I started my new job on Wednesday. Hurrah for me! I'll be dealing with customers who are in financial difficulty. I know a bit about that myself.
What I have found interesting is the attitudes within my training group. People can be in financial difficulty for all sorts of reasons, but the colleague who admitted she loves Jeremy Kyle and Benefits Street worries me the most. In my previous job I dealt with a lot of people who were in genuinely shit situations. One disabled man I spoke to had all his benefits stopped for not attending an assessment he was never told about. His partner was also disabled and they didn't live together. He had no parents or kids, and his disability had isolated him so much he had few friends to turn to. I gave him £25 for both his gas and electricity, and sort of forgot to send it back to the meter as debt. I am very ditzy. It'll probably get picked up eventually, but hopefully he'll be in a better position by then. Hard to see how with the ConDems in charge, though.
What the resentful section of the middle class in this country always fail to realise is that the government is coming for them next. Unless you're independently wealthy, this government hates you too, and has no interest in your needs. I can understand the resentful middle classes being aggrieved that they're the main target for taxation, but they never seem to wonder "Well, if we made poorer people better off wouldn't that ease our burden a bit?" They'd rather resent the richer people's creative accountants, and kick down.
Historically, the working class made the middle class what they were. Now the resentful middle class see no value in them whatsoever. "Why should I pay for a woman who's had three kids by the time she's 20?" Not, "What educational opportunities can my taxation pay for to prevent people having three kids by the time they're 20?" There will always be women who want to have three kids by the time they're 20. I might think they're a bit insane to lumber themselves with such a jaw-dropping amount of responsibility at such a young age (although I can't imagine wanting that at ANY age), but it's their reproductive right. And never "Why are young men being allowed to shoot sperm into young women and then fuck off?" A eugenics debate is not something any civilised society should be having.
The resentful middle class also want to shelter their own children from the influence of these shabby ruffians. They mortgage themselves to the eyeballs to get their kids into good schools, without once acknowledging that if all schools were good they wouldn't have this problem, or employ private tutors to coach their kids into passing independent school exams. Or pretend to be religious to bump the Church of England lists. Then they work hard in well-paid 60-hour-a-week jobs where they never see their children anyway, without once wondering "Why has society put me in this position? Oh, yeah. I've got a mortgage that's six times my salary to pay off."
It is possible in the UK for a couple to work 40 hours a week each in a minimum wage job and still not make enough money to keep themselves, let alone children. The resentful middle class will say "They just don't work hard enough!" or "Why don't they just go and get a better job?" The question is never "How in the holy fuck have I found myself in a society where working people can't take care of themselves?" Never "Why don't employers pay people better?" Or "Why are the sociopaths running the country so keen to tell us that poor, sick and disabled people are the enemy?" It's an illusion trick Dynamo would be proud of.
So, it's kind of hypocritical of me to work for a bank now, isn't it? Except I've taken a job where I can actually help those at the bottom who are getting shafted. I can make a difference to their day. I can make their life a bit brighter, at least for a while, and point them to organisations who can help them. So I'm fine with my decision to accept the job I have.
I have very little patience for people who think the poor are poor because of their own lack of morality or work ethic or whatever else, or those who can't or won't understand what poverty, lack of prospects, and hopelessness can do to people. I find it hard to believe more people aren't criminals. Those at the top are showing this country that being honest, hard-working and ethical does you no good whatsoever. So if a few dodgy characters get past me, I don't really care. Plenty got past a ballot box.