The harsh benefit sanctions introduced by the Coalition Government are still with us. Their harmful effects have been catalogued and publicised.
More recently, public concern has been raised following the release of Ken Loach’s film, I, Daniel Blake, a stark portrayal of what it is like to live on benefits and to be sanctioned.
Even a disproportionately high death toll among those who have been sanctioned leaves the current government unmoved. Despite campaigning by political parties, trade unions, churches and others, there has been no movement on the essential features of the policy.
In an extended discussion paper, Unite Community member, Gerry Lavery, considers how we might take the campaign forward. The paper, drawing on the work of Italian communist and political theorist, Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), also argues for an appreciation of the wider context and a more strategic approach to campaigning by adapting some of Gramsci’s key insights.
As well as being invited to read the discussion paper, readers are also encouraged to contribute to the discussion via the comments section below. It is also hoped the issue of sanctions will continue to be raised within local branches of political parties, trade unions and pressure groups.
The discussion paper, ‘Social security, ‘shirkers’ and sanctions: unsettling the ‘common sense’, is available to read here.