“Benefits Mum Gets £1m Home”

In these days of the so-called “Credit Crunch,” it seems that the newspapers are even more obsessed than usual with tales of so-called “benefits cheats,” who are, so our media champions would have us believe, stealing the very food from the mouths of honest, hard-working citizens, not to mention living unfairly in palatial splendour, lapping it up on tropical islands and treating themselves and their equally unscrupulous families to luxury vehicles, frequent holidays to far-flung exotic lands and 52-inch TV’s. Now irrespective of whether or not I personally approve of such, let us say, dishonestly acquired lifestyles, could it not perhaps be said that not only are these so-called “benefits cheats” serving primarily as scapegoats, to divert our attention from the real and far more significant sources of our national financial hardship (greedy, risk-taking financiers, bankers and the like), but also, in focussing on how much these people earn (or “scrounge” off the state), what they own and so on, we are missing a very large point with respect of what kind of people these so-called “benefits cheats” may be, what they may or may not have done to “contribute to society” in less quantifiable, less directly money-oriented ways, and what therefore they may “deserve,” in a more general, perhaps even spiritual or karmic sense? I can’t claim to know anything about the story to which the headline which I have used for the title of this piece pertains (which I caught sight of on the front page of someone’s Daily Express this morning), but the immediate feeling is that the intention of the headline (newspaper headlines/newspapers being what they are) is to induce in us an initial feeling of resentment towards this mum (i.e. non-worker), who, from some doubtless dishonest (or at least unfair) means, is “scrounging off the state,” in order to support her doubtless equally dishonest/scroungy family, and who, furthermore, through her dishonest (darned right criminal, even!) scroungery, has somehow managed to acquire (for the dishonest, scroungy living therein of herself and her dishonest, scroungy family) a house which no average, honest, hard-working family could even dream of being able to live in…

“How is this fair, right or just?!” – comes the enraged and indignant cry of the nation, upon perusing this headline – “How, in this time of financial crisis, can such a thing be countenanced?!”

Of course, the details of the story scarcely seem to matter…

Is this “Benefits Mum” a gangster’s moll? Does she spend every waking hour, when she is not looking after her family (sorry, her scroungy, dishonest family), raising funds for sick children? Is she a drug trafficker? Has she prevented countless suicides, through offering as many hours as she can spare on the phones of The Samaritans?

Like I said, doesn’t matter… the headline has served its purpose…

The point has been made.

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