed it.

“Yes, we know the Daily Mail is an obvious target, and no, we don’t think it was very grown-up.”

It must have felt good, though.

Anyone wishing to keep an eye on Crowdwish’s future activities – or who wants to make a request – can do so via the address above.

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