‘Survival of the fittest in 2013’

Letters to The Guardian
Letters to The Guardian


Letters The Guardian

I write in response to David Blunkett‘s article (Comment, 28 December) and to Eddie Dougall’s letter (31 December).

When I was a child, my father, Hilary Marquand, used to invite members of the Labour cabinet (during the 1945 Labour government) to our house where they would discuss their hopes for the future of the welfare state. One of their discussions particularly interested me: should the Labour government abolish private, fee-paying schools?

Later, as an undergraduate at Cambridge, I met a great many young men who had attended these so-called public schools where they had suffered an initiation period of subjection to bullying, beating and, frequently, sexual abuse from older boys. The expectation was that they would then mete out this treatment to younger pupils as they got older.

The purpose of this torment was to teach them to “take it like a man” and “keep a stiff upper lip”.

There is no need for the current austerity cuts.

The current coalition is pursuing the “shock doctrine” economic theory as described by Naomi Klein.

The aim of the shock doctrine is to impose a rapid series of social changes upon the people, which supposedly puts us all into a paralysing state of shock, while the rich strip us of our assets. In the case of Iraq it was the oil; in the case of the UK it is the health service, welfare, housing.

But perhaps the worst shock to most people is the moral issue: the realisation that this Tory-led government has no capacity for compassion or empathy and no desire to understand how it feels to be elderly, sick, disabled or  traumatised.

The fact that they are pushing the economy into triple-dip recession is not as worrying as their evident belief in the “survival of the fittest” – with they themselves, of course, deciding who is and who is not “fit”.

Diana Marquand
Trelech, Carmarthenshire


• I imagine, after reading your report (Thatcher’s role in plan to dismantle welfare state revealed, 28 December), that champagne corks will be popping behind securely closed Tory doors as glasses are raised to toast George Osborne as the most successful Tory chancellor for more than 50 years.  

The chancellor may have failed to meet many of his publicly stated targets, but on the hidden agenda – the Tory party dream of dismantling the welfare state, as outlined in 1982 – he is bang on track. The fact that he is managing to achieve this without the public appearing to notice is not really surprising, with minds fixed on the day-to-day struggle to survive and distracted by the bread and circuses of the Olympics.

That this dismantling is being aided and abetted by the Liberal Democrats is almost beyond belief.

I fear we shall only realise what we had once it’s gone.

Gordon Watson
Royston, Hertfordshire


• The secretary of state for work and pensions uses his office to exaggerate the small amount of benefit fraud (Report, 31 December).

He claims the benefit system “is out of control and unfair for hard-working taxpayers who have lost £10bn due to illicit claimants and fraudsters”.

That needs some qualification.

The Office of National Statistics shows that 0.7% of total benefit expenditure was overpaid as a result of fraud in 2011-12 among the 5.9m working age benefit claimants and the 10.6m state pensioners.

Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty 

• An anonymous cabinet minister says that Iain Duncan Smith‘s universal credit is a “disaster waiting to happen”. It will be happening in Haringey – one of four pilot locations – from April. The system will be unleashed on an area of London with high levels of poverty and among the highest unemployment rates in the capital.

Keith Flett
Secretary, Haringey Trades Union Council

9 thoughts on “‘Survival of the fittest in 2013’

  1. DAVID A SHAW says:

    And silver spoon fed morons will find themselves in the dock at some point. The only thing is they think they can get away with all of this, funny how history tends to repeat itself in many ways. They have obviously not done theirs.

  2. w hawkins says:

    This should be (above articles) hand delivered to every house in the land and rammed down their throats so they cant say they didnt see it and go back to watching eastenders. I have been ranting and raving these issues for at least a year to no avail.

  3. K Peake says:

    A brilliant new development for the wonderful young disabled people of the UK. Encourage any young disabled person you know to join Jack in standing up to the bullies.

    “My name is Jack and I am 8.

    I am starting a Young Disabled People Against Cuts Group, so children can protest together with the help of our guardians.

    We need as many young people as we can get to join in with YDPAC. ( Young Disabled People Against Cuts)

    I wish the Government was not making the cuts. If it was up to me, I would ban them from making cuts!

    Young people are affected by the cuts faced by our guardians. If my mum doesn’t get her car before 2 years is up we won’t get a car because of the cuts. When we’re 16 we may lose our DLA, and other benefits and help we rely on now.

    If you want to get involved with YDPAC let me know via mail@dpac.uk.net


  4. maureen says:

    Again let me remind people of the moral &God fearing IDS and Betsygate and how he “forgot” his education history

  5. Kelpiemare says:

    Alas, and alack, people don’t want t hear how abusive the Tories are. And how unprincipled the libdems have become. I have argued against this horde of scoundrels from before the date of the last election. I have been accused of stupidity (by a banker-no comment!!) and, to HIS unbelievably low childishness, after accusing me of “political schneerings”, blocked me on his fb page!!!
    BUT, blue paper readers notwithstanding,.I will NOT shut up and go away, I WILL keep posting and arguing until, please god soon, there will be no further need for us to highlight the social injustices, no, not injustices but serious crimes against the vulnerable, acts of wanton cruelty and disregard…..all carried out in the best interests of the financiers and super-rich.

  6. Christina Klein-Bissett says:

    In Austria, where I was born, people used to say :
    Yes, but I did not know.
    Yes, but I did not see.
    Yes, but I did not hear.
    Unless some massive change occurs, in 10, 15, 20 years time young people will be saying the same thing about what is happening today. They will look around foolishly and pretend that no one warned them.
    IT WILL NOT BE THE “””””INHERITED””””DEBT that will bring down this country. It will be the blindness of the not yet directly hit by the enormous stupidity and shortsightedness of this government. We need to get together and act before we go down histories path of “oh..I did not realize those snowflakes were ASHES”.

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