The poor are a revolting bunch. Clad in ill-fitting garb, mouths stuffed full of cigarettes and crisps, they seem to spend the bulk of their short, sorrowful lives shuffling miserably between the dole office and the doss house, pausing occasionally to expel a few mongrel offspring from their overworked reproductive systems. As if it weren't enough to be forced to watch this disgusting parade, our twisted and wasteful taxation system also forces us to finance it.
I will confess without blushing that I am a modestly well-to-do young man. But everything I have was earned through my own hard graft. My bootstraps are soaked in blood and sweat. I've never relied on the Bolshevik state to give me handouts for anything (with the exception of healthcare, education, infrastructure, law enforcement, and etcetera). So, you can imagine my joy at reading the recent news that at long last, this country's scroungers will be receiving a short sharp strike up the hindquarters in the form of unprecedented benefit cuts.
Of course, the cutting of this chaff has elicited the usual cries of protest from the loony left, who claim with a straight face that 'the poorest and most vulnerable will be hurt the most by these cuts' and other such piffle. Still, I was curious to see just how great the gap between truth and fiction is, and living in South London I have ready access to a plethora of the impoverished. So, Dictaphone in hand, switchblade concealed beneath my waistcoat, I bravely set out from the safety of my domicile and made my way towards the Elephant and Castle, in search of a poor. The following is an account of my experience.
It was not long before I found my first poor. His name was Anton and, although I ask him his age, it is irrelevant. What youth he had was spent long ago and now all he has to hope for is the quick embrace of death. I spoke to Anton about his pathetic existence.
He said some unpleasant things after that. Shaken by this experience but undeterred, I persevered, approaching further urchins and interrogating them about their financial solvency. Eventually I happened upon Daphne, who in addition to being a council-house dwelling benefits vacuum also had the indecency to be 'of the colonies' or whatever the PC term is these days.
Sensing the same danger from this creature as you might expect from a bitch protecting its pups, I egressed to a nearby safe zone and steadied my nerves with a shot of brandy from my hipflask. But by then I'd seen all I needed to see to draw my conclusions. The poor are a wretched and vile lot who are utterly undeserving of our sympathy, let alone our money. As I left the real world behind me and returned to the shelter of my home, I found myself pondering an interesting question: would it really be so awful if we left them all to die?
I like to think I have a sturdy constitution, but every man has his limits. I discovered mine today as I was reading a seemingly innocuous story on the Guardian website. As I scrolled through the webpage in question, I felt myself overcome by the onset of feverish hot flushes. A bilious discharge slowly bubbled from my stomach to the back of my mouth. Stepping away from the computer to splash cold water in my face, I caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror. I was not gazing upon the face of the healthy young man I had thought myself to be. My eyes were bloodshot and my face was gaunt and haggard, as if small chunks of my soul had been chipped from my brain and extracted forcibly through my sinuses.
As I lay shivering in the foetal position on my bed, bucket close at hand, I pondered on what exactly it had been about Jeremy Hunt which had set me off on my morbid psychosomatic voyage. My eventual realisation was that because there is so much wrong with Jeremy Hunt - his unapologetically corrupt conduct, his outspoken hatred for our sacred institutions, his farcical ignorance on matters of unanimous scientific consensus - it would be impossible to isolate a single cause of my adverse reaction. What is clear is that despite his recent promotion to health secretary, Jeremy Hunt is definitely bad for my health.
Were I to seek Jeremy Hunt's advice on my maelstrom of maladies, he might recommend homeopathic drugs, which he believes to be an effective treatment for symptoms like my Hunt-induced mania. Now, much ink has been spilled on this subject and I don't intend to add to it. In fact it would probably have been more effective for homeopathy's detractors to spill a single molecule of ink and dilute it in millions of gallons of water to properly get their point across. Homeopathy is a crock of shit which does nothing useful, much like Jeremy Hunt himself. That is all we should need to say on the matter.
But there is something far more malevolent lying behind Jeremy Hunt's cavalier ignorance towards tricky concepts like "evidence" and "reason". If these are the opinions he's decided to espouse in public, what exactly is he keeping to himself? Does he believe that unicorns exist? Does he believe that unicorns are wicked, brutish creatures who hate our way of life and would gore us all with their magical horns if given half a chance? Does he want to a pre-emptively cull all horses, on the off-chance that unicorn sleeper cells are secretly embedded in our horse communities? In a nutshell: is Jeremy Hunt in favour of horse genocide? For all we know, the answer is yes.
It would be one thing if Jeremy Hunt were a chirpy nutcase taxi driver, jabbering his nonsense to anyone unfortunate enough to flag him down. Annoying, but harmless. Yet apparently that same taxi driver, when gifted a middle-class upbringing and an Oxbridge degree, is qualified to run the NHS. And that, I believe, is the root cause of my sickness. This isn't the first time I've had the symptoms, but it must be that Jeremy Hunt is a more virulent strain of the disease. He's not even qualified to be near a medicine cabinet. For him to be in the actual cabinet, fingers on the controls of a wrecking ball bearing down on our beloved health service, seems like some sort of cruel joke - a badly written episode of The Thick Of It.
One symptom I don't suffer from when contemplating Jeremy Hunt is amnesia, but strangely this seems to affect almost everyone else, and not just on the pressing issue of Jeremy Hunt. Less than six months ago, the then culture secretary was drowning in a sea of pretty damning allegations of corruption regarding his oversight of the News Corp takeover of BSkyB. Fortunately for him he had a swimming aid in the form of an actual aide, pushed down below the waves to drown as his master gasped for air. Plenty of evidence suggested foul play, but Jeremy Hunt has never shown a particular interest in evidence. And so he perseveres. OJ Simpson may have been acquitted for the murder of Nicole Brown, but he probably wouldn't have had much luck getting work as a police officer after that debacle. Yet Jeremy Hunt, a man of questionable character, is allowed to run rampant through the corridors of power, soon to kill again.
The illness is spreading fast, but the cure - evidence-based policy overseen by politicians who know what they are talking about - is decades away. In the meantime, we have a chancellor who hates doing maths, an education secretary who hates children, and a chief whip who seems to hate pretty much everyone. But towering over them all in the league of complete incompetence is Jeremy Hunt, a man who cannot even ring a bell without almost blinding an innocent bystander. Jeremy Hunt is more than an ineffectual career politician who has chummed his way into the inner sanctum of government. He is the exemplar of everything that is wrong with politicians. He is infecting us all with this repulsion, this uneasy sickness in our guts. He is patient zero. And there is no vaccine.
This article was amended on 7/10/2012. It was updated to remove references to the unfounded allegations that Jeremy Hunt enjoys fingering dogs. The Natflap regrets the error.
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