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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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In which I interrupt the travelogue to have a rare public political moment [20100729|14:50]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[the weather today is |disenchanted]
[with a hint of |Fight Club]

The Evening Standard, a free newspaper of right-leaning sentiment that I often pick up on my commute home, recently launched a campaign to raise £1 million to fight poverty in London. The “Dispossessed” campaign will give small amounts of this pot to charities with budgets under £30k to provide services and activities for the most deprived members of the community. I’ve been following the promotion of this campaign with interest. The ES featured a number of heart-rending anecdotal tales about potential beneficiaries, most of whom are hard-working sober types who can’t make ends meet on their pathetic salaries. There’s the Treasury cleaner who has to rise at 4 AM to catch the night bus from a dismal suburb to get to central London in time for work, for instance. David Cameron is supporting the campaign, praising it for its scope and expressing dismay that society tolerates such hidden levels of deprivation in the capital that paupers’ graves, in which multiple people are buried together, are still in use for babies.

I’ve no doubt that the Dispossessed campaign is laudable. But I don’t think it’s society that must shoulder the blame for the necessity of running it. Ordinary Londoners and other British citizens, who can’t help but be aware of London and its problems due to intensive media focus and fiscal dependency on it, give a good deal of money to charity. More importantly, these people pay their taxes. These taxes pay the salaries of MPs who are meant in turn to ensure the welfare of this country’s citizens. That is the primary role of government, is it not? So I’m sorry, Mr Cameron, but I don’t think that the destitute single mother who was provided with an unfurnished flat and no money with which to care for her infant daughter is there because society doesn’t care or would churlishly withhold the financial means to help her. She’s there because the government elected by that society has failed, and is still failing, to give adequate support to its weakest and most disadvantaged citizens. I suggest that instead of just praising the noble philanthropic efforts of private individuals, you start entertaining the possibility that if national agencies were providing the services that these charities do, there wouldn’t be a need for them. It’s your government now. Don’t just stand there wringing your hands and wailing. Do something with it.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: innerbrat
2010-07-29 13:49 (UTC)
This is exactly how I feel every year when Poppy season rolls around.

Charities do great work. Many of them fill in holes left by inadequate Government services. Politicians have no place endorsing the work of charities that shouldn't, by rights, be needed.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-07-30 10:37 (UTC)
Politicians have no place endorsing the work of charities that shouldn't, by rights, be needed.

When they do so, the voting populace can perceive the hypocrisy, become cynical and stop participating in the electoral process. Result: government services remain inadequate.
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[User Picture]From: chickenfeet2003
2010-07-29 13:58 (UTC)
One suspects the real agenda here is to reintroduce/reinforce the notion of the "deserving" and the "undeserving" poor. The sob stories will not include immigrants, the long term unemployed or any of the groups who are routinely stigmatised by the ES and its like as "welfare scroungers". Mid-Victorian levels of inequality are to be followed by mid-Victorian approaches to poverty relief (which are more about the donor feeling virtuous than actually achieving anything). Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-07-30 10:43 (UTC)
The sob stories will not include immigrants, the long term unemployed or any of the groups who are routinely stigmatised by the ES and its like as "welfare scroungers".

They did one run story about a woman who'd had eleven kids. I don't think she'd ever had a job. I think that otherwise you're right about the careful selection of sob stories. And now I feel even more depressed that such cynicism can wear the guise of generosity.
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[User Picture]From: ginasketch
2010-07-29 14:05 (UTC)
I completely agree. My mood has been even more cranky and cynical lately due to the government and their policies.

It just all seems like surface to me. Don't get me started on "Big Society." I think volunteering and helping out the community is great, but Cameron can't expect people to just lap up his proposition when he took their jobs away and then told them to go out and work for free.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-07-30 10:29 (UTC)
But ginasketch, volunteering looks so good on your CV. Wanting to get paid for your work is so petit-bourgeois.
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[User Picture]From: ginasketch
2010-07-30 10:34 (UTC)
hahaha

Thanks for the drinks last night! x
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-07-30 10:38 (UTC)
You're very welcome. We'll have to do it again sometime - maybe over some Green Thunder at the Bree Louise!
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[User Picture]From: lesyeuxouverts
2010-07-29 15:28 (UTC)
Hear hear.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-07-30 10:31 (UTC)
Maybe we should make signs and go stand in front of Parliament. Oh, no, you can get arrested for that, can't you. Never mind.
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[User Picture]From: jixel
2010-07-29 21:29 (UTC)
given the outrageous sense of entitlement that US bankers and BP CEO among others have demonstrated, it's clear the system is by definition broken and these people have no moral compass. We allow them to accumulate mass wealth literally at our own global expense.

even looking back at the "age of philanthropists" those fugger muckers sure made a tidy sum off the backs of their wage slaves.

to say nothing of how children were treated back in those times

http://www.cracked.com/article_18565_the-6-worst-jobs-ever-were-done-by-children.html
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-07-30 10:31 (UTC)
Supposedly this country is more socialist than the US, but I'm starting to doubt it!
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