According to the header of one well known blog “Dizzy thinks. And then blogs. A lot of us do it the other way around.” from Croydonian – and Iain Dale writes “Thoughtful rather than ranting”.
I’m not sure how these testaments explain his latest musing on a trend he perceives of increasing numbers immigrant BIg Issue salesmen (coming over here stealing our cardboard boxes presumably – oh I see he has that covered in his final para which jokes “Were I to get all ‘Daily Mail-esque’, I might even suggest that they were all coming over here and stealing our homeless peoples jobs, but I shan’t accept to do so with deliberately ironic undertones.”?)
Anyway, as we know from his testaments, Dizzy thinks. And then blogs. Which no doubt explains the startling assertion at the end of his opening paragraph:
“I don’t really buy the Big Issue unless I’m absolutely desperate for something to read, but I’ve noticed something strange occuring with the vendors in recent months. For those that don’t know the Big Issue is a magazine that the ‘homeless’ sell. I use quotes around homless [sic] because there have been cases of vendors actually making a fortune and living very good lives.”
Strangely no examples are given of these Big Issue sellers that have made “fortunes” (although I’m guessing that one news story from 2000 – where a director of the magazine indicates that the vendor’s badge is removed in the circumstances where someone had saved from a substantial sum from their sale of the magazine – underlies his assertion).
My own experience of Big issue sellers – through talking to various vendors in various parts of central Scotland – is that this is not a job they want to do any longer than they have to. It is a mechanism to get back into accommodation which is not hostels or homeless shelters or living rough. It is a means to get to a position that they can resume working life. All were “homeless”. Some were immigrants. But my experience is that they have mainly been English homeless from the south east of England who came to Scotland because our local authorities and citizens treated those that had the misfortune to become homeless more humanely than equivalents in the south east.
Thanks to Dizzy, who has clearly thought long and hard about this before blogging on this topic, I now realise I’ve been duped. These individuals no doubt spend their evenings counting out their takings in big piles before locking them in safes in their bijou studio flats before pulling on the Armani jackets and making their way onto the panel in Dragon’s Den handing out flipping great wadges of cash to deserving crackpot inventors – rather than returning to hostels with curfews and restrictions on what can be taken in, or retiring to the various public gardens around Scottish towns and cities.