A petition urging Iain Duncan Smith to prove his smug comment that he could live on just £53 per week has become one of the fasted ever growing petitions. At the time of this blog it has seen over 300,000 signatures.
Such was the strength of feeling
against Iain Duncan Smith’s comments, the petition took off like a
rocket, and the signatures are still rising. I am not surprised.
On the ‘Today’ programme, prior
to the creation of the petition, Mr Duncan Smith was confronted by a
working benefit claimant who stated that since his benefits were cut, he
now has only £53 a week to live on.
John Humphries then asked the
minister the question we all wanted answered, ‘Could you live on £53 a
week? By the way, £53 pounds a week works out at about £7.50 each day.
Mr Duncan Smith quickly replied ‘if I had to, I would’. ‘Go on then’ I thought.
Evidently, I wasn’t the only one!
In their thousands people have
signed a petition challenging Mr Duncan Smith to put his money where his
mouth is, and do just that.
It is the fastest rising
petition on ‘Change.org’ to date, and when I proudly signed it yesterday
evening, 60,000 people had done it before me.
Do I think he’ll do it? No,
I don’t think he’ll have the guts. In fact, as I type this up, I have
just discovered that the man himself has dismissed the petition as ‘a
stunt!’ – He wishes! We are deadly serious actually. There is no ‘stunt’
I guess doing something like
that wouldn’t really teach him anything anyway. It’s a bit different
when you know you can go back to your millions at the end of it,
but I’d still like to see him try!
In case you are wondering, Mr
Duncan Smith earns £1,581.02 a week, which equals £225 a day after tax,
and his wife Betsy is from a multi millionaire aristocratic family.
I doubt Mr Duncan Smith, and
most other cabinet ministers, could even understand the concept of
budgeting with such small amounts of money, never mind the anxiety and
hardship caused by wondering how you will feed your family – and pay for
everything else as well.
If he did understand
he wouldn’t have said it, and he definitely wouldn’t expect anyone to do
it! It doesn’t take a maths genius to work that out. Despite what the
minister says it isn’t really possible – not without a great deal of
We know that food costs have
gone up, heating, petrol – the entire cost of living. In fact even on
the barest essentials, it is nigh on impossible. Where is the ability to
have any sort of life?
Now we come to what I think is the crux of the problem.
The idea that a bunch of
elitist, millionaire and multi millionaire ‘career politicians’ are
qualified to make decisions which affect ‘everyday’ people. It’s
I doubt many of them have any
idea what things actually cost because they’ve never had to worry about
it. After all, I read they get a £200 a week allowance for groceries
They live in an entirely different world, where reality, it seems to me, doesn’t gets a look in!
Why are we letting these people make decisions for us?
We need people in parliament who
have lived a ‘real’ life, and at least have some idea of what it’s like
to struggle, not people who think the poorest and most vulnerable in
society are lazy ‘scroungers’ who just need to work harder!
Despite what the government
says, the fact is that in an ever expanding number of cases people need
benefits to top up their income.
When wages are so low and
there aren’t enough jobs (even for those who are able to work) benefits
are a necessity, not a luxury – and definitely not a lifestyle choice.
Mr Duncan Smith’s words and the
‘scrounger’ rhetoric surrounding benefit claimants as a whole is
harmful, callous, cruel, and based on doctored figures.
Disabled people like me ‘work hard’ to get through the day against limitations and heartbreak no one can imagine.We need benefits to survive.
It’s not a choice, and it’s not a choice for those with jobs that still
need benefits to top up their income.
Working hard isn’t always
possible, and even when it is (as this case proves), it does not always
leave you with enough money to pay the bills.
Personally, I’d like to see Mr
Duncan Smith live on £53 a week for a year or more, although I know it’s
not realistic to think that he will.
He should be put in a situation
where relying on his money and privileges is simply not possible. I
think it is the only way he will truly understand the ridiculousness of
If one good thing has come out
of this situation over the last couple of days though, is that it has
woken up the anger of a growing number of people. People who have
finally come to realise that there is no ‘skiver’ vs ‘striver', only the
rich vs everyone else.
Campaigners have tried for well
over a year to make people realise how out of touch, unthinking and
cruel this government are to the most vulnerable in society.
What’s more it comes from Iain
Duncan Smith’s own words. If you ask me, he clearly has no clue! I am
hoping that comments such as his will prompt people to look deeper into
what’s really going on under their noses.
Thank you Mr Duncan Smith for motivating people and making them challenge you, when we struggled to do so.
Long may it continue!