Yet again we feel compelled to challenge another divisive and reckless approach from the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman. The latest outrage comes from her suggestion that rough sleeping by the homeless is a ‘lifestyle choice’ as she plans to crackdown on the use of tents in our towns and cities.
Homelessness is not something new, it’s been a traumatic reality for many over the years and unfortunately not enough is done by our leaders to help those in need. Unbelievably, it has now become heavily frowned upon and almost disregarded as a genuine struggle by those who have no idea about poverty.
Braverman states many of those living in tents are ‘from abroad’ and those that are ‘genuinely homeless’ would receive support. Many of those from abroad also have no other choice – there is nothing disingenuous about their living conditions, a tent on the pavement is the only place thousands call home.
Braverman’s stated that our streets were at risk of being taken over and we’d see an increase in crimes, drug taking and squalor. This itself shows that her intentions are not to be supportive and empathetic to those in desperate situations. She is again playing to the gallery that she hopes will see her as the next leader of the Conservative party – indifferent to real damage and division she is constantly seeding.
There is a responsibility for our government to look out for us all, foreign or British, rich or poor, young or old, there’s no room to make excuses and forget about what’s important – no one deserves exclusion.
As expected, she was widely accused of disgraceful politics and some former Tory MPs had their say in condemning her action to fine charities giving tents to homeless people. Scrutiny continued as one of them, Ben Howlett, labelled the move as ‘actually evil’ and believes ‘not a single MP with any shred of decency’ would support it. These former party members have shown leadership in calling out poor decisions and have not been afraid to speak out against these vile and shameful comments.
In what seemed to be an attempt at justifying her plans, Suella Braverman took to X, “nobody in Britain should be living in a tent” and that the Government was working to help the homeless, including through treatment for those with alcohol and drugs addiction.
It’s almost a slap in the face to the many that have been focused on supporting those that find themselves on the streets. I often say that today “businesses have the ability to do things the Government can’t.” and a perfect example of this coming to life has been Chris Wild on X – a man who has spoken out against Braverman, detailing the actions he has taken to help those in homeless conditions. Giving opportunities to young people left in situations we couldn’t even imagine. He’s showcased that creating time for those who are less privileged and less fortunate is possible, so why can’t we see more of it from our political leaders?
A failure in leadership is not uncommon, but an honest attempt at recovery always speaks higher volumes of the type of leader you are, and we’ve been let down once more. Time and time again, we question when and how are the less well-off going to be supported. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anybody, they cannot afford to be put on hold – homelessness has been left behind as a priority and now is the time to show that when we come together, there’s nothing we can’t solve. We should be brave enough to call out the poor efforts shown by our government, but there has been some incredible courage and bravery shown by great charities who work tirelessly to tackle issues that are shown little care and attention. What makes them even greater is their display of leadership to call out what is wrong.
Homelessness charity Shelter said: “Let’s make it clear: living on the streets is not a ‘lifestyle choice’ – it is a sign of failed government policy. No one should be punished for being homeless. Criminalising people for sleeping in tents and making it an offence for charities to help them, is unacceptable.” Shelter estimated 271,000 people were homeless in England. 123,000 were children. The British Red Cross has also warned that since August they have seen a 140 per cent increase in the number of people with refugee status becoming destitute. They said they were having to hand out sleeping bags and tents to people who are facing life on the streets.
Matt Downie, the chief executive of the charity Crisis, said new laws to crack down on the use of tents would do little to tackle rough sleeping but risked pushing people further into destitution.
Piecing these topics together, it’s sad to be discussing such negativity, but without sharing and bringing light to these issues, we will forever be allowing things to get worse. If we want to change the world, we need to bring everyone with us.
It’s so much more powerful to be remembered rather than being left out.
Thought for the week:
Inclusion is how we figure out how to change this world for the better together.
Tips for becoming an A player
- It is so much easier to walk on by – go towards the person in need.
- A generous mind allows everyone in – a mean spirit lets no one in.
- Turn your apathy to empathy
- Exclude no one
- Walk in somebody else’s shoes