Tory attacks round-up … updated regularly

As Tories gleefully claim that we’re out of a recession unemployedhack takes a look at the Tory Attacks Chart to see the hottest releases featuring assaults on the most vulnerable in society.

Children, disabled people, unemployed workers, young people, pensioners … everyone except the rich get a kicking from this Coalition government propped up by lickspittle lackey Lid Dems.

Straight in at #1: Ian Duncan Smith arrogantly concludes in a speech that domestic violence, drug addiction and family breakdown are solely working class experiences and uses benefit reforms and cuts for his warped social experiment. The rich, meanwhile, are not penalised for these issues because they have wealth.

Down one place to #2: Victorian window tax-style policy sees Tories with numerous homes punish those in social housing for having a spare room … and it will hurt disabled tenants

Down a spot: Almost five million British workers are paid less than a living wage

Non-mover. Homeless people lose local government support from November 9 when they’ll face eligibility tests to be told they have to tolerate unsuitable private accommodation

Down a spot to #2: Pensioners work till they drop as those surviving on state pensions are told to work or volunteer or not get paid

Non-mover: Children of low-income families won’t be able to leave home when not entitled to housing benefits

Hot release: Benefits are destructive says top Tory – and the number of children benefit claimants can have could be capped leaving them “freed from” the decision of whether they can afford to

Still vying for that #1 spot: Disabled plunged into poverty as benefits are cut for the most vulnerable leaving many suicidal

An unsurprising entry: Universities face a funding black hole as higher education is privatised and Tories/Lib Dems are seen to have fudged the figures

New entry: Cutting funding for Sure Start and children’s services will damage lives of underprivileged children ruining their chances before they’re even out of nappies

Ironic non-mover: Unemployed forced to work unpaid for benefits – taking jobs from the unemployed

Terrifying long stint in the charts: NHS cuts continue despite Tory pledge to defend the service A&E and wards face closures

Offensive non-mover: More cuts to child support for jobless parents added to those for low-income earners

Sickening entry: Foodbank charity Trussell Trust reveals that three foodbanks are opening every week as Tories claim we’re out of a recession

Moralistic non-mover: The country’s 1.9 million single parents are forced onto Jobseekers’ Allowance – as Sure Start centres close and Workfare takes paid jobs

Surprise entry: Thatcher’s Tory government included a paedophile – and Jimmy Savile spent his Christmases at Chequers

Pop summary: Tories – and their Lib Dem sidekicks – are a cruel, wealthy, self-centred axis of Eton attacking the vulnerable and defending the indefensible.

  • Also, Still think the Tories – and Labour – need to make cuts and are not just looking for excuses to reduce the State?

Will you still need me, will you still feed me …

I was approached by an enthusiastic trainee hack when on the recent demonstrations to defend pensions. She bounded over, mic in hand, and, with a big grin, jumping from one foot to the other, she asked, “Why are you here?”

I was taken aback by this. Why choose me? There were thousands in attendance. Can journalists spot each other in a crowded room? Yes, I thought, they can. I recalled meeting other journalists at airports ready to depart for press trips and how we always spotted each other even in busy terminals: always.

I looked this trainee up and down: she was still smiling, although nervously now, her hand shaking a little holding the mic. I decided she probably didn’t know I was a journalist but simply spotted me in the crowd and I was willing to answer her question.

I moved my a bag with the huge NUJ logo on it out of the way of the mic and replied, “I’m here to defend public sector pensions not because I have one but because private pensions will be next to suffer.” Or something like that.

When she bounded off, like Tigger, to talk to someone else I began to fret. It was vain, I know, but I worried if I sounded nervous when I wanted to sound assertive, if I sounded unsure when I wanted to sound convincing … if I sounded like a journalist rather than someone unemployed attending a demonstration having signed on earlier that morning and needing a cheap day out.

So when I saw the news this morning a little bit of me felt justified – then horrified.

We’re now told of a “seismic collapse” in private pensions. This was, of course, inevitable once the banks began to fail and, as a nation, we should be shocked and disgusted that some 23 million private sector workers could face a bleak retirement alongside some six million public sector workers – who are now being asked to contribute more to their pensions for longer but will, ultimately, receive less because the hike is essentially a fine.

Please, let’s not start the debate about why we should defend public sector pensions when private sector workers are suffering – the answer is simple: we should defend ALL pensions.

It staggers me that in 2012 workers can still make profits for their employers or serve their communities every day – be it in a school, an office, cleaning the streets or writing an article –  but face a retirement in poverty. It really does show that we are nothing but wage slaves and certainly the 99%.

We’re seeing final-salary schemes, in which a pension is based on earnings at the end of a career and length of service, are being replaced with career average schemes, where the pension is based on your average pay over your career – not great if your average is low and, as wages are not rising, this is a reality for many.

Employers and the government are currently doing too little to protect workers in retirement – even back in 2007 the UK was judged to have the worst state pension scheme in the UK.

So we’ll be working longer, paid less, have limited job security, less opportunity to claim unfair dismissal if sacked without cause … and spend old age in poverty. Welcome to 2012.

Good news: I have finally cleared the gas meter debt and currently have £12 available for heating and hot water. I’m changing supplier as soon as possible

More good news: I don’t have to sign on for another week or so – that will be a whole month without the misery of visiting Jobcentre Plus

Bad news (there was bound to be some): The number of jobs available to apply for has fallen dramatically. I’ve so far found just six to be completed by January 19