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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Whistle For Your Money

In the London Underground, licensed buskers are allowed to perform and can earn good money ..... so much so that a few years ago, a blind man who was something of a whistler, found that for just standing and whistling 'tunes', after just 90 minutes he had earned £36.80 .... and after three and a half hours he got £90. His weekly benefit giro cheque at the time was around £38.

Now he's a professional whistling busker and the BBC ran a story on him ..... "All you need to know is that I live in Wolverhampton, travel down to London four days a week, employ a helper and I make a good living." ........ all for a 4 day week.

So its safe to assume that he's doing at least 7 hours and that he gets more than £250+ per day. A minimum of £1,000pw or (allowing for holidays) it could easily be £48,000 pa .....

Admittedly, he suggests in the story that as he's really blind (as opposed to some who may not be disabled at all .... despite the glasses), he gets more than the average busker, and presumably there's time slots i.e. He can't keep the pitch all day (but that's not actually explicit in the story) ... . even so, probably about £30,000 pa is achievable.

Who says it doesn't pay not to work? ...... we have fostered a very strange culture in the UK.

In fact intrigued by the notion that you can  make a very "good living" for doing very little in the UK, I researched 'Begging' and what can be earned for doing nothing at all .... just hanging a card around your neck with the words "hungry and homeless" and sticking a container in front of you. I was genuinely shocked with the results.

In 2007, the London council of 'Westminster' council revealed that beggars in London could earn up to £300 a day at the time. In 2009, Leicestershire Police and council started an investigation and found no beggars who were arrested to be homeless. In fact most had council accommodation, welfare benefit cheques, with some beggars earning up to £200 on a Friday or Saturday night, which if done regularly would be equal to be about £21,000 a year on top of their normal incomes.

I say 'incomes' because what was most shocking was the fact that the investigations uncovered the fact that a number of the weekend beggars were actually office workers with homes, who were topping up their salaries ....  'We have intelligence-there is a woman who is begging because she wants a new kitchen for her flat,' said a police Sergeant Underwood in one of the reports. In London their are now vast numbers of Eastern European organised begging gangs ... children and adults. Whole villages of villas are going up in Romania and Albania financed out of organised crime in the UK including professional beggars.

The answer to this is simple, make street begging totally illegal, with prison sentences (and deportation where appropriate), large fines, loss of housing benefits and council tenancies all part of the punishments ..... but also make it illegal to give to beggars, with the same punishments meted out to offenders.

Begging in our society, which hands out so much in welfare largesses, is virtually unneeded .... it appears to be nothing more than a fraud of welfare benefits, or taxes, or a means of financing drug taking habits. It should be stamped out now, (along with benefit abuses), before it gets much much worse when millions of Balkan Europeans are no longer stopped from arriving on our shores next year.

'Liberal' Politicians who make these decisions (such as decriminalising begging), never seem to consider the likely long-term consequences and we always end up paying a very heavy price for their lack of foresight. I personally would make every act of legislation have a built in 'Sunset clause' after a decade .... meaning that it would expire after 10 years unless renewed by parliament (no further need after that). The idea being that if a law has worked as expected and with no unforeseen consequences, then it would be nodded through before expiry, but otherwise it could be replaced or allowed to expire.

This would stop bad laws or ill considered laws becoming permanent millstones round our societal necks .... 

NB: There has been something of a tradition of 'whistlers' in the UK .... the folk singer Roger Whittaker made something of a trademark by breaking into whistling in songs .... but who remembers 'Whistling Jack Smith' anymore?

Here's a reminder ....

1 comment:

  1. I know that begging by East Europeans is spreading. Most major cities have these women in scarves stood with their hands out .... It's shameful that we feel compelled to turn a blind eye to behaviour that we shouldn't have to tolerate in our country. Our government are next to useless in being with this crime.

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