Dizzy Thinks on The Big Issue

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.


About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
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3 Responses to Dizzy Thinks on The Big Issue

  1. Anonymous says:

    1: The reason I made no link to the “making fortunes” thing was because I was typing from memory of newspaper reports about such things over the last ten years. It’s not strange, it’s called blogging a quick observatory comment.
    2: I didn’t say that Big Issue vendors were “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”. That is a straw man that completely misses the point.
    3: I’m just passing a cursory comment on something I have seen and making a cheap joke out of the absurdity of immigrants ending up being Big issue sellers. It’s a crazy mad world basically.

    • Re: errrr
      On point 1 the implication to me was that you were suggesting this was not unusual, hence your use of quotes around “homeless” (as you state). Searching revealed one story to this effect in the past 10 years. There may be others, but to imply that a number of vendors aren’t homeless is I think misleading.
      On point 2 – granted it’s a strawman, used for comic effect (hence the hyperbolic exaggeration, Armani, Dragon’s Den &c). The exaggeration shouldn’t detract from the general point that to suggest the vendors aren’t homeless is – I think – a little misleading. Hence the final line about what the vendors I’ve spoken to actually do. They go to hostels and can be subject to tight curfews.
      The third point is fair enough. I just thought the context behind your observation was misleading. My own experience up here is that the vast majority of the “immigrant” sellers we see are English homeless – who, when asked why they came to Scotland (both east and west coasts) make comments about the treatment of homeless people by English local authorities.
      The post was prompted because I think this is not the sort of thing you usually do (hence, the reason that I regularly read your blog – because while I may disagree with your politics you have often thought about the matter before firing off a salvo).

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: errrr
        Where I live, all the Big Issue sellers are Eastern European.The dangers of a system which allows immigration on a significant scale of people who cannot communicate, have nowhere to live and no job are almost self evident. However the unfettered movement of people within the glorious free market of the EU positively encourages this absurdity. The government in the UK doesn’t know to within a million how many eastern European people are here and it seems any economic benefit to the UK has been grossly exaggerated. How much better it would have been to pour aid into the new EU countries to allow economic development. Instead we import people to beg on the streets. It’s no right.

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