Thursday, 14 March 2013

Money on our minds Today I played my part in an established neighbourhood ritual, as signatory witness with my neighbour to counting the money from charity envelopes collected. There are just fourteen houses and, remarkably, she had managed to get a response from all but one; we hit the record with well over £4 per household. The cause was a popular one, and when people decide to be generous, they are generous. Everyone seems to have money on their minds these days: how much they have, the predictability of their income, and what to do with it. And I sense that more and more people – in spite of the conspiracy of disinterest shown by most of the broadcast media - are beginning to get the message that poverty is a dominant, complex social problem. There has been a significant political shift lately, and tomorrow’s budget ought to bring some relief; but undoubtedly profound, lasting damage has been done, much of it inexcusably ideologically-driven and malicious. Some people, like Bradley Ariza who has an article in today’s Guardian, are counting calories too. As he says, ‘not to lose weight, but to try and make sure I get enough.’ ‘The problem is that as soon as we try to work our way out of the grip of the welfare state, we lose so many benefits, and incur so many other costs; transport, childcare etc. Yet instead of helping people, there seems to be this obsession with punishing those on benefits, as if being poor is some sort of crime.’ Previously: Poverty: curtains or blinkers? Political stereotyping of poverty Povertyism in policy: 'troubled families' The language of povertyism It's the povertyism, stupid It's the poverty, stupid

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