Sunday, 16 February 2014

"Benefits Street"

The channel 4 programme benefits street will have delighted the makers with its high ratings (5 million for the 2nd episode) and it impact in newspapers and other media.

Questions have even been asked in Parliament,  sadly ones which say a lot about the poor level of debate in parliament.

Despite the name of the programme - no one is actually able to say how many people on the street get benefits or what those benefits are. A huge number of people get benefits - but strangely we have a weird debate in the country where some people who get benefits - child allowance, state pension, winter fuel allowance seem to think their benefits aren't benefits. 

Tax credits are another benefit. Arguably - lots of tax allowances are benefits. People can get many thousands of pounds in tax breaks.

What is very noticeable is that while there is some anger and some sympathy directed at some of the lead 'charecters' on benefits street, few people seem to want to swap places with them. Which is odd when you think about it - people are being wound up to feel jealous about people who they have no reason to be jealous of.  Would I want to be the alcoholic or the shoplifter who doesn't even try to conceal what he is doing but just grabs stuff and runs out the shop - and has as a consequence spent a long time in prison.  Does anyone think the boredom and drudgery of "a life on benefits" is so marvelous that they  are chucking in their job tomorrow.  I doubt it.  I hear people ranting about people on benefits having big TV screens and tattoos - as if people could have their tattoos removed if they become unemployed or that a second hand TV could be sold for a fortune. 

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