by Martin Odoni

NOTE: I nearly wrote this article back in June, but in the end I decided to wait until evidence was in the public domain of post-Work-Capability Assessment deaths.

Seifeddine Rezgui is the name of a killer. On the 26th of June 2015, armed with a Kalashnikov, he attacked a hotel in Port El Kantaoui, on the north-east coast of Tunisia. His frenzied attack, committed on behalf of the extremist terror group, Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), left thirty-eight people dead. Thirty of them were British citizens, whose memory was lovingly saluted three days later, when the House of Commons observed a minute’s silence. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, then ordered that a national minute of silence would be held on the 3rd of July, exactly one week after the attacks.

Iain Duncan-Smith is the name of a killer. Since becoming Secretary of State for Work & Pensions in May 2010, he has embarked on a program of haphazard, unnecessary, inefficient and myopic reforms that have led to the deaths of literally thousands of the country’s most vulnerable people. Many of those who have died were disabled or severely ill in ways of which he has no expert knowledge, but he has blundered on with his reforms regardless. Some of these reforms, ostensibly about saving money (which is apparently more worthy of saving than lives), have cost enormous amounts to implement, and are yet to show any positive return whatever. This week, on the 27th of August, the figures for the numbers of people who have died while claiming benefits were released by the Department of Work & Pensions. While the numbers must be treated with a measure of caution given that the precise cause-and-effect measurements are still unknown, the marked and profound acceleration in the death-rate – an upswing of some two hundred per cent in a little over two years – since Duncan-Smith arrived in office clearly indicates his work has had a disastrous impact on tens of thousands of people. The memory of those who have lost their lives to these reforms has not been lovingly saluted since the figures were released, and the House of Commons has not observed a minute’s silence. Having not held a minute’s silence in Parliament, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, then did not order that a national minute of silence would be held on the 3rd of September, exactly one week after the figures were released.

Indeed, I can find no indication that Cameron has even spoken about the figures since their publication.

I am not in any way trying to play down the tragedy of the massacre at Sousse, but it is clear that British priorities are warped; thirty British deaths are apparently worthy of calling the nation to a standstill for when they are the handiwork of a fanatical foreigner, but thousands of British deaths are not even worthy of a mention when they are the handiwork of a fanatical Minister. Duncan-Smith is clearly responsible for many, many times more British deaths than Rezgui, but it is Rezgui whom the British public are most likely to vilify. So it seems killing British citizens is only a matter for outrage when foreigners do it. When the British ruling class do it, it is a matter for shrugged shoulders.

Parochialism and xenophobia have always been foolish frames-of-mind, but when they blind us to the crimes of ‘our own’, so to speak, they are also immensely dangerous, as they allow those in power to get away, almost literally, with murder.