It’s all so predictable. National lashing out at beneficiaries in the runup to an election.

They need someone easy to victimise. Distraction is the key. How else to take attention away from policies which turn millionaires into billionaires and the working class into the working poor.

Find some easily identified victims who have no political voice or access to corporate media and hammer them. Make them the scapegoats for every middle-class ache and pain – someone else is responsible – someone must be held accountable. And who better to deliver the punishment than a died in the wool Tory like Louise Upson – the dungeon mistress thrashing the serfs into submission.

And Louise Upston knows – she KNOWS. She tells us a beneficiary turned up to a job interview in pyjamas – yes PYJAMAS. Have you heard anything more appalling – those vile beneficiaries need a good lashing.

The Pink Floyd Lyrics from the Brick in the wall album give the psychology behind National’s beneficiary bashing.
“When we went to school there were certain teachers who would hurt the children in any way they could. By pouring their derision on everything they did and exposing every weakness no matter how carefully hidden by the kids”

I won’t record the next few lines in the song because they might be too close to the bone for National’s leaders.
But heaven knows National gets off on this punching down. At National Party conferences the biggest cheers come when silver-spoon National MPs attack people on benefits. It’s cloaked in the language of “accountabilities” and “consequences” for those not following the rules but the orgasmic euphoria among National supporters can’t be overlooked. Beneficiary bashing is a replacement for feeding slaves to lions in a Roman arena.

Beneficiaries and people on low-incomes generally are the victims of neo-liberal policies which have made National Party supporters rich from unearned income. Unemployment was driven up and benefits slashed by National in the 1990s to keep wages down and drive-up profits.

The tens of thousands who were driven out of work were then blamed for being out of work. At the same time low-income communities were flooded with pokie machines, liquor outlets, fast-food joints, loan sharks and now vape shops. These communities are now ravaged by addictions as these “parasites on poverty” have been let loose on them with pathetic, unenforced regulations to cover their predatory behaviour. There is no-one left to follow up and enforce them. It took a problem gambler to call out Skycity recently – it was never going to be done by hopelessly under-resourced MBIE officials.

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That’s just the way National likes it – steal a burger from your employer and be charged with theft and lose your job – steal wages from your employee and you are effectively untouchable.

So where are the other accountabilities National is so keen on?

Where was the accountability for the super-rich who refused to provide IRD with details of their income as required by law? National has no policy on this.

And where are the accountabilities for employers who abuse and exploit migrant workers? National has no policy to deal with them.

Where are the accountabilities for dairy-farmers who are demanding the rest of us pay for their greenhouse gas emissions? Billions each year excused by National and another five years of free-loading for farmers.

Where are the accountabilities for farmers who refuse to provide their fertiliser use to regional councils as required by law? National has no policy on this.

Where are the accountabilities for the destruction of our waterways, lakes and rivers by farmers taking clean water and returning it filthy and polluted, leaving the rest of us to pay the bill? National has no policy on this.

Yes, we see on Country Calendar each week examples of some farmers doing marvellous work for the environment, but these are a decreasing minority as corporate farming takes over our land and “privatises their profits and socialise their losses” for us to pay? National has no policy on this.

Beneficiaries are National’s target – hammering the victims is such good sport – and the saddest thing of course is that National does it because it works.

We are a little people.

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