Conservative leader Theresa May has made much of the influence of her Christian values on her plans for Britain. But policies which drive people into job insecurity and food banks don’t quite seem in keeping with feeding the 5,000.
Now, May is being trolled by Tory Jesus. And he’s rewritten key moments from the Bible to match with the Conservative approach to Christian charity.
Suffer the children
Biblical Jesus, like Whitney Houston, believed that children are the future. As seen in Matthew 19:14:
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Tory Jesus doesn’t give two hoots for suffering children.
Neither does Theresa May, in policy terms. The only way the Conservatives found to reduce absolute child poverty was to change the definition of poverty. Using the old methodology, absolute child poverty has increased by half a million since 2010. Which means there are now four million children living in poverty in the UK – and planned cuts to in-work benefits are set to make things much worse. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), relative child poverty is set to rise by another 1.3 million by 2020.
Feeding the 5,000
In Matthew 14, Jesus retreats for some peace after his friend John the Baptist is beheaded on the orders of King Herod. But locals follow him anyway. Jesus takes the time to heal their ailments, and turns a few loaves of bread and some fish into a banquet fit for the thousands of hungry disciples. The lesson is one of service, even in the face of painful personal circumstances. And also, the power of sharing.
Tory Jesus would consider this welfare dependency.
— Tory_Jesus (@Tory__Jesus) May 16, 2017
Here too, Theresa May comes down on the side of Tory Jesus.
Under Conservative governments, the UK has seen an astronomical rise in food bank dependency. In 2009, the Trussell Trust was issuing 40,898 three-day food packages a year. By 2016-17, this increased to 1,182,954. That is an increase of 2,792% since the Conservatives came to power. At the same time, the Conservatives launched an attack on the very welfare system that should have been supporting these people.
Healing the sick
Biblical Jesus was known as a miracle worker. Healing the sick, and so on.
Tory Jesus seems a little more narrowly focused.
— Tory_Jesus (@Tory__Jesus) May 15, 2017
Like Tory Jesus, Theresa May’s Conservatives believe they can miraculously heal the sick in order to get them into work. This involves putting the person through a Work Capability Assessment, even if they have a terminal illness or terminal/permanent condition. The government’s own statistics show that, between January and November 2011, 10,600 [pdf,p6] sick and disabled people died within six weeks of their Atos work capability assessments.
Linda Wootton, 49, was on 10 different types of medication each day after a double lung and heart transplant. Linda was weak and suffered regular bouts of blackouts. Still, the DWP judged her as ‘fit to work’ after an Atos Work Capability Assessment. She died just nine days later. Her husband Peter said:
I sat there and listened to my wife drown in her own bodily fluids. It took half an hour for her to die; a woman who is apparently fit for work
Brian McArdle, 57, had been left paralysed down one side, blind in one eye, unable to speak properly and barely able to eat and dress himself after a stroke on Boxing Day in 2011. Despite this, he was deemed ‘fit to work’. He died of a heart attack the day after his benefit payments were stopped. His 13-year-old son Kieran told the Daily Record:
Even though my dad had another stroke just days before his assessment, he was determined to go… He tried his best to walk and talk because he was a very proud man, but even an idiot could have seen my dad wasn’t fit for work.
Colin Traynor, 29, suffered from epilepsy. He was deemed ‘fit for work’ by the DWP after an Atos assessment and forced to enter a lengthy, bureaucratic process to appeal the decision – during which his benefits were frozen. He did not live to see the result of his appeal. Five weeks after his death, his family received the news that his appeal was successful. Too late for Colin. His father Ray said:
I firmly believe – 100% believe – that the system this government introduced has killed my son.
And paradoxically, Theresa May’s party demands that, while cutting these basic lifelines to citizens, the taxpayer should subsidise the profits of private companies.
Currently, the UK taxpayer is paying out £93bn a year in financial aid to corporations. That’s more than the annual cost of the entire education system (£59.2bn), all housing-related benefits (£27bn) and unemployment benefits (£3bn) combined.
The compassion gap
There is nothing compassionate about the Conservative Party of 2017. And Thursday’s manifesto launch confirms we can expect little compassion should they win the general election either. Empowering people to live the fullest lives possible requires investment and support from cradle to grave, to iron out the creases of inequality that act as barriers for so many. Instead, May offers only hyper-individualism. It’s every person for themselves. As if inequality is not an agitating factor in the game of life at all. UK citizens deserve, and are capable, of far greater humanity and vision than that.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election. If you don’t have a national insurance number, a 5 minute phone call on 0300 200 3500 will get it sent to you in ten days.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.
Featured image via Twitter
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