Once again, I take a little break. It’s Guest Spot Time and I hand you over to [*rolls drums*] The Blocked Dwarf…..
I don’t read any newspaper. I especially don’t read our local rag , the “Eastern Daily Press”, which is for those Norfolkers who dream of things they can buy @ Laura Ashley and John Lewis. However the other day I saw a headline, online, that interested me: “Landlords to refuse tenants applying for Universal Credit”. (hereafter “UC”) One of the comments on the piece mentioned that Universal Credit is due to be rolled out in our area this year. And that worries me.
For those fortunate enough not to live in the yUKk.gove I should explain: ‘Universal Credit’ is the scrapping of most state ‘benefits’ or rather the lumping them all together in one single, somewhat less, capped ‘Universal Credit’ payment. It is the ‘brain child’ of former Tory leader Irritable Duncan Syndrome or Iain ‘The Quiet Man’ Duncan Smith (IDS).
As some of you may have gathered, I care for my mentally ill (Ok, ‘raving mad’) wife, aka “The Bestes Frau In The Whole Widest World. A large chunk, although perhaps surprisingly not the largest chunk, of our monthly income is from Income Support. Again for the non-Brits; Income Support is the ‘Welfare’ payment what our government generously doles out to us of the Deserving Poor. It is also one of the benefits which will assimilated into the all new Borgy UC.
So why am I worried?
Not because we may get slightly less money a month. That surprised you, didn’t it? I learnt long ago that a few £s the more or the less a month actually makes very little difference to how we live. Worst case we won’t be able to afford a foreign holiday some years. (when I say ‘foreign holiday’ I do mean ‘on the cheap’, staying with friends or cheap hotels etc).
The reason I am worried is this:
Back in ‘03 Gertrude The Shredder ,the socialist (remember that, it’s important later) Chancellor of Germany, assisted by his Minister for Money Hans Penis Glans (‘eichel’ is the German for it, he also started the whole G20 thing), having , unusually for any politician anywhere, actually listened to the Rune Readers of Wallstrasse and the Haruspices examining the soft social security underbelly of German society started to introduce UC to Germany. Oh sorry, did you think it was really something Irritable Duncan had come with up all by himself? *snork* IDS has many qualities but Original Thought isn’t one of them.
By 2005 it was up and running. Yeah you read that right, in less than 2 years the snappily named ‘Agenda 2010’ cleared all the parliamentary hurdles and was in place. I hate to pander to ethnic stereotypes but in this case the ancient wisdom “You want something done, give it to a German” really does apply.
To say the German UC was ‘unpopular’ is akin to saying ‘Thatcher’s Poll Tax caused some vexation’ or ‘Not all Americans love The Donald’. It was and still is hated, hated with a passion that I didn’t think Germans went in for. Not only did Gerd The Shredder cause the Corbynites of his own party to schism but it almost certainly cost him his job and made the German socialists unelectable right up to the present day.
Infact the current Socialist hopeful for the upcoming German General Election, Martin “Ich <3 EU ‘ Schulz, has boosted his poll rating mightily by suggesting some ‘revision’ be made to UC. Angie The Piglet (‘Ferkel’ is ‘piglet’ in German),The Wolfman Showerball and their parties, the CDU and the CSU, disagree or as the Bavarian Finance Minister (CSU) SoDuh said “It’s weird, that I as a conservative am defending the actions of a socialist chancellor against a socialist chancellor candidate!” (it’s quite witty in the original German, believe it or not). Angie & Co believe,and a lot of commentators seem to accept, that UC is in large part responsible for putting Germany at the top of the EU heap. Despite the downsides of widening social inequality and even poverty. I admit i was shocked when i discovered, a couple of years ago, that there were Food Banks in Germany now and the Unemployed can be forced to work for pennies (I’m talking a ‘euro a day’ level.).
So if it’s not the ‘less money’ thing that worries me, is it the thought (a thought which I expect IDS to come up with very soon) I might be forced to pick up litter for a pound a day? Nope. Been there, done that and suffering from analness as I do , I enjoy ‘This is a two sets of Marigolds problem’ (to quote the OCD vampire character from ‘Being Human’.)
What worries me, and the reason for the somewhat longer-than-intended “Idiot’s Guide To Recent German History” is that UC is being introduced by Brits. Genetically we may be predisposed to ‘muddle through’ but first there has to be a muddle to get through!
What nationality is God? Perhaps French, if we look at the beauty of life and his creation? Maybe German, because of the structure and order of creation, then before The Creation the Bible tells us all was ‘chaos’….and there is only one race that can create dark voiding Chaos on a universal scale: The British.
We Brits suck at Bureaucracy . Which is surprising as we now have Brusselite levels of bureaucracy in this country, more red tapes than Billy Bragg. But the yUKk Government couldn’t organise an orgy in a brothel.
We recently had 4 weeks without any money simply because the DWP hadn’t updated our details. We moved 4 years ago, they had been paying us at our new address for the past 4 years but they only had our address from 4 years ago on file and had wondered why we never replied to letters. Or on another famous occasion, at our former address, we were told that according to their records our house didn’t exist. A house that has stood there since 1905.
That kind of thing simply doesn’t happen in Germany. British mothers hope their kids will “get an ‘ology ‘ ”, German Mutters hope their kids, if they aren’t bright enough for Med School, will become accredited civil servants. Those accredited, Sworn In, exquisitely trained, compulsive pencil sharpening German civil servants, with their battle cry of ‘From the Cradle to the Grave, F O R M S!’ are the reason why the switch over to UC just ‘worked’, worked overnight, in Germany.
You can’t expect someone whose organisational talents stem from a year’s YTS on the Meat Counter at Tesco to cope with such complex concepts as ‘Names’ and ‘National Insurance Numbers’.. And there’ll be an all new IT system to be left on a train somewhere near you soon.
If you’re on UK Benefits: Be afraid, be very Afraid. The Numpty Apocalypse approaches….but slowly.