Deirdre Kelly enjoying herself in Magaluf, Majorca. According to the media, she is – effectively – a benefits cheat. But even if this true, is she really any different from the super-rich elite?
WHITE DEE – Deirdre Kelly – has been in the news recently. For those who don’t know, she appeared in the Channel 4 reality TV show Benefits Street. (1) Broadcast at the start of this year, it followed the lives of families who lived in James Turner Street in Birmingham where there “are 99 houses, 13 nationalities, and most of the residents are claiming benefits.” (2) Indeed, it’s estimated that only 5 per cent of the residents are working.
Kelly, 42, is one of the 95 per cent not working. She claims she is too depressed to work. According to the Metro, she receives state handouts “estimated at £20,000 a year, which include £214 a week from her Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit, as well as £500 a month Housing Benefit.” (3)
The reason why she hit the headlines recently is because she was photographed enjoying herself in Magaluf, Majorca. According to some reports this has led to her having some of her benefits cut.
We cannot comment on her specific case, as we don’t really know her personal circumstances. All we know of her is what we glean from the media – and to soley rely on this would be stupid in the extreme.
However, what we can say is that some people are certainly on the ‘fiddle.’ They are claiming benefits when they are perfectly able to work. One thing is for sure – we need to go beyond the screaming headlines and articles that are full of allegations, speculation and rumour, but very low on facts. Indeed, we need to sort out the causes – not just the symptoms – of their and our problems.
So why do some people think that it’s ok to fiddle the system?
We feel that one reason is that these folks operate in the belief that ‘What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.’ Basically, their thinking is that if a particular type of behaviour is acceptable for one person, it should also be acceptable for another person.
And it’s not too hard to see where they get their ‘inspiration’ from. For one only has to take a look at the political and financial establishment in Britain. Cast your mind back a few years when the parliamentary expenses scandal (4) first came to light. Here, various politicians seemed to be living the life of riley by claiming for everything under the sun – and more!
Areas of corncern included nominating second homes re-designating second homes, renting out homes, over-claiming for council tax on second home, subsidising property development, claiming expenses while living in ‘grace and favour’ homes, renovating and furnishing properties when standing down, furnishing of other homes, exploiting the ‘no receipt’ rule, over-claiming for food and overspending at the end of the financial year.
And the expenses scandal still hasn’t gone away. In April, Culture Secretary Maria Millar had to resign when she was “caught effectively fleecing the taxpayer of tens of thousands of pounds.” (5)
Those involved in the financial establishment are no better.
The super-rich elite are still by-and-large getting away with various tax scams. Fortunately (for them!) they can afford an army of lawyers and accountants who can exploit every loop hole in the book. Indeed, we feel that the recent scandal involving Gary Barlow and others (6) is just the tip of the iceberg.
If “we’re all in this together” (as Cameron and Clegg claim) shouldn’t this tiny minority also pay their way as well? National Liberals are not opposed to anyone earning more than the national average. However, we expect them to pay their fair share.
Let’s be honest, none of us like paying taxes – and in many respects we agree with CH Douglas who, in Warning Democracy, noted that “Modern taxation is legalised robbery.” (7) But if the vast majority – ordinary working families – have to pay tax down the the very last penny, then so should this tiny minority wjo make up the financial elite.
When we put all of this in context, we feel that many folks who’re fraudulently claiming benefits are really only ‘emulating’ the wide-boys who currently form our political and financial elite.
How we reverse this situation will take a lot of political thought. It will then require a lot of political action. As always, we’d appreciate your views. Get in touch with the National Liberal Party today. Simply visit www.nationalliberal.org and don’t forget to check out Facebook/National Liberals.