I enjoy my Sussex Express. Every Friday morning I take my cup of coffee and start to browse through its pages.
I read the local stories, dog bites man etc, I scan the readers’ letters, skipping those of inordinate length, usually from local councillors, who are taking their petty squabbles out of where they belong, and debating chamber, and deciding to bore us all rigid in the local press.
I look at all the entertainment pages from a personal interest, and finally I turn to the Parish Pump columns. I normally take a pleasant delight in reading of the jumble sales, garden parties, even the WI reports, with the dates of all the occasions to come.
However, on Friday August 23, I was brought up somewhat abruptly, when reading the column for Rodmell and Southease, to find myself confronted with a right wing rant that would have done justice to the worst excesses of the Daily Mail, and from which publication, I suspect it had been rehashed.
The lady concerned had decided to go in for a sport of ‘benefit scroungers’ bashing, targeting those unfortunates who had been unable to purchase houses of their own, who had apparently not worked at all, had never saved any money, or paid into pension schemes, and ‘milked the Social’, whatever that means.
Perhaps a little knowledge of recent economic history might not go amiss.
During the last thirty to forty years, this country and its workers have suffered redundancies on an unprecedented scale, soaring house prices, due to mismanagement of governments, three day weeks, strikes etc and we are currently a country where the distribution of free food parcels has become the norm.
Any walk around London, our capital city, will be interrupted by beggars either for money or for food, most of them in their teenage years.
Now I am deeply sorry that these wretches should not have bought highly expensive pension schemes, did not save the money they felt was better spent on food for their families, did not have the wherewithal for the purchase of a large house in a semi-rural part of Sussex, but having lived through those years myself, I am not going to blame them for the situation that they find themselves in.
I have no objection to your columnist holding these somewhat obnoxious views, I just wish she would keep them for the saloon bar politicos, and UKIP/BNP rallies that would appreciate them.
Alan G Baker