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.
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.
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.