Saturday, 24 December 2011

No room at the Inn

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a housing office with a victim of domestic violence. Several months pregnant, her social worker had removed the other children for her mental health assessment. Sitting with someone I know to be sane (the crisis team agreed), the conversation began as follows:

- you need to make an application online, then it takes about 10 weeks
- do you have any arrears, because if you do you are not a priority

Christmas heightens the irony, for how many of us have ignored the simple nativity in favour of festive perfection? I have no doubt that debt has brought us to this service, pruned to inhuman efficiency, a few hundred quid, more valuable than the lives of mother and child. 

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What angers me most is that we deny our humanity in the politics of cuts, conferring the status of victim, simply to raise our own. How dare we lift others out of poverty and destitution, when it is the weight of our self-gratification, which keeps them there?

We are complicit in shirking responsibility - politicians, journalists, civil servants, the judiciary, bankers and consumers alike. Whether rioting or spending, we violate our most sacred to enforce our way of life. It is obscene.

Anyone may be traumatised - man, woman or child. Abuse holds no respect for class, creed or colour. Rather than perpetuating the agony, to heal these experiences demands humility. There, but for the grace of God, go I. 

By the time you read this post, you will be ready for Christmas, be it flash, frugal or decidedly alone. There is no going back. May I ask you to come forward in 2012, would you make some room at the Inn? Due credit to your New Year’s resolution, thank you.

 

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