stuff and nonsense

24 10 2010

stuff and nonsense

Taxidermy is the act of mounting a dead animal for display. Hunt it, kill it, stuff it, display it. Trophies of success. Look at what was alive and is now dead. Look at the power I have. No longer will the animal roam freely, because its freedom is not convenient for me.

The drastic cuts the Conservative Coalition government is bringing in reminded me of this. The poor are a nuisance, an inconvenience. So stuff ’em. Them with their dirty scrounging fingers, a bunch of frauds and benefit cheats. Like foxes who steal our eggs. The welfare burden is so great that we must reduce it; we will change the rules about what constitutes illness, striking fear into the disabled community; we will punish childbirth by not increasing benefits according to the size of the family, striking fear into large families. We will caricature poor communities as lazy and we will say that we support ‘hard working families’ (code: middle class, who prove their worth by their income), no matter that people on (less than) the minimum wage often work the hardest for the least reward.

Hunt it, kill it, stuff it, display it. Stuff the poor, so those in wealth and power can stay comfortable. Christian activist and anarchist Philip Berrigan once said this:

The poor tells us who we are, the prophets tell us who we could be. So we hide the poor, and kill the prophets.

For our current situation I suggest this:

The poor make us feel bad, the profits make us feel better. So we blame the poor, and we keep the profits.

If we are passionate about justice – if we really believe that Jesus meant what he said about speaking good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners, sight for the blind and liberation for the oppressed – then we must be concerned and in more than a ‘hmph’ kind of way. Passion comes from the Latin ‘pasi’, which means ‘to suffer’. Passion involves suffering. If we are not poor, and passionately believe God’s heart is for the poor, then we must be prepared to suffer for them.

So if we are ok for money, instead of protecting our assets and income how about shouting “tax me!” If it is a choice between reducing welfare payments to dangerously low levels, or me paying a few hundred a year more in tax, tax me! And if that doesn’t work for you, then be generous in your charitable gifts, in your  actions, in your opinions. Not some “Big Society” nonsense, but Kingdom of God sense.

The poor must not be stuffed. They are not a plaything, a trophy, something we use to display our power. They are our sisters and brothers, our people. Anything else is stuff and nonsense.

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9 responses

25 10 2010
c2drl

The sad thing that the Government promised not to stuff the poor and to achieve savings by getting rid of the fat bureaucrats and organisations that were sucking the lifeblood out of society. In practice doing the latter has proved very difficult, the bureaucrats are articulate and well versed in self preservation, so while a few token slashes in their direction have been made it does seem to be frontline services and the poor who are suffering.

That having been said, another problem is that we are developing a culture of state assistance and demands from those who are not really poor and they are affecting our response to those who really need help. I do feel annoyed at the lifestyle of some people on benefit, who are driving better cars than me and have more holidays and spend more (of my) money than I do. And I don’t feel guilty about being annoyed by that, I think I am right to be so.

So what to do? It is quite wrong that the real poor should be punished because others misuse thesystem, and it is likely that there will always be some misuse, but hopefully not at today’s epidemic proportions. Isn’t that where the Big Society come in? Instead of the state giving me my rights, support should be given to those who need by those who have through Charities etc. Isn’t this where we as Christians shoul;d be stepping up to the plate and saying, I will give and I will help? And not just give to fund long term poverty but have proper schemes to establish local employment and help people back into jobs.

Of course there will be those who say, I don’t want Charity I want my rights, but actually that isn’t a valid argument. Handouts from the state are charity too, but they are indiscriminate and are used for social engineering.

And which is more important, funding benefit cheats or funding the Indian Space programme out of our overseas aid budget?

There is a lot more thinking and work to do yet, and we the Church should be playing a big part in the debate. Well done for starting it Kevin, it has a long way to go.

25 10 2010
Edge

Once upon a time there was a blogger. An optimistic blogger who was excited about the (then forthcoming) Election. And one of the reasons the blogger was excited was because he had spotted something significant and exciting during the Election Campaign: “The Tories have rediscovered ideology” he blogged. I liked that blogger. Optimism is always endearing.
He was mistaken though. I don’t think the Election was ever about ideology, any more than it was about ideas or apologies. But anyway, we seem to have scrolled forward to a later time and place where difficult decisions are now being taken. And what’s interesting is that people seem only able to interpret what is happening at the moment through their own ideological filters. Whether those filters are political or social (or both or other).
I don’t think this is Tory ideology that we are seeing in action. I think this is something new. Coalition is very interesting so far. If I remember not to wear my ideological filtering glasses, I can see that it feels different and feel that’s why it’s difficult to see what’s happening.
Part of me wants to challenge anyone who claims to understand what the impacts of it all are to show us their workings. Because let’s be honest, none of us can do the maths or draw the economic graphs to back up the opinions we find ourselves trotting out about incipient double dip recessions or future employment / wealth creation prospects. We talk about things we don’t understand so casually, that it shouldn’t surprise us if when we talk about things that we do understand, we aren’t taken seriously.
Whilst the majority of people on our planet live on less than a dollar a day, then any of us who don’t are rich (by whatever wealth measure one cares to use). And yet we too are poor. Because we all know that it’s wrong and that it should be put right.
But that’s what we elect governments for, isn’t it? To sort those things out. You’re not seriously suggesting that we should do something about it ourselves, are you?
Poor excuses will always be with us. The one ideology you can rely on is we are a self-centred greedy and selfish population who would rather restore child benefit to higher tax-payers than maintain poverty aid payments overseas.
Here I am. Tax me!

27 10 2010
Kevin

I remember that optimistic blogger, I think he fell off the wagon since the election! He still carries on talking about things he doesn’t really know about though, if only in order to find out what others know! Tax me, and I’ll be more optimistic!

25 10 2010
carol

Talking about tax Kevin, how is it the rich are enabled to tax dogde, whilst we on P A Y E are happy to pay more tax towards a better society.

Surely tightening up on our tax laws would bring this massive deficit down far quicker than squeezing the poor will.

The problem is of course that the poor do not grease the wheels of power by contibuting to party funds.

The truth is we are ‘not all in this together’, those with money still possess the clout to call the shots.

In the meantime, the disadvantaged, the poor and the vunerable can take a bus or a bike and get stuffed !

God have mercy on us.

25 10 2010
Di Adem

So who aren the poor and who are the rich?

Once upon a time the rich were largely so because of inherited wealth. Some were philanthropists, some were not. Some were in parliament, mainly as Tories.

The poor were manual workers or people with no work, struggling to exist and at the mercy of the rich. Many were very very poor and only charity, individual or church societies, was there to help. The Labour Party and Trades Unions were formed to help them change things.

In between were those who had jobs and worked to improve their lot. Often by good fortune they were able gradually to build a better and more secure life for their families. My dad was like that. He started out as a van driver and worked his way up to becaome a company director. As a result I had a start in life he could never have dreamed about.

But all that has changed. I and others have squandered the opportunity. The rich have been joined by celebreties and top sportsmen earning obscene amounts of money. They have been joined by ordinary working people who have struck lucky and got vast bonusses and by people who have genuinely earned a lot of money by the sweat of their brains. Into that mix has also come Labour Ministers and Trades Union Bosses who have forsaken their roots and jumped on the bandwagon.

The poor have been joined by those who saw the welfare state as an opportunity not to work, by those who came to the country because of its international reputation for state handouts and by some of the ‘in betweens’ who have had their savings stolen by a Labour government. By people for whom the burden has been too much and they have given up. At the same time charitable work amongst the poor has been reduced because the State wants to do it so it can control it. Social engineering has been in (Great?) Britain for a long time.

And the ‘in betweens’? They are becoming more poor as they struggle to pay taxes and have more an more ‘services’ stripped away from them. They have been stopped from educating their children to become the next generation of earners by misguided equality rules and so they are giving up the struggle.

The poor will always be with us says the Bible. Sad but true. So will the rich, it is human nature. Also sad but true. But who will help the poor?

Well forget about the rich. Tax them and they take their money abroad, ask them for charity and they want something back for it – publicity or the chance to make more money. Some are great philanthropists but not many.

So we are left with the not quite so poor amnd the poor themselves. With very little established charity base – most charities seem to be signposts to government handouts these days.

Could it be that that is what Governments want. Controlled masses who don’t get ideas above their station? What we need is clear pathways of upward mobility and if that means treading on the political correctness of equality well so be it. What we need is a thirst in people to go out and look after their own needs, because they can and it pays, and to hell with their rights to this that and the other. What we need is to get rid of the very expensive managers, directors, bureaucrats and ruling classes who dominate our country and cream off the wealth. Sack them and tell them to whistlwe for their redundancy payments and topped up pensions.

What we need is an organised underclass. But don’t call it a Labour Party because then we will see state conttrol and bureaucrats back again. We could call it a Big Society, where we all help each other, but for that to work we need to get rid of the parasitical ruling classes in Europe, in Parliament, in Councils and in the Trades Unions first. And we need some way of stopping their successors from getting so much control and greed as the present ones.

God is doing something in this Country. If only the Christians would listen and join in instead of hanging on to their prejudices, maybe it would work.

27 10 2010
Kevin

Some interesting thoughts! An organised underclass is important, a respected working class and a generous middle class as well maybe. Certainly I think there are many executives who receive way too high salaries for their position, in respect to the earnings of the lower echelons in their workplace. This inequality is one of the biggest challenges. Because who will ask for a smaller salary?

25 10 2010
anon

Hey mr…
The conservatives?
Try bloody Gordon Labourite Brown who managed to completely SCREW the economy when he was chancellor.
It’s waaaaay too easy to blame the conservatives for the appallling legacy that was left…
NOT that I’ma huge Cameron / Clegg an either… Oh no.
For a govrnement that professes to value the instituion of ‘family’ above all other, it took all of a wee to change the “Department For Education of Childen and Families” to ‘the Department of Education’… Yep.. Let’s get rid of families cos they are waaaaay too much of a drain on the country…
I rant, but I mean it!
I’m sad about the fact that the government seems so far removed from the cohesive approach that this nation needs SO badly.

27 10 2010
Kevin

It’s way to easy to blame everybody else. I blame adults, because it is them (us) who made it happen, whatever their politics. So it must be adults who are the solution. Good luck kids!

5 11 2010
Rhyannon

I find this quite interesting because I am one of the poor. I raise my 3 three beautiful children the best I can with what we have and I won’t say no to practical help and I’m not too proud to say yes i’ll those clothes off your hands if my kids need it.
I personally would love to work, but i’ve been a full time stay at home mum for the past 9 years now my youngest are at school and I want to go out and earn my way, let someone else who needs my benefits (and I don’t mean the benefits cheats and lazy peeps) use them. I am however finding that in today’s working enviroment if you don;t have experience they don’t want to train you and if you don’t have a qualification to go with that experience they don’t want you, so I tried the go get a qualification I can use route, with i might add, the understanding (as advised by my back to work advisor at the jobcenter), that there is help available to get me through my course, i have spent £3000 in a year out of my kids money trying to get a qaulification at fell at the last hurdle because the the help i am meant to be entitled to didn’t come and i got booted from my course, so still no qualification, a little bitter experience and no job.
All I can say to our government is f*** you for shafting my kids out of the life they deserve.

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