A banker, a school teacher, a Tory MP and a Daily Mail reader are sitting around a table. In front of them is a plate, on which there are ten biscuits. The banker scoffs nine of the biscuits, then the Tory turns to the Daily Mail reader and whispers in his ear, ‘Watch out: That teacher is after your biscuit …
Now, that Mr Clarkson, is a funny joke.
Oh, how I laughed as I watched this rich, white, man mock those who are facing the brunt of the cuts.
The last time I laughed this hard he was making wisecracks about murdering prostitutes.
I recognise that Clarkson is now a parody of himself but he shouldn’t be given a soapbox by which to share his ill-informed, nasty opinions at the cost of the licence-fee. It is no surprise that the BBC has received many complaints and The One Show has since apologised.
But Clarkson also encouraged violence towards public sector workers – licence-fee-paying workers who have ensured he does have a gilt-edged pension.
Clarkson’s comments are inaccurate: the average public sector pension is £7,000, but the majority of public sector pensioners have pensions of less than £5,000 and the changes they are striking against will drive this sum down.
His comments are also an incitement to violence: there have already been reported threats to striking workers from the likes of the EDL, so Clarkson finds himself in ugly company.
In reality Clarkson is not the voice of the people. Polls yesterday showed that most people supported the public sector workers on strike: a Daily Mail online poll at one point showed 84% support and over on Sky there was 71% support following a Twitter vote using #righttowork. I doubt the Mail or Sky expected or wanted this result but it is what they got.
Tens of thousands marched across the country yesterday because they will be paying more into their pensions, working longer and receiving less when they retire: they are being forced to pay back the deficit despite being among some of the lowest paid workers in the country.
And the argument that private sector doesn’t have good pensions and so the public sector should stop moaning is self-defeating and cynical: we should unionise and organise for better pensions for all. As an unemployed worker with only bits of pensions I still wholeheartedly support the strike action.
Meanwhile, in 2008 David Cameron promised to tackle child poverty saying,
“The group that causes me most concern is children whose parents depend on incapacity benefit for their weekly income.
“Our research indicates that there are now half a million children who are dependent on their parents’ incapacity benefit. That’s half a million kids trapped in poverty with parents who, increasingly, are more likely to die or retire than to get off incapacity benefit and back into work. No decent society should accept this.”
Today he thinks differently. He is now challenging the child poverty figures.
Official figures published in Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement indicate that child poverty is set to swell by 100,000 over the coming years, while the Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank suggested that lower-income groups are bearing the brunt of the Government’s cuts. Now elected, Cameron says,
“I think there is a problem with the way we measure child poverty.”
More strikes anyone?
Good news: The One Show is not available to watch online; one can only hope Clarkson won’t be available to watch again. At a time when the BBC is facing its own savage cuts perhaps Frozen Planet won’t distract us from reactionary comments aimed at licence-fee payers.
Bad news: poorly today and couldn’t face the journey to Jobcentre Plus which means I’ve not signed on so my benefit payment will be delayed
Amount of money I have until it arrives: £7.20