Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The ‘Societal Cruelty’ of a vengeful Great Britain today.


Chris Green

Great Britain, as a country has a population in excess of 60 millions and despite being in long-term recession economically, since the great banking crash in 2008, there are signs of an upswing in the fortunes of the country as a whole. After enduring years of coalition government induced austerity, the United Kingdom is one of the richest countries in the world, and boasts the 4th largest economy, globally. But if the country is firmly based on the podium of global powers, the shadows cast by this mighty edifice are great indeed and within these shadows, you will find millions of disadvantaged people in various degrees of poverty, social exclusion and isolation. Upon these people are often visited varying degrees of humiliation, deprivation, sanctions and general misery. We seem to have become a nation where societal cruelty has replaced the benign compassion of bygone times. This article studies the case of the recent treatment meted out to one individual, as well as it highlights other key areas where the disadvantaged are targeted.

Our subject is a man of close to 60 years of age. Previously, something of a ‘high-flyer’, in recent years he has suffered a series of nervous breakdowns, he has a form of post-traumatic syndrome and has low-moderate suicidal tendencies. He has struggled to find regular employment in the last couple of years, but nevertheless he keeps battling on despite setback after setback, age-related discrimination and devaluation. At the end of 2013, he was subjected to a court order for some administrative misdemeanour he had made and he was fined a sum of money. This was to be taken direct at source from his benefit payments, although he was told this would take time to establish. As it turned out, these payments never were taken and suddenly he received a demand from a firm of collection agents, who ramped the bill up steeply and became very threatening indeed. Our man argued that payments were supposed to be taken at source but was told bluntly, it was ultimately his responsibility. In no time at all, direct recovery action was initiated in the form of a bailiff, the martial arm of societal enforcement, warranted to engage in legalised kleptography. They were coming to empty his property, removing what little he has left.

The ensuing days became panic-filled for our subject. He offered to make card payments to the bailiff based upon what had already been agreed in court, but he was told politely, but firmly that he had run out of chances and that within 48 hours, he would be visited and the property emptied. Furthermore, furnished or otherwise as a tenancy, unless the landlord could provide proof of ownership, even items not belonging to our subject would also be removed. A face to face meeting was arranged for which the bailiff was some 30 minutes late, adding further angst to our already strained and panicked subject. It transpired that notwithstanding the removal of property, an arrest warrant was going to be issued, with the subsequent court appearance resulting in a 90 day jail sentence.

This was the final straw for a man who has apparently endured a great deal throughout his life. Having encountered some severe dangers and difficulties, even the near-loss of his own life less than 4 years ago, the threat of impending jail immediately set him back perhaps 5 years or so. The effect upon him was palpable. He tried all means to raise the money, which was now up to over £500 because of course the bailiff himself takes around 50% for himself. Apparently, this ‘function’ is an add-on role for our ‘dark destroyer’; pin money – a bit extra on the side for him. Loan sharks were considered, no stones were left unturned to come up with the demanded sum. Things were looking pretty terminal until at the 11th hour plus a bit, aid came and the crisis was averted. Despite the fact that the sum was able to be collected, there seemed to be almost a sense of disappointment on the part of the bailiff that he was denied his moment of pleasure, that of inflicting of cruelty and pain. He might well be the sort of person who would have trained, somewhat enthusiastically, as a hangman in days of old.

We are a completely unforgiving society here in Britain today. We have recidivism of greater than 50%, and this is largely due to social exclusion and the denial of employment opportunities to people, who have for whatever reason, transgressed the law at some point in their lives.  Doors are slammed, and opportunities denied as society pulls up its drawbridge. Social Exclusion, such a cosy term, is not a mutually exclusive enclave for ex-offenders, either. Equally, people who fall into this demography are joined with many millions of people on or below the poverty line and who may not have a modern style debit card. These people cannot, for example, obtain anything other than a very basic, pay as you go mobile tariff which is geared to astronomic levels of cost.

Worse still is the treatment of the above by the energy companies. If you have to prepay for your energy requirements, you are automatically paying considerably higher unit costs than someone who can pay by a debit card or via standing order. This affects people across the age spectrum; it is cruel, heartless and inhumane and it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

The above is not the type of article normally associated with this writer. But knowledge of the person concerned in the main body of the piece provided the inspiration to write it. No one political party is actually responsible for creating what has been described above, for all are guilty of allowing it to happen. There surely can be no place for institutional cruelty in a civilised First World society, in the 21st century.

Beşparmak Media Services

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The road out of the EU is not so perilous!

'Tearing free' from the EU


Chris Green

In the recently published article entitled, "Electioneering: The UK General Election campaign is in full swing!", the build-up to the forthcoming European elections and onwards thereafter, to the General Elections in Great Britain in 2015, was discussed. This presumes that there actually is a ‘Great Britain’ after September of this year, because all the indications are now suggesting that the probable outcome of the referendum for an Independent Scotland is neck and neck. There will be more on this specific historic event in the coming weeks, but the Scottish independence vote will have a lot of influence on the political shape of these islands, whatever the outcome. It is entirely fair to observe at this point, however that were the Scottish electorate to back the YES campaign, then the Tories are highly likely to achieve a landslide victory in May 2015 because the Scottish voters will be disbarred from participating in the General Election!

A Tory election victory in 2015 is highly desirable to some of us for many reasons; a Tory victory in 2015 is absolutely critical for those of us who have long demanded a referendum on EU membership, for the Prime Minister has vowed to hold such a vote in 2017 if returned to power. There are those of course, who employ the tactic of the fear factor, Nick Clegg being one of them. Mr Clegg, in concert with his fading Liberal Democrat party and many of Britain’s banking establishment, claim that economic success is wholly dependent upon EU membership.This is nonsense.

Whilst banking is an important part of the British economy with London being the premier financial hub, conveniently located within the European time zone, the reality is that this would continue to be so were we to exit the EU. And why should we heed the words of the bankers whose disastrous errors were the primary cause of the 2008 crash, nor indeed the avowedly Europhile, Lib Dems who lost many seats in 2010 and after 2015, may well become akin to a bunch of shrivelled up flowers, cast to the side of the highway, marking a long past memorial site.

This is not the only issue where the Liberal Democrat leader is at one with the bankers either. Ten years previously, both argued vociferously that it would be a disaster were Britain not to give up the pound and join the euro. What an absolute disaster that would surely have been! But neither the Lib Dems nor the banking fraternity are mandated to speak for the British electorate; the electorate speaks for themselves and they wish to be heard on this issue of vital national importance and a straight forward referendum on EU membership has long been denied to them by successive governments and it is way past high time that their voice was heard.

It is furthermore quite absurd to suggest that “three million jobs” directly depend upon continued EU membership and that these would instantly vanish were Britain to secede from the European Union. This nonsense is often supported by the hand-wringing utterance that it is vital to maintain our access to the ‘single European market’. What is really meant of course is the single European regulatory system. This in turn means more and more regulation in the quest of “more Europe” which strangles business and further reduces national sovereignty. This is furthermore inextricably linked to the undeniable fact that the EU is in fact a political project, far more so than an economic one.

Removed from the EU, Britain would still have access to the European market within the global economic world just as nations outside of the union already have. It is highly likely too, that a bilateral free-trade agreement would be negotiated with the EU were we to be out of it. Furthermore, the EU is attempting to secure such an agreement with the USA, yet for the rest of the EU (sans UK) the United Kingdom market is actually slightly larger than is the US market.Britain would also save a few billion pounds annually, which would be better invested internally!

In summary, life outside of the European Union would not be so bleak and neither is the road out of it exactly 'pothole strewn' either.

Beşparmak Media Services