Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Are You "Stock" Or Simply A Pleb?
To Andrew Mitchell, despite his denials and inability to tell us what he actually said, we are "plebs". The term harks back to archaic Rome where society was divided between patricians and plebeians - the rich and the poor. By classical times the distinction between patrician and plebeian had largely disappeared except in terms of political offices such as Tribune of the Plebs. By the time of Augustus the only distinctions of any real importance was that between ancient families - patrician or plebeian - and "new men" such as Cicero. In fact it only has meaning nowadays because of the so-called "classical education" of our wealthy elite who use the term, quite incorrectly, as a term of abuse about the vast majority of us who are not venal, greedy and selfish enough to amass huge amounts of money. Enter Iain Duncan Smith whose own brand of arrogance is based solely upon his ability to scrounge huge amounts of money from the taxpaying public and relatives of his wife. For him the unemployed and benefit claimants are "stock". Now this is a far more up-to-date term which has it origins in Medieval France. Originally referring to herds of cattle which were known as "stock" it was transferred to business in reference to the residual assets of a business. So the question is, was IDS referring to benefit claimants as cattle or as assets of his DWP business? Certainly he is paid to be a Minister and might regard the DWP as his personal business with benefit claimants as some sort of capital asset that might be turned into profit or at least liquidated for cash. In those terms welfare claimants might well be seen as cattle by a man who likes to regard himself as some sort of country squire. And, as everyone knows, cattle are brainless creatures who need to be herded together until the time comes for them to go to the slaughter house.