Posts Tagged ‘homelessness’

Buskers, Beggars and Homelessness – the hell that is the modern High Street

Buskers, Beggars and Homelessness – the hell that is the modern High Street

 

A walk down my high street tells a story of how times have changed. I am greeted by an accordion dirge which I cannot escape – loud, depressing and cheap sounding – perhaps like being in Eastern Europe somewhere. I move on to a very loud singer repeating the same song over and over – so loud she can be heard in the church opposite as if in the same room! Walking away I gets better – and I reach the trumpeter who was actually quite talented and playing a song that would appeal to older people, reminding me of my grandmother –‘The way you look tonight’ – if he had been the only one it would have been OK. But he was soon drowned out by a guitarist/singer nearby ….

Do any of them consider the effect on pedestrians? No – they only want our money – and somehow they think the louder they are the more likely they are to get it. That wasn’t the end of course … there are now not one but three people selling the Big Issue – none of them British – and yet I thought it was a means to getting homeless people off the street?

To be honest I have read so many stories about the way this is abused that I walk on by – something I would not have done a few years ago! Then there are the ‘beggars’ who look the same everywhere l go – young men staggering about with tiny undersized crutches holding their hands out. Hmmm … usually from Bulgaria according to the press. I mean if you are legally here and disabled you are looked after with properly sized crutches and benefits, no?

And if not careful you will trip over women on the ground saying ‘please’ and holding out a pot – I’m not being mean (I hope), I am just overwhelmed! In fact, I find it confusing and on a bad day upsetting. But where has it all come from, and so suddenly?

We live in a generous country with high employment and good benefits, so why are so many begging on the street? And why are the majority clearly not British – many not speaking any English? How did they get here?

Of course we have all read the stories of gangs sending people out to beg. I used to stop to talk to them and ask why they were begging, what their circumstances were etc, as you would with a British beggar – but then I read that many are controlled by gangs who watch them all day so they cannot answer truthfully and of course we may be in danger by trying to interfere.

I remember a few winters ago making a decision to try to help every beggar I saw near my workplace. The first – a Romanian – accepted money and food but when I offered winter clothing threw it on the ground. Same with the details of a hostel on a notepaper.  I asked Streetlink to help twice. When I enquired they said he had ‘problems’ and couldn’t be helped – in other words he didn’t want to conform or go to a hostel, he just wanted money. On my last attempt he said he saw no reason to work or pay tax or rent or to go back to Romania – no, he would stay here and scrounge what he could from genuine or guilty feeling wealthy shoppers who would pay a fiver for the Big Issue …!

I did speak to two young English blokes sleeping rough – alternately sofa surfing with friends and sleeping out – they were saying they had problems at home so ended up on the street. One was trying to get on a course and the other was being helped to get a job. They disappeared eventually – plenty of people bought them hot drinks/food/gave money and I hope they moved on to a better life.

Sometimes there are homeless Veterans – I really don’t understand how they’re not a priority for Hostels! Why aren’t we queueing up to help them? Has our country lost its heart? Some have mental health issues from their experiences, but shouldn’t we go out of our way to help them?

We do get genuine buskers too – quality musicians trying to make a few quid while studying or waiting for their big break! A welcome relief … My local area is the worst – a nice shopping area now swamped by a huge market – loud and smelly – hosting events with people shouting over music. Really not making for an enjoyable Saturday! And as for the English language? Rarely heard, sometimes not even in shops. I used to complain but am now worn down.

It feels that at every turn a foreign ‘beggar’ will lurch out and ask for money but you cannot speak for fear of reprisal. And on the train – the women laying out tissue boxes asking for cash have started again, and young men walk through asking for money – becoming abusive if none is offered.

The effect of this is making us hard-hearted as we have no idea who is genuine and who isn’t. We can’t talk to them in case gang leaders are watching, and we cannot help our own with money in case it’s spent on drugs. The police told me there are enough hostels in London for everyone – so why aren’t they used? Sometimes I feel confused, selfish and mean, but I know most that ask for money are not genuine.

Heading home I spot a homeless lady I’ve seen before. She has a trolley containing her belongings and sleeps at the bus stop. I walk over – ‘Can I buy you a cup of tea?’ I ask. ‘Yes please’ – selfishly I feel better – perhaps I can be redeemed, soften my heart, and help someone who really needs it but would never ask … I hope so …

 

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Sunday papers – 7 July 2019

Sunday papers – 7 July 2019

Brexit

How is our new Prime Minister going to get us out of the EU?  A poll in the Express backs prorogation.

TORIES overwhelmingly back the next Prime Minister suspending Parliament to force a no deal Brexit though should Remainer MPs club together in an attempt to stop it.
A poll published by The Times showed seven in 10 of Conservative Party members support Tory leadership race contenders Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt shutting down Parliament in a bid to stop meddling MPs derailing a no deal Brexit. The poll, published by the newspaper, was conducted by YouGov and involved party members, of which there are 200,000. The idea to close Parliament was initially put forward by Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt’s fellow contender for Theresa May’s role of Prime Minister Dominic Raab.
Brexiteer Mr Raab, who was out of the race in the second hurdle, said: “I think it’s wrong to rule out any tool to make sure that we leave by the end of October.”
He was criticised for this stance, but now it appears Tory members have warmed to the idea.

Westmonster also carries a poll.

New polling from YouGov shows that the vast majority of Conservative Party members support the suspension of Parliament if that’s what it takes to force through a No Deal Brexit. There are no excuses for the next Prime Minister.
With the Conservative leadership race now culminating, the latest YouGov poll for The Times  has Boris Johnson way out in front in the contest on 74%, with Jeremy Hunt polling just 26% in their head-to-head.
90% of Tory members believe Boris will force through an EU exit on WTO terms if required, compared to only 27% who think that Jeremy Hunt would deliver.
When Conservative Party members are asked if it would be acceptable to prorogue Parliament to prevents MPs from stopping No Deal, 67% of them regard this as acceptable. That includes 84% of Boris Johnson supporters.
Less than a third (27%) of all Tory members view such a move as unacceptable.

But the Independent has polled the general population.

The public would rather scrap Brexit or hold a second referendum than face a chaotic no-deal at Halloween if the new prime minister cannot strike a fresh agreement, a poll has found.
Voters are sceptical that Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt can negotiate a better Brexit deal in only three months, amid the same political turmoil that toppled Theresa May.
If a new agreement proves impossible, something many in Westminster and Brussels expect, an exclusive survey found 43 per cent of voters would opt for revoking the decision to leave the EU over a disorderly Brexit, which was backed by 38 per cent.

An economist has opined on how to save the country billions in the Express.

WITH the October 31 Brexit deadline drawing closer, a UK-based economist has said Theresa May’s replacement has the opportunity to drastically cut the proposed £39billion divorce bill by making the EU a take-it-or leave it offer.
Julian Jessop, the former Chief Economist at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said if the EU still refused to budge, a little-known body based in Holland called the Permanent Court of Arbitration may hold the key to unlocking the Brexit impasse. The issue of the £39billion Britain is supposedly liable for once it quits the bloc has been the subject of enormous controversy, with many Brexiteers suggesting it should be withheld completely. A policy paper published last month and presented by European Research Group (ERG) chairman Steve Baker said: “In the absence of a Withdrawal Agreement, the Government must not consider the UK to be liable for the estimated £39billion payable to the EU under that agreement, according to the doctrine that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

And today I quote from The Register about a major British company.

Continued uncertainties caused by Brexit may be giving all sorts of businesses sleepless nights – but HP Inc claims it isn’t among them.
The world’s second-largest PC maker – and the largest in Britain – made the bold statement in its latest set of profit and loss accounts for the year ended 31 October, filed with Companies House this week.
“Following the referendum in 2016, we have been assessing the potential impact of Brexit on HP Inc UK,” the firm said. “While there is still uncertainty as to the timing and nature of the UK’s exit from the EU, we do not believe Brexit will pose a significant risk to our business.”

Tory leadership

Meanwhile, the Tory leadership candidates have been revealing more of their policies.  The Sun claims an exclusive story about pay.

BORIS Johnson yesterday promised action to make the pound stretch further for poorly-paid workers.
The wannabe PM is preparing a wave of measures, including tax cuts, to give them more spending power.
Action could include lowering VAT rates and raising the National Insurance threshold for lowest earners.
It will form part of a “Brexit bonanza” to boost the wage packets of millions of hard-pressed families.

The Telegraph also has an exclusive story about Boris, claiming he is ‘not bluffing’ about getting us out.

Boris Johnson has insisted that he is “not bluffing” about delivering a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
The frontrunner to succeed Theresa May in little over a fortnight urged European leaders to “look deep into our eyes” and understand that the UK will leave the EU with or without an agreement on Halloween, if he becomes prime minister.
The warning, in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, will rankle in Brussels where EU figures insist they will not re-open the exit deal agreed with Theresa May. Mr Johnson hopes to secure changes by making clear that he will walk away if Brussels refuses to budge, after Mrs May failed to deliver on a similar promise in March.

The Express has picked up his comments.

BORIS JOHNSON has insisted he is not bluffing about delivering a no deal Brexit on October 31.
The Tory leadership frontrunner has said the European leaders to “look deep into our eyes” and understand the UK with leave with or without a deal, The Sunday Telegraph reported. Mr Johnson’s warnings come as EU figures refuse to re-open talks on the withdrawal agreement. The former Foreign Secretary added it is “vital” the EU see that the UK is ready to leave by Halloween.
Mr Johnson told The Sunday Telegraph: “We were pretty much ready on March 29. And we will be ready by October 31. And it’s vital that our partners see that.
“They have to look deep into our eyes and think, ‘my God, these Brits actually are going to leave. And they’re going to leave on those terms.’

Some of the former Tory leadership candidates have declared for one or other of the two leaders.  The Times quotes the Home Secretary.

Sajid Javid today endorses Boris Johnson as the next prime minister while cabinet enemies of the favourite step up efforts to derail him.
The home secretary became the most senior cabinet member to endorse Johnson, declaring he was “better placed” than Jeremy Hunt to “deliver what we need to do at this critical time”.
Javid positioned himself as Johnson’s chancellor, declaring there would be an emergency budget to boost the economy in the event of a no-deal Brexit. In a speech on Tuesday, Javid will say: “Trust in our democracy will be at stake if we don’t make October 31 a ‘deal or no deal’ deadline.

On the other side of the leadership debate, the Express says Hunt has ideas on returning jihadis.

JEREMY HUNT has revealed new plans to rewrite Britain’s treason law to condemn returning jihadist fighters and their supporters to life in prison.
The Foreign Secretary plans to make “the punishment fit for the crime” with a new Treason Act introducing life sentences for individuals who support militant groups and have engaged in combat with UK troops, according to an interview with The Sunday Times. The new legislation would include “more legal options” to prosecute hate preachers.

The Guardian accepts that Boris is in the lead.

Tory MPs have not been able to agree on very much since the momentous decision by voters to leave the EU. Yet as they headed back to their constituencies last week, there was one prediction that, for once, united them all. Figures from across the party agreed that Boris Johnson is odds-on to be the party’s next leader and to enter Downing Street. One cabinet minister, among those to have reluctantly accepted that view, had one word to sum up their feelings: “Gulp.”

And Sky News reports that Hunt will accept the result of the contest.

Jeremy Hunt has said he will accept the result of the Conservative leadership contest, despite concerns that some members have been sent more than one ballot paper.
Members will vote to choose either Boris Johnson  or Jeremy Hunt to become the next Conservative leader in a postal ballot, but the BBC, citing a party source, said more than 1,000 people could have received multiple forms in the contest.

Labour Party

Her Majesty’s official opposition is in crisis, reports the Times.

Jeremy Corbyn was plunged into a leadership crisis after his closest allies demanded that he sack his top aides for keeping him “captive”, as new claims of anti-semitism and bullying engulfed the party.
Multiple sources said Diane Abbott and John McDonnell confronted Corbyn, insisting that he fire his gatekeeper Karie Murphy and Seumas Milne, his director of communications and strategy.

And the Independent has branded the party leader ‘incompetent’.

Jeremy Corbyn is seen as a less competent leader than Boris Johnson by voters, The Independent can reveal, as the Labour leader faces questions about his party’s position on Brexit.
Mr Corbyn was regarded as less trustworthy and less capable of managing Brexit than Mr Johnson and his rival Jeremy Hunt, although he was seen as the most able to understand the problems of ordinary people.
An exclusive survey by BMG Research found 19 per cent viewed Mr Corbyn positively, with the overwhelming majority (61 per cent) taking a negative view of his leadership.

Sky News reports on a media clampdown.

Labour is clamping down on former staff blowing the whistle on its handling of anti-Semitism allegations ahead of a BBC documentary, it has been reported.
The Sunday Times says up to half a dozen ex-employees have torn up non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to speak to the Panorama programme, which is due to be aired on Wednesday.
According to the paper, Carter Ruck – acting on behalf of Labour – have written to Sam Matthews, the party’s former head of disputes, warning he could face legal action for breaking his NDA.

There is still plotting within the party, reports the Mail.

Jeremy Corbyn faces the prospect of having to ditch his two closest aides to save his leadership amid damaging new allegations over anti-Semitism in the party.
But he has been warned that sacrificing Seumas Milne and Karie Murphy may only postpone what one Shadow Minister called an ‘ice-pick’ coup by rivals – a reference to the murder weapon used in the assassination of Mr Corbyn’s Communist hero Leon Trotsky in 1940.
The Labour leader is this week braced for damaging new testimony over his party’s failure to crack down on anti-Semitism. The Mail on Sunday understands that a BBC Panorama investigation, to be screened on Wednesday, will produce evidence alleging that Mr Corbyn’s own office interfered in disciplinary cases involving anti-Jewish conduct.

Scotland

The incoming PM – whoever it is – has been warned that his plans could lead to Scottish independence in the Guardian.

Boris Johnson is being warned that embracing a disruptive no-deal Brexit would fuel nationalism in Scotland and risk the future of the union, as both opponents and supporters predict that he will now claim a decisive victory in the Tory leadership election.
With Johnson seemingly weeks away from entering Downing Street, the Scottish secretary, David Mundell, issues a thinly veiled warning to him that Nicola Sturgeon would welcome a no-deal Brexit with “unseemly glee”.
Both Jeremy Hunt and Johnson have suggested they would be willing to back a no-deal Brexit if necessary.

EU

It seems the bloc is taking action against Irish fishermen, reports the Express.

EU CHIEFS have blocked a £5.4 million funding subsidy for the Irish fishing industry in a bitter row over punitive regulations for trawlermen.
Brussels said it was imposing the sanction because of Dublin’s failure to establish a penalty points system for serious breaches of fisheries rules. The European Commission said it also intended to launch infringement proceedings against Ireland in the long-running dispute which has seen Leo Varadkar’s Government clash with industry leaders, Fianna Fáil and most of the Opposition.
Marine Minister Michael Creed blamed Fianna Fáil for blocking regulations which would have handed out penalty points to boats landing illegal catches, failing to declare catches and illegally altering fishing logbooks.

The Telegraph reports that the prospective president of the European Commission is bent upon creating a United States of Europe.

Federalists are pinning their hopes on Ursula von der Leyn, the probable next president of the European Commission, to take major steps towards their dream of a United States of Europe.
Mrs von der Leyn, a German defence minister, has said she wants her grandchildren to grow up in a federal Europe run along the lines of the US or Switzerland and called for an EU army.
“It is very important to have a president of the European Commission that has identified herself as a federalist,” Mr Gozi, president of the Union of European Federalists, said.

And the Telegraph outlines what could happen if we don’t make a clean break.

Britain could face paying more than €200bn to the European Union in the event of a eurozone bail-out unless the UK leaves under a managed clean Brexit, according to leading City and business figures.
The warning comes from the Brexit Coalition, a new grouping that represents 29 diverse pro-Brexit campaigning organisations, including the Alliance of British Entrepreneurs, Artists for Brexit and Farmers for Britain as well as Labour Leave and Green Leaves.
In a letter sent this week to Conservative Party constituency chairmen and senior Tory officials, the Brexit Coalition urges members to support a new prime minister who is “committed unequivocally” to backing a clean WTO-based Brexit, one which would avoid having to pay such massive contingent liabilities to the EU.

The Economic Force carries a report of a proposal to be put to the European Council to shift money around.

Those that don’t think that the EU has a problem with migration, might want to read this draft decision to be put before the EU Council.
There is a proposal for an EU Council decision that would shift a large amount of money from a reserve fund into the Security and Citizenship, heading three, line of the EU budget to deal with what is being termed as the ‘challenges’ presented by migration, refugee inflows and security threats.
The money will come from what is called the ‘Flexibility Instrument’ that is there to provide funding for clearly identified expenditure that cannot be covered by the EU budget without exceeding the maximum annual amount for expenditure set out in the Multiannual Financial Framework, or MFF.
The maximum allowed for this Flexibility Instrument each year is €600 million.

Slavery

A gang of slavemasters has been operating in the West Midlands reports Westmonster.

A cruel gang of people traffickers from Poland have been jailed after running what a judge described as “the largest conspiracy of its type ever known”.
Up to 400 victims were trafficked into the West Midlands, forced to live in horrific conditions as they worked on farms and recycling centres.
Luring vulnerable people from Poland, the victims included the homeless and alcoholics.
Those involved stayed in horrendous accommodation scattered across West Bromwich, Sandwell, Smethwick and Walsall. Some properties had no working toilets.

And the Times has an investigation into where the slavemasters were selling their goods.

Some of Britain’s best-known supermarkets and retailers have been selling goods from supply chains that used workers from the biggest human trafficking network yet exposed in the UK.
A Sunday Times investigation can reveal that the modern-day slaves were forced to work for little or no money. Some of the victims had the task of picking and packing spring onions for a Worcestershire farm. It is part of a fresh-produce group that has customers including Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda.
The gang, members of which were finally jailed last week, controlled the victims’ bank accounts and was able to seize more than £2m of their wages. This meant some of the victims earned as little as 50p an hour.

NHS

Did you think the NHS spent all its money on healthcare?  Think again, says the Times.

Delays, misdiagnosis and poor treatment in accident and emergency (A&E) departments are now the top cause of NHS negligence claims, overtaking orthopaedic surgery for the first time.
Bungled operations on backs, bones, joints, ligaments, nerves and muscles usually lead to the most claims. But a 41-page NHS strategy document for the next 12 months reveals that emergency units have become the main source of litigation against the service.
In 2017-18, NHS Resolution, which handles negligence cases, received 1,395 claims about A&E, 88 (7%) more than in the previous year. There were 1,281 orthopaedic claims. In total, £404m was claimed in damages for A&E blunders.

And it looks like more NHS cash is to be spent on Brexit contingency plans, reports BBC News.

The Department of Health and Social Care plans to spend £3m on no-deal Brexit measures to transport medication.
It wants to hire an “express freight service” to transport medicines, blood and transplant tissue.
But experts have warned that the deadline of 1 September set for the deal is a “tight” timeframe.

Homelessness

The Guardian reports on plans to deport rough sleepers.

The Home Office has drawn up a secret programme using homelessness charities to acquire sensitive personal data that could result in the deportation of non-UK rough sleepers, the Observer can reveal.
A chain of emails from senior Home Office officials from December 2018 to May 2019 also shows that the clandestine programme ignores European privacy laws by passing rough sleepers’ sensitive personal information directly to the Home Office without their consent.

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