My first piece for the Green Party. Written for the Young Greens in the wake of the People’s Assembly demo, and as a response to Labour’s policy proposal on young people’s benefits.
Ed Miliband’s announcement that he would cut unemployment benefits for 18 to 21’s is the latest proof that the Labour establishment, despite protestations to the contrary by some of their MPs and supporters, are pushing the same pro-austerity narrative as their opponents across the aisle in parliament.
Our government will often smear those opposed to slashing essential services by saying they are “economically irresponsible”, or don’t believe in fiscal prudence on behalf of the state. Few people actually advocate spending beyond one’s means in any context, so what the Conservatives or their partners won’t add is the fact – as those with the People’s Assembly in London yesterday demonstrated – this debate boils down infinitely more to how we spend taxpayers’ money rather than whether we do or not.
Osborne’s tax cut for the highest bracket, the coalition’s utter failure to crackdown on tax havens, their continued complicity in massive domestic and international subsidies for non-renewables, their push for British intervention in Syria, just to name a few things, all point towards an abject lack of priorities on the part of the political mainstream. But, rather than call it out as enthusiastically as they should, Labour is debasing themselves by jumping on the bash-the-poor bandwagon that leads to small-fry attacks on people as irrelevant to the crash as the unemployed young.
Since graduating from Reading last summer I’ve gone from temporary work at a local restaurant, to a journalism training course in London, to volunteering at my local British Heart Foundation store in Winchester. And, in-between each of these desperate attempts at finding a living, the already paltry allowance I receive has played a key role in allowing me any kind of normal life. Were it not for the kindness of my parents, who have helped me however they can by giving me a place to stay when I needed one … I don’t know how I would have got by.
I’ve lived on the edge, and rather than pull me back from the precipice Labour would push me further in to the poverty I and countless others have had to endure.