"I have previously heard of 'Millionaires Row' where the wealthy property owners reside and display a lavish lifestyle of flashy cars, large, tended gardens and all manner of maiden and man servants to service their every whim and need. Even their much publicised donations to charitable causes is their kindest way to avoid paying taxes to the Exchequer along with the use of 'off shore funds' and the establishing of family trusts.' They have even been known to plant forests of trees as a more efficient method of reducing their overall taxes paid, not because they love trees particularly; more that their love of money is even greater.
I have heard of families of parents and three children being forced to live in one dingy,damp and rented room all day while the man goes in search of work in an area of high unemployment because they refuse to play the benefit system for all its worth and instead would rarther retain their pride.
I have heard of rich men light their fat cigars with a bill of large denomination; the amount of which is more than an ordinary Joe Soap earns in a week and whose modest income wouldn't allow him to smoke and would oblige him to break the habit for the sake of his health and family even if he did.
I have known of too many people who deliberately obtain as much money as they can from as many different benefits as the State will pay them either without seeking them to prove their disability or accepting it because it cannot be disproved, even though it may not in reality exist at all except in the mind of the claimant.
I have heard of soldiers who returned from war zones without limbs, blind, badly burned and scarred beyond recognition or with stress and recurring nightmares, who have been declared fit for work and not entitled to benefits. I have heard of people with terminal illness whose benefits have been withdrawn and they have been declared fit to work months before they subsequently died, along with old people who survived the World War, worked hard, saved hard, spent prudently all their lives; only to have their homes sold over their heads to pay for their care in their old age.
I do not hold the answers as to what this country should do to reform this unacceptable and grossly unfair system in which the only economic survivors appear to be the feckless parents who smoke and drink all day long and sill complain that it is the foreigners who are robbing the country blind and are stealing our jobs (the jobs they are not prepared to do), but I am convinced that root and branch reform is necessary in order to make the system fairer once more and fit for purpose.
Finally; while foreign aid is a noble act for any country who seeks to help poorer countries in crises, wouldn't it be better for one year only to suspend such payments and redirect the billions of pounds to the water defences and drainage systems of our own country? As anyone who is truly interested in saving lives knows, the vessel of rescue is of no effect if it isn't regulary maintained and fiitted out for purpose. Even life boats that are overfilled will eventually sink and drowned every passenger on them.
I'm not meaning to moan too much, but isn't life a bit too shitty to stomach some days?" William Forde: February 10th, 2014.