In a Twitter discussion with LBC radio presenter, Julia Hartley-Brewer asked me:
I AM angry. I’m angry because corporate conservative media outlets are engaging in a propaganda war against the poor. She and her station posted this:
A single mum of 5 was made homeless after resisting her Council’s attempt to move the family 50 miles away. Should they be allowed to stay? — LBC (@LBC) October 29, 2014
I posted a response, saying that I thought this was just an attack on the poor. She responded by saying:
Since her housing benefit is .0003% of the benefit budget, the problem isn’t one of impact. In America we call this dog-whistle politics.
“Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup.”
“You should be outraged that lazy people are getting over on hard working people!” That’s the dog-whistle that British conservative media are sounding. If you actually read the story, the woman has lived in the area for 5 years and the reason rent is so high is because the housing market changed around her, not some special deal she has received. This does anger me, because this kind of political propaganda has an agenda, and that agenda is to incite class division. It’s done to mask real issues that matter, instead blaming the poor, immigrants, and the disabled. The most vulnerable people are blamed for the ills of Britian, but as I said in my previous post:
You can logically argue what banking practices caused the financial crisis in 2008 that still haunts the global economy, but you can’t say it wasn’t the fault of bankers.
The underlying push by conservative corporate media is that the economic collapse that happened in 2008 was due to immigrants, or the strain of the housing or employment benefit budget. I asked Hartley-Brewer what the percentage of the benefit budget housing is and she said:
But data from The Guardian will help put that amount into perspective: Around 20 billion? According to the Guardian data, it’s more like £16 billion, but why quibble (if I was going to quibble, she still doesn’t give a percentage)? By my crude math, that’s about 12% of the total benefit budget. Pensions are about 44% (£74 billion) and paying interest on the debt is around £48 billion. If Julia is right, and the housing benefit is “huge”, then you’d have call pensioner’s pull on the economy as “gigantic” or “massive”. With that being true, why doesn’t Hartley-Brewer/LBC dedicate more time to pensions and debt reduction? I’m guessing they push immigration reform and benefit cuts for the same reason that UKIP pushes a false narrative about immigration. It might not be true, but it sure pushes buttons of angry, frustrated people. That in turn, brings listeners/voters. Talking about pensions and the strain they put on the budget would especially alienate (mostly older) conservative listeners/voters. Why do I care? Because the people who are the most vulnerable are used as scapegoats, while the rich and blameless continue to receive corporate “benefits”/”welfare”.
That is why, Julia, I’m so pissed off.
update: (10/30 1800 GMT)
Because oligarchy media scapegoating has consequences:
Above is what British people think, verses what the reality actually is. Who is at fault? I’m looking at you, corporate, conservative media….
update November 09th, 2014:
Cost of benefit as a percentage of GDP: