Thursday, June 25, 2009

Confused

Last night I watched the programme on BBC1 about homelessness. The programme made me kind of angry, which I knew it would before I watched it. I find something very distasteful about people pretending to be homeless. I find something quite patronising about that, even if it is meant to be showing people the reality of life on the streets. I was impressed by the sheer kindness and generosity of some people, but that made me angry as well because the people they were ‘helping’ didn’t really need help, as after a few day these people would be returning to their nice homes. I feel as though taking money from people when it could have gone to someone who generally needed that help or care is morally dubious to say the least. I was very unimpressed.

I am trying to pull together our itinerary for Canada. We have a lot of driving to do and various places to visit. This has made me wonder if perhaps we should get a SatNav to take with us, but a) I’m not a fan of SatNav and b) I haven’t a clue how they work really but from my brief bit of research I think I would either need to buy one with Canadian maps preloaded on it or would need to pay to get some on top of paying for the SatNav. This sounds rather expensive. But I do think it might make our trip rather easier. We will need to decide.

Some work I was doing yesterday made me think that whilst I may be a bit of a Puritan in some ways (don’t smoke drink, swear etc), I am a very liberal Puritan. I think I have got more and more liberal as I have got older – and even shock myself with my somewhat liberal attitude to some things. This amuses me.

12 comments:

The Gripes of Wrath said...

- I think the programme made me angry for different reasons: I was angry at how little empathy they had, Annabel Croft in particular: she seemed to treat it all as a bit of a "girls own adventure". I was rather hoping she'd get pissed on at the very least- preferably by one of her posh friends.

Having said that, I thought it was interesting when John Bird pointed out that they were all pretty much behaving like "real" people with no choice but to sleep rough would: drinking instead of eating, incoherent belligerence when offered help, guilt and self-loathing at having no choice but to beg, worthlessness at not being able to work, etc. and that this happens within 24 hours of being detached from the security of home. Little wonder that over 90% of people who sleep rough will develop some form of drug and alcohol abuse within two weeks of sleeping rough, even if they had no substance misuse issues before...

Most people don't give any consideration to how it feels to sleep rough, never speak to homeless people, never even make eye contact. If the programme helps people to empathise some more and actually start helping people, even in small ways, then it can only be a good thing.

Random Reflections said...

Gripes - I totally agree about Annabel Croft. It felt like she had just stepped off her pony and she was having a jolly day out. Did anyone genuinely believe she was homeless??

The way people 'took' to being homeless was really interesting and I guess shows how easy it can be when you no longer have those things that people often take for granted.

I hope it does make people empathise, but the generosity of some people made me wonder if it would have a negative impact. For example, that girl who gave one of them £40 made me wonder if some people would think that those who are homeless are either spongers or get given lots of money on a regular basis. But I guess that is likely to be people who would never have any compassion or empathy for homeless people anyway.

That programme still troubles me...

Kahless said...

We recorded it so we will probably watch at the weekend.

You are very good. I am embarassed about my vices now lol!

Random Reflections said...

Kahless - well I would be interested to know what you think.

I am not so sure that I am good and could perhaps be described as boring! It's a fine line...

TOM FOOLERY said...

What I still can't get my head around is why in the 21st century do we still have homelessness? I for one would be willing to pay more taxes and give up some luxuries (not chocolate!)to allow every citizen the right to a home, work, food in their belly and a sense of belonging. We need to cut up the cake of life more fairly methinks. Grrrr. TFx

F**king 'eck! Do you really not swear? TFx

Random Reflections said...

TF - What you say reminds me of the book "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist". I think there is a lot of prejudice about homeless people and a time when the state would see this as more of a priority is a long way off. What would the Daily Mail say?!

I very occasionally swear - and actually had to phone my boss a couple of days ago and say something rather explicit to him. This was entirely in a work context, so was justified, but I did have to apologise to him before I used the naughty word!

The Gripes of Wrath said...

TF - homelessness is a vast issue - there's not only housing supply but breakdown of families, the post-Thatcher breakdown of society (and yes, I see the individualism and self-serving ideology of Thatcherite Conservatism as being an identifying moment when homelessness became endemic) people leaving care, people fleeing domestic abuse, people leaving institutions (including prisons, armed forces, etc) people with addictions (drugs, alcohol )people who are displaced, dispossessed, disengaged... The list is seemingly endless and many people experiencing homelessness fit into more than one category.

There are some pretty advanced laws in the UK for dealing with rough sleeping and homelessness (Scotland has some of the most progressive laws in the world)and I would have to say that ending homelessness is probably more of a priority than it would necessarily appear to be. But progress is slow and yes, money to end homelessness is very much finite, but there is progress being made.

I could go on (and on, and on... it's my job!) but won't. something to bear in mind is that, like prostitution, homelessness has been around seemingly forever: it might never be fixed, but we can make make things better.

TOM FOOLERY said...

Random, sometimes you have to let the naughty words out methinks.

Hope it's OK for me to reply to TGOW via your comments page? You can swear if you like ;-)

TGOW, Many thanks for taking the time to enlightem me further on the subject of homelessness. I know that I tend to try and find simple solutions to complex and difficult problems. But, I get so annoyed/angry with the wasted resources in this country and the ineffective government policies that seems to start from the cradle to the grave.

GGGrr Mrs T !!. Surely the worse thing that ever happened to this country, was she really a woman I ask myself :O

Thanks again

TFx

Random Reflections said...

TF - I do occasionally swear and also don't find other people swearing shocking!

TF and Gripes, feel free to chat amongst yourselves.

Kahless said...

Watched it tonight. The rich bloke - James - irritated me. He was an arrogant *****.

I agree with you on Annabel- it was kindof like she was observing rather than being homeless.

Random Reflections said...

Kahless - I agree. I thought they picked some strange people to be part of this programme. I wasn't entirely impressed and thought it was a bit demeaning.

Random Reflections said...

Oh and you are allowed to swear by the way!