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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Money, money, money - or the lack of it, or other people's!

As happens so often, two news stories stand in complete contrast to one another.  Over the past couple of days, we have been informed that the "private" wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall actually cost the British taxpayer a cool £400,000 in policing costs!  When my elder daughter was married - admittedly  a little over 11 years ago - her complete wedding didn't cost 1% of that amount!  In my opinion, if over-paid 'celebrities'; sports 'personalities'; and members of the 'aristocracy'; wish to have police protection and/or control, then they should pay for it out of their own well-lined pockets, and not expect Joe Public to have to fork out!

The other news story is of another married couple.  However, that would appear to be where the similarity ends.  This couple were Mark and Helen Mullins.  I say "were", for the simple reason that both are now dead - an apparent 'suicide pact' after having been abandoned by the Welfare State.  According to reports, the couple had been existing on Mark's £57.50/week Jobseeker's Allowance.  The cost of policing the Phillips/Tindall wedding (let alone all of the other costs of that event) would have paid out that amount for approximately 135 years!

The Mullins had a 12-year-old daughter but, because Helen had learning difficulties, the local social services had removed her from the home - having decided that her mother was incapable of looking after her!  This, of course, meant that even the Child Benefit payment was stopped.  Helen was also deemed not to qualify for incapacity benefit, because her condition had not been officially medically diagnosed; Jobseeker's Allowance because her (non-diagnosed) medical condition made her unfit to work; and Mark was denied a Carer's Allowance because his wife's condition had not been medically diagnosed!  Yet at the same time, and especially with the apparently wide-open British borders over recent months, every Tom, Dick, and Harry (or should that be Mumtaz, Abdul, and Umar??) can apparently enter the country; remain on the most dubious of grounds; and receive all sorts of State handouts! 

Please don't misunderstand me.  I have no problem at all in supporting those who are in genuine danger in their own countries.  However, there would appear to be a substantial number who are in no danger at all, and who merely see the U.K. as a "soft touch".  There are also those indigenous folk who have learned how to "play the system" and who continue - in spite of some of the political rhetoric of last year - to maintain themselves to a standard denied to many hard-working families.

Perhaps if a couple like the Mullins had received a similar level of support, they would be alive today.  James writes about a not dissimilar situation in the early Church and writes: "... if you show partiality, you commit sin ..." (2:9: RSV -  see 2:1-17), while Paul doesn't 'beat about the bush' when he states "If any one will not work, let him not eat.  For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work." (II Thess 3:10-11; RSV).

It is to be hoped that the deaths of these two people will serve as a wake-up call (forgive the cliché!) to the relevant authorities; and that their daughter will grow up to be a young girl of whom they would have been justly proud.

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