Times are good on Bonus Street although drug taking and paranoia are high. Most of these people don’t have a job and now they’re having to learn how to get by on even more money than before.
Benefits Street, that hugely controversial show on Channel4 in the UK, purports to be a fly-on-the-wall look at a Birmingham street populated by the feckless underclass. However, working families that were followed for a year of their lives were cut from the show which, they were told by Channel4, was about minorities living together (see here) and it turns out that James Turner St has a much different demographic from that presented by the programme (see here) with more working adults than those on benefits or disability (39%/35%).
The demonisation of the poor is working as planned, with everyone from Iain Duncan Smith to the stalwarts of his Tory Press pouncing on the programme’s easy propaganda to turn the victims of austerity on each other. This graph from the Guardian shows the effectiveness of the continuing media attack against Britain’s welfare and social services:
They gloss over the fact that some of the biggest beneficiaries from the welfare state are private landlords – netting a cool £16bn per year for housing tenants that the state, conveniently, ‘can’t afford’ to build public housing. Build a lot of houses and employ a lot of people with £16bn in one year.
Owen Jones analyses the debacle eloquently in the London Independent here.