‘Austerity’ & the Epidemic of Deaths: A Policy of Social Cleansing …

One of the moments I always remember most from Charles Dickens’ immortal seasonal story,  A Christmas Carol,  is the early passage where Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by the charity collectors, who naively come to Scrooge for a donation to their ‘fund for the poor’.

True to character, the miserly Scrooge tells them that he doesn’t have time for ‘idle people’. “Are the work-houses still in operation?” he casually asks, implying that the poor, disabled and destitute  should be put to work.

When he is confronted with the possibility of many of them dying, Scrooge simply says, “well, they’d best get on with it and decrease the surplus population…”

What’s remarkable is how much the themes of Dickens’ classic tale, particularly the character of Scrooge himself, are starting to resonate again with our society. Dickens, who himself was a tireless advocate for the poor and needy of England in his time, would be astonished to find that centuries later we haven’t just failed to progress, but in some ways have actually gone backward.

The media doesn’t want to deal with it, but the UK today is being socially cleansed of its ‘surplus population’, as Dickens called it.

This call-in to LBC presenter James O’Brien’s show from last year got a lot of attention on account of how distraught the caller was and what his life had become during five years of Conservative government for the bankers and elites. It really does give perfect voice to the plight of society’s most vulnerable when we enter firmly into the era of Government by Unelected Multi-National Corporations and Banking Institutions. Give it a listen; though I don’t blame you if you can’t bear to listen to the whole thing, as it’s obviously upsetting.

But when I use the term ‘social cleansing’, I’m not just being metaphorical; I don’t just mean the millions of people being priced out of housing possibilities, evicted from accommodation, or having to go to ‘food banks’ to acquire basic sustenance, but I mean actual cleansing in the grimmest sense. What the corporate media narrative is failing to shed much light on are the sheer number of deaths or suicides by vulnerable people who’ve had their welfare cut by the Conservatives’ ‘Big Society’ (a ‘Big Society’ that certainly doesn’t include everyone).

These deaths and suicides span across age ranges and locations. They include disabled people, including blind people, and people with mental health issues, for example, being declared ‘fit for work’ and having their benefits slashed. Also cancer patients, HIV sufferers, and generally anyone you could think of who is genuinely and massively dependent on state welfare in order to survive.

A comprehensive list of some of those victims of this highly socially-selective ‘austerity’ is published on BlackTriangleCampaign.Org and makes for highly unsettling reading.

Read  here and here for very real-life examples of the human cost of this relentless social cleansing, people driven to suicide simply because they can’t afford to live anymore. This man shot himself in the head after being told his benefits were being stopped. He was unable to work after a brain hemorrhage had left him paralysed down one side, but was nevertheless told by the impersonal, faceless bureaucracy that he was ‘fit to work’, ineligible for state welfare, and had to find a job.

Mark and Helen Mullins, 48 and 59 years old respectively, who were forced to live on £57.50 a week, both committed suicide too. Mark Mullins was an army veteran. But as most Americans will testify, that means nothing: the state cares even less for the disposable human fodder it sends out into their wars than it does for the rest of the ‘surplus population’.

This list of deaths or suicides goes on, by the way; even the dozens listed on this piece are just the tip of the iceberg.

This is social cleansing, plain and simple. What other term is there for it? The poor, the vulnerable and the needy are being left in the cold to die while the top 1% of the corporate class are being celebrated, empowered, rewarded, and ultimately shielded from the cost of ‘austerity’ or the financial crisis: a financial crisis that *they created* of course via entirely illegitimate banking practises and morally vacuous activity.

The Disability News Service meanwhile reports that the UK, embarrassingly, is the first country to face a UN inquiry into Disability Rights violations; an inquiry, in other words, into the state’s treatment of its most vulnerable citizens.

But then this is the same government that sent warplanes into Northern Africa to destroy a country that had one of the most generous welfare systems in the world (Gaddafi’s Libya), so at least they have some consistency.

 Homeless man in the UK 

We also now have the highest number of homeless people and rough sleepers since the national statistics began

According to the UK government figures from February 2014, there were an estimated 2,414 people sleeping rough on any one night in England; this being a 37 percent increase rise from 2010 when the Conservative government entered Downing Street. Rough sleeping has leapt by over 50% across England since then, rising from 1,768 people in 2010 to 2,744 last year. Meanwhile the number of homeless people in London had almost doubled from 415 to 742 people between 2010 and 2014.

There is absolutely no other way to view these figures other than as a direct result of wildly-rising housing costs and the relentless welfare cuts, which have not only punished and demonised society’s most vulnerable people (and done so with nothing but smug superiority and incoherent justification about ‘trickle-down effects’ and other spurious bullshit) but also *created* more vulnerable people in the process.

This is the view taken by most homelessness charities, who are under no illusions about the direct effects of this government’s policies.

Never mind mortgages or home ownership; with rent soaring so high that most people struggle with just basic accommodation, it’s little wonder that depression, along with mental health issues, have drastically risen. Eventually ‘the surplus population’ will have only one option for survival and that’s revolution; a point made, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, by Grace Dent in The Independent.

The entire population in fact has been conned, taken for a ride for a very long time, by a financial/criminal conspiracy that began two centuries ago with the Bank of England itself, subsequently engulfing America in its entirety, and now finally bringing much of Europe and the Western world to a condition so untenable that a complete societal and financial collapse can’t be far off. “We are at a perilous point in the history of our country,” Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said last month, on the day that liberal politics in the UK suffered the most crippling defeat imaginable and the Establishment firmly cemented its control of the country. “We cannot allow decent, liberal values to be extinguished overnight…”

This isn’t just a UK-specific problem; it’s occurring in most Western societies, America included, where the political classes have sold out their citizens and societies to the unelected banking/financial institutions and corporate cartels over several decades (but especially in the last decade or so).

When the corporate elites run the governments and therefore the societies, it is only natural and obvious that we end up with a collective Ebeneezer Scrooge in control of our countries and having no interest in the plight of ‘the surplus population’.

The well-known whistleblower, the late Aaron Russo, summed up this cold mentality when he spoke about his dealings with gazillionaire tycoon David Rockerfeller in the US; “What are you worrying about them for?” Rockerfeller allegedly told him. “Just worry about yourself and your family.” By “them”, Russo said Rockerfeller was referring to the general population itself.


Those populations are just statistics on paper to the kind of people and institutions to which our governments are permanently enslaved. They couldn’t care less about those people, particularly people who aren’t permanently contributing either labour or money into the super-machine of the producer/consumer process.

If you’re disabled, for example, or dying of cancer, you’re just not economically important enough to worry about and the sooner you expire on the side of the road, the better (Hitler, I seem to recall, had similar views).

That’s the message of the last five years and of the next five to come.

With another five years (at least) of Tory government, things are only due to get worse. The Human Rights Act is being scrapped, the National Health Service is in serious danger, and there is a further planned £12 billion worth of cuts to benefits about to be implemented – a fact cleverly omitted from the discourse during the lead up to last month’s General Election. Polly Toybee summed up the years to come in her reaction to the General Election result in The Guardian, ‘Inequality will take off, along with child poverty: Office for National Statistics figures reflecting the social effect of the last five years will conveniently only emerge in June – and will be a harbinger of far worse to come.’

I made this point previously; that we are essentially living in Benito Mussolini’s definition of Fascism in all but name – which he specifically defined as “the merger of state and corporate power”. It is, in effect, government for the corporate interest and Establishment Elite and not for the people or the society. Nowhere is that more evident than in the epidemic of deaths and suicides of society’s most vulnerable, as highlighted above.

We are literally talking about people driven to such desperation that they cannot afford to stay alive any longer.

David Cameron and other spokespeople for the banking cartels and multi-national corporations can talk about the Financial Crisis and the need for ‘austerity’, but will of course fail to address why it is that the poor, the ill, those most in need of welfare, and those on low-paid incomes are being made to bear the burden for a crisis that criminal bankers and financial elites – the same bankers and elites that essentially just won this election in the UK – manufactured themselves.

Our elected leaders are now little more than willing puppets of the multi-national corporations and “too big to fail” banks and financial institutions: we all know this of course – even those of us who pretend not to know it really do know it.

We are living in an age where those multi-nationals and international finance conspirators are all-powerful: so powerful that they are able to wage wars against nation states and populations. Libya, for example, in 2011 was an operation servicing the agendas of world-banking mafias and the multi-national corporations, with various government officials and networks (and corporate-owned media) facilitating the operation. Our governments destroyed a country in which a home was considered a human right and not a commodity. A country in which Gaddafi had vowed to house every single citizen (and did so), and in which one of the most generous welfare systems that has ever existed took tremendous care of everyone, especially the elderly, widows, the disabled and yes, the unemployed.

At the very same time our same government was instituting policies at home that saw homes become more a commodity and less a right than ever before, policies that saw scores of people evicted onto the streets, and policies that left scores and scores of the most vulnerable people unable to live.

S. Awan

Independent journalist. Pariah. Believer in human rights, human dignity and liberty. Musician. Substandard Jedi. All-round failure. And future ghost.


  1. With lot of this stuff being contracted out to private companies … well it would not surprise me if they get the money that should have gone to the recipient and nothing is actually saved. Just like employment agencies operate for the ‘hardworking’ people. It is not about people having an unearned sense of entitlement. It is precisely what you suggest in mentioning the Italian Chamber of Fasci and Corporations that is the problem, governments and corporations working hand in hand in a you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours environment. Of course there is also the underlying sense of personal insecurity hanging over most of us too … but suicide cannot be the answer.

    I say tread very carefully to those greedy people … there comes a point where people who just don’t care any more turn to outright sedition. Bring it on IDS!

    • I think it’s worse than governments and corporations working hand in hand; I think the governments now essentially *are* the corporations in all but name. And corporations aren’t humanist or social.
      I don’t think there will be outright sedition for a long time; I think we’re too lazy. IDS should be perfectly safe!

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