(Website: Centre For Social Justice)
“The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) was established as an independent think-tank in 2004 to put social justice at the heart of British politics and make policy recommendations to tackle the root causes of poverty.”
Created by Iain Duncan-Smith, whose actions as DWP minister caused death, destitution and homelessness, particularly for people with disabilities, The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) exists to absolve the government’s policies of cause or blame for rapidly increasing desperate poverty of millions of people in Britain. It seeks to achieve this misdirection by re-defining poverty as entirely the fault of those who suffer with it.
The CSJ’s assessment methodology is to describe what it pretends to perceive is a cause of poverty with no reference whatsoever to the existence of government policy that fails to help the individual or, indeed, that exacerbates the problem. Three examples of this twisted methodology are given below.
1) A statement called Economic Dependancy Worklessness begins with a disgusting smear: “Work is the most effective route out of poverty, but for far too long, in some of Britain’s poorest communities worklessness has been passed from generation to generation like a family business.” This is followed by willfully dishonest claims that the wholly discredited Universal Credit scheme and the con trick of re-branding Minimum Wage as Living Wage will both provide “incentives” for people to seek work.
2) Single parents are blasted in Family Breakdown. “Evidence clearly demonstrates that two-parent families are the most stable” is the arbitrary clam made and is used to justify an assault on the child-rearing skills of single parents. “Stable, healthy families are at the heart of strong societies” is asserted solely to cast single-parent families as unstable and unhealthy. The viciousness of the attack on single parents is unrelenting: “Dysfunctional family life and chaotic relationships can ruin the lives of those involved and damage children, particularly in their earliest years.” Of course, the target of this verbal thuggery is not all single parents; the CSJ restricts itself to jumping on those with lowest income: “Breakdown [of families] is particularly acute in the most disadvantaged communities.” That last (unproven) statement will be a relief to, say, the queen, as only 75% of her children got divorced when they had young children. There is no mention that financial difficulties of single parents on low incomes are caused by lack of affordable childcare, lack of affordable housing, zero-hours “jobs,” sub-minimum wage pay, bedroom tax, welfare sanctions, etc. but “the annual cost of family breakdown is estimated at £47 billion.” There are no details of said £47bn figure so it is unknown how much of it was caused by the aforesaid three divorces in the queen’s family.
3) As a direct consequence of low pay, the exponential increase in zero hours jobs, savage welfare cuts, aggressive (and illegal) welfare sanctions, an abject lack of social housing, bedroom tax, etc. – all of which are created by the Tory government – many people are forced to enter debt purely to survive. Often, the only credit available to people on lowest income are the legal loan sharks. Known as “payday loans” they typically have an annual interest rate in excess of 1000%. The artificially created “companies” that supply the loans are usually registered in tax havens. In Serious Personal Debt the CSJ sidesteps the causes of debt and blames the recipient: “An aggressive consumer lending market, the absence of a savings culture and basic levels of financial capability, and the excessive materialism of modern society.” The CSJ indulges in linguistic contortions as it attempts to acknowledge that high-interest debt is hugely destructive while avoiding attaching any blame to Tory policy and ideology.
Further examples of the CSJ’s journeys in C S Lewis’ wardrobe appear in a section on Current Policy. Not content with helping to starve disabled and terminally ill people to death via the murderous Work Capability Assessments and accompanying benefit removal, Duncan-Smith and his gang are determined to keep violently kicking people who are least able to defend themselves and who need the most help. The insidiousness of the phrase “around 1.2 million disabled people will need to find work” is grotesquely chilling. Homelessness is discussed without any reference to the lack of affordable housing, the lack of social housing, the cuts to housing benefit, bedroom tax, welfare sanctions, zero hours jobs or landlords acting outside the law re. evictions. It is as if homelessness happened magically.
Via regular papers, available in its online Library, the CSJ ‘advises’ the government. Of course, this is a con trick. The CSJ’s job is to tell the Tory government what it wants to hear while pretending to be independent and while steadfastly absolving the government of blame. The relationship between the two is beyond symbiotic; it is assimilation coupled with mutual onanism.
Iain Duncan Smith is chairman of CSJ. His determination to blame the poor for poverty while denying his party’s culpability continues unfettered.
Former chief executive and current CSJ board member is Tory peer Philippa Stroud. She is a prominent member of the Evangelical Alliance that said the following on homosexuality (see Evangelical Alliance: Homosexuality):
“We encourage evangelical congregations to welcome and accept sexually active lesbians and gay men. However, they should do so in the expectation that they, like all of us who are living outside God’s purposes, will come in due course to see the need to be transformed and live in accordance with biblical revelation and orthodox church teaching. We urge gentleness, patience and ongoing pastoral care during this process and after a person renounces same-sex sexual relations.”
Also on the board of directors are former deputy director Cara Usher-Smith, a Tory lackey who has worked for both Michael Howard and Ian Duncan-Smith, and Stephen Brien, another former adviser to Duncan-Smith when the latter was a cabinet minster.
Yet another former ‘special adviser’ at the DWP is CSJ managing director Edward Boyd. He is seen and heard a lot in the media. Other senior staff who might pop up on TV and radio are listed here: CSJ Staff.
There are many excellent charities in the UK that help to alleviate the consequences of capitalist exploitation and Tory government policies. In order to try to stifle political opposition from these charities the CSJ formed the CSJ Alliance.
The CSJ’s description of this alliance, CSJ Alliance, makes clear that the purpose is to infiltrate the charities and use a variety of con tricks to mislead and misdirect the people working at the charities and to misuse the evidence and conclusions of the charities regarding poverty, its causes and its solutions.
Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks