(Pictured above: Conservative Ian Duncan Smith, the architect of Britain’s welfare reform)
If you want a very good example of how destructive conservative economics can be, look no further than Great Britain and the huge economic revolution the Tory government has foisted upon its unsuspecting population. While prime minister David Cameron appears to be an emotionally attuned, relatively human politician, he is in fact embarking on one of the most vicious programs of social cleansing in modern British history. Not only this, but the conservative government’s radical welfare reform program appears to be literally killing people.
New government data shows that in London, tens of thousands of poor families have left the city over the past five years, a huge reduction and transformation of the city with historic working class neighborhoods. The data comes from the drastically reduced number of children entitled to free school meals – a widely used indicator of poverty in a given area. This data was corroborated by rising numbers of children entitled to free school meals in the outer suburbs of London. In simple terms, this means London is turning into a city of the super rich, while the poor are ghettoized in suburban neighborhoods, far from their work and disjointed from their families.
In another shocking revelation, new statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) this week showed that:
2,380 people died between December 2011 and February 2014within 14 days of being taken off employment and support allowance (ESA) because a work capability assessment (WCA) had concluded they were able to work.
The government is refuting the data stating that it cannot be used to associate claimant deaths with its welfare reforms, but the Labour Party and other charity groups have voiced serious concern, with Jeremy Corbyn, the most prominent candidate for the Labour Party leadership, stating that the Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith “Should resign because these figures are so frightening and so disgusting.”
Why anyone is surprised by statistics like this should be more worrying – they are the inevitable consequence of militant market capitalism and the ‘discipline’ of the free market. People’s lives can be ruined or even ended in the name of market efficiency, a bizarre and grotesque manifestation of blind allegiance to a make believe deity.
We are told that gentrification is inevitable, that poverty is inevitable, and that death is inevitable if we cannot survive the irrational whims of the free market. Who cares if you and your extended family have lived in a neighborhood for generations? There’s a real estate developer who wants to flip your building and sell off the apartments to rich bankers, so kindly fuck off and take your children with you. As to where they’ll go to school, how you’ll get to work and what you do to maintain links with everyone you’ve grown up with – that’s your problem. It’s the free market, and it knows best.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.