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