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Category: Big Society?

The Invisible People

There is a fashion at the moment for videoing yourself doing unusual things and uploading it to youtube. They are everywhere but Upworthy share these types of video at an almost hourly rate. Often they highlight issues within our society that should cause us great shame like the plight of the poor or homeless.

Here we have a video that I keep seeing again and again appear on Facebook and twitter. A homeless man is begging on the street and some students come and play music with his bucket.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKejPcknbko

I can’t help feeling uneasy about the whole scenario. This homeless man is someone we never hear from or about in the whole clip. He is still homeless and still has no voice at the end of the video. He becomes part of a freak show that no doubt generates lots of traffic to someone’s YouTube account.  I’m haunted by the bewildered look on his face as they leave arm in arm having changed… their YouTube hit count.

As we wander through life we are increasingly oblivious to “the other”.  We wear our headphones and stare at our smart phones as we hustle and bustle from one place to another.  There are marginalised people who are invisible in our society.  We speak about them but we rarely hear from them.  The homeless woman sitting on a sleeping bag at the corner of the road by the market is someone we either walk past or throw some loose change at.  As a society we are paternalistic in the way we engage with “the other”.  We talk about those “invisible people”, the poor or the homeless and we are in danger of dehumanising people we see as “problems to fix” as we turn people into objects.

Wealth and Poverty

Last week I blogged about the growing gap between the rich and the poor. I also mentioned that wealth is only wealth if it is compared to poverty. If we are all millionaires, a million quid isn’t worth anything. This article brings home a terrifying statistic.

A new report from Oxfam on Monday. It warned that those richest 85 people across the globe share a combined wealth of £1tn, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world’s population.

Astonishingly, 85 people have the combined wealth of half the planet’s poorest. How long can this stockpiling of wealth go on before the whole system collapses? When 85 people have 95% of the worlds money?

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The Big Benefits Row

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I’m always cutting edge and up to date, never several days behind.  No no no.

I recorded The Big Benefits Row the other night because I’d had a bad day.  A well informed individual from the local area was using Facebook to inform everyone that Foodbanks were just a way for “trendy, dogooder, left wing, anti government Christians” to “feel good about themselves”.  Having given real examples of real lives from the food drop in and St George’s Crypt, it was clearly going around in circles as “all money for the homeless is spent on drugs and booze”. I did not really fancy The Big Benefits Row:  The clue is in the title,  more of the same.

If I’m honest, I turned it off after Edwina Currie.  I grew tired of Edwina Currie and Katie Hopkins’ plum accents shouting down the regional accents of the “poor people” and refusing to let them speak.  It was exhausting to watch.  Like watching a pack of dogs tearing a puppy to pieces in a dingy cellar somewhere in the East End of London as a sweaty man takes screwed up five pound notes from a baying crowd whilst going on about the savings he’ll now make on Winalot.  So I turned it off.

Silent Night

I spotted this guy outside Covent Garden begging/busking.  He’s found a traffic cone and he is playing all of the Christmas Classics on it.  He was very good.

Of course this photo doesn’t exist because we don’t have any poor people in the UK.