Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/795/18023

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 January 2014

TV review: Benefits Street

A caricature of poverty

Mark Caudery, Birmingham Socialist Party

Channel 4's recent controversial "documentary" series, Benefits Street claimed to depict life for residents of poverty stricken James Turner Street in Winson Green, Birmingham. It created an unfair, inaccurate caricature of welfare recipients.

Even before it was aired it was causing a stir. The Birmingham Mail carried a prominent article saying programme makers had misled residents by claiming it would be about "neighbourly togetherness and community spirit".

It focused on unemployed people while claiming to be about benefit recipients - that's perhaps the greatest lie of all.

Only 2.6% of welfare spending goes on unemployment benefits. The vast majority of people on welfare are in work or retired.

According to research by the End Child Poverty campaign, 81% of Birmingham families are dealing with the reality of poverty.

Many of these will be working families; so far these people have not appeared in the programme.

Tory agenda

Although commercially funded, Channel 4 is a publicly owned channel with a reputation for broadcasting material challenging the right-wing narrative of the mainstream commercial media and the BBC.

But it is known to broadcast 'controversial' programmes in the search for big viewing figures.

One resident featured in the programme was shown duping members of the public by selling free hotel lobby magazines pretending to be a Big Issue seller.

But such crimes of poverty, while anti-social and condemnable, pale into insignificance compared to the crimes of the super-rich bankers who caused such enormous social damage to our society.

When are we going to see the Bonus Mansions documentary about the bankers' lifestyles?

This programme's image fits well into the Tory agenda. It further dehumanises the very people who are paying the price of the ruling class's failure by attempting to turn working class people against one another.

As they try to do with immigration or single parent families, it is part of a long line of scapegoating propaganda in much of the media.

Such propaganda aims to turn people against one another, an age-old tactic of divide and rule. This attempt to demonise those most adversely affected by failing capitalism will need to be challenged so more people can see the real enemy.

Benefits Street is not the first programme to make scapegoats of the poor for the crime of being poor and it won't be the last.

But the viewers' backlash proves that resistance is growing against the government and their attempts to divide us.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 22 January 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Real living wage now

Capitalism is a system in crisis

Pay me - I'm a banker!

What exactly is the point of Labour?

Stop the NHS sell-off

Bedroom tax loophole: Can legal tactics be effective?

Fracking - profiting from environmental destruction

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Egypt referendum: no enthusiasm for new constitution

"Ireland is a success story" rhetoric is based on spin


Education

Stop the student debt spiral - day of action 6 February

Youth Fight for Jobs campaign in Croydon

An open letter to Tristram Hunt


Socialist Party workplace news

Transport workers have power to defeat cuts

Teachers need a date for national action

Teachers strike against threatened redundancies

NUT strikes against management "observations"

More action needed to defend Probation Service

Publicity alone can't save sacked union branch official

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lincoln marches against racism and fascism

Protest against Atos 'assessments' on 19 February

Salford workers and environmentalists challenge council

Stop cuts in Kent

Carlisle petition


Readers' comments and reviews

Benefits Street: A caricature of poverty

Leeds' forgotten dispute: The 1913-14 Corporation Strike

Robert Burns, insurrectionary poet


 

Home   |   The Socialist 22 January 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Birmingham:

triangleBirmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangleBin strike: council humiliated in court battle - but war isn't over yet

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: What is Socialism?

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: Care under Capitalism

Poverty:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

trianglePoverty, repression and fightback on the docks

triangleMajor attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

triangleOne in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts

Benefits:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

triangleFight expansion of disastrous 'Universal Credit' welfare system

Welfare:

triangle"Austerity hurts and the only alternative is socialism"

triangleThousands left with 50p for rent - cap rents, not benefits

Bankers:

triangleTories torn - bin them now

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

18/10/17

Port Talbot

Powerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

18/10/17

Russian revolution

October 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

11/10/17

Theresa May

Theresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares

11/10/17

Docks

Poverty, repression and fightback on the docks

11/10/17

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

11/10/17

TV

Shocking insight into Isis

2/10/17

Sexism

Hugh Hefner's exploitation of women

27/9/17

Football

Women's football - Sampson allegations

20/9/17

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

20/9/17

Socialist

Interview: the "socialist John Le Carré"

20/9/17

Women

Refreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward

13/9/17

Women

New documentary asks women how their bodies are sexualised and policed

13/9/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

13/9/17

Che Guevara

Intimate insight into a revolutionary icon

6/9/17

Pensions

Bosses' pensions robbery

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2