That Newsnight interview

While we’re all justifiably angry about the way this single parent was mistreated on Newsnight please also think about the language she is quoted as using to complain about this, & the prejudices she is expressing  (which are themselves proliferated by a media serving ruling class interests & not ours)

* I’ve worked in retail for years up until now so never qualified for a mortgage and wasn’t handed a cushy council flat.

Who is?  Council waiting lists are enormous & only the desperately needy are given social housing. Is she suggesting, as the tabloids insist, that some people jump the queue? (favourite targets for media demonisation – single parents, as well as immigrants & those with large families)

* The council offered to pay my deposit if I found my own accommodation this was part of a scheme they had at the time.

In other words, a scheme for councils to increase the profits of private landlords instead of providing the housing themselves.  Again, what is wrong with social housing?  A few decades ago, millions lived in council houses, & didn’t think less of themselves for it.

* being a working mum is something I’m proud of… Its not been all plain sailing.

Good for her, but there’s nothing inherently moral in struggling to bring up children on low pay.  Time we ditched the protestant work ethic, forced all employers to pay a living wage for those who do work, & gave parents the time & the wherewithal to raise our future citizens in a decent manner.

Being a parent, especially a single parent, is just as much real work as the kind you get paid for.

* I was interviewed for the BBC and when it was aired it was edited to make me seem like a jobless sponger !

Another media myth. In a country with over 2,500,000 people officially unemployed, chasing less than a fifth of that number of job vacancies, why are people still using this kind of language?  The jobless aren’t spongers, unemployment is an essential part of the capitalist economy, providing a pool of cheap & desperate workers.  This is only set to get worse as austerity bites & workfare substitutes forced unpaid labour for real jobs.

* I am a taxpayer! Come to think of it, I dont claim Housing Benefit as much as I pay in tax !!

Yet another myth you hear all the time.  We’re all taxpayers!  In fact over the years, the tax burden has been shifted from the best off to the poorest, as income tax has been slashed & VAT & National Insurance have soared.

By all means support this woman’s complaint against the aggressive, accusatory & negative manner in which she was interviewed. But do it for the right reasons, not because being she was treated as being part of the ‘undeserving poor’.

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About Brighton Benefits Campaign

Fighting the assault on welfare since 2010
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