Archive for December 2013
Here is a picture Owen Jones had published on FaceBook-
It was accompanied by the following quote-
“This is where I’ve had to sleep over Christmas. Dickensian conditions up here at my folks’ place.”
After many negative comments, ranging from the dismissive to the outraged, the jovial to the sarcastic including my own-
“Stop whingeing about your own very small impositions, which by the way were not thrust upon you.
Think of the homeless, the children that woke up to little or nothing, the low waged who worked all year yet still have little.
My opinion of you is you are making political and economic profit from the misery of the impoverished and disenfranchised.
“Oh, additionally that room is about the size folk are paying bedroom tax for- yet your parents can afford to use it as storage?”
the post was removed from FaceBook.
Unfortunately, for Owen at least, it was not removed from Twitter… yet… which is why I have reproduced them here rather than linked to them.
If Owen believes I have infringed his copyright, my response is once published on Twitter and/or FaceBook, without notification to the contrary it becomes public domain.
If he insists I have infringed his copyright, I will take down the offending material with the proviso it is replaced with an explanatory message and description if he will explain why he would rather this be done than defend his posts.
I think it is a bit of a faux pas by Owen.
Here’s a song that should rip the heart out of you. My mom used to try to sing it every Christmas, but could never finish it because of the tears. I always believed it was because dad couldn’t work due to his poor health and we had little. My older sister, Eileen says it’s because she was thinking of her son from her first marriage, my brother Jim. I prefer my version, but probably it was a little from column ‘A’ and a little from column ‘B’.
Whatever the reason for my lovely mother’s distress, there will be many more mothers in distress, many boys and girls Santa will forget this year.
Merry Xmas David, Iain and the crew.
This is becoming something of a series. Maybe because of my good fortune in finding reasonably well paid employment, thus being able to get out and about more; maybe because things are getting worse and worse for the less fortunate.
Today, walking into town I met a neighbour. He’s 80 if he’s a day. I’ll never forget when my kids were young, coming from school if we ever met him he always had a pound each for them to buy sweets. He was by no means impoverished, but his story touches- if it doesn’t, you must be dead and nobody told you.
His first comments were my circumstances; how’s things, you alright? When I explained about my good fortune in finding reasonably well paid employment, his face fairly lit up. If ever a man was a socialist without knowing it, he’s the man.
The conversation then continued to his situation, which cannot by any stretch of the imagination be described as good fortune.
He explained his poor eyesight, age related, his deafness, age related and said there were operations he could have to improve, if not correct both.
His choices were, wait ‘til next year and we can do them- or pay £2,500 and have them done tomorrow.
My immediate rhetorical question was “by the same surgeon, in the same hospital using the same equipment?”
You know the answer to that one!
So this man, after a lifetime’s work, consequently a lifetime’s contributions now has a choice of pay again or wait.
We’re all in it together. Especially if you’re in the shit.
The following is a précis of a conversation I had in one of my rare visits to the pub this afternoon. It is, perhaps a summing up of the attitude of too many selfish people; too many selfish people who are week or a month’s wage away from destitution. A week or moth’s wage from the circumstance they currently demonise.
The benefits bill is too high, we need to reduce it.
While the reduction of the benefits bill is a desirable aim, how we do this is debatable; the greater part of the benefits bill, over 50% is pensions. Similarly to me, I am sure you do not advocate the slashing of pensions to reduce the benefits bill.
The only way to reduce the benefits bill is to cut benefits.
Cut benefits how? Reducing benefits effectively would mean slashing pensions, which we do not want to do. We’ll all (hopefully) be pensioners someday.
We can no longer afford a welfare state.
Many benefits are in work benefits that actually subsidise the employer. So, a fair days pay for a fair days work would be a good first step to reducing the benefits bill. Then making sure there is well paid work for people would be a great help.
There are too many scroungers.
By the governments own figures, benefit fraud accounts for only 0.7% 0f the benefits bill. Chasing tax dodgers- call them evaders or avoiders, it amounts to the same thing in my book would be a more effective way to improve governments finances.
The Bedroom Tax is fair; why should we (I) pay for one person to live in a three bedroomed house.
Why indeed? Unless you are paying taxes for an MP to live on a country estate in a multi-bedroomed manor house, complete with moat and duck house and a luxury flat in London. Or even a footballer to rattle around a similar dwelling while claiming a council tax reduction, despite his huge salary.
Ultimately, you need to decide which kind of society we live in; an altruistic, dependant society where we do, whether through individual endeavour or communal taxation ensure the needy need no more; or a selfish, uncaring society where your ephemeral wealth is your only asset.
By no means a verbatim record of the conversation; it is, however, the general timbre of this and many more conversations I have had.
The fight for hearts and souls is far from won. It has barely begun.