Video: Those responsible for this #ConsciousCruelty must face prison

Depending where you get your news, it’s possible you’re not aware that Iceland jailed a significant number of its bankers for their misdeeds leading up to the financial crash and the damage they did to that country. It was reported in the UK, in the Independent, Huffington Post, even a mention on the BBC News website – but remained low-key in the televised news.

In this country, we ask bankers to look a bit sorry before returning to huge bonuses rather than jailing them, so Iceland’s actions didn’t fit the preferred Establishment narrative.

But Iceland proved it’s not unthinkable to make the rich and powerful accountable for their actions – nor even to imprison them.

You could almost argue that the bankers were probably reckless rather than intentionally causing the damage they did – that they didn’t care, or hoped the worst wouldn’t happen. But in this country, damage is being done that those responsible are fully aware of. They’ve been warned, over and over again, and they continue to be told.

Just last week, for example, the Labour Party’s motion to pause Universal Credit led to a lengthy debate in Parliament, before the government’s ‘whipped’, cowardly disappearance when it came to the vote led to a 299-0 drubbing for the Tories.

In that debate, Labour and other MPs laid out in unambiguous terms the dire consequences Universal Credit (UC) is having on vulnerable people – and that’s on top of the damage already done by the government’s earlier cuts and changes to social security.

The words ‘suffer‘ and ‘suffering‘ appear twenty-three times in that debate. ‘Cruel‘ and ‘cruelty‘ eight times. Ministers were told over and over of the fear, anxiety and stress it causes.

There is no excuse on the part of those responsible for any ignorance of the consequences of their actions.

Likewise, the government’s changes to PIP (Personal Independence Payments) and other disability benefits have been widely shown to be a horror for those on the receiving end. The government’s decision to remove Motability vehicle allowances from over 50,000 disabled people (and counting) who can walk twenty metres – less than the length of a cricket pitch – has forced many into what amounts to house arrest, imprisoned in their own homes.

The harm and suffering caused by that decision has also been the subject of parliamentary debate, both in the Commons and in the Lords.

There is no excuse on the part of those responsible for ignorance of the consequences of their decisions.

But it often takes something – some event, some revelation – to crystallise the reality of a situation in the minds of the public at large enough that the public starts to realise its awfulness and becomes outraged enough to demand accountability from those responsible.

Could this video released by BBC South-East of a disabled woman be that catalyst?

Deborah Brown had her support reduced because a paid assessor decided she could walk twenty metres – less than the length of a cricket pitch. Losing the higher rate will also mean she will lose her mobility allowance, according to disability campaigners.

At least 40% of such decisions have been overturned on appeal ever since the system was introduced – rising to over half by last year – but even those cause weeks and months of suffering and fear.

And you only need to see her to realise that the system is rank with the ‘conscious cruelty’ that film director Ken Loach described a few weeks ago:

The sad truth is that after seven years of such conscious cruelty, Deborah’s case is unlikely to be the straw that broke the camel-back of Tory predations on our most vulnerable people.

But something has to.

When it does, when the country finally ejects the Tories, mere electoral defeat will not be enough to prevent their eventual successors repeating their malfeasance. Skipping off to some highly-paid directors’ position funded by grateful corporations for favours received must not be an option for those who have condemned the poor and disabled of this country to years of horror – and in many cases, death.

We need to follow Iceland’s example and make sure that there are consequences for those responsible – consequences severe enough to give pause to those who might follow in their footsteps in future.

After all, what is happening to our people is not accidental, nor even the adverse result of a gamble gone wrong. It is conscious cruelty, inflicted in the full knowledge of its consequence – flagged again and again to those doing it – and done anyway.

We jail people for cruelty and neglect toward animals. If Iceland can jail its bankers, we can jail those who have been consciously, callously, dishonestly cruel to so many for so long – and send a message to those who might do so in future.

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  1. Oh, yes. Like Margaret Thatcher did over Orgreave? I’m not holding my breath. Nice idea, though.

  2. Its time you got faces and names of the victims of the Tory’s great lie of the 21st century that is austerity give these thousands of names and faces out there so they are not just a statistic may they Rest in Peace

    1. If enough people get angry enough to sign a petition for, say, a wall of remembrance for the victims outside Westminster – right in their faces?

      1. This is a brilliant idea. It should be protected and cared for like war memorials. Let future generations say ‘Never again’.

  3. The suffering and humiliations being inflicted on so many in British society is unacceptable, unnecessary and certainly exposes the hypocrisy of western so called leaders of the free worlds values that continually lecture and even force the extreme neoliberal doctrine on other countries via financial (IMF, World Bank), coercive and even military means.

    “There is no excuse on the part of those responsible for ignorance of the consequences of their decisions.”

    The problem with the neoliberal ideology that became the political consensus with Thatcher and then Blair/New Labour is that it has penetrated (or infested) all ‘main stream’ economic and political thinking and teaching and also main stream journalism. Many economists, journalists and politicians are ignorant of alternatives and even that there are alternatives because of the academic consensus which wiped most economic history from the curriculum… “there is no alternative”.
    Main stream economics and banking sees the FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) sector as productive and adding to GDP when in truth it is extracting from the real productive economy.
    Misleading dogma such as government is like a household and must run a surplus have become pernicious ‘truths’ that government today still peddles as does the main stream media.
    Here’s a 5 min Renegade Short with Prof Steve Keen debunking this narrative.

    For those interested in history and how we got to where we are today this long article by Prof. Michael Hudson is enlightening.
    “Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 compared to 1917”

    1. Thanks for posting this Vid, Maria – it’s the first time I’ve actually understood just how it all should be working – but obviously isn’t!
      Everyone needs to see this vid!

      1. It’s a great one isn’t it, short and to the point. Renegade Inc. do great shows and reports, well worth following.

        Here is this weeks show, a discussion with Prof. Michael Hudson, which is also illuminating on the bigger picture of how economic language has been turned on its head. Focus is US but same applies in UK and EU.

      2. Yes, I realised this would be a great source on interesting news and views, so Followed it immediately, thanks 🙂
        Anything that will help us understand what’s really going on is a real boon!

      3. Katythenightowl, I cannot reply to your last comment (or like comments) and wanted to share this discussion from a couple of years ago, which helped me understand the neoliberal era when I was still floundering around trying to make sense of what has been going on politically and economically. The discussion may not chime with everyone but I found it very revealing.
        Chris Hedges and John Ralston Saul (former president of Pen International, author and political thinker)

  4. About time the CPS, Courts Solicitors and Barristers woke up to this wanton abuse and do something about it as turning a blind eye is not an excuse and makes justice just as bad

  5. Those in responsible positions in Rotherham during the CSE scandal are not to be held accountable for their actions (or lack of action). What is wrong with a system that fails to punish those in powerful positions?

  6. They won’t though as that was the point of outsourcing. The Tories are safe because a private company acted cruelly and trying to sue them will be a nightmare. Bastards!!!!!

    “OR ELSE”!

  8. First into the dock at the Welfare Reform Assizes should be it’s architect Iain Duncan Smith, his enforcer Baron “Lord Fraud” Freud and cheerleader Chris “Failing” Grayling.

    With no security screen.

    1. Along with fester mcvile & maria ‘disabled killer’ miller…Plus that DWP civil servant what retired on a mahoosive bunce the other day…Robert someone?

  9. One has to ask oneself – at what point do the people who enter Politics become Politicians and STOP being people? Do they regain their humanity on being kicked out? Or is it a case of once cooked reheating is not safe?

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