There’s a nasty story in the Guardian about a single mother who killed herself and her child because she was destitute. Christelle Pardo was a Frenchwoman who had recently graduated from the Metropolitan University in London. The reason she became destitiute is because of the Department of Work and Pensions’ convoluted rules. But basically, she couldn’t get any benefits because she was pregnant.
This tragic tale clearly demonstrates that right-wing and nationalistic people and groups like Nick Griffin and the BNP are full of shit when they say immigrants and single mothers can live a life of luxury on British benefits. Christelle was an immigrant and a single mother, and she couldn’t get a penny in benefits.
There’s something seriously wrong with a welfare system that can leave a vulnerable single mother or mother-to-be destitute. No doubt the government will say this case was an exception, that the system usually works wonderfully. But even if that were true (and personal expereience makes me doubt it) the fact that one Christelle could fall through the cracks tells me that the system needs fixing. Unfortunately that won’t happen. The current Labour government wants to cut public spending, not increase it. And if (when?) the Tories win the next election they will be even worse. A civilised society should protect its most vulnerable members. But when does that ever happen? Where I live: never.
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