A few thoughts:
I was at a thing last week which had a media session.
One of the speakers made a pertinent, but dispiriting, point.
The speaker said that it was important to make sure that people who received benefits didn’t have a problematic past if they decided to speak to the media – that those people didn’t have a history of fraud, or unsavoury behaviours that the rightwing might dig up.
It’s a line that depresses me. A lot of the people I interview have a past. Everybody has a past. My own past wouldn’t stand scrutiny at all. With the people I interview – there can be drug and alcohol problems, jail records, histories of broken relationships, a list of jobs started and lost – all kinds of things. Life is harsh. It gets a lot of people.
The main thing these people have in common is that they don’t have any money. They don’t have the sort of money you need to paper over cracks. They don’t have rich parents to live with when a job goes, or money for smart lawyers if they get caught dealing, or stealing, or whatever.
Point is – these people are utterly excluded from public conversation, for the very simple reason they don’t measure up in a spotlight. They’re thought to make the social security cause look bad. That angers me.
The political class, meanwhile, bursts with fraudsters – thugs, crooks, charlatans who flip houses and bullies who don’t declare properties and don’t pay tax, and all the rest. They get a free pass on it all.
Nobody tells that lot to avoid the limelight.
This is really starting to irritate me – the rules regarding who should and shouldn’t be heard.