The System is Fucked Up by Clive Oseman

I saw a meme on Facebook.

It stated- “You know the system is fucked up

when the penalty for having no money

is to be fined more money.”

The comments underneath were depressing-

Thoughtless people confessing their ignorance

and lack of perspective,

believing getting arrested was an incentive,

a route to a roof and meals at Her Majesty’s pleasure

as if cruel criminality is something to treasure.


No thought given to how we got here,

how social housing has been sold off

at fire-sale prices and never replaced,

how people are left to their own devices

when their luck runs out

and there is no place to turn.


It is, indeed, a fucked up world

when life’s injustices mean

at society’s insistence

we make weapons of indifference

yet empathy and sympathy

can’t be used as tools to heal wounds.


Let’s criminalise their need,

assume the way forward is

to free the streets of beggars

not for their good, but for ours,

as we breed another generation

fed on selfishness and greed.


Some even suggested the meme was a sham

designed to trick us into a scam,

that it couldn’t possibly be true.

They clearly never knew about Ashley Hackett,

a rough sleeper arrested in Brighton

by a plain clothes cop after asking for 10p.

Yes. 10p.

Taken to court, with all the costs entailed

where common sense, eventually, prevailed.


But that isn’t always so.


Where is the sense in policy,

the knives plunged in by authority?

Brighton has record numbers on the streets,

but it’s not alone.

Everywhere the crisis escalates.

Take Bristol….


By some estimates, the numbers rose

by ninety percent in just three years,

yet council spending on prevention

will be cut by forty percent over four.

We know the score, the true intention.

The rich get richer and sod the poor.


Meanwhile, for those without a home

the average age of death is forty seven.

Among women, a mere forty three.


Some will argue there’s nothing can be done,

head back to social media for fun

and moan about the protests that they see.

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