We are in the midst of great debates about benefits and who should receive them and how much they should reasonably receive. The politicians rant and rave and give us examples. There are people living in multi-million pound houses paid for the State in London, and getting £30k per year. Oh yeah? They don't live in Glasgow or the West of Scotland pal. Not at these prices.
I'll tell you about families who are suffering. I will show you examples.
Here the State is cutting benefits to the poorest folk in my parish. Come and have a walk around. There is an underclass. A section of society where there is no hope. As a church we try to reach out to them, but it is useless, and they are in a cycle of despair. Cut their benefit because we are all in this together. The words are hollow.
Oh yes. The fact is that amongst the poorest, the poor will point the finger at those who haven't 'tried so hard'. The poor will finger the poorest and say that they are loafers! But all these decent people have done is to fall into the trap which says that poverty sharing is acceptable. We have become brainwashed into the acceptability of poverty sharing, and the troops fight each other in the trenches.
The establishment wants this. While the poor fight each other the rich can carry on getting richer! (Now that makes me sound like the radical socialist that you want to dismiss, but there is truth in this.)
However, dismiss this truth at your peril, because there may be trouble ahead.
There is another way. A way where we create jobs in the building and other sectors and pay folk a decent wage for a decent days work. We stop offering crap wages and give people the amount they are due. Invest in roads and housing and infrastructure, and look at ways to stop the poverty sharing which is endemic in our nation.
I will show you countless people in my parish who depend on benefits. The vast majority of them wish this were not so. They want a job. They want to be well enough to work. They will not work for two pounds per hour or be forced into employment which diminishes them as human beings.
But this is the way of it, isn't it?
Get the troops fighting in the trenches and it takes away from the real debate about who is making the money, and where it's going!
But who will listen to me? I'm not a politician, a banker, or whatever.
I am extremely lucky. I get a stipend of £22k and a house. I will be homeless in 8 years. Who will care for me then?
Does it matter? I want someone to care for me. I'd prefer an independent Scottish Government!