This is depressing but it’s a perfect example of the hate coming from the tabloid papers. The Daily Express main headline for the 2nd September 2011 is “4M scrounging families in Britain.” The text goes on to explain that there are nearly four million households where no one works.
Where do I start with this?
I don’t have the figures to hand, but I am sure that a fairly large number of those households are people who are too sick or disabled to work. There are approximately 2.5 million unemployed people in the UK, so even being generous and assuming that none of those on job seekers allowance are couples and so they are all living one per household, that leaves at least 1.5 million households that are living on Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support.
The editors of the Express must know this, so they have deliberately chosen to call people who are too sick or disabled to work “scroungers.” The word scrounger is a derogatory term intended to portray people as deliberately taking from others. Except they are wrong. I haven’t met anyone who is too sick to work that wouldn’t work if they could. Most of us who are sick or disabled are desperate to do something meaningful and worthwhile instead of feeling useless. Then there are the 2.5 million unemployed people – at the last count there were only half a million job vacancies for them to apply for. Half a million might be able to get work – assuming no turnover from other jobs into those vacancies – and the other 2 million can’t have a job. An insignificant number of those people might have the skills, ideas and circumstances to be self employed. The editors of the Daily Express have no idea of how many households are made up of people who are able to work but do not want to. In the end it boils down to a deliberate attack on people unfortunate enough to have to live on state benefits, and the use of a derogatory term like scrounger is simply spreading hate. There is no excuse and the Daily Express should apologise.