I'm ashamed to say that most of what I thought I knew about the homeless issue was wrong. We have just launched our first podcast and chose this issue as one of the more pressing and depressing issues of our time. We wanted to explore the question that, irrespective of your politics, how could some of the wealthiest communities on the planet not solve this problem?
I'm not going to replay the podcast and what we learned here (simply go to the ‘Podcast’ page and your can listen to it there). Suffice it to say most of the homeless are not 'bums' or mentally ill. In fact, about 65% of our homeless population are neigbors and compatriots who have fallen on hard times. That's hardly surprising when about 70% of Americans dont have $400 saved for an emergency. The good news is that the situation is improving, and there are very succesful programs out there like Haaven in Los Angeles (see link below) who are delivering shelter & support for less than $10,000 per bed while the public sector solutions cost over $500,000 a bed! The bad news is that despite the valiant and heart warming efforts of many, the system is still not fit for purpose and unless we adopt innovative ideas like Haaven, never will be!
Please do listen to the podcast. There's tears and laughter, 'you can't be serious moments', harsh words, uplifting stories and a happy ending. It will leave you thinking differently about homelessness.
Here are the links to the people we interviewed in the show, including the volunteers and charities that you could support by doing something as simple as donating some care packs of things like socks, tooth brushes & toothpaste; or offering to help them at feeding stations.
Weaponizing political issues is always a negative step. Rather than trying to find non-partisan, common sense solutions, it shows that once again the political class are looking for political credit not pragmatic solutions.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the cacophony of outrage emanating from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and her proponents of ‘The Green Deal’, Greta Thunberg and her Extinction Rebellion (XR) acolytes, or the more genteel and dulcet tones of David Attenborough.
Theirs is a noble cause and these are all impressive, impassioned and inspiring evangelists who have picked up the mantle of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth crusade and dragged it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. They have literally bullied their way into the hearts and minds of Governments, the Fourth Estate and society in general.
Despite my personal belief that, as we enter a post-human epoch, the proliferation of Intelligent Machines is a greater threat to homo-sapiens than rising CO2, it is still sensible to agree that raising awareness is a necessary and commendable first step to sensible management of our eco-systems. However, the real test of the climate change zealots is their ability to bring about the seismic socio-economic behavior changes that governments and their populations will have to make if carbon dioxide emissions are to be reduced. Alas the hysterical forecasts of imminent extinction by the self-appointed guardians of our environment are not just exaggerated, they are self-defeating.
Cars don’t kill people…..Drivers kill people. Makes sense. So much sense that in the 1960’s when America was experiencing an epidemic of deaths from car accidents, especially among younger men, the government realised that it couldn’t ban people from driving, nor could they ban the sale of cars; so they decided to invest significant resources in trying to make cars safer.
In England we have a saying for a person or a group who are speaking or acting in a nonsensical and ridiculous way. We call it ‘a load of bollocks’. That expression was sadly presented in technicolor glory by a government body in British Columbia who are investigating whether beauty salons broke the law because they refused to wax the testicles of a transgender man. Seriously, the government is spending tax-payers money on this investigation because they think the transgender man may have had his human rights violated!
Not content with predicting the imminent self-mutilation and demise of Britain, mainstream media in America and across Europe is trying to further sabotage the country by tarring Boris with the Trump brush.
On a superficial level it is fair to say that they both have a mop of blond mane, although it should be noted that while Trump’s comb over is carefully manicured, Boris deliberately dishevels his hair before going on camera. They also share a history of being profligate philanderers, of being loose with the truth (unfortunately a common mark among many politicians these days) and of being the preferred anti-establishment candidate.
On a more serious level, it is also true that both engage in the dangerous habit of race baiting; although while Trump has few ‘get out of jail cards’ to play on this accusation, Boris can legitimately claim to being a successful satirical writer and commentator. Jousting in verbal imagery like referring to the niqab as a “letterbox”, joyous excitable African children welcoming the Queen as “smiling piccaninnies” and frequenters of a notorious London homosexual nightclub as “tank-topped bum boys is clearly designed to engage readers rather than deliberately offend. (Although more judicious readers will note Johnson goes on to say that he will defend anyone's right to dress how they wish, and its only malicious virtue signaling propagandists who quote out of context). That said, it is unwise and irresponsible to indulge in a similar lexicon when also being paid to be an elected politician. To his credit, since being elected PM Johnson has shown his diversity credentials. More of that later.
Sitting under the “rockets’ red glare” on July 4th, witnessing the patriotism and pride of all Americans, irrespective of their political affiliation, I could not help but puzzle over the general animus and disdain that much of the American mainstream media and academia hold for Brexit.
How could a country forged in the flame of Independence, with a pertinacious commitment to be a united nation of “free and independent States”, be so dismissive of another united nation’s democratic decision to take back control of its own destiny?
The latest op-ed in the New York Times declares that the “United Kingdom has gone mad….and can’t even decide how to kill itself”. On the screens of this very journal, a regular essayist declares that Brexit “has been calamitous for the economy”. These allegations are worse than unsubstantiated hyperbole, they are the sort of ‘fake news’ that Trump trades in.