The blame game . . .

They say confession is good for the soul. That admitting your responsibility frees the inner guilt and allows you to move on; but what if you are not guilty but still get the blame?

History is littered with examples; The Birmingham Six, The Guildford Four, all manner of people locked up for things they didn’t do but who were punished for it just the same. Sometimes the error is admitted, and the sentence squashed, but how do you undo the years of imprisonment, the beatings in prison and the price paid by family and loved ones outside? No money can compensate for that, surely?

Whole people’s are sometimes used as scapegoats; jews in pre-war Germany (and in case we get too sanctimonious in Britain, at various times through British history too!); nowadays, it appears to be the entire Muslim faith that are considered terrorists in the making. Ignorance rules, and a Sikh gets beaten up for being a Muslim because some dick-head doesn’t know the difference.

What, though, if you are being punished for something; that everyone accepts is not your fault, but still you get punished. No one disputes that you are innocent; they even know who is guilty, but they are not only allowed to escape any punishment, they are positively rewarded instead! Outrageous, you say.

No. Let me explain.

The UK, like much of Western capitalism (US, bigger European nations – the usual suspects) is in a financial mess caused by speculative gambles and excessive greed by a few, and I mean a few – very few! As a consequence, a new government has decided that the only recourse is to cut back on everything – only it isn’t “everything” – is it. Salaries and bonuses for a few are still the same, even better for some. Instead, this government decides that the sick, the disabled, etc., will have to do with less help.

For my sins, which are undoubtedly many, I work in Local Government. I have worked in frontline support for some of the most deprived and vulnerable for something like 20 years, 12 of these with a Council in Wales. I used to manage a Welfare Rights Team, but the ruling party of this Council decided to shut it down. Then I was put in charge of a scheme to assist discharged offenders on release find accommodation; the thinking being that this could reduce re-offending. Now this is being closed down too.

Across dozens of Local Authorities, front line staff – in Adult and Children’s Services, in day care for the elderly, in support for vulnerable individuals – are being made redundant, being “actively encouraged” to volunteer for severance, or to retire early. The last two almost sound attractive, until you realise that the amounts most will get will barely last a year – and remember, most benefits are means-tested after 6 months – and then what?

In Manchester and in Birmingham; in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Neath Port Talbot; in the South East and the North West; across the UK , people who bear absolutely no responsibility for the mess that successive governments have created (I hold no brief for ANY Political party) are now being made to pay the price. They are being punished for something everybody knows they didn’t do.

Worse, the vulnerable people many of them supported, are being deprived of this service; so they are being punished as well.

We always seem to find resources for weapons or for wars; how about a “war” on inequality? or “weapons” against the causes of disability. These are otherwise called “investments in the quality of life” and they should be financed by fair taxation and proper enforcement of tax liability. Instead, I read that this government plans to make it even easier for big businesses (usually Banks!) to avoid their responsibility. Is this fair? Did you vote for this? I know I didn’t.

As ever, thanks for listening and be grateful that you can. 🙂 PK

7 responses to this post.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ferret Dave, Helen Thomas and Paul Kempton, Paul Kempton. Paul Kempton said: The blame game . . . […]


  2. Posted by Carol Ivory on February 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    You are an amazing writer. Maybe you can find a little time to help us mobalise whoever we can to join us at any of the demonstrations.
    Personally I believe words are stronger than actions but we need people to take notice of our words.

    Cardiff Right to Work Campaign held a public meeting at Transport House, Cardiff on the 3 February 2011. The meeting was a huge success with 90 people present, and plenty of new faces in attendance. The speakers were diverse including trade union representatives, students, health workers, lecturers, disability rights campaigners and ordinary members of the public concerned about the scale of the coalition government’s cuts.

    Speakers at the meeting included Andy Richards, Wales regional secretary for Unite (Britain’s biggest union), John McNally, vice-president of the PCS union (which represents civil service workers), and Chris Bambery (national secretary of Right to Work). Milmo Boswell, a student involved in the recent occupation at Cardiff University, Mark Drakeford, a lecturer and Labour party Assembly Candidate for Cardiff West, Becki Haines from Cardiff People First – a campaigning group for people with learning disabilities, Lynette Spragg from the campaign to save Llandough Midwife Led Unit, and Jake Griffiths, leader of the Green Party in Wales also spoke.

    The discussion focused upon the fact that Wales is witnessing an onslaught of disgraceful cuts; from the closure of vital maternity services at Llandough Hospital to the recent news of 80 job losses at the Cardiff Driving Standards Agency Office. The threat of despicable job losses continues to hang over 10,000 staff at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC), which faces mass redundancies and the cancellation of courses, was also discussed at length, with staff from UWIC present and ready for the fight back hoping for strike action in the near future. Mark Drakeford, Cardiff University lecturer said: “We have to resist – this is the biggest lie because there is an alternative”. John McNally from PCS stated the fact that for every single job that is cut in the public sector at least two jobs will be lost in the private sector. McNally continued: “We gave 1.4 Trillion to the banking industry – lets have the cash reserves from this – which the banks still have”.

    The consensus from the meeting was that unity is needed for the fight against the Con-Dem cuts. David Cameron and Nick Clegg plan to visit Cardiff on Saturday 5 March for their annual conferences – they will be met with strong opposition and a significant protest for this visit is planned. The TUC demonstration on the 26 March in London is the next vital step in the resistance to the vicious cuts to public services and a group has emerged from the meeting to help co-ordinate building this locally. Transport will be provided from several unions, and in a show of unity all members of society – including students, the unemployed and pensioners, are welcome to travel alongside workers on the union coaches. Andy Richards from Unite stated: “Where we are faced with raw aggression we will support our members to strike and fight for our livelihoods. We have to be united”.

    Join us at the progress meeting, Weds 16th Feb @ 6pm in Transport House


  3. Posted by sidewaysthinker on February 10, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Thank you for writing with such clarity. A joy to read.


  4. Posted by peter rowe on February 11, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    It appears that the govenrment is interested only in making cuts – to everything – and not interested atall in government. There doesnot seem to be any interest in helping the vunerable in any way whatsoever.
    Before any cuts are made I assume that and Equality impact assesment will have to be carried out.
    carry on writing. Peter


  5. Posted by peter rowe on February 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    The middle classes do not grasp the full scale of spending cuts that are about to hit them this year, Kenneth Clarke warned. Those at the top of the heap such as Clarke and most of the cabinet do not have to worry. Leave that to those at the bottom of the heap and the vunerable.



  6. I can not take part now in discussion – it is very occupied. I will be free – I will necessarily write that I think.


  7. It’s interesting to see this point of view. I can’t say fore sure if I agree or not, but it is something I will think about now.


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