by John Ward
Homelessness in Europe and the UK is not caused by indiscriminate migrancy. But it isn’t helped by it either. We need less pinhead dancing on these connected issues, and a far stronger grip on reality. Our homeless levels are shameful: but populist appeals based on open floodgates are shameless and insouciant.
‘Today the Prime Minister will announce a new Task Force to determine the cause of homelessness in the UK’ Tory HQ tweeted yesterday. It being already tomorrow, one wonders what the Task Force is doing to catch up with the implied urgency.
Why a task force…is there some long-lost outpost of our Unsunsetting Empire that stands threatened by the sight of people in rags, wrapped in rags, and without anything to stop precipitation making them wet rags, cold rags and then freezing rags?
I do so detest the media language of politicians. Tsars, task forces, supremos, commissars, ‘public’ inquiries, ‘select’ committees and so an ad nauseam: the sole purpose of this whirlygig is to go round in circles, thus giving the impression – as they bob up and down on dead horses – that useful actions are taking place.
There’s a whole plethora of other mendacious balm that goes with it, too. “Mistakes have been made, but lessons have been learned”, “There is no place in our society for this kind of behaviour”, “No stone will be left unturned as we seek out the guilty”….onandonandon it goes, as the Parliamentary Roundheads march on to their goal of milking the taxpayer while sucking up to the evaders.
If you google ’causes of homelessness in UK’ (as I have just done) 9.2 million results come up. There are thousands of reports put together by Shelter, The Big Issue, Crisis, Ending Homelessness and dozens of other organisations over the decades. They’re propping open the doors along Whitehall’s Corridors of Power, on the Parliamentary microfiches, or in Hansard’s online history of endless debates about the subject.
If you put all these reports into a pile and recycled the paper to make polyuro coverings, chances are, as a holding operation, at least some of the street-sleepers would have a warmer wrapping to help them through the winter.
We don’t need a hyped task force or any other form of confection to explain why the poor devils are sleeping in doorways; all we need from here on in is to spend some real money on treating what’s wrong with them, and then putting them back together.
While there is a group of people we call The Homeless (and they are separated from almost all the rest of us) it is a grave mistake to imagine homelessness as a kind of isolated island where there is no past and no future. There are as many types of homeless people – with as many different misfortunes – as there are types of alcoholic. They weren’t always homeless, and some won’t always be.
But too many will be. And you only have to interrogate what Parliament has “done” in this area to see that it’s 50% cold, systemic procedure and 50% random economic growth that gets some people back into homes again – but not others.
The homeless are the “responsibility” of the DWP, under the 1996 Housing Act and the 2002 Homelessness Act. It says a lot about the bureaucratic mentality that they use the term “homeless households” as a description of the unfortunates I’m writing about. This is a bit like having jobless employed, pensionless pensioners, healthy sick people and the living dead. The last of those would be, by far, the best descriptor of what it’s like to sleep rough.
Looking at the data, one is bound to observe that Labour has done better than the Tories over the years. In 1998, there were over 200 homeless people per hundred thousand in Britain, and by 2009 that had fallen to 70 – a huge drop. But after the banking crisis (and the austerity that followed) the figure rose rapidly again. Today, the DWP has to admit that there were 54,000 homeless people in 2015, but over 250,000 now. (Shelter says there are 320,000, but then they would say that: whatever the truth of it, the figures are a disgrace).
To “qualify” (aren’t these words just wunnerful?) as being homeless, such people need to get over five hurdles – none of which they would either be able (or want) to jump because they lack the skills, motivation or trust in relation to such a system – whose sole ‘outcome’ (another of those words) is a place at the end of a long housing queue.
Before the Euronuts start with their “this doesn’t happen in the mainland EU”, I shall present some further damning stats. I realise that Remainder Fluffies don’t do stats, but they are sometimes persuaded to shut theFU when presented with them on a plate by somebody else, as this saves the poor dears from making any which way kind of effort to grasp reality using their own steam. They vastly prefer to have the steam uselessly exiting their cloth ears.
There were 115,000 homeless French citizens in 2012, and there are 140,000 today. Over the last few years, the rate per 000 has been increasing. In fact, Finland is the only country in the European Union where homelessness is not on the rise, according to the “Third Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe” from the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (Feantsa).
‘This past year has resolutely confirmed the existence of another Europe: a Europe not merely ignored but also misunderstood, not just despised but also forgotten — a Europe of the homeless,’ the report concluded.
In the light of this solid information about the depth of a crisis that has gone unsolved since the 1960s, this was the EU and UN response to mass migration from the troubled northern half of Africa:
- Every major EU leader except David Cameron and the East European EU members gave an open-arms welcome to migrants from outside the EU – without any checks whatsoever being put into place as to their real material needs or familial situations, or indeed consideration of how this might affect the European homeless in particular, and their hard-pressed, neoliberally pauperised citizens. In Greece, what was left of any real Government offered similar platitudes, whereas the People of Greece got stuck in and did their best….despite facing by far the most onerous austerity of any eurozone ClubMed country.
- The UN has arm-wrestled the major States and blocs in the world to take on migrants, and although several nations – including Australia and the US – have refused, Westminster and Brussels haven’t. In the midst of a battle about control of borders, Theresa May has ceded an enormous amount of control to a remote and unelected Assembly of virtue signallers….none of whom will have to face the consequences personally.
If this seems to LibLefters yet more evidence of my nasty scumfascistbigot nature, I would once again have to spoonfeed them the views of homelessness charities.
As long ago as 2012, Chairman of the Nightwatch charity Jad Adams, said the charity could collapse if the Government did not stem the flow of immigration as the Eurozone crisis deepens, adding, “I fear that many migrants we see as clients simply see the UK as more attractive for the workless life than others.We have managed to support them – if with some difficulty – but we cannot go on increasing our capacity endlessly. The free movement of poverty is putting unacceptable strains on charitable work”.
A year later in 2013, the Platform for International Cooperation on undocumented migrants (PICUM) noted how, as a result of uncontrolled migrancy, “housing standards are lowered, suspicion towards migrants is increased, and undocumented
migrants are unable to access existing complaint mechanisms or recourse
on the private housing market, so they face a difficult choice between being arrested on grounds of their irregular status, or becoming homeless.” On the whole, they choose homelessness. Ipso facto, they increase the size of the problem.
It is important for the reality-challenged LeftLibs to grasp that this is not about apportioning blame, and thus joining the ranks of Le Pen et al. It is merely a logical process of asking what exactlyTF Brussels idiots were thinking of when they let loose the dogs of social war some three years ago. Because sure as eggs are eggs, the result everywhere – in Sweden, Germany, Austria, Italy, Holland, France and now Spain – has been a massive upsurge in electoral support for genuinely racist political Parties.
If you accept little more than 25% of what I posted here yesterday, you can surely see how the approaching global econo-fiscal train-wreck is going to make the tensions in all this socially explosive.
It is not the job of government leaders to make vague applause-seeking demonstrations of their niceness on the global stage. It is their job to defend citizens, protect their rights, and maximise their potential for personal fulfilment.
Enough prancing. We are already by far the most overcrowded and and infrastructurally underfunded top 5 State in the EU. We need to get off the doomed ship Eutanic, and tackle our own very serious problems closer to home.