It seemed like such a good idea at the time.
We’ve all been there and done that, we’ve all looked at something and seen an instant fix, a way out of a problem that was oh so simple, and then at the end of the idea implementation or even halfway through we realise there were a thousand and one things we hadn’t quite considered.
The cane toads in Australia have always been one of my favourite;’ learning the hard way’ lessons. In case you have never heard of it there is more here but in brief, there were lots of bugs that needed removal to save plants, so some predators (the cane toads) were brought in, what a fine idea! No pesticides, all natural, perfect. Except it wasn’t, the cane toads are poisonous and generally nasty, they had no predators of their own so they ran amok (a rather fine image there, toads running amok, like something from a B grade horror movie) and now the problem is not bugs but cane toads. And of course rabbits are not native to Australia ….
The Victorian gardeners thought they had struck gold with Japanese Knotweed, a beautiful stately plant that grew rapidly in our soil and looked lovely. Sadly it too had no natural predators, grew faster than a weed and somehow has roots and tubers strong enough to destroy tarmac, brick and concrete, is virtually indestructible and is now a notifiable pest of a weed, slowly claiming our country like a triffid. (plans were mooted to introduce caterpillars from it’s native Japan to eat it, I refer you to the previous paragraph)
Often at a dinner party someone has an idea and it sounds great.
I think that’s what our government are like. High on baked Red Snapper and glasses of Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1995 (I may be exaggerating) they think “You know what would be good? to stop benefit cheats!” mumbles of assent follow. No one stops to think ‘who is a benefit cheat?” “are there many benefit cheats?” “How much will it cost to sort this out?” and on Monday ‘benefit cheats’ are now just ‘benefit claimants’ and the process if afoot! Curb those benefits, scroungers (must be else why do they need help?) and on and on.
Or “You know what, Housing benefit, those people have space, it’s not like in India where there are 50 to a room, those on housing benefit don’t know they are born! Lets penalise empty rooms! That’ll wake ‘em up!” and so on Monday the game is once more afoot, single people who live in the smallest flat available, and who have worked for years are suddenly stuck for rent due to a spare room (maybe a box room used as an office). Families with children are penalised for daring to let their twins share thus leaving a play room, and so on and so on. And as others have pointed out this will just lead to ‘finding ways round it’ and the ‘cheats’ (OK there probably are a few) will just ignore it anyway – after all, they are cheats!
Or maybe “those benefit scroungers waste their money on booze and Sky subscriptions and fags, we should pay them on a card where we control what they spend, (frighteningly similar to a ‘Pocket Money Card’ I mentioned a while ago) but what will that really do? Target the ‘cheats’? no, start a black market in dodgy card use, and deprive families of the internet access (via their TV subscription) that The Government are so keen for us all to have and stop a working part time single mum having a bottle of cheap plonk at the end of a hectic week….
This rant is getting far, far too long, I’ll stop, but I think you get the picture.
Think it through people, think it through.
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