JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just An Observation Friday April 5th

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The arrival of Spring-I’m being the eternal optimist here-this week also saw the most draconian overhaul of the benefits system in recent years from a government who consistently inform us ‘we are all in this together’ but probably more so if you are on the lower end of the social spectrum. Whilst a sense of perspective is required- a ridiculous list of  taxes which didn’t exist 100 years ago did the social media circuit as a form of protest without taking into consideration that neither did a National Health System or Benefits of any sort- the so-called Bedroom Tax defies any logic whatsoever.

Especially as we still support a family who are allowed to have various palaces left standing empty at our cost and it would appear that Muslims are exempt if they keep a spare room for prayers. Whilst I have no problem with other peoples beliefs it does seem more than a little like political correctness gone mad and hardly reinforces the doctrine of us all being in it together.

There has also been a lot of speculation about the Michael Philpott case this week and a lame attempt to tie it in with benefit scroungers. Whilst there are some people out there who choose and manipulate the benefits system as a way of life treating it as a career – and do very nicely out of it- the vast majority have no choice and live on the measly amounts handed out to them whilst still putting themselves forward for every job available in a frustrating attempt to improve their circumstances. People like Philpott only represent the small minority who use any means at their disposal- children and illnesses (real or exaggerated) seem to top this list- to defraud the system and tarnish the reputation of the genuine claimants.

People such as him do not see them as benefits but an entitlement and know how to work the system. The fact that six of his children died in his latest scheme to frame someone else has nothing to do with him being in receipt of benefits and everything to do with him being a reprehensible and vile human being. It did however give George Osborne and the Daily Mail fuel for the fire to ignite further animosity towards any other benefit claimants and in the week when the system had an overhaul this went beyond opportunistic and came across as cheap, petty, vindictive and spiteful. How very unlike this government!

Elsewhere sad news was received concerning the revered Scottish author Iain Banks who announced via his website he was suffering from terminal cancer. Apparently the author of ‘crow Road’, ‘Complicity’ and ‘The Wasp Factory’ has been given only a matter of months left to live. It is however warming to learn that he is out there making the most of his time left by living the high life on his honeymoon in Italy- after a proposal which went along the lines of ‘Will you do me the honour of becoming my widow?’ in typical Banks macabre humour-and intends to fight his illness for as long as is possible. Our thoughts are all with this man who has been one of the most revered and successful authors in recent Scottish literature.

Out at the cinema the best film on the circuit at the moment has to be Compliance. Based on a true story-aren’t they all these days- concerning a case at a McDonald’s in Bullitt County the film focussed on how compliant- and utterly stupid it must be said- people become when faced with an authoritarian figure. In this case the authoritarian figure is little more than a voice on the end of a phone that claims to be a police officer and offers no evidence whatsoever to authenticate this claim. Having always had a flagrant disregard for authority I watched this film with a mixture of disbelief and discomfort. It is a very unsettling but also compelling film and surely already a contender amongst the best films of the year so far. A full review is here. I do have high hopes for the latest Ryan Gosling offering ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ due out on April 12th as pre-publicity and trailer have done their work of sparking my interest.

The big news this weekend however has to be the opening of The Breakfast Club-occupying the site formerly known as Negociants- in Edinburgh. Promising a much needed breath of fresh air its proprietor, Warren Deighan, already has impeccable credentials and having enlisted the services of a young crew with their eyes and pulses on the zeitgeist his experience and their nous look like creating a winning combination. A full look at this exciting venture can be found here.

I am now off for a weekend that will start at the Breakfast Club this evening and very likely find me up back there on Monday morning. What will have happened in between is anyone’s guess

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