Thursday, 3 January 2013

Why are these people dying?

Lefties all over Britain are up in arms:

Mark and Helen Mullins were found lying side by side in their home after committing suicide together.They had been left destitute after Helen had her claim for benefit turned down,they had no food, no heating and no electric.

Richard Sanderson, of Southfields, south west London, committed suicide after receiving a letter from Wandsworth Council informing him his housing benefit would be cut by £30 a month.

Martin Rust, 36,a schizophrenic had his benefits cut and was ordered back to work.He left a note saying: “To those I love, I’m sorry. Goodbye.” Coroner William Armstrong said the DWP’s decision “caused distress and may well have had an adverse effect”, recording that Mr Rust had committed suicide while suffering from a treatment-resistant mental illness.

Craig Monk, 43, was found hanging in his home, he had a a partial amputation of his leg and was described by his family as “vulnerable” he became depressed that his benefits had been cut.

Colin Traynor, who was a life long epileptic. He was assessed as fit for work, he appealed, but his parents say he became depressed and lost weight , he died less than four months later,the day after his death his parents found out he had won That appeal.

OK, look, let's just back off from the typical lefty perspective that libertarians don't care for just a moment: these are all terrible, senseless deaths.

But I want lefties to look at themselves here: these people all felt like the only thing that was keeping them alive was the benevolent state.

Did they not have families who could rally round and help them? Did they have no friends? No neighbours?

Where were all the lefty do-gooders sticking their hands in their own pockets to help out these people in need?

Why would someone commit suicide over a £30 a month benefit cut? If one of my friends or family needed £30 a month to stay alive, as a callous, heartless libertarian, I wouldn't even think about it, it would just get done. And if it was £300 or £3000, I'd arrange some sort of whip around or do SOMETHING. Maybe we could have had someone sofa-surf or find them a room that was cheaper or SOMETHING. But all these people literally felt like the loss of money from the taxpayer's pocket was the end of the world. They had no support mechanism apart from the state, despite being known to be vulnerable in some way.

Why is that? What happened to the idea that as civilised people we should care for each other? Why is the lefty perspective that caring for other people means that those who work should be taxed more on aggregate so that the government can spend the money on pretty much everything but taking care of the needy?

Why is it that lefties are so quick to socialise the costs but make individual failures or cases into a requirement for more aggregate inefficiency?

But mostly: in all the cases above and in all the cases I didn't quote: why did these people feel that they had nowhere else to go but death? Why did they feel that they couldn't talk to friends, family or neighbours? Or the caring lefties that have set up an infinite number of "charities" and quangos and so on to to address these things?

(I know why they wouldn't talk to an evil Tory or a heartless libertarian - because they're painted as selfish and uncaring bastards.)

Given that the whole premise of "social democracy" is that we care for the needy and the vulnerable, does this mean that the slightest cut-back from an ever increasing "social" support means that people will kill themselves? What does that say about what our society has become?

And why is it that the same people who promote this kind of society describe people like me who care about individuals and think support should be individualised and localised are cruel and uncaring?


Aging Ophelia said...

I think you're dealing with cases, here, of people whose families were also poor, and perhaps played out from helping over and over. It's easy for those who do not have a chronic illness to ignore the financial side of it-- chronic illness makes you poor even if you start out okay. If you're already on the edge when you become ill, it will make you destitute-- even if your medical costs are paid.

Anonymous said...

What is the point of paying national insurance and income tax.

It is a two way street — I pay tax and demand representation National Health Service and Social Security.

Simple as that benefits are taxed as are wages so everyone gets, no exceptions none.

You argue that everyone has someone to look out for them is mute it doesn't standup to examination as you can see by the amount of homeless people in our major cities, but that is another argument.

You stated that if a supposed friend needed £30 pounds you would give them it. To someone like you it is little, but to unemployed people it is vast amount of money which cannot be easily repaid.

Conservative tax avoiding companies such as Starbucks might like to look to themselves and their morals and their Libertarianism in paying what is due rather than again attacking the weaker in society something which is happening far to often.

Finally stop pretending that you give a damn about anyone but yourselves I would of had more respect for you if you where more honest.

Libertarianism is your shorthand for soft soaping everyone you are liar and purveyor of half truths and most people see through your lies like crystal go peddle your lies some where else.

llareggub said...

Sad sad deaths.

But to put it in context, I earn £20K and overall I'm taxed about 60% on my earnings, housing costs are another 25%. So I get to enjoy about 15% of my hard crappy days labour. I get no benefits.

Let's put the Wandsworth example to the test. The average council tax benefit is around £500pa, if his housing benefit was cut - well he's living in SW London and it's limited to £15kpa. They get free healthcare but he is incapable of working. He may have got all sorts of benefit on top of that.

The bit which actually annoys me is that I work about 10 hours a day,to keep about 35% of my labour.

The bloke didn't work at all, and enjoyed 65% of my labour.

If I was an unemployed loser I would technically be better off.

Anonymous said...

Thinking back over my almost 40 year career in Engineering, I remember, with great respect, some of the many highly skilled and hard-working folk I have worked with, and for. Out in the workplace, large as life, and forever busy, they include one amputee, one confined to a wheelchair, three who were partially sighted having lost an eye, one who was profoundly deaf, two whose manual dexterity was excellent despite their loss of fingers, one who was epileptic, one with severe inflammatory bowel disease, and several with chronic asthma/bronchitis. It didn't keep them out of the workplace, and most of them were passed fit to drive themselves to and from work (except the epileptic).
But what I remember most acutely, was how expert, how indispensable they were, and how the savoured that, revelled in it. Their modest portion of glory.
You want people to find happiness? Give them a role, a part to play, a circle of colleagues, and something that they can do to help some other poor distracted bugger.


JuliaM said...

anon: "Conservative tax avoiding companies such as Starbucks might like to look to themselves and their morals and their Libertarianism in paying what is due rather than again attacking the weaker in society something which is happening far to often."

I do love the new definition of 'attacking the weaker in society' which means 'objecting to working all the hours God sends to provide them with a better lifestyle than your own'...

@shoottheducks said...

If you object to Starbucks not paying more corporation tax, just buy shares and give 40% of the dividends to the government. It amounts to the same thing.

On the specific point, this idea of suicide as an inevitable consequence of benefit changes is something quite recent and so every suicide is going to be exploited to make a political point usually that those cruel ATOS people shouldn't be assessing anyone at all because some vulnerable people kill themselves after reassessment. The obvious danger here is that this feeds the idea that suicide is somehow the thing to do to advance the cause, and may well be a factor in persauding people to take that action. It would be simplistic to suggest it's a primary causal factor, but it's certainly leading to an expectation that it's a possible and perhaps noble outcome ("my death may save someone else from the same fate").

And why is it needed? Because in the minds of the activists, this is being played out as good versus evil. The "evil" of the Tories MUST necessarily end in death. This is not for them an argument about whether screening to determine whether anyone can be moved from one benefit to another is justified and how it should be done, it is a life and death struggle to stop the "evil Tories" killing disabled people.

I saw last night on twitter a claim that someone being asked to make a phone call was "abuse" on the basis of the "stress" it caused. Honestly, if people are at that level of anguish, suggesting that suicide is an expected outcome is somewhere beyond irresponsible.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

"Finally stop pretending that you give a damn about anyone but yourselves I would of had more respect for you if you where more honest.

Libertarianism is your shorthand for soft soaping everyone you are liar and purveyor of half truths and most people see through your lies like crystal go peddle your lies some where else."

Right. Thanks for your valuable contribution about MY ethics while you sanction extortion and war.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Heavy Hedonist, if that's the case, what about all the charities and quangos that ALSO feed off our taxes to handle this kind of thing? It's quite clear that if this kind of thing happens then despite us being taxed to buggery, the system isn't fit for purpose.

Anonymous said...

Hmm this is the very first time I have ever commented on anything like this.......I am personally very close to being in one or more of the situations quoted above, im ill with no prospect of recovery, 'my sort' are constantly being villified in the popular press as being a 'scrounger' I have no family and very very few friends, I have no debts, dont drink dont smoke dont go out, I dont have a flat screen tv etc, my food budget is £5 per week, im gradually getting weaker from lack of good nurritious food, all I have is the benefit from the government, and thats being squeezed and of course as prices rise less money is available, I have noone else to rely on, I might as well be dead.

Peter Risdon said...

If you're going to weigh corpses, you need to include the suicides who were bankrupted by the tax authorities. I believe 10,000 bankruptcies a year just from unpaid council tax.

You also need to compare with the pre-coalition suicide rate among the unemployed and benefit-claiming. One reason for chronic unemployment is mental illness.

Gun Criminal said...

"benefits are taxed as are wages"

Not the sharpest tool in the box, are you?

"paying what is due"

Defined how?

"go peddle your lies some where else"'s his blog. He can peddle whaterver he likes on it.

Will Chambers said...

This is an interesting argument. If the moral decline in society you hint at really does exist (outside these specific issues, which i'm skeptical about), I'm not sure if it is state support that has caused it.

I mean sure some people may have the view that the state are taking responsibility for care so they don't have to (which I think the article implies). But would people really be caring enough to take some responsibility for these vulnerable individuals' wellbeing without the state?

If not what would have been different without this state or charity help? Would more individuals step forward to help?

Another aside issue I'm curious about is what it is about the individualised care you refer to that would be superior?

Yankee Stays Home said...

"peddle your lies somewhere else?" It's his own blog - this IS the somewhere else. What you really mean is "shut up." CTRYKWBTFUATW.

Cingoldby said...

Considering how many millions of people are on benefits there are inevitably going to be many cases of people killing themselves, regardless of if the State is being 'mean' or not.

These sad cases prove nothing except that leftists love to indulge in moral blackmail.

geordiebore said...

If people are getting to that stage where what the government were providing, is the only thing that is stopping them from committing suicide, I think there is a wider issue above and beyond benefits being withdrawn. At what point should the state stop supporting people? They cant and should not support everyone for everything. What did these people do before Labour helped the welfare budget explode? It wasn't the governments fault way back then, so why should it be the case now?

Longrider said...

Libertarianism is your shorthand for soft soaping everyone you are liar and purveyor of half truths and most people see through your lies like crystal go peddle your lies some where else.

What, like his own blog, you mean?

Obo, you are attracting the cretins again...

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Anonymous: "im gradually getting weaker from lack of good nurritious food"

I can believe that.

If you want to email me details, I'd like to know more.

obnoxio [at] hotmail [dot] com

sam said...

These deaths are not due to a simple 'they cut my benefits so I must top meself' reaction.

I'd bet that in all cases they are the last straw/tip of the iceberg of a whole slew of problems - each created or made much worse BY THE STATE.

Once the welfare state gets its claws into you, you're on a very slippery slope. People who work in such services are mostly normal, decent people...until they get behind their desks. They turn into sociopathic service-user haters, bereft of all compassion and notions of 'equality, respect, anti this that the other...'

Anyone who's been on benefits will tell you that the whole monstrous state machine ranges against you.

You may be in pain, you may be a victim of anti social behaviour, your dearly loved dad maybe dying, your roof may be caving in, your boiler may have packed up, your arthritis becomes unbearably painful as your diet deteriorates die to lack of money, you may have just had your bank account hacked into and soaked, the tax man's chasing you even though you owe nothing, the TV licensing thugs have just sent round the 4th collector who demands to search your house even though you don't have a tv, ATOS have just told you work-or-else!

... and your neighbours are complaining about the state of your garden because you can't get out there due to the pain you're in, your family and friends get compassion fatigue because they are tired of your illness, tired of the endless fob offs you keep telling them about, sick to death of suggesting how to deal with all the shit that is, in any reasonable person's book, simply overwhelming

....on top of which you'll certainly get endless runarounds from all the public services and other 'support' agencies that are apparently set up to help - but in fact are just there to profit from your misery, send glowing tick box returns to Whitehall, and keep others like you in jobs.

Oh, and you are demoted to the status of non-human being (variously known as 'a scrounger', 'malingerer', 'no-hoper', 'waster', ‘victim’ etc). You have no Human Rights or dignity once your public services and your community services etc dump you in this position. Forget 'empowerment', forget hope, forget respect, forget that you ever had a decent human existence. Arbeit macht frei! Vork or starve. You vill be severely punished if you cannot vork!

That's a reasonable picture of life on benefits.

Then you get the letter that says 'Fuck off you pathetic worm, we're lopping £20 a week off your benefit. Hahahaha!'

You begin stockpiling cheap aspirin and paracetomol from Lidl. And wistfully cast your eyes over all the examples of great work you did and got paid well for when you were a real human being, before the arthritis got so bad, or the bastard doctor wrote you off because of the MS due to their being no specialist treatment and support in your area, before you had what you thought was a simple concussion in that car accident which turned out to be a nightmare of rumbling blood clots on the brain....etc etc.

Then one day you wake up and, thoroughly crushed at every turn by a system that HATES you for no reason you can see, and does all it can to make your life even more of a hell... and you decide to go back to sleep forever, so glad to get out of a world that is deeply dysfunctional and full of hateful sadists whose self-appointed role in life is to make you know, REALLY KNOW, that you're worthless.

Coroners never tell this side of the story though.

It's always 'balance of his mind was disturbed', ‘benefits cut may have had an influence’ etc etc.

That's called 'blame the victim' and the UK just loves to blame victims, especially if they have the audacity to expect a bit of help from the system they slogged hard to pay into when they could.

Does this explain a bit more?

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I find this post overly simplistic. These are horrible events. Trying to pretend that somehow "lefties" should personally be doing something about it is absurd. Maybe many do. It's a big problem though and a few individuals doing nice things is unlikely to solve it. I do think that maybe you were making an interesting point in your second to last paragraph and it is similar to where I think the problem lies. All the discussion about libertarianism, socialism, right-wing, left-wing generally misses the point that we are (Europe and the US) largely social democracies (whether we like to admit it or not) and the real debate should be about what this means. What should we as a society be doing to develop our economies, to provide healthcare, to provide schools, etc and how should we be helping those who are, for whatever reason, unable to support themselves. If we could have an honest debate about this we may start to solve some of these problems (or at least come close).

Anonymous said...

What an ignorant and idiotic analysis