What has the UK become, how have we sunk so low? Poverty and food banks are now an everyday part of many communities.
I’m not religious in any way but the recent high profile BBC News story about what a Pastor and Priest have been doing to help the utterly desperate in Burnley disturbed me profoundly.
The fact that in one of the richest counties on earth they have to do it should shame us all. We’ve had government after government which are for the middle incomed and wealthy with the poor getting litte more than crumbs off their table. In recent times footballer Marcus Rashford has stepped up to call for change particularly with regard to feeding children but more benefits/increased benefits will only be yet another sticking plaster, it won’t deal with the core problem of poverty.
After 40 years in politics I am convinced that Universal Basic Income is the only real solution to poverty. Politicians, who oppose UBI whilst hiding behind a lack of willingness to find a way to fund it, are actually saying we will not be doing anything useful about poverty and are leaving those who can’t survive via our mean spirited benefits system for charities, volunteers and churches to look after.
Sadly, the Burnley story is being replicated across the UK whilst the well off and our leaders in Westminster spend time picking ridiculous trade fights with the EU over Brexit. But when we get all the independence, prosperity and opportunities promised by those who promoted and voted for Brexit how much of it will filter down to those most in need? If it’s little or nothing then what have we been fighting for; just to make the rich richer and poor poorer? Developing a society based on a significant percentage of that society having to live in abject poverty is hardly something we should be aspiring to yet it seems to be where we have arrived.
I am profoundly depressed by how we expect those with nothing to live off almost nothing. Growing an ever greater number of people who are destitute has been the result of political decisions and political indecision but we’ve been voting (or at least a significant number of us have) for politicians who have been in charge of this growing poverty crisis for many years now. Is it not time to chuck out those politicians who simply want to manage, ignore or even punish those in our society who are the most in need? Oh and please don’t assume that all the problem politicians are Tories because poverty is an issue that many politicians want to ignore and they get away with it bacause the poor often don’t or can’t vote.
Like many I have long been one who has defended the BBC but because of it’s appalling coverage of the EU Referendum and subsequently it becoming little more than the Brexit Broadcasting Company I have lost all confidence in it. It’s obsession with Nigel Farage has done it great harm so as a consequence those of us who voted Remain and who were once backers of the BBC have just about given up all hope of it ever returning to informative and independent reporting.
And why do I say this now? Well the Radio Times 1st – 7th September edition carries a ‘Viewpoint’ article in the name of well known BBC reporter John Simpson and frankly it made me very angry.
Whether John was asked to write the piece or volunteered it, due to the pressure the BBC has been coming under?, I don’t know but he clearly and utterly fails to understand why the BBC is now looked upon in a very negative way by the very people who used to defend it from attacks of the mad right or left of UK politics.
John says in effect that the BBC has not changed but that those of who have turned against it have. In other words we are the problem and the BBC is not! No John, it’s not that we are upset because the BBC is presenting arguments that we disagree with, we are upset because the balance of the BBC’s news and current affairs output is heavily pro Brexit. That some of the BBC’s prominent presenters are seemingly pro-Brexit simply makes things worse from our perspective. Ignoring some pro-Remain events, attended by big crowds also mitigates against the BBC.
I’m sorry John but from my point of view and I suspect from many others too you are sadly defending the indefensible.
We don’t want a BBC that presents big issues on a one side says this the other says the opposite basis. We want the lies and the liars exposed, no matter who they are.
According to the BBC article on its web site – see link above – in Sefton someone with a full-time job works until 20 April to pay the rent for the year. That’s 13 working days less than in 2011.
Average wage: £ 21,747 a year after tax.
Average rent: £ 6,600 a year, the same as in 2011.
Editor’s Note – Sefton is of course a very diverse Borough with much low end private rented housing in places such as parts of Southport and Bootle, whilst at the same time a lot of high end private rental housing in other parts of Southport, in Lydiate, Maghull, Formby etc. So averages can be deceptive.
The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above
Knowsley is 2nd and Liverpool 4th in the list of the highest proportion of most deprived areas by local authority.