19/11/13 Where to start…where to start?

Sometimes it feels like war – it feels like there are groups of people in power or in powerful or privileged positions who are deliberately, wilfully, getting it wrong time and again…

To what end? Well, that’s anyone’s guess.

I find my cage being rattled time and again…but what use is anger?

Sure, privately, I can rant and wave my arms about, saying this is wrong, and something must be done.

But that doesn’t achieve much, does it? I have friends with similar political and philosophical outlooks to myself – as Sir Terrance of Wogan is so terribly fond of saying – I’m leaning against an open door.

With just a swift scan over the papers and news programmes and other media outlets about the interweb, it’s soon becomes apparent that this war (is that too strong a word?) is being fought and lost on so many fronts.

We, the metaphorical peasants, armed with similarly metaphorical pitchforks – them…well, they’ve got nukes…

But there’s more of us…?

Hmmm…

I read this piece by John Humphrys – radio presenter and front man of mastermind – in the Daily Mail

The title, ‘How our welfare system has created an age of entitlement,’ pretty much says it all. As an experienced journalist and broadcaster it was easy for him to weave his opinion in with historical fact to the point where the reader may become unsure of which is which.q

He is quick to lean on his working class hero background – growing up in a hole in the middle of the motorway, having mud for Sunday lunch if they were lucky…

Less quick to talk about his BBC salary of around £375 thousand a year, which he gets, presumably, because he’s worth it.

How he can argue a sense of entitlement in people who get – in the main – £59 per week, is anyone’s guess.

He finds folk out there who are reluctant to look at working – because it doesn’t pay.

There is no scrutiny of the fact that the minimum wage is almost £2 an hour short of a living wage – no – these people are simply scroungers.

There is no search for hard evidence either – why let that get in the way of a good story?

Edinburgh University has recently completed a study on the relationship between the rates of unemployment benefit paid and the level of dissatisfaction felt by the unemployed person.

It transpires that people don’t like being unemployed – despite the luxury lifestyle they have on their £59 per week – the vast majority of unemployed people want to work.

The new word ‘Worklessness’ doesn’t apply to the vast majority of folk.

Mr Humphrys also failed to consider the 100’s of thousands of folk on workfare who are forced to work in places that in the past paid a minimum wage – who now get their workers for free.

Where community service sentences – punishment for crimes – are time limited to a couple of hundred hours maximum – the hours that people are sanctioned to work when they’re unemployed seem to be without end.

We now have the bedroom tax – yes I’ve banged on about this before – but people today, in the UK, are paying part of their benefits – an amount agreed by the government to be the absolute minimum for people to live on – because they have too many rooms – without an option to downsize because local authorities don’t have smaller properties.

So what do you do when you don’t have enough money to eat? Oh yes, there are food banks – another indication of this sense of entitlement of the masses according to other well placed commentators.

Oh, and just in case these workless folk get ahead of themselves with their vast wealth, we’ve got the government proposal to introduce VAT to food and children’s clothing.

Sense of entitlement, eh?

How about the 169 MP’s who voted ‘yes’ for the bedroom tax but who claim up to £25 thousand a year for extra accommodation expenses

And £1000’s to heat their second homes

How about Prince Charles’ company, the Duchy of Cornwall, who, despite an income of £18 million pays no corporation tax

Or ATOS or G4S, both companies paid £Billions by the government paid no, yes, no corporation tax last year –

Tax avoidance outweighs fraudulent benefit claims by a factor of 8 to 1 interestingly, the amount under claimed by those entitled to benefits outweighs the amount over claimed by fraud…

For your idle entertainment you could type ‘mp expenses’ or ‘mp expenses scandal’ into any search engine you like to get a real sense of who feels entitled…

Just in case you feel uninformed on this topic, take a look here where, in this time of enduring austerity, we can really reflect on the notion that we’re all in this together….

…and how an 11% pay rise will help with social cohesion…

On top of this we have the bizarre, almost random rewards of huge swathes of land in olden times for acts of bravery or, in this case, the first Marquis of Anglesey was given a chunk of the island for having his leg blown off at Waterloo

Interesting, the reward we seem to give ex- servicemen now, who’ve suffered psychological injuries is homelessness, a lack of services and, very often, drug addiction.

It’s easy to say this is the politics of envy.

It’s just as easy for me to say, ‘Oh no it isn’t…’

It isn’t – so there!

The motivation behind this particular blog lies here… A piece written by Boris Johnson that extols the virtues of the super rich and why we should be humbly thankful to them…

If we return to the minuscule percentage of folk who are happy with their lot on benefits; this group of greedy workless scroungers in the eyes of so much of the media and all too many politicians; where do they get this notion of entitlement?

I don’t think we need to look much further than our great leaders; the er, incredibly generous and philanthropic super rich and the other self interested, self serving, power hungry and unnecessarily wealthy er, folk who run our country.

A cynical mind would suggest that all this noise about benefits scroungers and their feelings of entitlement is a smokescreen that hides the real problem.

I’d love us all to be in this together, even to be led from the front by a bunch of folk who had the decency to say they’ve cut back on the heating of their stables…

Enough cynicism though. I love this country. I love the people in it – the same people who, regardless of their political persuasions, their sex, their gender, their ethnicity, their sexuality (that said, folk of a lesbian leaning are grossly over-represented with their generosity and hospitality) and disability demonstrate their love for their fellow humans time and again by welcoming an unlikely visitor into their homes.

Why should these MP’s, media folk and the hysterically wealthy be any different?

I just need to work out how to appear in front of them to help them demonstrate that we could be a bit more in this together.

Any ideas?

Walk a Mile

Chris

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This entry was posted in economy, government, hospitality, inequality, kindness, mental health, walking, war and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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