Poverty is Caused By The Rich Not The Poor

The Post Office is so crowded that the queue reaches out of the door.  All ages and all races stand patiently to await their turn with the harangued but always polite counter staff.  A couple of kids run in and out of the queue, playing harmlessly and drawing affectionate smiles from those waiting.

One man is holding up the queue, arguing furiously and desperately at the window.  His benefits haven’t arrived.  The clerk tries to explain patiently that it isn’t the Post Office’s fault, but he is more concerned with how he will eat that day.  Another older man, with his head half shaved, starts to emit a low tuneful moaning, as if praying to some imagined God.  As he grows progressively louder the prickles of annoyance can be felt amongst those around him.  This is not a place where people are afraid to speak up.  However since he is obviously not very well, his strange singing goes without comment.  There is a strong tolerance here amongst those of us who really are all in it together.

I’m relieved to see a smartly dressed woman, obviously on her lunch break, withdrawing six pounds in cash and then quickly leaving.  I’m glad I’m not the only one who has too little in the bank to use the cash point.  There is a strange kind of shame in standing in a queue for twenty minutes to take out the last couple of pounds in the bank.  It is relieved a little by not being the only one in that position.  The clerk doesn’t even raise an eyebrow as I ask for my three pounds.  I suppose it’s not uncommon.

In the supermarket immaculate young mums, more stylish in Primark and budget cosmetics than those from the leafy suburbs, push around Argos buggies as they check the price of every item of value food.  One woman is singing softly to her giggling toddler.  Almost everyone who passes them smiles at the happy little girl.  People chat at the check out.  There is no division between those serving and those being served.  The rain is a widespread source of disappointment.  That and the ever increasing prices.

The Big Issue seller, soaking wet as he is, wishes everyone a nice day as they leave the store.  Occasionally someone, who obviously doesn’t have much themselves, buys a copy.  Almost everyone returns his greeting.  Some people stop to stroke his dog.

Outside the charity shop are several bags of old clothes, left in the rain, which the store have so far failed to notice.  Already a small number of people cautiously begin examining the bags.  No-one pays them any heed as they sift through the now sodden clothing.

The Pound Shop is packed with people buying everything from boxes of cereal to  cheap shampoo.  I spot a toy I think my son might like, but on closer inspection, realise it would break like almost everything else they sell.  The shoppers in here are resourceful, examining every item in detail.  Some people in the queue have baskets piled high, others stand in line to purchase just a pack of baby wipes or box of cheap washing powder.

Just six months ago this soulless shop full of plastic tat was an indoor market.  The Council closed it quickly and ruthlessly, giving the stall holders barely any notice that their livelihoods were about to be destroyed.  Another piece of the community wrenched away to be replaced by corporate poverty pimps, staffing their shops with workfare and minimum wage casual jobs.

There’s a small crowd outside the Jobcentre, smoking and sharing cigarettes.  “There’s never any fucking jobs in there” says one disgruntled youth to his friend as he leaves.

Further down the road a young black boy has been stopped by police.  He barely looks sixteen.  He is obviously irritated, but stays calm.  I hang around outside the caf’, watching.  I’m not the only one.  People keep an eye on the police round here.  Everyone knows what they are like.

The pair of coppers is eventually joined by a van containing several more.  They don surgical gloves as they prepare to search the young boy in full view of the busy street.  He seems resigned to this.  It has no doubt happened many times before.  The boy stands defiantly as the men in uniform rifle his pockets and stick their hands down his trousers.  They find nothing.  He is sent on his way and the police fade away, laughing and joking amongst themselves.

I buy a cup of tea from the caf’, and sit outside to smoke even though it’s too cold really.  I’m so joined by two men, probably in their early fifties.   We talk about the football.  England managed a draw with France in the opening match of the European Cup.  This is roundly seen to be a good result, although there is no optimism about the tournament.  One of the guys starts winding up the Turkish Cafe owner who had been predicting a 3-1 victory to France.  The banter is good-natured, as the cafe owner concedes he lost a bet at the bookies on the result.  No-one mentions the Olympics, the Jubilee, or any of that crap.

One of the men leaves, with a bulging bag of clothes.  “I’ll get this started shall I?”, he says to the other.  I realise he is heading to the launderette next door and that they are sharing the machine.  At three and a half quid a time that makes a lot of sense.

There are problems around here for sure.  The main one being no-one’s got any money.There are a residual group of street drinkers, who look battered and twice the age they probably are.  No-one envies them.  Some of the kids round here can be a nightmare.  There is nowhere for them to go.  And there are villains, neglectful parents, drugs users and drug dealers, just like any corner of the UK.

But they are the minority.  There are few parents round here who would leave their eight year old child in the pub, forgotten in the haze of drink.  The drugs round here are no different to the ones that this country’s Prime Minister nearly got expelled for taking in the privileged corridors of Eton.  Unlike the Bullingdon boys of Oxford University, the vandal youth pay for their crimes with Community Service and prison, not platinum credit cards.

But there is more humanity and tolerance in this small part of London than the millionaires in Government could ever understand.  People with nothing look out for each other, speak to each other, care for each other and help each other in ways the grasping businessmen who sneer at the poor would consider completely alien.  Selfishness and greed are not virtues here.  Yet these are the people that odious government ministers blame for their own poverty, ignoring the fact that the thieves in the city have stolen the entire world.  Whether working for a pittance, or unemployed, whether single parents, disabled, unwell, or with poor mental health, people round here, and in thousands of other deprived areas of the country, survive despite the onslaught against the poor.

There is little round here that couldn’t be improved with more money.  The opposite is happening as libraries close, rents soar, wages stagnate and benefits are cut.  The very poorest pay everyday for the crimes of the rich.  Those who are in debt owe money to legal loan sharks, like the spiv who recently wrote a report advising the Government to make it easier to sack people.

The stream of lies that come from government – that the poor are poor because they are feckless or lazy – just reveals the cossetted world they were brought up in.  Their view of the very poorest is driven by poverty porn television shows or right wing tabloid newspapers rather than any direct experience of the people they would no doubt step over in the street.  They cut and cut and drive people further into homelessness, poverty and despair, but still we survive.

The poor are poor because the rich take more and more.  Greedy landlords push up rents whilst greedy bosses force down wages.   Unemployment and workfare is used to undermine the few improvements people have fought for.  Land is sold off to build yuppy flats no-one round here can afford, and supermarkets strangle the few remaining locally owned shops.  Whilst pensioners freeze in their homes and worry about surviving the winter, energy company bosses and hedge fund managers fly around in private jets paid for by profit stolen from those with almost nothing.  Sick and disabled people, many of whom may have worked hard for years, see benefits they were promised and had paid for, slashed to fund tax cuts for millionaires.  It was bankers, not benefit claimants, who broke the economy.

The ferocity of our children’s anger, as flawed and often tragic as it was, has already been displayed.  That rage is not confined to just the young.  Every pale faced shyster in Saville Row suit who lectures us about our lives from their suburban mansions only fuels the fire.  As the hundreds of thousands with nothing left to lose turn into millions, that rage may yet come to the front doors of the pampered elite.  One day we will take this world back.

50 responses to “Poverty is Caused By The Rich Not The Poor

  1. The rich depend on the poor to keep them wealthy , the poor need to shun the rich mans shops and businesses !

    • g2-ff76b699405c84326cd5ef8bc69339e0

      thats not so easy when they buy out all the smaller shops so your choice is line their pockets or starve, freeze and go naked

  2. Pingback: Poverty is Caused By The Rich Not The Poor | Social Welfare News | Scoop.it

  3. g2-ff76b699405c84326cd5ef8bc69339e0

    at last the truth – if only we could get this piece published in a notional newspaper – have you tried the independant or the guardian – you really should publish widely if you can because this is the truth of the real people of this country

  4. One of the chief architects of this misery is Lord David Freud (known, for obvious reasons, as Lord Fraud). He cycles into work in town and swims in Highgate Pool, apparently http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2012-06-11-Lord-Freud-exclusive-Poorest-should-be-prepared-to-take-greatest-risks Is this anywhere near your patch? Perhaps you or friends should have a word, see if the direct approach gets through to him. We don’t weant it. People are dying. He needs to understand that there are consequences to his actions he may not have considered.

  5. and it started from maggie selling our housing stock,road sweeper asked who he voted for answer magie reporter why she allowed me to buy my house,now one less for hire .SO must you go private and pay more than the council rate ,so much for selling stock left the working man houseless now they let the banks go burst but no its thier moneys whos in them not ours but we end up paying for them who are above can carry on living in a style they are accustome to while we miss meals and tighten our belts so that they can live and eat caviar while we luckys if there is food for the table how lucky we are where benefits are time limited if ones worked forty or more years you time limited and cant claim only a stamp and for that your bodys sold by a charity for £2225 for them to give to some firm who can abuse yo usome more how whot alovely country we live in were the rich live well and the poor starve welcome to 2012 britain jeff3

  6. People like Grayling, Duncan Smith, Osborne and Pickles should be forced to work for free in Poundland for the rest of their lives.

    • g2-ff76b699405c84326cd5ef8bc69339e0

      or since they say it is a fair, perfectly livable amount for minimum wage – and no benefits at all since all claimants are lazy, workshy, lying, scroungers and they wouldn’t want to be classed like that!!
      oh yeah sorry i forgot one of them did try it – and couldn’t hack it for A SINGLE WEEK

    • Cunts like Grayling, Duncan Smith, Osborne and Pickles should be forced to eat dog shit for the rest of their fucking lives!

  7. Michael J Nicholls

    You want to tackle the nations debt? Here is how you do this;
    (1) Withdraw ALL of our combat troops from the shithole that is Afghanistan. (2) Make the bastards that caused all of this fucking misery – the filthy speculators and bankers PAY for their financial shenanigans. (3) STOP trying to prop up the Euro – LET IT FUCKING FAIL – then start the presses rolling and PRINT MONEY. FUCK what ‘The City’ says…it is this lying, cheating, corrupt , evil, OBSCENITY that is the cause of this. The people of Britain are yea close to rising up, en masse. And when that happens, I will be fighting WITH them, with a sword in my hand, because I will be fighting on the side of RIGHT. Of HUMANITY.

  8. Forward this to the likes of the Guardian, this should be read by the pampered middle classes, those who possibly may give a shit. A brilliant piece on how life really is for the underclass.

  9. This is a spectacular article, Johnny— it really should be published everywhere, including in Guardian and Independent. It is radical at its root but benign-sounding enough on the surface that they probably won’t notice enough to muffle it.

  10. And when I run out of money, I, too, will move here. Because apparently there are at least a few parts of this place still with heart. We gotta defend ourselves against the Jubileeches and all their ConDem ilk, man….

    • g2-ff76b699405c84326cd5ef8bc69339e0

      if you want to know about abuse for standing up for not supporting the jubilee/royal family of spongers/the condems/gov. you should see the offensive comments on a pic i put up on facebook to say fuck the union jack, that flag does not represent me – and they were from my in-laws (who i thought liked me) and my so called friends http://www.facebook.com/ladysian

      • I’m amazed they noticed it through all the other shit you spam with.

      • i mostly ‘spam’ or share feel good sentiments or funny comments and everyone has both the right and the ability to not see these posts – they just gotta set their preferences to only see important updates/ see no pictures
        so shut the f*ck up

  11. That’s such a good blog post. Reversing the self-fulfilling media propaganda that tells the poor that they should be terrified of their neighbours (and I know it’s not all fluffy solidarity, I did use to live on an estate in Hackney, but there are always more good people than bad…)

  12. So well put Johnny, this describes the daily reality of the life of the poor in 21st century Britain so so well.

  13. Well put.

  14. Fuck the Union Jack

    Want me to say it for you? FUCK THE UNION JACK! FUCK THE SPONGING ROYAL FAMILY! FUCK THE CONDEMNS! FUCK THE GOVERNMENT! AND FUCK YOUR FUCKING IN-LAWS – FUCKING FASCISTS!

  15. When the time comes to take our world back, I’ll be there.

  16. Awesome article, should be read by the thousands!

  17. This post is the nearest thing I’ve read to the truth of how life is for a great number of Britain’s. poor, sick. disabled and unemployed, underpaid workers, not forgetting the pensioners it deserves notoriety Thank you Jonnyvoid the new Robert Tressell

  18. This is so utterly, terribly, and somberly the truth… Even here, in America, one of the countries that claim to be above such things. We live in a time where money speaks louder than the suffering of those who don’t deserve to suffer. Where candidates can “even in economic hard times” blame the poor, disabled, and under privileged for the bad economy brought on while the wealthiest 1% enjoy record profits. It’s purely criminal, and on a grand scale.

    Only the poorest, and most under, or unemployed can understand. The people who worked their asses off to capture a “piece of the dream” that politicians and their dirty money rip out from underneath them. When did the scavengers become the predators? When did vultures start driving their food to their own demise? When did they start getting away with it?

    It started before I was born, this is for sure. It was well in place by the time I could vote (13 years ago). Their power was well affirmed by the time I realized the joke was on me when many of us did (3 – 4 years ago). Most of those of my generation were/are in a similar predicament, that either by the time they realize, or by the time they could do anything it was already like this. Economist even agree with me… The ‘American Dream’ is dead.

    Or at least that is what we call it, I am sure you have your own nationalized dreams of success. What can you say about a society in which a modest living, and a modest life, not even an epically fantastic, whimsical, daydream of one, simply isn’t possible for most. The only thing you can… That the establishment has failed, and that the only reason the middle class is a fiction is because the upper class is little more than and band of thieves.

    • Reneta-thank you for telling it like it is. “The American dream is dead” -dead and buried.”

      I am in the US too and I sat here reading this article and thinking to myself, “yes, that is exactly what we are going through here too.” And what I expect most every other country is going through also.

      Now, sadly, even with our Occupy wall street, etc., and other groups trying to fight the status quo, it’s not getting better. There is no better to get.

      There is only the joyless task of watching the rich play and have fun while the rest of us lose our homes, our jobs, our health and finally…our lives.

      I wish an uprising would fix things, but I think we were kept in the dark for so long, that there is nothing that can be done now. We were fooled and lied to and it worked-and now, it’s too late.

  19. Lovely piece. Have paraphrased for twitter feed. Thank you.

  20. Love this article!! its so true as they say, you pay the poor less to make them work harder and the rich more to make them work harder its fucked up! It’s truly a pleasure to read such a truthful and well written article! I agree that this be published in papers, but also worldwide!! The rich gangsters, loan sharks, bullies and general rich wankers need to remember what it is to be human and not just think about themselves all the time! I’ve suffered in poverty all my life and am fed up!! enough is enough, possible uprising/revolution definitely likely to happen soon, not a question of if but when! so much anger from millions can only be contained for so long.

  21. wow what a true picture you have painted. this government has me so frightened to live anymore i am mentally ill feel like killing myself as they make me feel worthless because i am on benefits. they keep saying we need to get back to work but what employer is going to give me the support i need when i am going thru a bpd episode do they give me time off or sack me, then i will be back to square one no support no money just a load of guilt and suicidal feelings because i am made to feel worthless by cameron and his cronies. how do they know what is really going in this country there so rich they dont live in the real world its us poor people who are struggling to just get through the day with what we have, everyday there is something in the news about the way we have to live its got to the point where i dont want to live anymore because they are frightening me.

  22. The system is broken

    Honest, I like it muchley!

    I have lived that life, it is ridiculous and soul destroying. Why can’t common sense be applied to the benefits system? I had a written offer of a job it was supporting an autistic child with severe behavioural problems whilst travelling to and from school, inorder to communicate with the child I needed to learn Makaton which is a simple form of sign language, I could have started the job if I had booked onto the next available couse date. I had to pay for the course myself. I called to try and book am appontment with my advisor and was told she was not free for 6 weeks! Having explained my situation another member of staff looked into it and eventually it was decided that they could not pay for the course because they would have to send out a tender to at least 6 training providers to see if the training could be offered for less than the Makaton charity (and the only training provider!) You could understand thier position couldn’t you if I were asking for hundreds or thousands of pounds worth of training…..the cost was actually less than one JSA payment!! and I could have signed off immediatly…..common sense….nope….not even a little!

  23. Thaw Nonplused

    The whole thrust of this piece of sentimental rubbish is that those who have made something of themselves are all grasping bastards who hate poor people which is patently not true! What is wrong with being well off? I wish I was wealthy, if I won the lottery you wouldn’t see me for dust I promise you that! And, may I add, if it wasn’t for people getting off their arses and creating wealth we’d all still be living in fields and worshiping trees so get a grip and grow up you bunch of hypocrites.

    • Quite frankly, you are wrong. Invention, ingenuity, and creation are the inventions of the poor, creations that come out of the absence of something. Remember, necessity is the mother of invention. Money is not the reason for our prosperity and you’d be a moron to assert otherwise. Some of the greatest minds of our time were also the poorest. You know what uncontrolled, unchecked greed and wealth produces? Stagnation.

      You’d be wise to remember the lessons of history before you accuse people of being something they are not. The only hypocrite here is you for being too unwilling to actually pull yourself out of your ignorance long enough to see the forest through the trees. Wealthy didn’t call us from the caves and tree worship, human creativity and ingenuity did and those things are stagnated when the forest becomes to overgrown to allow new growth. You can worship your money all you want, but it will not save you when you needs a sharp mind instead to survive.

  24. what a powerful piece of writing.

    As a disabled person , Im registered as severely visually impaired , I have neurofibromatosis and mental health issues I live in fear of loosing my benefits,, I simply couldnt work.. im having therapy which will last at least another 18 months, and even then if im better than I am now my physiscal problems mean that Im unlikely to be able to do a job.and should i be told I have to work who would employ me?

    The truthis that emploers often avoid taking on disable people, they dont say you didnt get the job because your disabld…they find another reason and proving youve been discriminated against is hard to prove and expensive to contest legally now that so many charities that used to help people in that position close and legal aid isnt available in the way it once was.

    THe very rich prosper, (they always do ), but everyone else finds the things they used to do are no longer possible..for some this just means a holiday less and a change in where they shop..maybe less out of schoolactivities for the kids andless driving places and more walking..

    For the very poor life becomes a fight to survive .

    what will happen tho when people begin to find they arent surving? what happens when landlords find people cant pay their rents even when those rents are fair and reasonable? Are we going to see more and more people on the streets ? Are we going to see shanty towns building up as people make shelter out of what they can find?

    If things continue the way they are GB is going to look like third world countries poor quarters but hey thats ok cos those effected will just be written off as worthess by much of the press, Not victoims od circumstance,or as the colateral damage of government decisions, but as “low lifes” deserve nothing more..

    So if you see a blind , lumpy woman.. tapping her way through the sleeping bodies on the street ,looking down and confused and bewildered dont pity me, dont feel sorry for me because I must be defrauding the ” hardworking taxpayer” and really should be working shouldnt I?

  25. fab – have shared x

  26. Although I wholeheartedly agree with most of what is written in this article, there is one thing I find very difficult to understand. Although I am far from rich, or what most people would consider well off, I am certainly not one of the poor. However, all through my life, from being a grammar-school boy to being a low paid engineering apprentice and then a married man and father raising five children on a single wage packet, I have never found myself in a position where I have been able to afford to smoke cigarettes or drink myself legless and even less to be able to support a drug addiction even if I had wanted to. It would have been completely out of the question. Yet these are the very activities the writer has observed taking place among those he describes as the abject poor. Surely food and clothing must be more important than life destroying habits.

    • Habits tend to dominate.

    • ‘Life destroying habits’ arise out of having one’s life destroyed. Many people self-medicate or self-harm because they have had to deal with extreme forms of abuse ( whether neglect,violence etc) Addictions are not a result of contentment or well-being, there is evidence of both genetic and environmental triggers. You need to walk in someone’s shoes before condemning their possibilities of choosing how to live.

  27. A very keen eyed view of the world that some of us will recognise

  28. This piece accurately describes a reality unknown or ignored by many. A pleasure to read an accurate account of the existence suffered by many today.

  29. The only way you are going to bring the rich down is either with a wall street type crash in all markets or mass strikes and an end to moneterism altogether. If the people took hold of the means of production of goods and food and distribution who would feed the likes of IDS, cameron etc, certainly not me and their millions would be worthless in a non-moneterist system – bring it on.

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