Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Following the rules

Woman deported from UK despite being married to Briton for 27 years

The non-EU workers who'll be deported for earning less than £35,000

Frail pensioner faces deportation after decade in UK to China where she knows no-one

Woman with no hands had her benefits stopped because she couldn't open a letter

DWP head denies sanctions and suicide link

Outrage at claims DWP 'Grinches' are refusing to process appeals before Christmas while pursuing sanctions

What do all these things have in common?  Yes, they are the result of Tory ideology, which prioritises self over collective responsibility, but you can no more blame Tories for that than you can blame a scorpion for stinging.  It's in their nature and we all know it.  However, that's not the thing I'm thinking of.  The thing that they have in common is that someone, somewhere was following the rules.  Not just following the rules, but prioritising the rules over common sense.

Now there can be various reasons for doing this.  A small number of people will do it because they dislike foreigners or benefit 'scroungers' or because they think that disabled people should be left to sink or swim.  Some will do it because they enjoy having power over other people.  The vast majority will do it, however, because those are the rules and not following them could result in losing their job.  This will be a fear especially affecting those working for the DWP, who will be well aware of the cruelties of the system that awaits them if they can't find another job.  So they will comfort themselves by telling themselves that they were 'only doing their job' or 'only following the rules'  What's become known as the 'Superior Orders' defence, and it has never worked out well, historically speaking.

Soon Scotland will be have an independent welfare system.  I would hope it will be far more humane than the current UK system.  We do not yet have control over immigration, and the signs are that the UK system will become a great deal more harsh in the near future.  Is this really the way that Scots want to go?

I think not.  The time has come for us to leave England to follow her path and to demonstrate that another way is possible.  Westminster will, of course, fight to prevent Scottish independence, and will use any means necessary to do it.  We have seen how harsh the current regime can be,  We need to be strong, gather our courage and vote for independence.  Yes, the initial years after independence will most likely be hard and require some sacrifices.  However, it will be worth it if we can end up with a country where people don't have to follow harsh rules with no leeway for common humanity.  It's an ambition we can all get behind.

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