Op-Ed: A lengthy debate in the Commons Tuesday with Priti Patel at the helm for the Tories illustrated how the current government will stop at nothing to fulfil their own agenda.
A desire to cut £30 from ESA, employment support allowance, which is payable to some of the most vulnerable disabled people in the UK has to say it all about Tory priorities.
This was just one issue that has received hours of debate by some wealthy and some overpaid MPS but has been pushed through in spite of many protests.
Ms Patel who talked a good talk if you like hogwash was not convincing in her claims that such moves somehow help people with disabilities or certain health conditions get access to the labour market. That had a ring of "we believe you are not 100% fit but that you could work yet choose not to."
The government website has this to say about ESA, posted in January and ahead of any cuts;
If you’re ill or disabled, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) offers you:
However in order to successfully claim ESA you would undergo work capability assessments where the goalposts and assessor constantly change.
Those assessing your claim work for the latest government appointed profit-based company and to a strict criteria; though it is strict it does change.
One example is that DWP boss Iain Duncan Smith now thinks MS and Parkinson’s are curable. While both conditions may allow the person to work people vary. It will depend on the type of employment you are able to secure and how the degenerative condition is affecting you.
With any long term degenerative condition you also need an employer who is prepared to empathise and be flexible; there are not too many of those around in the UK in the 21st Century.
MPs took part in the debate and subsequent vote Tuesday as Tory plans were previously defeated in the Lords and sent back for reconsideration.
"MPs voted 306-279 to cut Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by £30 a week - ignoring peers and a Tory backbencher" says the Daily Mirror in a piece titled "Charities slam Tories for forcing through disability benefit cuts despite House of Lords defeat."
In theory the government only has a 12 seat majority in the Commons but the figures show that at least some MPs from other parties voted with the government on this one.
And not all Tory MPs agreed.
"Tory backbencher who declared: "This is my warning shot to government". Heidi Allen's speech made an 11th-hour plea for her own party to find "the compassion to look after the little man”. She added: "Today I will not support [the government]. Today I may abstain, but only for today."
Allen's plea was ignored as the government press on with an agenda to create more class, income, age and location division in the UK; a vision that helps the banking system and the fats cats turn the screw that little bit tighter and gives them financial assistance every step of the way while we the ordinary people of Britain are left to pick up the bill.
Patel is part of the Brexit campaign urging voters to vote to leave the UK and if there are two people in that campaign that should make you want to vote Bremain it is her and DWP boss Iain Duncan Smith.
Tuesday the Telegraph, a Tory supporting publication, wrote "Priti Patel, a Work and Pensions minister, will say that leaving the European Union will cut 'the cost of car insurance, especially for women' and the price of food." That report continues "She will tell a group of Bangladeshi female entrepreneurs: "If your household is anything like mine, it will be the woman of the house who keeps a close eye on the family finances. So I am all too aware of the effect the EU has had on our household budget. “The Common Agricultural Policy has inflated the price of food, whilst decisions by European Courts have increased the cost of car insurance, especially for women. “If being a politician has taught me anything, it is to look at how we can benefit society the most while using the limited resources available to me in the best way possible. As successful businesswomen you will know the importance of controlling costs."
That highlights Patel as clueless.
Currently many of those to the left of politics urging the UK to vote to stay in the EU claim that if we leave people like Patel and Duncan Smith will be free of restrictions that up to a point stay their hands.
But maybe the Tories are double dealing again and by gathering together some of the most hated Tory politicians under the leave the EU umbrella the stay in campaign will get a boost?
Consider the millions of pounds that will be thrown at EU referendum campaigns, DWP publicity and more each time there is a change and ask yourself do you really believe they work for us?
[This link is to a Guardian article that is subject to a legal complaint by Patel but well worth reading]