The Peasants Are Revolting

Mark LittlewoodMark Littlewood, Director General for the Institute of Economic Affairs, a free market think tank, wrote an inflammatory article for the Mail on Sunday last week, urging the government to publish the names of every benefits claimant and exactly how much they each receive.

He would like a full list on a publicly accessible website for everyone to inspect, as ‘taxpayers have a right to know exactly who is claiming what and how much they are getting…this wouldn’t be ‘naming and shaming’…after all, if you are legally entitled to a particular benefit, what is there to be ashamed about?’

Sticking the knife in, he says that ‘anyone ashamed to claim money from the State maybe shouldn’t be claiming it.’ Mr Littlewood, I claim benefits and yes, I am ashamed to be in that position but what is my alternative to not claiming benefits? Most of them top up my minimum wage. I work, I study, I am bringing up a healthy and happy child but I am also living with a disability. Are you advocating bringing back dark, satanic mills and workhouses for the poor and needy?

Yet again, the most vulnerable and weakest members of society are being put in the village stocks and blamed entirely for this country’s financial woes. So let’s investigate a little further.

Mr Littlewood pleads, ‘I’m simply asking, on behalf of all those who pay for the welfare state, for a bit more information and transparency.’ Strange, that. The IEA is a registered charity. In 2011, Guardian journalist George Monbiot requested their sources of funding. The IEA declined to reveal these. Transparency? Furthermore, the American Friends of the IEA, whose sole purpose is to provide funds for the IEA, has received $215,000 from two secretive funds as of 2010.

Mr Littlewood attempts to fan the flames further by writing, ‘surely no one needs worry about violent retribution against claimants. The British are far too reasonable to start taking up pitchforks and burning torches and assaulting imagined benefits cheats.’

An interesting choice of words – I imagine that’s a scenario he would love to see transpire, which would at least deflect attention from the £89.5 million paid to MP’s in expenses a year, to top up their wages (is ‘expenses’ a posh word for benefits?) and the £1 trillion or so in bankers bailouts over the last five years. Benefit fraud is apparently £5 billion a year. Tax avoidance and evasion? £120 billion a year.

It’s much more fun to pin the blame on those with no voice though, isn’t it, Mr Littlewood?

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23 thoughts on “The Peasants Are Revolting

  1. James Pagram says:

    Another excellent and thought provoking blog. However, no real surprise to see rabid, reactionary articles in the Mail!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thanks James!
      Yup, the Daily Wail is at it again, lol. The voice of Middle England, eh?? We should be afraid.

  2. stevedomino says:

    a disgusting article but i’m heartened by the outrage in the comments – a particular favourite of mine is the one that references Germany in the 1930s.

    i think that’s the second time this blog has forced me to read an article in the Mail on Sunday – please try to avoid this in the future



    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hi Steve,
      Ha! It’s a terrible rag. Someone tweeted the link and of course I had to look into it further, lol. But! Important to keep up with the witch hunt it perpetrates against us.
      You’re right, it truly is a disgusting article. What’s more shocking is that he’s Director General of a think tank that Andrew Marr calls ‘the most influential think tank in Britain’. Scary.

  3. Daily Mail & Mail on Sunday, never in our household. They make Margaret Thatcher look left of center

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Not in my household either, but with Twitter, unavoidable! It’s not called the Daily Wail for nothing…

  4. Oooh, that man sounds vile. I imagine he’s your version of Rush Limbaugh, a horrid man who does lots of shouting on the radio/TV here about topics like the one you describe.

    On a lighter note, I kept reading the title of your post as the peasants are revolting. Revolting as in gross. I knew what you meant, of course. My excuse for being juvenile is, well, I’m juvenile AND I haven’t had enough coffee (but it made me snicker).

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hey, I’m juvenile too! The title was meant to be provocative. Those in favour of the Daily Mail will think, yes, we are revolting. The rest of us know that we won’t stand back and keep accepting these diabolical articles. Meh.
      Actually, I went to Poundland today. Does that make me a benefits scammer??

      • Oh how clever with the title! I should have known.

        Not sure about Poundland. But, yes, probably it means exactly that. (What is Poundland? I’m picturing a place where homeless dogs and cats wander around ’til someone adopts them. That can’t POSSIBLY be right.)

        • stumbling in flats says:

          Bless! Yes, we are revolting peasants, us benefits scroungers, lol. POUNDLAND!!!! Amazing shop. It’s not an animal shelter, but not a bad name for one?? It’s a delightful emporium where absolutely everything costs a pound. And you still get little old ladies going up and asking someone the price.
          Honestly, you can buy just about anything, although the stock depends on what is being offloaded cheaply. I went yesterday and bought a garden saw, a 7-pack of crisps, some conditioner and a jar of hotdogs. Not bad. And still got change from a fiver!
          We also have 99p shops, not to be outdone…

          • Nauseating, you are! POUNDLAND! I get it now. If you’d said EUROLAND I might have gotten it sooner. We have similar stores, called — get ready, it’s clever — the Dollar Store. Yep, you can pick up just about anything. (Hotdogs in a jar?! We don’t have that here, even in the Dollar Store.)

          • stumbling in flats says:

            Like, D’oh!!!
            The hot dogs are pretty cool. And you get all sorts of random pickles and stuff. Most enjoyable, as long as you don’t mind getting shoved by everyone else, lol.

          • hot dogs in a jar is so weird and looks wrong :p

            bought some little stuffed animals at poundland for the dog :p figure for a pound she can ruin them if she wants :p

            i think rush is worse then this guy…but not by much :p

          • stumbling in flats says:

            Must investigate this Rush guy further, he sounds charming!
            Hot dogs in a jar is kind of icky, but if you cut them up, they’re not bad in pasta and salads. Just about. Dog toys is a good idea. I also got a cake container as The Teenager lost mine.
            Must get out more…

  5. “Are you advocating bringing back dark, satanic mills and workhouses for the poor and needy?”

    short answer, yes :/

    no violence against benefit receivers? right now people who are found out to be getting benefits might not get assaulted, but that does not mean they dont get verbally assaulted or threatened. its not a huge leap to go to assaulting someone :/

    not everyone who claims benefits wants to, but when it comes to DLA it helps to live a sort of normal life. i see no reason to be ashamed of it, but its the general public that wants disabled people to feel ashamed :/

    stop reading the daily fail, its full of idiots ;p

    • stumbling in flats says:

      As someone said on Twitter this morning, the article is pretty much an incitement to violence. I find the language a man in his position used to be totally out of order and pitching two ‘sides’ against each other.
      I do try really, really hard not to read the junk that is the Mail, but after seeing a link to that article, I couldn’t help myself.
      To be fair, I asked a good friend, a life-long Mail reader, to read it and even she was stunned by the tone of the article!

      • it is very “them” against “us” :/

        • stumbling in flats says:

          It really is. And I’ve definitely noticed the tone change in the media over the last year. I’m getting worried.

          • Sally says:

            I have a friend in London who has to deal with Daily Wail regularly through her work with regards to retracting downright lies and apologies for inaccurate stories etc. she says it is the most depressing part of her job. They just don’t care whether stuff is true or not. I have been accused of looking at Mail ‘entertainment’ online. *ahem* Well I mean I need to make sure that Ms Katona isn’t pregnant again and I REALLY need to confirm that Kim Kardashian’s daughter’s middle names aren’t South and East. It’s usually when the legs have given up for the day and quite frankly I need to shout at something so computer screen is as good as anything. Husband has downloaded a program that blocks access to the site though. Instead a window appears with a photo of a cute kitten and a cup of tea. With the added message – wouldn’t you prefer to look at this.

          • stumbling in flats says:

            Hi Sally!
            I LOVE your comment!! The Wail is a truly heinous, appalling rag. Sadly though it is pretty influential, so we must keep an eye on the lies they spew and make sure we attack back!
            I mean, you must be familiar with the whole Samantha Brick litany of awful journalism? ‘Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful’, yada yada yada.
            They’re so totally anti-woman it’s scary, pitting us against each other.
            I used to be married to a journalist and he always said the Mail was fond of writing questions as article headers,and the answer was usually NO. Crass journalism. I.e. Will stuffing your ears with mushrooms prevent cancer? Or Is this the most deluded woman in Britain?
            Right, off out to buy The Times, The Guardian and The Mail (got to be done) to see what they all say about the spending review. Should be eye-opening.

  6. Sally says:

    I wouldn’t be so bothered about Sam Brick if they stopped posting pictures of her Village People lookie likie…..sorry…. REAL man husband.

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