On Friday, Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) was in New Zealand preaching his mantra of welfare reform (or abolition) to right-wing think-tank, the Maxim Institute. Not content with throwing people off sickness benefits and introducing forced labour in the UK, he was there to argue that the poor should be made poorer internationally as well.
Luckily Auckland Action Against Poverty were there to make sure the real story of Welfare Reform was heard. Their protest at the talk received national media coverage. Meanwhile, Boycott Workfare decided to pay a visit to IDS’ right-wing think-tank in the UK, the ironically named “Centre for Social Justice”. A “Bullshit Detector” complete with flashing lights and siren was delivered to the think-tank, and operating instructions handed to employees!
Followed up that morning with a phone blockade of the Centre for Social (in)Justice, the message internationally was clear: We won’t let right-wing think-tanks trample over our right to welfare!
The Auckland Action Against Poverty press release welcomed solidarity from Boycott Workfare and other UK groups:
We believe that Mr Smith is right at the front line of inflicting some of the most horrendous policies on unemployed people, beneficiaries and people with disabilities in the UK.
We are protesting outside the Maxim dinner on Friday night because we seek to stand in solidarity with beneficiaries in the UK, and because we want to highlight the extent to which the recommendations of the Government’s Rebstock report are based on UK welfare reforms.
If Maxim had really wanted a fair debate, they would have brought out a UK claimants’ representative to speak as well, so people attending this function could hear both sides of the story.
Watch this space for YouTube videos from the day!