If we judge the country by how it has treated the most dependent people in society we can see the savagery of humanity at its clearest. Last week it was revealed that spikes have been erected to prevent homeless people from achieving a miniscule of shelter and respite from the horrors of street life.

There is a growing problem within London, but spreading outwards, which sees homelessness as a stain on the city; rather than seeing it as a choice by the homeless to clog up the city, why should we not look at it as the tar on the economic and social system that it is. Exploitation is rewarded, and those who cannot keep up are often left isolated and without aid; rather than helping these people we hide them away as if they are something shameful.   This is morally reprehensible; the shame is not in the homelessness, it is in the people trying to hide this growing epidemic without offering any solutions.

They say the best way to judge a rich man is by looking at how they treat those below him; apply the same logic to England and we have a rather embarrassing result. We hide the homeless, punish the poor, and restrict benefits so that people are now relying on food banks. This is not a nice Britain; this is a barbaric Britain with few redeemable features.

…We hide the homeless, punish the poor, and restrict benefits so that people are now relying on food banks…

001_WorldHomelessDay2010Most people would like to see themselves as the good Samaritan; helping the vulnerable, yet far too many people stand idly by while these events unfold around them. Apathy is simply not an option when it comes to protecting those unable to protect themselves.

The Government’s austerity measures have inflicted misery on millions, but these spikes are a new low; they are a threat to life, a threat to safety and a threat to the most vulnerable. This is becoming sadly representative of the way we, as a country, deal with social issues; rather than deal with the problem we hide it, using the age old mantra that it is ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ This is unhealthy and abhorrent as we are simply ignoring those who are without a platform to speak for themselves.

…far too many people stand idly by…

Why are we hiding the homeless? Is it because we are uncomfortable with ourselves for allowing people to fall into this situation? Is it because we like to pretend it is not an issue? Is it because it represents the downside of capitalist success? Yes, Yes and Yes.

Success is nearly universally measured in comparison to an ‘other.’ In the case of homelessness it is hard to comfortably compare yourself to someone in such dire straits, so we ignore it. This is an unhealthy way of looking at society, and it should not be tolerated.

…Is it because we like to pretend it is not an issue?…

Rather than hiding homelessness we must combat it. There are multitudes of ways to get people off the streets and into jobs, but as government funding has dried up and charities feel the pinch of the recession this is becoming increasingly hard. The less people we have on the streets the better the country will be, because homelessness is a social issue that is created by society, and that is where the solution lays.

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20 Year old History student at Royal Holloway looking for someone to listen my ramblings...

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