AM I COMPLICT?
I think I’m a good person, I regularly donate to foodbanks, give money to the homeless, perform for free for charity events and generally try to be a good friend but I also own countless apple products, drink Starbucks and purchase goods made by Nestle .
I think I’m a good person but I think I’m part of the problem. Until now I’ve never really considered that it’s my fault because I AM A GOOD PERSON. Surely buying the odd soya café latte doesn’t make me culpable? Does it really make any difference if I purchase an aero, what is so bad about me voting, via an app, for my favourite to win X factor?
I watched a film yesterday – a preview screening of I, Daniel Blake, a film I was excited to see because my friends are in it, a film that me and many of my comedy counterparts have been living vicariously through because it feels good to see a fellow comic get success and that hasn’t changed one bit but my outlook has , my outlook has changed so dramatically in the last 24 hours that I felt the need to write this.
I sat in a packed cinema with tears pouring down my face whilst witnessing the frustration of a man trying to get help from the state after suffering a heart attack only to be thwarted and ultimately denied that help, I wept with rage at a single mother losing her dignity and pride because she couldn’t afford to feed her children, a scenario that I was familiar with 20 years ago but 20 years ago the system worked to help me get back on my feet and I sobbed with utter despair that ordinary men and woman employed by DWP would actively be a block to helping the most vulnerable and needy. Why? Why would you agree to be complicit in a system that you know is denying your fellow humans their basic needs? I asked that question to the writer of the screenplay, Paul Laverty and he explained how during the research for the film he was helped by many people working within the system and despite the governments denial of targets that there were in fact targets to be made and a certain number of sanctions that needed to occur each week but still why? Why would employers help the government mete out this travesty? Fear is the answer, fear of speaking up, the fear of losing your job if you take a stand. He also explained the public perception of benefit fraud, the stigma attached to claiming benefits and the assumption by many that people who claim are scroungers. The public think that £24 out of every £100 is claimed fraudulently compared with actual official figures that show it is in fact £0.70 per £100 costing the tax payer somewhere between £1.3bn to £1.6bn but accounts for far less than the £4.4bn officially assumed to be lost by tax evaders and a further estimated 5.5bn from tax avoidance and that’s when my outlook changed. I too am complicit.
I know Google UK paid just £6m to the treasury on a turnover of £395million, I know that because I just googled it! I’m writing this on my apple mac but instead of buying a Starbucks today I walked a bit further and got a coffee from social bite but in reality I don’t know what to do, I feel helpless, I want to shout from the rooftops, I want to scream at everybody “ What are we doing?” Why are we not making people accountable? How can I walk past another person sleeping on the street and not feel wholly responsible for facilitating the companies that flout tax schemes?
I am a good person but it’s not enough,I need to be a better one – we all do!