KSL Official Response to Exeter PSPO Consultation

KSL Official Response to Exeter PSPO Consultation

Please sign our petition against Exeter City Council’s plans to criminalise homeless people and destroy their possessions. Protect civic freedoms and street culture in Exeter

azdQOSLlzGJhfaM-800x450-noPadLabour-led Exeter City Council’s new proposed ‘Public Space Protection Order'(PSPO) will give the police and council officers in that city the power to criminalise activities that they deem to be ‘antisocial’ such as rough sleeping, begging, or even busking. These proposals could also see some of the most impoverished people in the UK facing criminal charges and unpayable fines of up to £1000 just for refusing to remove their bedding when ordered to by a council official, or busking ‘without authorisation’.

The Keep Streets Live Campaign exists to advocate for public spaces that are open to informal offerings of art and music and other community uses. We are against the criminalisation of destitution and homelessness and believe that these plans, whatever the council’s underlying motivation, will have a devastating impact upon some of the most vulnerable people in society, whilst also criminalising cultural activities such as busking. The council are running an online consultation about the proposals which closes at midnight on Febuary 29thand it is vitally important that as many people as possible complete the consultation and inform the council that these draconian and authoritarian measures do not have public support.

You can complete the online consultation on the council website here:

http://exeter.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/consultations-and-petitions/public-spaces-protection-order-consultation/

We have completed our submission to the consultation and are publishing our response below for the public record. Please feel free to use our response as a reference/guide when you complete your submission. It clearly explains the reasons why we are opposed to this PSPO.

If you can, please take a few minutes and complete this consultation, it will make a big difference, and your voice does matter.

KSL Official Response to Consultation 

There are six prohibitions and actions that the council want to include in the PSPO. We will publish the proposals in bold lettering and our response will be in italics.

It is proposed that the PSPO will stipulate:

Person(s) within this area, whilst situated in the street or other public space where the public have access without payment, shall:

1. Surrender any intoxicating substance in their possession to an authorised person on request, if:

a) they are found to be ingesting, inhaling, injecting, smoking or otherwise using intoxicating substances; or

b) they are in possession of such intoxicating substances with the intent of using intoxicating subtances within this area; or

c) the authorised person has reasonable grounds to believe that such person is using or intends to use the intoxicating substance within the said area.

Intoxicating Substances is given the following definition (which includes Alcohol and what are commonly referred to as ‘legal highs’): Substances with the capacity to stimulate or depress the central nervous system.

NO

Whilst these powers could in theory apply to a young couple who had bought a bottle of Prosecco for an impromptu summer picnic on the green, these powers could easily be and will most probably be used to target vulnerable and marginalised persons, such as homeless or vulnerably housed persons, or people with mental health problems. Whilst no one could reasonably object to a person facing enforcement action if their behaviour causes alarm, harassment or distress to others, this measure, in contrast allows council officers to target people solely on the basis that they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe that they will use an intoxicating substance within the PSPO area. This power would allow officers to seize legally purchased and unopened bottles containing alcohol, even if the person wasn’t drinking the alcohol at the time. As such, it is an unwarranted interference with the personal freedoms of individuals. Also there is no clear mechanism for an officer to establish beyond doubt that a so-called intoxicating substance has not been obtained lawfully and for a lawful, medicinal purpose. The PSPO creates a blanket power which is open to potential misuse. It would be better for the council and the police to focus upon known individuals whose actual behaviour is having a detrimental impact on the local community. These known individuals could be targeted rather than a blanket power which applies to every person, even if their behaviour is having no detrimental impact on any person. 

 

2. Not urinate in a street or public open space

The term ‘street’ includes any road, footway, beach or other area to which the public have access without payment. It also includes a service area as defined in Section 329 of the Highways Act 1980. Other areas will include parks and retail car parks to which the public have access to without payment.

Exemptions shall apply where a person urinating is making use of an authorised temporary public urinal/toilet has been provided in accordance with any specification issued by Exeter City Council and with its agreement.

Q2.

Do you agree with Proposal 2?

 

No

Q2.1.

Do you have any comments about Proposal 2? Please write these below

The powers could too easily be used to target vulnerable people who do not have access to public toilet facilities, especially during the nighttime hours. Existing legislation can adequately be used against persons who behave inappropriately, including public urination.

3. Clear away and remove from this area without delay (to the satisfaction of an authorised person) any unauthorised bivouac, bedding or equipment formed in a street together with any associated paraphernalia, when requested to do so by an authorised person and if that person fails to clear away and remove as directed an authorised person may then or on a future date or time confiscate and dispose of any unauthorised bivouac, bedding or encampment found within this area with or without the permission of its owner.

For these purposes, bivouac, bedding and encampment mean any portable shelter used for camping or outdoor sleeping, and include materials used for shelter against the elements, weather or ground.

For this purpose ‘unauthorised’ means without the express written consent of any owner (or any person having control over or an interest in the land in question).

Q3.

Do you agree with Proposal 3?

No

It is highly distressing to see a Labour-led local authority even considering implementing these ill-thought out and authoritarian measures. This measure would make it a summary criminal offence, punishable by a fine of up to £1000 for a homeless person to not immediately remove their sleeping bag, or blanket when ordered to do so by a council officer, and gives the council the power to confiscate and destroy the bedding and possessions of homeless people on the basis that they had the temerity to object to being moved on. The extension of summary powers such as this to the local authority wrongly conflates destitution and lack of housing with ‘anti-social behaviour’. It will cause highly vulnerable people to become less safe and to face criminal sanctions purely on account of having to sleep rough. It means vulnerable people will be subject to potential bullying at the hands of council officers who will have the power to destroy their personal possessions if they don’t comply with orders that might be unreasonable and misconstrued. At a time of rising homelessness it is a disgrace that a Labour-led council in particular should be considering measures that criminalise the most vulnerable members of society and make their lives more difficult in a misguided attempt to sanitise the public spaces of the city. The local authority would do better to urgently address the provision of housing places for those who are inadequately housed and treatment for those suffering from addiction or mental health issues, instead of creating a criminal offence which will be used to marginalise the vulnerable and the destitute.

4.

 Not make unsolicited and/or unauthorised request(s) for money (whether expressly requested or impliedly requested by conduct) in a public place from persons not known to the perpetrator.

For this purpose ‘unauthorised’ means without the express written consent of any owner (or person having control over or an interest in the land in question).

No

In common with proposal 3, proposal 4 will impact the poorest and most vulnerable members of society in a disproportionate and manifestly unjust way. The vast majority of people who beg are highly vulnerable and often destitute and are reduced to begging in order to obtain food and shelter. The proposal is world in such a way that even a person who was sat down, without causing any issues to any other person, could face a criminal fine of up to £1000 and a court action which would, in itself, be costly and would in no meaningful way change their behaviour because they would now have a fine that they could not possibly pay, as well as a criminal record which would cause them to be more marginalised and isolated from society. Additionally begging is already illegal under the 1824 Vagrancy Act which gives the police ample powers to seek to prosecute persons for begging if it was deemed to be in the public interest. Instead of giving an enormous range of new delegated powers to council officials which could see a large number of fixed penalty notices given to people with no ability to pay them and a resultant rise in costly magistrate’s court hearings and the mixing up of vulnerable people in the criminal justice system, the council and the police should focus purely on the small minority of people who combine begging with genuinely aggressive and intimidating behaviour and use existing legislation to target those individuals rather than creating a new criminal offence.

This measure as currently worded would also criminalise ‘unauthorised’ busking because playing an instrument or singing on the street could be construed as an implied request for money. This is an absurd outcome, conflating a cultural activity which brings enjoyment and colour to the public spaces of a city, with a criminal, antisocial activity. It would lead to scarce public resources being directed towards the prosecution of people playing music on the street. It is contrary to Home Office advice on the use of Antisocial Behaviour legislation and is also likely to be an infringement of Article 10 rights to Freedom of Expression under the Human Rights Act. It is fundamentally misconceived.

5. Not behave either individually or in a group of two or more people in a manner that has resulted or is likely to result in any member of the public being intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed by that behaviour

No,

 

6. Persons within this area who breach Prohibition 5 while in a group shall when ordered to do so by an authorised officer disperse either immediately or by such time as may be specified and in such a manner as may be specified.

Q6.

Do you agree with Proposal 6?

No

Q6.1.

Do you have any comments about Proposal 5 and 6? Please write these below.

Under the Public Order Act 1986 it is already a criminal offence to behave in a manner which causes Alarm, Harassment and Distress to other people. There are existing powers that can be used to disperse people who are causing antisocial behaviour, including Section 35  dispersal notices which can order a person or persons to leave an area for 48 hours. The PSPO proposal is too broad and does not have enough safeguards. It is also unnecessary.  The police and council have no need of this summary PSPO power which would extend the power to criminalise people to ‘authorised officers’ on the basis that they have a’ reasonable belief’ IS LIKELY to result in ANY member of the public being intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed by that behaviour. This wording is vague and nebulous and has the effect of extending summary powers to persons without the benefit of the extensive training that police officers undertake before becoming officers of the law. This proposal would allow a person to criminalise a person, or group of people purely because they take a subjective view that their behaviour ‘is likely’ to cause distress to ‘any’ person. This is bad lawmaking and can be rightly construed as an attack on freedom of association. It will radically alter the relationship between local authority officers and the people they are paid to serve and protect. The police and council should use their existing powers to target genuine examples of antisocial behaviour using their existing powers.

This post was written by
Singer-Songwriter/Professional Street Performer/Campaigner/Wandering Minstrel

155 Comments on "KSL Official Response to Exeter PSPO Consultation"

  • trevor purton says

    being homeless is not and should not be a criminal offence not helping the homeless should be

    • Emma Humphries says

      I totally agree and considering that Exeter is a Cathedral City and the Cathedral dominates the City Centre – you would think that the Council would be more Christian in their attitude towards homeless people. They are not criminals, they are people who could do with a helping hand – no one wants to be homeless and, as someone who grew up in Exeter, I am ashamed that my home town would be so heartless as to make it even more difficult for people whose lives are difficut enough already.

    • No ones ‘morally’ obliged to help ( or support ) in any way ‘malingers!’. Who I know upon ‘experience’ do make up some of the ‘homeless’ population!

      • Yeah ‘Malingerers’! one of lifes unfortunate ‘social’ facts!

        • As for the issue of homelessness being ‘politically’ designated a crime Trevor, I remember once ( a decade or so ago! ) being made ‘temporarily’ homeless after being ‘falsely’ accused of an offence, it was after my ‘court’ appearace & subsequent acquital that I was ‘actually’ made homeless!.

          Yeah! a rather over zealous Housing Officer with the Housing Association I was with back then ( yeah thats it, Moseley & District Churches in Bham if I remember correctly! ) issued ‘eviction’ ( re-possession orders! ) on my flat whilst I was on bail.

          And this was despite her being aware of my predicament e.g the ‘new’ neighbours from hell & fully up to date with my circumstances eg. described in the ‘diary’ I had submitted & laying out the full nature of the problem, harrassment, & complaint!.

          I tell you what should also be made a criminal offence i.e Malicously, intentionally & with ‘prejudice’ an offical eg Housing Officer creating homelessness, yes that should be a ‘criminal’ offence & fully investigated, prosectued, tried & ‘convicted’ without mercy!.

          • While I think about ‘Housing Associations’ having to ( ‘formally’ obliged to! ) take 50% of the ‘councils’ waiting list is a matter that could ( ought to! ) be looked into as well!.

            Theres got to be some ”solution’, some way of reducing the risk that your ‘new’ neighbours, don’t turn out to be ‘neighbours from Hell!.

          • Don’t wish to sound ‘mean’ here or crassly controversial, I just think its impt to make a few distinctions. The homelessness situation is’nt necessarily what you think, Councils are’nt & ‘Social’ Housing as it stands certainly is’nt either.

          • Look around you & see, you know this is where I think Art has a purpose.

  • Deborah Preston says

    Barbaric

    • In relative terms, sleeping on a park bench ‘barbaric’?, once more in a leafy town park in Exeter? No!

      For proof ( devastating evidence on this matter! ) plus a very much needed ‘truth’ perspective’ ( without unduly demeaning the awful plight of ‘genuine’ homelessness in this country! ) check out the YouTube Video ” Sex, Slavery & Drugs in Bangladesh ” by Vice News. Its an ‘eye’ opener!

      • On the ‘issue’ of finding yourself in the wrong place, wrong circumstances & ‘wrong-time’! ( as an actual ‘tenant’! ) or in ‘social’ housing terms the emergent ‘problem’ of those ( maybe not ready, not responsible, not ‘suitable’! ) who are allocated ‘accomodation’ in the wrong place & the trouble ( & misery! ) that may bring, a ‘personal’ reflection.

        I remember that in places ( cities ) like Birmingham the ‘old’ policy used to be to ‘place’ ‘difficult’ families, individual troublemakers eg. irresponsible ‘non’ rent payers, aggresive ‘anti-social’ types, in the purpose-built 1960’s ‘satelitte’ council estates ( ‘new-town like! ) situated on the perimeter of the city boundaries eg. Castle Vale, Chelmsley Wood to the North & Northfield to the South.

        To my ‘personal’ cost, I recall that ‘policy’ begin to ‘change’ ( politically wane! ) during the 1990’s & my own ‘home’ life, 10-15 yrs as a ‘legal’ housing association tenant completely ( & unjustly! ) destroyed !.

        • Now this sort of housing policy ‘outcome’ certainly raises some questions eg. Q. Care in the community?, The current ‘standard’ of Social Policy? ( in this case possibly poor, ill thought out, politically negligent? ), Irresponsible ( negligent ) Housing Management?, Or something else? ( i.e. some hidden ‘social’ cause & effect? ). Plus a rather pejorative & genuinely ‘angry’ statement – ” outrageous, ‘morally’ perverse & totally unacceptable! ”.

          • Time to unravel this ‘puzzle’ ( moral maize ) i.e. untie the knot & go get yourself an ‘education’ Deborah ( a ‘worldly’ one ! ). Go visit Dakka in Bangladesh, Hong Kong even & ‘observe’ & see how the incredibley hard-working ‘low’ people live. Return with your new found ‘wisdom’ & then make your ‘comparisons’.

          • If you can’t do it in person then ‘travel via the realms of the imagination & I don’t neccessarily mean transporting yourself via travel ‘article’ either. Theres some great world pop ‘video’ treating this issue eg. Poverty & social ‘injustice’ at the moment.

            See. Oxford Letters Blog Comments & ‘follow’ the ‘title’ paragraph links written trajectory !.

          • * Note

            In fact I’d say the ‘highly’ creative & growing ‘forms’ of pro rata Third World, post- ‘colonial’ Asiatic/ Far East Pop ( some of my ‘favourites’ ! ) is the future. Ok may not quite yet since much of it ‘I’d’ categorise as closer too Art & ironically not ‘commercial’ Radio music yet.

          • * Further Notes

            Gosh ! I’m recalling a conversation I had with my Bengali ‘house’ share mate of 3 or was it 4yrs ( no, actually it was the NEC, Symphony Hall etc ‘temp’ working Waiter living ‘next’ door ) saying to me in a ‘serious’ tone ” Nigel what you’ve got to realise is, Dakka is hell ! ”.

          • So please go Deborah ha! ha! ha! ( me noting the ‘double’ irony here in this statement )

          • * See. ‘ Mondo Grosso [ Vocal ] ( VR180 experience ) At Fuji Rock Festival ’17 ‘ YouTube. Nb. I wd ‘play’/ session in a band like this !

          • ( Impt Notice. Above ‘Video’ incl Beyonce influenced beautiful ‘stage’ routine i.e. ‘flowing’ contemporary movement not ‘body’ popping stuff, now blocked – made ‘private’ !. So check the ‘Mondo Grosso’ ‘music’ video instead, filmed on location in Hong Kong it contains ‘alternative’ tho just as excellent choreography )

          • Eg. the song ( & dance ! ) ” Labyrinth ” by Mondo Grosso . )

  • Sally Wainman says

    Hi Jonny, You may or may not be aware that a substantial numbers of councils have closed public toilets on the grounds that they could not afford to keep them open!

    Private Eye recently carried a story of a council official or councillor caught urinating in a public place and it was his council that had closed all the toilets in that area.

    It might be worth researching to see if Exeter is one of the councils that has closed public facilities.

    • Sally, indeed Corbyn – are you out there?, I tell you Council Housing is not the answer, what with its associated hierarchy of w/c police, social workers, housing officers whatever you like to call ’em as your landlord!. See my ‘brief story (above ) about being unfairly ( criminally! ) evicted by a housing association & you can see that I was actually ‘shat’ upon by one housing officer.

      • I tell you ‘Housing Officers’ they’re a ‘wierd’ sort!.

        • Tho’ some of your ‘housing’ association ‘neighbours’ can be a lot wierder, especially the ones residing in the house that I was first ‘placed’ in ( offered a 1 bed flat! ) back in the day, in Moseley!.

          One such neighbour springs straight to mind, yeah ‘Barrington’ on the ground floor, an ‘interesting’ characer. A ‘self-taught’ Barrister ( Trinity Correspondence School! ), who I initally mistook for a ‘typical’ late-middle aged, white m/c homosexual, tho’ who in reality. I soon found out. had a particular liking for ‘yg’ boys eg. ‘blondes’ under the age of 16!.

          Previously a middle-ranking civil servant in the Council Treasury office, once an ‘aspiring’ Roman Catholic Priest, he struggled thru his law degree & Inns of Court exams. after work & during the ‘evening’. whilst living on ( or was it off? ) the Stratford Rd (in an area called Sparkhill, or was it Sparkbrook, Bham? ).

          Pretty young then myself he ‘propositioned’ me once, in his ‘front’ living room after we ( me being invited in one evening! ) had been listening to his ‘classical’ record collection, his other passion being ‘classical piano’ ( eg. the performances of John Ogden! ). Of course I turned him down, walked out of his flat, & kinda forgot about the incident!

          It did crop up again tho’ a few ‘months’ later in the Housing Association Office. Where I lodged a complaint about Barrington ( concerning an incident a few weeks after the ‘original’ one i.e. the sexual ‘proposition’! ) for entering the ‘rear’ garden climbing up the back ‘fire-escape’ & thru my bedroom window into my flat!.

          He claimed that he felt compelled to do so since I’d left the window open ( ajar! ) while out & that it posed a risk to the whole house since ‘burglars’ cd easily break-in, his intention being to merely ‘secure’ it shut!.

          Funny, wierd in fact, that my complaint was never fully investigated by Housing Officers or Police, in fact my then ‘Housing Manager’ warned me off, ‘be careful’ he said, stating Barrington had ‘friends’ in ‘high’ places!.

          • * Please Note – I was very ‘comfortable’ ( & as a ‘straight’ guy very trustworthy! ) of Gays back then since I had been ‘a Face’ on Bhams ‘ New Romantic’ scene before moving into Moseley eg. going to ‘the Rum Runner’ on Broad Street, knowing people like the DJ ‘Mike Horseman’ & even ‘modelling’ for avante-garde clothes designers ‘ Kahn & Bell ‘ at the notorious ( tho’ hip! ) gay club ‘Heaven’ in London.

            So this wierd ‘neighbour’ incident I describe above, was a ‘rare personal experience, & not common to me at all i.e. someone who tho’ sexually straight knew the ‘gay-scene’ pretty well!.

          • *Please Note 2 – The particular ‘plush’ (Hamstead, London plush! ) area of Moseley I used to live in back then, a very ‘desirable’ location, was also ‘known’ as the ‘Red Triangle’.

            Not quite Edgbaston, or Harborne ( i.e. Richmond, London plush! ), this part of Moseley was the ‘natural’ home of the 2nd Cities, yes ‘intellectual’ community back then eg. Professor Stuart Hall, one of the founder members of the CCS ( contemporary cultural studies ) dept at Bham University ( See. his ‘seminal’ Essay ” Encoding/Decoding Model of Communication ” ) springs to mind & he used to live ‘very’ local to where I used to live!.

          • * Please Note 3 – Of course the CCS Dept at Bham Uni is now defunkt it went 10 or so years ago along with Birmingham Higher Educations only authentic adult ‘extra-mural’ department eg. Bournbrook House in Selly Park ( adjacent to King Edwards Grammar! ) where you used to be able to study a ‘fascinating’ array of ‘evening’ subjects ranging from eg. Shakespeare Studies to British Isles ‘folk’ Anthropology to Psychoanalysis!.

          • See. Stuart Hall: ‘On Obama’ ( YouTube )

          • * Please Note 4 – Its funny how you know that it ‘is’ the final ‘demise’ of an area, a scene, a ‘counter-culture’ when ‘they’ decide to name one of the local ( & prominent! ) pubs ‘The Bohemian!’.

            You know the place has become a ‘tourist’ trap, is now a ‘new’ development area, or as one of Moseleys legendary ‘great’ characters Tommy Duncan said to me recently ( along with #Pete The Feet – bytheway these guys knew cats like Sandy Denny, Alex Campbell back in the 1960’s! ) the place is now full of ‘pseud’s’!.

            From what I hear theres not only a Ukelele Band playing at my ‘favourite’ pub back then ‘The Prince of Wales’ they’re performing every other week on what was one of my favourite nights out eg. Thursday nignt 8 to 11.
            Nah Man!.

          • Please Note 5 – Its worth jumping back in time here to explain how I came to be ‘transferred’ from my first ‘Mosely’ housing association flat back then & deeper into ‘The Red Triangle’ ( & only 1 road away from where that ‘noteable’ Bham Uni Professor Stuart Hall used to live ).

            Not by the usual ‘transfer method’ thats for sure, in the ‘real’ world of social housing these don’t happen easily & are indeed relatively ‘rare’!. ( if you’re in the unfortunate ‘predicament’ of being in ‘poor’ or unsatisfatory property its generally a case of ”put up or shut up!” ).

            No, at some point in the mid- late 1990’s it became ‘national’ policy to award…, a ‘pool’ of money was created so that…, social ‘housing providers’ cd force ‘tenants’ out of what were designated ‘inner-ring’ area properties & so that in turn these often 3 story suburban ‘Edwardian’ houses, converted into 1-bed flats, cd be ‘re-converted’ back into ‘family’ homes. This is what begun as Tory policy & the ‘process’ carried on ( & fully realised! ) through the whole political period!.

            In my ‘individual’ case, I found myself the ‘last’ tenant to be re-housed from ‘our’ building ( which also included an ‘elderly’ gentleman downstairs in the back ‘garden’ flat – & who I soon learned ‘died’ a few months after his ‘re-housing’, something that I ‘further’ – ‘later’! – drew attention too & also complained about! ).

            In fact I was still there, the sole ‘flat’ occupant when ‘builders’ moved in & started tearing apart the other ’empty’ flats ready for ‘future’ re-furbishment. Pretty scary too, but not as ‘terrifyiing’ as the day ( ‘bright’ afternoon ), the ‘instant’, when I caught a ‘local’ druggie/mental issue guy trying to get in through my bedroom window ( no doubt ‘tatting’ for lead, marble ‘fire-place’, anything else of value he cd lay his ‘thieving’ hands on! ). ”

            Recognising him instantly, & him by the look of his face just as ‘scared’, ”I’ve got a knife”, he shouted as he stumbled around on the ‘outside’ fire-escape trying to ‘break-in’!. I replied ” I tell you what ( after he came up with the line when confronted by me at the window ”I’m just looking for someone!” ) ” you go that that way ( i.e. back down the escape from whence you came! ) & I’ll go this way ( i.e. the ‘indoors’ communal stairs direction! ) & try & help find ‘him?’ for you! ”. To my ‘surprise’ & relief!, he did ( our unlikely ‘cat-burglar’ ) scoot off down the ‘fire-escape!, skipping rapid-fire quick-step down the ‘scape’ so as to gain speedy exit, down, thru & out of the ‘back’ garden & into the street!….

          • You know I never see the Guy again except ‘ironially’ once, in Handsworth ( N. Bham ) when I was ‘homeless’ & living in a tent on Sandwell Valley & then again very recently, the other week in the city-centre in fact, I caught a ‘glimpse’ of him, stopped & stoodstill, staring at me whilst I was busking by Tesco’s on New Street, heavy smoke billowing from his ‘lit-up’ & burning cigarette!. He stopped a ‘stared’ for a while & then as I carried on playing, walked on……….

          • ( * See Liverpool ‘Success’ Blog for further comments plus a ‘metaphor’ of the gradual stripping away of real ‘culture’ in our society over the last 20 odd years )

  • Barbara says

    Why is it not a crime to remove shelter and bedding from someone who has nowhere to sleep except a shop doorway or street? I can’t believe this is happening in Exeter!

    • The ‘real’ crime is that the current system ‘strips’ people of their self-respect ( & that includes ‘welfare’! ).

      Its time to let for example ‘claimants’ to re-claim at least a modicum of their dignity by allowing them to do some useful community ‘voluntary’ work for their benefits!.

      By that I don’t mean the establishment of some USA ( perhaps ‘Trump’style ) ‘workfair’ in this country, no that wd be grossly unfair & might lead to ‘sheer’ exploitation of the poor ( See Poundland! ). I mean those on the ‘dole’ doing say 1 or perhaps 2 days of ‘free’ labour ( ‘creative’ work! ) for eg. a ‘charity’ of their choice.

      This wd not only go somewhat to ‘justifying’ their benefits ( therefore detracting the Trump/Cameron/Blair Brigades criticism that all ‘doley’s are useless ‘smackheads’ & layabouts! ) it wd also boost ( restore! ) an ‘unemployed’ persons in many cases self-damaging ‘low-self esteem’.

      Another ‘truism’ for you, ‘its only by nurturing & harnassing ‘natural’ confidence that you will bring ‘true’ progress’!.

      • At present ( & I speak from personal ‘experience’ ) I argue that the welfare state ( the ‘high’ street job-centre! ) really ‘operates’ ( is cynically run as! ) a vast ‘de-humanisation’ process.

        Wherebye the unemployed ‘victim’ ( a real victim in this context! ) their ‘will’ ( natural volition! ) first broken i.e. by threats of ‘sanctions’, fear of poverty etc, is directed towards jobs they don’t really want & naturally not inclined i.e. where quite absurdly at times, they are not really suitable!

        Real ‘strengths’ ignored & honest ‘passions’ downplayed ( those who have them that is i.e. they’re not still lying ‘submerged’! ) the ‘claimant’ is merely placed on a ‘black magic roundabout’ of disatisfaction, meaninglessness, & no return!

        All in all, in the long term, a huge waste of time, of resources, money & much valuable human potential!

  • Boris Voutsinos says

    Authorities that go authoritarian against their own public, its affairs and their environment are a worldwide phenomenon, because they simply “think” it’s easier and faster that way. But it is dangerous to variety and freedom, creates tension in society and usually results in bigger problems than the ones that were to be solved. As I see it, the KSL people are definitely high level discussion partners because they know the topic as part of their real life and living space. And they go deep into the essence, thinking of every bad impact that wrong decisions can have on all participants of the scene.

    • Such is the banality, what can be the ordinariness of evil!

      • What you describe here Boris, threatens to become part of the everyday, at least for the likes of me it does anyway eg. a ‘regular’ jobbing Busker working the streets of Birmingham!. Bytheway I’m fighting to ‘free’ the place up, to protect from such happenings!.

        • In this city what has ’emerged’ has emerged & you know what I like it, I want to keep it this way yeah ‘natural’ & truly spontaneous ( evoking imaginings of what it must have been like before the …..before the….oh something so brutal, something so ‘tragic’ its unmentionable! )

  • Martyn Wheatley says

    Yet another example of creeping Police State we live in

    • Yes Jonny take heed, why not change your ‘loyalties’ & instead support freedom, openness & ‘true’ sponteneity with regards busking in places like Bham. Yeah & then why don’t you take the great strides to make this city council policy?

      • I tell you ‘any’ examples of a polce state ( in all its forms & ‘speciouc’ variants I’m postively in favour of halting ( & yeah in its tracks! ). Because you know what this type of state process ( political trend ) it cd mean for the likes of me?

        Yes you got it, 2 maybe 3 months in the wilderness! & I’ve been there once & have no ‘intention’ of going back! ( Except in the ‘natural’ that is, in the natural! We come into this world alone, & we go out of it alone! ).

        Q Why am I not a fan of the police ( or its more specious ‘variants’! ) because at their hands, because of ‘their’ common prejudices I’ve personally suffered !.

        Imagine being arrested on the most ‘jumped’ up charges ( i.e. no clear ‘evidence’ at all ) forcibly ‘removed’ from your own home, based on the mere ‘words’ of neighbours who themselves had been carted away by police only 2 weeks earlier after ‘smashing’ their kitchen window during a violent ‘domestic’ row!. ( this is just one example of the catalogue of ‘trouble’ they caused on moving in! ).

        This is why I don’t trust the police, this is why i don’t like many of them, this is why I think its imperative that their public ‘powers’ be kept to a minimum! ( once more in all its forms & all its ‘variants’! ).

        • I recall it all now ‘they’ ( the ‘new’ neighbours from hell! ) ‘driven’ away in the police car ‘late’ one ‘Sunday’ night, as they ‘should’ been, ( afterall plenty of evidence ) eg. the ‘carnage’ & glass strewn everywhere over the ‘fire’ escape, ‘communal’ stairs, house hallway – everywhere ( not too mention the shouting & murderous ‘scream’ that even ‘woke-up’ the next-door neighbours! ). You think ah well thats it, ‘nightmare’ over for them to return only an 1hr or so later, I don’t think they must have even ‘reached’ the station?

          And then theres ‘me’ 2 weeks later after an ‘episode’ of finding their ‘dog’ ( staffs Pit Bull Terrier ‘an illegal!@ ) tied to the garden post, all morning in the ‘baking’ sun & heat, yowling & yelping for water & ‘me’ simply knocking on their door so as to get help..an hr or so later ‘police’ arrive, banging on my flat door, drag me out the flat, I’m formally ‘arrested’, handcuffed, pushed roughly into the back of a police car & taken to the station…….

          • Edit ( above ) eg. not ”in all its forms & speciouc variants” but ‘ in all its forms and ( specious ) variants ‘.

  • Sarah says

    I was under the impression the consultation was still open today but the link does not seem to work.

    • True democratic ‘consultation’ is a sham in this country. From my ‘experience’ whether it be locally organising ( i.e. alongside desparate neighbours ( tenants! ) struggling to get a ‘security’ gate installed in ‘the back’ so as to deter youth gangs or as a ‘jobbing’ Street Performer working in Bham & with an ‘alternative’ policy view ( forget ‘policy’ view a significantly different public view! ) to Streetslive, Jonny Walker & his tribe.

      I’ve found that ( again despite all ‘appearances’! ) that local councils rather than genuinely ‘reaching out’ to seek wider consensus in community ( & Society! ) in ‘reality’ tend to operate more like a political ‘power bloc!’ & get thru’ their own ‘internally’ generated political agenda.

      Furthermore In todays world of marketing & media hype they’re often more ‘motivated’ not necessarily to please Media Barons like Rupert Murdoch – no its even more ignoble & facile than that – but merely to get their ‘own’ pictures in the papers!

      • The prime tactical lever of these seasoned ‘politico’s’, not ‘progressive’ democracy, but rather ‘ Blue Sky Thinking ‘ ( in the negative sense! ).

  • Peter Cooper says

    We have just had our first really cold spell of the winter, we have had months of rain. I wonder how many people chose to sleep outside in these conditions. Surely laws should be framed to address situations and activities over which people have choice.

    We (the citizens of Exeter and the surrounding area) Do have a choice whether to recognise our commonality with our street living neighbours and extend ourselves to help and protect the most vulnerable people with whom we share the city, or to victimise, criminalise and penalise people whose existence highlights our failure adequately to provide for our community.

    Please oppose these measures and support KSL in their campaign to highlight the council’s plans.

    • When I found myself homeless ( 10 years or so ago ) & most definitely ‘unintentionally’ so, I ‘survived’ living in a tent in the ‘wilderness’ ( eg. Sandwell Valley ‘green belt’ & nature reserve! ) first of all by foraging eg. supermarket bins, cake shops for throaway & ‘discarded’ food, secondly by drawing water from ‘back-yard’ taps late at night & thirdly by ‘hunting’ for a job on the secondary labour market via an agency.

      I remember that job-stint well, ‘twilight’ shifts with a north Bham steel fabrication company, how cd I not remember, I almost lost my ‘finger’ after it was slammed down upon by a steel press. Yeah one of the most ‘painful’ experiences in my entire life!, tho’ also one of the best ‘insights’ into real-life ‘genuine’ homelessness where the truly ‘authentic’ human motive is to survive & indeed escape!.

      • The life lesson? A ‘normal’ human-being when out in the ‘cold’ ( especially when this has arisen out of ‘unjust’ circumstances! ), & literally finding themselves ‘homeless’ & faced with the natural elements, does’nt wait for any kind of hand-outs,
        government help, or indeed public charity!

        No, given the ‘immediate’ reality, the adrenaline pump kicks alongside the ‘primary’ instinct to ‘actively’ make your own ‘direct’ strides to survive! That plus the ‘natural’ desire to get out of your predicament & back into human society as soon as possible ( if nothing else to get justice! ).

        • After a ‘stint’ in the wilds ( more than a few weeks! ) & using this approach ( camping out & foraging, ‘tapping’ plus an ‘agency’ job in a local steel works ), I also managed to find some ‘temporary’ alternative accomodation whilst waiting for a ‘proper’ resolution of my situation!.

          • Ok what i describe is my particualr predicament but you know if ‘self’ survival ( with a little help from the kind ! ) is’nt working in a persons ‘bad’ life situation, then the solution just might be not merely ‘rehabilitation’ in itself but both ‘punishment’ & the opportunity to redeem ones self.

            Eg. why should a ‘drug’ addict having made that ‘irresponsible’ choice & causing much pain to others nevermind himself be offered simply an ‘easy’ escape, rather than more righteously ( & sensibly ) having to face ( suffer ) at least some ‘pain’ ( naturally or officially ) for his or her ‘bad’ decisions & then given a helping hand

            Thats my problem with not only many Christains & other religous people but the many secular ‘Love’ Bombers out there. I argue mere ‘sentiment’ alone is not the way, its ‘rational/moral’ pre-thought & justice that are the ‘proper’ route to love & justice & finally harmony in our society, & indeed the world.

            The problem I have with the Neo-Cons ( incl. Blair, Brown, Cameron et al ) is that choices at the ‘highest’ Gov level up until recently were made to forgoe the ‘rehabilition’ strategy i.e. we can no longer afford to spend taxpayers money on these people.

            ( Nb. By the grace of God in many ways any one of us, blinded by the Devil & truth hidden away in society’s ‘collective’ dark recess(s) ! ).

            The result we ‘flawed’ People ‘fall’ ( if not ‘pushed’ structurally ), go on to suffer the pain, & then without remorse ( officially ) are left to rot!. In the futer this simply won’t do, the ‘welfare’ state & the notion of ‘rehabilitaton’ has got to make a come back along with it ( pro rata Post Modern ‘relative’ morality ) the more natural ‘ liberal ‘ notion of individual responsibility.

  • Kaya Hyslop says

    We need to get to the root of the problem. In other words we need to, as a caring and compassionate society, clean up our own back yard. We need to make more intelligent policies that protect the vulnerable. Our leaders need to listen to the voice and the needs of the people. It it plain to see we can choose to direct resources to the improvement of Life for All, and make courageous decisions in policy making, realising that we are all connected and we can solve all of our problems, with the spirit of goodwill for all. This is a global problem, but we must act locally.

    • Again check out the charity organisation ‘Thames Reach’ they’ve been around for a while now & deserve our attention if not our full public ‘awareness’ & yes they’ve got some answers, quite a few of them, & very ‘effective’ they are too!

      • As for getting to the ‘root’ of problems & being more caring & compassionate well then lets take a look at the issue of mental illness or at least take a ‘peek’ at some important ( tho’ not surprising! ) ‘facts’ that are often overlooked in the whole debate about mental health.

        Take ‘depression’ for instance, the reality is ( despite ‘appearances’ ! ) that this common ailment today & one prominent on the ‘psychiatric’ diagnostic register, actually comes ( manifests itself! ) in many forms & by doctors, GPs can be easily ‘mis-diagnosed’, or by less scrupuolus ‘patients’ themselves strategically not admitted! ( either to themselves ‘repression’, or in the open ‘ i.e. to ‘their’ often ‘neurotic’ public! ).

        In turn given the fact that symptoms & things often come in ‘layers’, Depression may indeed not be a ‘direct’ effect but rather a ‘secondary’ symptom of something else & that in turn of something else.

        And by the time you get to the bottom of it, this spiralling ‘mental’ process that is, ironically we can find ourselves being led back to that, also very common state of human affairs, i.e. that of the Malingerer!.

        • A particularly specious, crafty, selfish & ‘manipulative’ type of ‘Malingerer’!. Yeah a ‘real’ drain on society ( & ‘partner’, & family & friends! ).

          • Yeah, the ‘predatory’ Malingerer!

          • At ‘root’ an extremely selfish, ‘predatory’ Malingerer!.

          • And what ‘compassion’ do they feel for anyone else? Zilch!

          • They may try to ‘mask’ it ( compassion that is! ) but in reality the true self has diluted or ‘evaporated’, its gone – Vamoosh!.

            ( See. The classic text on psychiatric diagnosis – ‘ The Roots of The Pathology of Human Character & the Modern Personality! )

          • { Impt. Byetheway I speak of ‘homeless’ charity’s like ThamesReach as a solution but I emphasise that I’m of course, as a ‘jobbing’ Busker, ( & having been one of the lg-term unemployed ) not a ‘total’ supporter of Bourgeoisie ( nor typical Job Centre/ DWP ) remedies to many individuals ‘economic’ problems. I’m 99.9% against round peg in a square hole ‘job’ ( i.e political ) remedies. The economy needs to ‘creatively’ grow & society ‘truly’ progress in a manner that allows the ‘individual’ to discover ( re-discover ) their own self-worth & work & naturally ‘fit’ in accordingly }

          • Of course if they ( the down & out, the impoverished ) were to go the more ‘serious busking ‘route’ ( i.e. besides ‘penny’ whistling which at its best ‘can’ considered at least a ‘folk’ art !) simply getting a ‘guitar’, learning a ‘few’ chords, & singing a small set of ‘pop’ songs is not an ‘easy’ feat ( for a ‘fallen’ ‘rough’sleeper ) & can mean a few bridges have to be crossed ( or if you’re ‘on’ the street perhaps ‘surmounted’ ).

            Problem is even this relatiively straigtforward ‘conceptual’ social solution can become institutionalised ( & ‘hijacked’ ) by Gov. agencies & even ‘well’ meaning charity organisations. To get from the street to your feet & humanly ‘independent’ again is turned into an ‘industry’ in itself, full of pitfalls & human ‘snares’ in itself & yes commonly ‘exploited’ ( the percieved ‘weak’ are ‘victims’ of much ‘invisible’ exploitation in our so called Society ) }

          • My ‘own’ busking set ( me having ’emerged’ on the streets via both ‘Structure’ & ‘agency’ i.e. The New Labour welfare benefit(s) cuts regime & the then mal’culture of ‘malicous’ allegation & ‘false’ testimony i.e. political ‘spin’ ! ) can be improved upon but is ‘above’ average & in ‘good’ taste ( so ‘many’ people tell me ! ). In fact that cd be publicly/ artistically demonstrated if ‘captured’ properly on say video ! ).

            I got my ‘first’ guitar via working in a Cafe doing English Breakfasts for a year or so in the Bham ‘canal’ district ( I know the ‘canal’ & boat culture extremely well ! ). Yes working up to 12 hrs a day, 7 days a week, for over 12 months. The longest stint I’ve ever done in any ‘straight’ job. My busking set tho ‘indirectly’ learned ( not necessarily on YouTube, many of the ‘folk’ romantic pieces I play you won’t find there ! ) was ‘self’ taught }}

          • I enjoy ( genuinely ! ) relative anonymity on social media at present & except in I note some ‘exceptional’ circumstances tend to be ignored not by actual good ‘street’ photographers & the like but by the ‘many’ ( esp. so these days ! ) who are much ‘active’ ( perhaps ‘over’ active’ ) in this area at present. }

          • These days more than wanting ( reasonabley so ! ) a decent & perhaps more ‘suitable’ day job, I’ve gone thru’ a powerful ‘transformative’ stage & I’ve got the strong ( ‘real’ ) desire to be an Artist. }

          • * Note

            On working for 12 months in the ‘breakfast’ Cafe being the longest stint I’d ever done in a ‘straight’ job. ( Nb. I’d never really been ‘accepted’ in such a role before, not for this long a period anyways ! ).

          • * Further Note

            Plus it cd have been ‘worse’ since the ‘natural’ sympathetic human impulse ( the ‘cafe’ owner in ‘her’ own way ‘was’ kind to me during this period ! ) does have its ‘shadow’ side. With ‘human’ rehabilitation often provided by society’s more ‘darker’ charity’s Eg. some ‘cruel’ Nuns Convent in say Ireland & incl its more unnatural ‘sadistic’ life punishments ! ).

  • Andrew Wain says

    The links on your site have been taken down yesterday (21st) by Exeter Council. Their Paul Bull, who has the laughable title “Member Champion for Community Engagement”, has put up a ‘Response to Change.org petition’ at http://exeter.gov.uk/response-to-pspo-petition/
    The good news is the deadline seems to have been extended to 29th February. There is a new link for the Public Consultation here: http://exeter.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/consultations-and-petitions/public-spaces-protection-order-consultation/

    Paul Bull’s response is deeply offensive to any one who cares about freedom and human rights. There is plenty of misinformation there to quote and respond to on the public consultation form. e.g. “An offence is only caused if the person refuses to clear away their bedding and other belongings when requested to do so by an authorised officer.” (A plain lie)
    and “confrontational issues that can arise when employees are seeking access to open premises in the morning and are obstructed by someone with their bedding and paraphernalia” (a situation where Police officers already have ample powers of arrest).

    • I understand your concerns ( & possible ‘outrage’ ) but don’t be too surprised about Paul Bulls response tho’ Andrew. A ‘common’ view of the British ‘underclass’ is that they’re mere ‘flotsam’ ( human flotsam! ) surplus to requirements. The requirements of ‘modern’ Capitalism that is, ‘surplus’ to the ‘division of labour’ that makes up our contemporary ‘capitalist’ economy!.

      The way out in the long-term of course is ‘growth’ ( in terms of organic wealth, jobs, & skills i.e. we need more of it & importantly ‘dished’ out further afield! ). That plus a break-up of the cycle of I guess ‘natural’ human adaption ( when man is at his most depraved, weakest, laziest that is! ) to his own waste, degradation, & misery.

      Yes its so easy for ‘man’ to fall ( as well as to be ‘pushed’! ) & become a ‘pig’ – See Animal Farm. And once fallen soon start to feel ‘comfortable’ being there, you know the old adage ‘ a pig loves to bathe in its own slops ‘ ( yeah pretty ‘insightful’ folk wisdom this! ).

  • Oscar says

    I thought the consultation was still open today. Why isn’t the link working?
    Has anyone from the City’s council ever stopped to talk with a homeless person? It might just spark an element of humanity in those making decisions. It is morally repugnant to victimise and criminalise the vulnerable.

    • Oscar it certainly is morally repugnant to ‘victimise’ & criminalise the vulnerable, & I can ‘personally’ testify to the ‘fact’!.

      After a pretty ‘stressful’ phase of ‘homelessness’ myself, ( 10 years or so ago! ) living in a tent, in some ‘fields’, ( as I detail in ‘comments’ above Sandwell Valley – a ‘green’-belt to the North of Bham ) & as a result of being ‘wrongly’ ( malicously! ) accused of a crime by ‘nuisance’ neighbours ( housing association ‘neighbours from hell! ) & forced out of my home ( & tenancy ) on ‘bail’ conditions by not merely ‘incompetent’ police but on the basis I argue of further racial ‘malice’ ( indeed ‘envy’! ) I did manage to find ‘temporary’ resolution to my predicament!.

      Following a stint of brute ‘survival’ eg. foraging for food, ‘tapping’ for water & temp’ work in a local steel Plant ‘steel fabrication firm’ ( very ‘temporary’ as I had an ‘accident’ on a power press where I nearly lost my one of my fingers! ) I first found some ‘lodgings’, then a ‘shared’ house ( with some yg students from Bradford ‘ one a protege Architect! ), & then a flat ( on the ‘local’ private housing market ).

      Why a ‘private’ flat ( why not return to your tenancy in Mosely after your ‘court’ acquittal? ). Well because my Housing Officer back then in her ‘haste’ ( no doubt ‘pressed’ by ‘evil’ superiors eg her ‘immediate’ Manager, the Board Director perhaps? ) had insitigated ‘repossession’ of my housing association flat ( i.e issuing ‘eviction’ orders ) whilst I was on bail ( & afterwards! ) without my being fully aware of it!.

      The point here tho’ is that in managing to find ‘accomodation’ on the private housing sector ( albeit the ‘low’ rent one! ) your problems are not necessarily over in terms of resolving ‘homelessness’. In fact here is where the phenomenon of ( ‘experience’ of ) ‘hidden’ homelessness may begin.

      It certainly did for me, making me realise that to a certain extent ‘victimisation’ is built into the very structure, the very ‘fabric’ of our contemporary society & especially so in the area of housing. And in the ‘existence’ ( form ) of ‘substandard’ housing. Yeah, I ( an ‘able’ bodied, self driven individual! ) managed to still find myself ‘exploited’ here whilst living in my ‘new’ private flat.

      I can ‘testify’ to this via the personal ‘housing’ campaign I launched, involving Council Housing Standards, backing form the ‘local’ public including equal rights ‘activists’ plus a story in the Bham Mail.

      ( * Please note – ‘I’m’ not a ‘career’ Activist in any way, but here I just felt ‘compelled to ( ‘morally’ so, out of disgust & anger! ) bring to public attention the grubby & yeah socially ‘evil’ fact that ‘private’ Tenants today, are still having to live in the type of slum dwelling ( an ‘attic’ in my case! ) where the ‘toilet’ ( & 1950’s ‘caravan’ style shower & bathroom unit! ) is conventiently ( ‘tho’ disgustingly ) situated in the corner of the living room. )

      No! ( given you ask! ) I did’nt find ( locate! ) this ‘hell-hole’ , nor was it ‘advertised’, thru’ the local Estate Agents! ).

      • I have to add here ( on the subject of ‘experiential’ details! ) that The Birmingham Mail story did get a few ‘facts’ wrong at the time eg. it stated I was a Jazz Musician & P/T Warehouse Worker.

        The ‘truth’ is I was a working in a warehouse but not involved in the ‘local’ jazz world at all, that was a notion that had slipped into the interview as a ‘sarcastic’ comment by me & meant to be taken as an ‘ironic’ statement on my situation. Of course times have changed since then, I am into jazz on the guitar now eg. Cafe Gypsy Jazz, Brazil ‘jazz’ Choro!.

        • I think what I also meant ( see Above ) by ‘references’ to Jazz Musicians etc ( i.e. in the ‘subtext’ ) in my ‘interview’ with the Bham Mail is the importance of having a ‘cultural’ sense of ‘self-reliance’ especially in a ‘survival’ context – which for me ( for a while! ) the ‘black’ Bohemian ‘jazzman’ did to an extent symbolise i.e. a kind of tenacious spirit & independance.

          ( * Ironically it was later – after reading a few ‘insightful’ books on Literature & Black History – that ‘reality’ dawned i.e. Jazzers can also represent gross ‘human’ weakness See Miles Davies ‘autobiography’ particularly the chapters on the USA ‘jazz-scene’ & heroin addiction ( incl his own! ) ).

          Q. Why is the development of a spirit of ‘self reliance’ so important ( See Ralph Waldo Emerson ) ? A. Well when I look around me at all the many ‘homeless’ who have succumbed to ‘drugs’ ( quick ‘fixes’! ) as a way out, as a ‘barrier’ to the pain, I see the same kind of ‘victims’ that German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche critically referred to as ‘ the herd’ ( & ‘herd’ mentality ).

          Today, the age of of ‘social media ( ‘reality’ TV, cult of celebrity ) I its easy see the ‘masses’ are in fact the ‘archetypal’ group ‘follower ( ‘ hypnotised’ & programmed by consumer advertising etc. )’. But you can also see that the w/c are really a form of ‘socialised Follower! ‘ ( & like human Lemmings too, to the point of their own destruction, ‘willfully’ jumping off a cliff if only someone else were to take the lead i.e. ‘blindly’ go first! ).

          Part of the problem ( very much an ‘individual’ one) for the ‘fallen’ homeless ( many w’c! ) is that they have become so ‘weak’ ( ‘conditioned’ so by schools, support officers, state ‘superiors’, cult of celebrity! etc), have such low self support capacity, such ‘low’ not just hope but ‘self-belief’ that after only a few ‘months’ sleeping on their friends ‘sofa’ they grasping out anxiously for the ‘bottle of gin’!.

          People ( the w/c, ‘new’ underclass ) have got to get ‘tougher’, more ‘focused’ , & most importantly get ‘armed’ with a more ‘practical’ existential life philosophy! )

          • I guess the ultimate ‘escape’ tho’ for a ‘few’ individuals (well they were once! ) is ‘God’! i.e. escape into the supernatural, world of deities, ‘divine’ beings & other wonderful & ‘fantastic’ creatures of the ‘imagination’.

            Yeah!, knowing the ‘streets’ as I now do, I’m very familiar with this well trodden path. As a Street Performer in Bham you can’t but help hearing about it every day ( & its not a ‘whisper’ at the back of the mind either, but rather a ‘bellow!’ thru public PA’s & ‘amplified’ loudspeakrs! ).

            Oh yes!, a familiar ‘game’ ( way-out! ) on the streets this, amongst the homeless , amongst the ‘fallen! ‘ its called ” Follow The Follower! ”.

          • Of course at ‘root’ what many people are ‘really’ trying to escape from is themselves ( ‘the Self!’ ). ‘Self overcoming’ is the biggest challenge here i.e. of ones ‘natural’ human weaknesses eg. 1.laziness, 2.fear ( anxiety )!. In turn releasing ‘energy’ ( action! ) towards higher things, perhaps ones ‘true’ potential!.

          • Oh yes don’t i just sound like Jean Jacques Rousseau here ( aping on about my ‘poor’ self again !. )

  • Jozef Appleyard says

    Remember the House of Cards Trilogy? Francis Urquart’s dream was the shining city of society’s elite, living in luxury and style. As for the not so privileged….. Well, the new Vagrancy Act can look after them.

    It beggars belief that a Labour-led council can do this. Stop persecuting the worst off in society and leave this behaviour to the money-grubbin’ Tories!

    • Be careful tho’ you ever so nice, decent, well-mannered, well meaning ‘lefties’ that by your very ‘niceness’ ( no body wd begrudge spontaneous acts of good will even to the most un-deserved, its a niceness that helps makes the world go round! ) you don’t ‘unwittingly’create the very ‘comfort’ zone ( invisible ‘support’ culture! ) that at the end of the day would & could only benefit lifes malingerers!.

      Big Issue make note of this too, although now a ‘social’ institution now with us since the 1990’s ( * strangely around same time post-environmental Minister Michael Hesaltine had left office, concerns about a housing crisis i.e. no more council housing were hitting the headlines & alongside a seeming ‘heroin’ epidemic & the sudden appearance beggars on our streets. Up until then all there was & I remember them as a kid shopping in town with my Mother, was the Bag-lady! ) you’re not the only, nor are you necessarily ‘the best’ solution to ‘street’ poverty!.

      • Byetheway Jozef I’m to a certain extent playing ‘devils advocate’ here. Please note that despite what cd be mistakenly taken as ‘appearances’ I assure you ( tho’ we may not share ‘exactly’ the same politics! ) I’m not a ‘money grubbing Tory’!

        • Funny too how all this too started at around the same time as the introduction of care in the community. Ok ( post ‘ One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest !) all the ‘mental’ hostpitals were shut down. But what nobody seems to recall ( if they do they certainly do ‘not’ mention! ) is how a new set of private ( some housing provider! ) care homes, hostels & temporary ‘resting’ places followed in their wake.

          In turn bringing along with them ( these contemporary ‘care’ institutions ) a post Thatcherite brand of ‘nouveuax’ riche eg. ex mental health nurses, ex social workers, ex hostpital sisters some of whome were soon making a few million on the back of this ‘new’ form of social contract.

          As for the ‘award winning’ Big Issue well it was seen as the ideal form of employment by some ( or indeed many in the ‘new’ business establishment eg. ‘new’ ethical companies like BodyShop )

          Q. For whom? A. Well for the freshly released i.e. in all their local colour & splendor, society’s mad & bad!.

          • The development & push to an ever wider & more socially ‘integrated’ work culture is what is desirable here – that plus ‘real’ skills development!. Anything to break up the dead-end & pretty meaningless ‘black magic roudabout’ culture that persists today ( i.e zero sum growth & clever if not more than a ‘few’ intelligent people going nowhere! )

          • And finally, what I’ve said is so important because I think society ( or at least the society of the future ) ought to offer at least the possibility of ‘rehabilitation’ to its fallen. This plus real ‘choice’. I ( I’m speaking meta-phorically here i.e or the ‘real’ experts! ) can sit here & dream up ‘work-schemes’ for ‘addicts’ & alcohlics but at the end of the day what do they want to do?, for example if the Big Issue is the thing for them then so be it who am I to stop them!.

            But if in fact they can do better & its just a matter of courage. confidence, the resources, the skills then thats when the ‘proper’ programme can step in & fulfill a role, a social function!.

          • { As in Art & learning you know when a person with specialised knowledge speaks to the ‘poor’ ( usu. via mass media eg. TV shows, Mag articles ) they’re ‘experts’, Advisors. But when they provide their ‘services’ to the Rich they’re just that i.e. servants of the Rich & are treated thus. Well I in my artistic endeavours have no time for ‘Mentors’, you know there ‘are’ some great Teachers out there & they can become ‘friends’ !. }

          • You can ‘meet’ them along the way, I’ve met them in the ‘streets’ & we’ve indeed mutually shared knowledge ! }

          • They ‘recognise’ my potential & I acknowledge & respect theirs. When its ‘real’ of course, when its true & eager ! }

  • Oliver Whitehead says

    Firstly the fact many councils are trying to criminalise homelessness is a repugnant outrage- it is harassing and persecuting the very people of whom they owe a duty of care to.
    Secondly, homelessness is not the problem but in fact is the result of a system where wealth is concentrated to 1% of the population in the last ten years if I remember rightly the worlds richest 1% own as much wealth as the poorest 40% of the worlds population whom have in fact gotten poorer. Likewise in Britain over a million are dependent on foodbanks to feed themselves and their families whilst the number of millionaires since 2011 has doubled.

    Furthermore the council should not be taking any action against some of the most vulnerable in society unless it is an altruistic and positive one such as opening closed buildings during winter so the homeless do not have to sleep in the cold and risk illness, setting up doctor call outs to them, sheltered accommodation or simply giving them the inelastic goods which one needs to survive such as food and water for example.
    If the council criminalises homelessness it will be a retrogressive step and if the destroy someones property then they would be legally speaking be committed the offence of criminal damage as anything that takes “time,money or effort” to replace could constitute criminal damage.
    Lastly I would like to urge ALL councils to not criminalise homelessness or rough sleeping and take a compassionate approach to the issue and actually help their brothers and sisters that are in need as one day it could be them made homeless as it really can happen to anyone it doesn’t discriminate.
    Thank you for your time
    Oliver Whitehead

    • I take on board your points Oliver, homelessness in this country is for me ( as for many! ) a ‘complicated’ picture.

      I wd argue that there are problems with the ‘created’ housing market in the UK that in turn generates ‘structural’ difficulties hindering many people from getting a ‘decent’ home nevermind the inverted commas ‘ homeless! ‘.

      I also join the growing voice of criticism levelled at ‘local’ authorities for shrugging their ( or at least finding ways to cynically ‘evade’ ) their legal duties to those who find themselves homeless. This whole Anti-Social Behaviour, PSPO thing can be one ‘convenient’ way for them to do this i.e. simply a ‘smokescreen’ hiding some rather unpleasant political realities!

      Of course ‘affairs’ are not quite as simple as this, ‘malingering’ is still very much a social problem in this country ( as it is a ‘psychiatric’ one! ), so too is ‘strong’ alcohol & extreme ‘drug’ addiction accounting for a large proportion of the ‘long-term’ homeless you see ‘aggressively’ begging on our streets ( or slap, smack, bang in our city-centres! ).

      Dysfunctional family influences, ‘negative’ peer group may all be defined as ‘structural’ causes here, but let us not forget the ‘moral’ dimensions of ‘individual’ responsibility, I don’t think Society is ready to shirk the concept of personal culpability quite yet!

      • * Tipping Points ( both moral & social! )

        Importantly remember ‘depravity’ has its tipping points & once that point is passed in our town & city centres the simple ‘presence’ of alcoholics, drug-addicts, malingerers lying strewn around in their ‘sleeping’ bags begins to have ‘evil’ effect!.

        The social health of the wider population nevermind their ‘moral’ integrity means that however unfortunate a line has to be drawn somewhere!.

        The way forward is yes more understanding of the ‘issue’ at hand & public ‘awareness’ ( tho that is already forthcoming, believe me, esp ‘you’ polticians! ) but also the kind of ‘active’ research that will help clarify true causes & in the long-term find a cure ( yes ‘compassionate’ but also including a ‘moral’ one! )

        • * Abuse ( & its effects )

          Back on the question of ‘dysfunction’ ( eg. ‘family’ dysfuncion ) I thinks its worth making the point that ‘abuse’ can have its ‘negative’ effects, especially family abuse.

          Not necessarily ‘directly’ but yes in the form a ‘response’ ( a kind of response! ) eg. ‘self-destruction!’ – the victim turning all their anger & ‘hatred’ within i.e. in & on themselves & over a period of time self-inflcting their own cruel ( & ‘irrational’ ) demise ( & not necessarily in the form of ‘suicide’ but finding expression thru other ‘destructive’ outlets eg. drug addiction, or self-neglect ‘masked’ as depression etc etc).

          Yeah I’ve always thought of these kinds of people i.e. ‘true’ victims of abuse ( not sophisticated ‘malingerers’ or game-players i.e. we do live in a ‘victim’ culture & that does ‘complicate’ matters! ) as a kind of walking ‘time-bomb’! ( or at least potential one! ).

          Still a matter of being very careful here & not jumping to conclusions in your ‘analysis’. Remember ‘complacency’ kills, as can ‘misguided ‘love, so its still a matter of engaging with the very difficult task of sorting out ‘the wheat from the chaff’ when seeking to address or indeed resolve this problem!.

  • Rosie says

    Like Sarah, I was under the impression the consultation was still open today but the link does not seem to work. Is there a way around this?

  • Rosie says

    Just found a link that works: https://www.surveyserver.net/index.php?f=9788
    The site was updated on 21 January 2016 which could account for what’s happened.

    • As a ‘prologue’ to Muriels comment ( below! ) may I briefly ‘digress’ & draw attention to the ‘real’ state of affairs that often pertains when Man ( yes ‘human-beings’ ) are in a ‘true’ state of survival!. Sorry but I can’t avoid being somewhat ‘brutal’ about this!

      Eg. Tribal ‘Eskimos’ have been known to ‘dump’ the elderly ( no doubt even their own ‘Grandmothers’ ) when in a state of ‘real’ emergency i.e. the ‘group’ facing starvation & ‘priority’ choices have to be made about who should ‘eat’ & who ‘should’nt’ ( * I’m not an ‘economics’ expert but I know theres a common term for this in that field! ).

      Eg. Armed force units in the midsts of ‘real’ war & fighting a ‘life & death’ battle have not been unknown to ‘shoot’ members of their own side at the ‘pitch’ of such bloody struggles. Yes, the unit ‘Malingerer’ dragged aside & a bullet in the side of the head, if being for nothing else other than a matter of ‘morale’! ( the ‘morale’ & life of the men put way above the life of the de-moralising & draining individual! ).

      Now in ‘civil’ society we don’t want to go around ‘shooting’ individuals ( even pretty deviant ones! ) but don’t you think we need to get ‘real’ here especially if we’re going to start framing this whole issue in terms of ‘survival’ as Muriel seems to do below.

      At least acknowledge there is a ‘debate’ to be had here & – not necessarily from a ‘staunch’ right-wing angle!. This whole issue of homelessness rather than ‘generalising’ ( as far as I can see being guilty of sentimentally ‘oversimplifying’ reality at times! ) I argue for more ‘reflective’ honesty on the matter.

      We can begin by identifying & supporting the ‘genuine’ whilst perhaps being a little less forgiving & a little more ‘tough’ on the disingenuine amongst those ‘we’ spot out there apparantly sleeping rough on the streets including ‘some’ ‘addicts’, malingers etc.

      Not cruelly tough but tough nevertheless, good ole fashioned ‘lovingly’ tough ( and no I’m not a Christian nor Reaganite! )

      • In fact Jonny I’d be very interested in hearing your opinion on this issue especially as ( along with your Wife Philipa! ) you’re quoted as one of the ‘ 10 Heroes of the London Riots ‘ ( Wire Magazine, Time Magazine ) & ‘pictured’ giving cups of tea to Metropolitan ‘riot’ police ( armed up to the teeth with shield & baton round & seemingly about to go on the charge! ).

        Specifically I’d like to know how you respond to ‘some’ of the questions posed ( See above ) as a declared ‘pacifist’ ?.

        • * Notes

          A ‘qualifying’ point regarding the ‘comment’ ( above ) concerning ‘tribal’ Eskiomos. I talk about ‘Eskimo’s’ ( according to ‘anthropological’ research or was is it ‘popular’ psychology where I picked up this ‘narrative’? ) being know to ‘jettison’ the elderly at times of ‘famine’ etc as a ‘necessary’ survival tool.

          To be fair tho’ I bet that there are or were ( I’m not sure this pretty brutal ‘ancient’ tribal custom is practised today? ) many ‘Grandmothers’ amongst the them who wd have more ‘nobly’ ( out of ‘noble’ virtue! ) actually offered themselves up for death as an act of ‘loving’ self-sacrifice to ensure the ‘tribes’ lg-term survival!.

  • Muriel says

    The fact that some through circumstance, and surely not through noise, end up having to sleep rough in the middle of winter, is not and can not be classified as an “offence” worthy of such a word. What is objectionable, is the fact that some people think it is. I suggest they try a week on the streets and then decide if people are doing this just to be “naughty, annoying, upsetting, objectionable”…. and all the other terms that might have previously comme to mind. Just try it, I’d love to know how you feel.

    • Muriel from my own experience of sleeping out in the cold a while ago in a tent in a field on the outer perimeters of north bham I assure you that when you are ‘genuinely’ homeless you won’t just lie there & take it unless you’re an ‘addict’, mentally ill, alcoholic, or deep down some sort of ‘malingerer’ ( whether that be ‘conditioned’ or othewise! )

      Ok there maybe some exceptions to the rule but in ‘normal’ human terms the natural instinct that kicks in under these sort of ‘harsh’ circumstances whilst having to stay alive whilst out there living in the open is 1. ‘active’ survival & 2. escape.

      See my comments under Peter Cooper for full details of my ‘homeless’ escapade & the comments at the top of this page for their ’causes’ ( as you can guess ‘natural’ injustice! ). But I tell you here or should I say ‘summarise’ for you, that the method of my actual survival included eg. camping out & ‘foraging’, tapping drinking water & finally ‘agency’ work ( temping whilst I was still sleeping out in the early stages! ).

      Muriel don’t believe all you read in the papers or pick up thu’ the grapevine when it comes to the true nature of homelessness. For some social facts ( & stats ) on the matter check out the website of the London charity Thames Reach!.

      Funnily the most painful episode here was when I nearly lost my finger whilst working on the ‘twiight’ shift in a Steel Factory ( & boy does it ‘throb’ when your’e sleeping at the dead of ‘cold’ night out there in a tent in some fields! )

      • In fact Muriel its amazing how ‘creative’ one can get when the need to ‘survive’ kicks-in ( combined with the need do so as ‘cleanly’, as cleanly as possible! ).

        In fact heres a ‘tip’ on washing & cleanliness if you do ever face the ‘misfortune’ of having to survive ‘out’ in the cold on the streets ( or ‘fields’ as was in this instance my case ). Of course you’ve been using ‘cold’ water up until this point, that plus the ‘toiletrie’s you were lucky to have brought with you ( in my case ‘collected’ under supervision of the police from my flat when beginning bail! ).

        When the ‘toiletries’ begin to run out ( a potentially ‘panic’ time for some! ) its time to think outside the box, which I did & came up with the idea of using an empty plastic milk carton & filling it with ‘warm’ water from the ‘toilets’ of the Pub nr the River Tame on the ‘edge’ of the green-belt. That plus helping myself to a little ‘free’ soap ( the hand ‘variety’ & not quite stealing too i.e. no ‘guilt’ its just like leaving with the tea-bags & doilies after a stay in a ‘holiday’ hotel! ). Talking of the River Tame a great ‘natural’ laundry resource that too!.

        As a luxury tho’ & towards the end of my time in the ‘wilds’ I did have a ‘phase’ of sneaking into the ‘north’ Bham Aston University ‘campus’ Halls ( where my mother used to work as a ‘catering’ Manager! ) & actually using the showers there as a ‘student’ – agghh bliss!

  • Brett Barber says

    Spend the money on helping these people to re-integrate not harass them because of their misfortunes. Truly a cruel and misguided intiative

    • Check out the London ‘charity’ organisation ‘Thames Reach’ whose ‘noble’ mission is to not mere ‘to save’ ( i.e. rooted in in some kind of ‘eternal’ Saviour ethos! ) but to actually ‘end’ homlessness ( i.e rooted in positive ‘enlightenment’ values ).

      Please give their ‘website’ a thorough gleaning not only is it ‘rich’ in information on ‘homelessness’ ( & related issues ) you will also gain an insight into their ‘effective’ ( highly successful ) programmes

      Yeah, read through this interesting sity & you gain a very ‘rare’ kind of education indeed, including the knowledge that despite ‘appearances’ not all homless are ‘misfortunates’, yes its ‘true’ finding yourself out in the cold & ‘living’ on the streets, can in fact be self-directed! )

  • holly says

    You , lose your job, you lose your home, you have nowhere to go, you bed down in a doorway.The Police find you and take away your shelter, bedding. Whats left for you? Jumping in the river?
    Stop thinking of the homeless as “other” and imagine its yourself thats cold , wet, alone.
    How does that feel?? Praps then you might want to do something to help the homeless instead of persecuting them?

    • No Holly, there are plenty of ‘alternatives’ especially when you find you’re in a state of ‘genuine’ homelessness & truly fear for your survival.

      As I did some time ago, finding myself ‘homless’ & living in a tent in a ‘greenbelt’ area in north Bham ( Sandwell Valley – sandwiched somewhere between Hamstead, Handsworth, Great Barr & West Bromwich )

      After a ‘stint’ in the wilds ( more than a few weeks! ) & using the following ‘survivalist’ approach ( camping out & foraging, ‘tapping’, plus an ‘agency’ job in a local steel works ), I managed to find some ‘temporary’ alternative accomodation whilst waiting for a ‘proper’ resolution of my situation!.

      How does it feel? Well after nearly losing my finger ( thumb to be exact ) in an accident in a steel works ( steel ‘fabrication’ plant ) very painful, excrutiatingly painful indeed!.

      ( *See Above i.e. the ‘reply’ under Peter Coopers comment for some extra details! )

  • Suzie says

    Feel very sad…for those with addiction issues there appear to be no options at night except Gabriel House which young and vulnerable people are told to avoid as abuse is common…the street is there only option. This plan will surely criminalise them and make their lives worse.

    • For a ‘solution’ check out the homelss charity ‘ Thames Reach ‘ plan. Their mission is to end homelessness & their strategy caters for those with drug addiction problems. For me much of what they do ‘is’ the way forward, it is the future.

      And Suzie please really don’t spend too much of your sympathy on drug-addicts that won’t help, nor feel too much ‘guilt’ in doing so ( in fact take a look at my comment above on ‘ Sex Slavery in Bangladesh now these women, girls, 10yr olds really do warrant your care & attention. )

      What they ( alcoholics, smackheads! ) need if anything ( & importantly what we need as a Society ) is for them to recieve if anything at all ( Nb we’re not obliged to give them anything, they ‘don’t necessarily deserve our help! ) is tough love i.e. the kind of goodwill that pushes them to ‘positive’ change without feeling the need to tolerate ( accept, semi-approve off ) the kind of degraded ‘lifestyle’ they lead nor its depravity!.

      • Of course there are ‘alternative’ perspectives I don’t know tho’ Suzie if you wd agree with them?. For example one way of looking at ‘druggies’ is that they do indeed have their uses eg. supplying money ‘via’ Dealers to help feed the poor in places like Mexico, or indeed Afghanistan ( you know people & places poorer then them ‘the druggie’ & ourselves ‘ the general public! ).

        Please see my ‘comments’ below on the theme ‘ Oustanding Issues To Do With Drugs & the Streets or something like that anyway!.

        • From these ‘perspectives’ ( or one at least! ) there is no need to put up ‘directly’ with those whose lives have been reduced to that of a ‘human’ pig.

          No!, all that is required ( what is recommended! ) is that from a distance ( a safe one! ) perhaps every now & yes as a humane ‘treat’, spontaneously do give a ‘druggie’ the ‘money’ for a fix ( * in the ‘real’ hope some of it will trickle down & help feed some poor hungary mouth elsewhere, perhaps the other side of the globe! )

          • Now concerning those drug ‘addicts’ who are currently recieving their ‘fixes’ free eg. in the form of Methadone prescriptions from the Chemist, please consult the ‘other’ perspective described below. Tho’ please note the ‘solution’ proposed here could just as well be applied to those obtaining ‘gear’ on the open ‘free’ market!.

          • Finally Suzie please realise that I don’t mean to ‘preach’ here ( believe me I really don’t!). Plus like any other ‘human-being’ I’m no angel, no holier than thou, I’ve made my mistakes ( luckily not too serious but as a ‘real’ person made them nevertheless! ).

            I remember during a ‘phase’ as a Youth having a ‘bad’ experience on drugs myself. Yeah a ‘real’ learning curve it was too, very disturbing, quite frightening!

            All I intend to do, in this instance as a ‘transcendant’ human-being, is not add to any ‘depravity’, rid myself of the ‘depravity’ of the past – make up for it, make amends & yes then ‘forgive’ myself & hopfully then ( now! ) ‘authentically’ grow into a more fully developed, conscientious human being ( genuinely & honestly with what little time is left! ).

        • Jesus! that bad drugs ‘episode’ I had as a teen, oh no its comin’ back to me now, clear as day, me ending up ‘freaking’ out in the hostpital, my parents turning up, palpatations going up to 150, 160 heart beats per minute & every time my Dad spoke me having the sensation of rising up into the air, & every time my Mother spoke the ‘dour’ feeling of sinking right into the ground!

  • Chris O'Grady says

    To attack the weakest in society is despicable. Exeter council should be helping them rather than outlawing them. I wish they’d spend their time and money in a more positive way. Show some compassion.

    • Chris you know the ‘schools’ are still in the main failing many people ( resources, money, time are ‘all’ wasted on a daily basis being directed as they are at ill thought out practices, the wrong activities! ).

      You can’t recall without utter dismay Goves curriculum ( remember the his idea of the English Baccalaureate i.e. options History or Geography ) & Camerons nonsense notion that we as a country still get our ‘morality’ from religion therefore religous studies is to be still core a core subject! ( despite the fact that nobody goes to church anymore in this country on Sundays! ). Psychological ‘motivation’ & practical philosophy I argue wd be ‘wiser’ subject replacements.

      I for one value a broad liberal arts education but then I wd I am ( despite ironically myself failing in a way & being totally let down by the educational system myself! ) an academic, intellectual, ‘humanist’ type by nature. However for most people ( significantly early students! ) this type of ‘dominant’ education approach is useless & not valued, if not viewed as in itself totally meaningless & pointless to their lives!.

      These ‘critics’ are right, beyond reading & writing & learning arithmetic pure ‘academic’ learning is of no worth to these people. By the age of 12 they should be on programmes of work ‘skill’ training eg. from mechanics to how to run a small business!. Meaningful ‘project’ based learning is the most suitable approach for this ‘majority’ group. Wake up Cameron, Gove learn something on this topic & then most appropriately as elected ‘politicians’ do something! to bring this kind of ‘progressive’ policy about.

      • But what I wonder here with this ‘new’ ( alternative! ) kind of education policy is what the Government but what the ‘Unions’ wd have to say about it? A whole set generation of ‘highly’ skilled yg people flooding the labour market & threatening to undercut an ‘older’ but no longer ‘superior’ established workforce.

        • And when I think of all the ‘subjects’ that genuinely interest me eg. continental philosophy, classical ( & flamenco ) guitar, anthropology ( incl ‘musicology’! ), modern literature, social & economic theory, rhetoric & critical thinking, social policy, cultural theory, classical studies, callisthenics/bodytribe/HIIt/Yoga/Taichi/Running., Russian Systema/Jujitsu, prose writing, public speaking, current affairs, Busking, Women, Travel & sightseeing etc etc etc – the list goes on & not a single one of these subjects available to me ( with the exception of ‘women’! ) when I was at school ( or to be found anywhere on the ‘comprehensive’ schools curriculum! ).

          • And during this time what is the core lesson I’ve learned about women? Well first & foremost a ‘deeper’ & deeper understanding of what I’d call the biggest challenge facing a woman.

            Q. Ok, what is the biggest challenge facing women? A. How to look desirable, sexy, & ‘copulatable’ in display whilst at the same time able to keep the dogs at bay! ( Nb & there are both genuine & ‘disingenuine’ means to achieve this state, it all depends on the ‘woman’! ).

          • And then of course there’s the most difficult life ‘choice’ a woman has got to make. Q. Oh I see, whats that? A. When its ok to let go of the leash, & let 1 or 2 thru!.

          • * A Reflection

            A charming, ‘beautiful’ & dare ‘I’ say it modern, exciting, ‘daring’, & sexy, very intelligent ‘female’ friend ( platonic! ) of mine, in conversation ( & whilst meditating, ‘brooding’, on her own ‘school-days, ‘lost’ youth, her ‘own’ life! ) once intimately related to me,

            ”Looking back at the ‘inanities’ of ‘schools’ selection ( & comparing that to the wonder & ‘truisms’ of life & ‘enlightenment’ of experience! ) I have to say, that I’ve known some ‘bright’ Mechanics in my time, & having said that, some pretty dumb ‘Academics’!”.

  • Derek Byron says

    All the “holier than thou” brigade should be obliged to serve their time in deprivation experience first and then be entitled to pontificate on how to solve the problem.

    • But let them also beware & first of all before they ‘act’ ( jump in! ) reflect upon how not to get to used to, ‘adapted’ to or ‘corrupted’ by it. Yeah its a ‘truism’ complacency ( naievity! ) in the face of what can be ‘human’ depravity kills!.

      • Also Derek its not just a matter of being exposed to ‘deprivation’, the opposite ‘experiential’ feeling i.e. ‘desensitsation’ & psychologically conditioned non-complacency in the face of blatant ‘human’ degradation is also so important here.

        Important to not feel so sorry for the ‘culprits’, to not ‘sentimentalise’ the issue, to offer as few individual ‘excuses’ for it as possible – an ‘individuals’ self inflicted demise that is!. Drugs can be seen as an ‘escape’ but the other ‘reality’, the Devils ‘bargain’ is in the lg-term its often an ‘illusory’ one.

        Once someone makes the choice to eg. ‘fix’ heroin they must realise that they are not only sentencing themselves to a life of ‘spiraling’ misery but ‘possibly’ to death!. They themselves must take ‘conscious’ responsibility for the fact, that with ‘wrong’ decision, they are embarking on a ‘journey’ that will not only bring ‘harm’ but catastophre to many other ‘innocent’ people eg. victims of theft, ‘hurt’ family members incl their ‘own’ children, the harrassed, ‘murder’ victims, the list is devesatingly endless!.

        Social Structure & Politics has a signifiant part to play in all of this, ‘personal’ experience of course can help ‘clarify’ a complex picture & lead to ‘some’ solutions but please don’t let the ‘rascals’ off the hook. No, Don’t Let The Rascals Off The Hook!.

        • Hold on a minute tho’, something ‘brooding’ here in the imagination, in fact somthings just popped to mind!, aghh yes, yes yes yes! a new ‘human’ type to start philosophising on, thats it, thats it – the notion of the ‘responsible’ Drug User!

          • In an ‘imperfect’ world & if all else fails theres always a 3rd solution ( beyond 1. moral abstension 2. social rehabilitation ) 3. The ‘promotion’ of responsible ‘drug’ use! – & even amongst the hard-core eg. ‘junkiesl ( Nb. the concept of the ‘clean’ & ‘dirty’ junky exists already in the drugs community incl. ‘Users!’.

          • However in the ‘very’ last instance & especially concerning those ‘irresponsibles’ amongst who really can’t manage their drug use ( ‘intake’! then its got to be a matter of finding ‘subsitutes’ for ‘pain’ relief ( & associated ‘high’! ). The best method I know for inducing the ‘body’s natural ‘opiates’ ( & painkillers! ) is 1. physical excercise 2. ‘meditation’!.

          • Finally, of course if this ‘method’ does’nt work then perhaps it is in the interests of Society, at the end of the day!, to leave this ‘type’ behind as the dead ( for the grave so to speak!.).

            * I know what you’re going to say ‘ never give up on anybody! ‘ but you know life is life, theres only ‘finite’ time, & I say for sure it can be a ‘bitch’!.

          • Nb. No ‘mysogyny’ meant here bytheway, I know life can be a bit of a ‘bastard’ as well, I’m just speaking from ‘my’ personal experience!.

  • Kat says

    Just because you are not privileged enough to have a house to put your possessions in does not give anyone the right to take them away. This is absolutely disgusting. Having worked with homeless people across Exeter I know how vulnerable, desperate and isolated these people are. Kicking them when they are at their lowest, imposing fines and giving them a criminal record is not going to help them get a job or improve their circumstances but instead be extremely damaging and detrimental and just perpetuate the cycle. Shame on you Exeter City Council. This is snobbery at its worst.

  • colette mougin says

    Taking the bedding and shelter from a homeless person is like stripping them naked. What sort of society allows homelessness anyway?

    • Kat, Collette agreed but gosh! what was that other famous ‘dramatic’ episode involving characters actually stripping ‘themselves’ naked in a field or was it in this case more correctly a ‘heath’? Oh yeah ‘ the ‘madness’ of King Lear ‘, you know the famous Shakespeare play that was it!.

      Anyway back on the ‘homelessness’ issues of today, yeah time for a quick detour!

      • And perhaps a more ‘intimate’ ( literary ) take on what amounts to historically, a pretty sticky social problem. You know unlike Lears day ( remember Lears isolation as a King was due somewhat to his madness!) comprised of significantly smaller, more ‘organic’ communities todays ‘modern’ world ‘really’ can loom large not only in the mind of a young kid eg some ‘city’ runaway but also within the ‘mindscape’ of adults.

        Finding oneself one of many in a population of 1 or maybe 2 million ( perhaps 3 or 4! ) ‘modern man’ has been characteristically portrayed as the city ( metropolis! ) dweller with the particular difficulty of finding a way to really ‘connect’, to make contact, to link with an ‘outside’ world that is not only ‘sophisticated’ but can appear quite ‘anonymous’ what with its ‘complex’ institutions ( & alienating cultures ). Especially so for the ‘seriously’ lost soul, even if he or she really does want to find a cure, really does want to be well again!.

        • Open the front door!, breath in the ‘fresh’ morning air, is it cold or warm? Feel the rain, spitting uninvitingly or gently falling slinky soft to the skin? Gentlemen ( ladies! ) how to do ‘reality’ cleanly & effectively, thats the biggest challenge for a human-being!.

  • Street Prologue/*See Epilogue Overleaf ( The Cop & The Anthem – O.Henry ).

    Re-read the classic short-story ‘ The Cop & The Anthem ‘ recently by infamous USA writer ( America’s ‘Chekov’ ) O. Henry ( ‘french’ Maupassant more accurately with his ‘twist’ in the tale endings! ).

    Set in New York ( written 1904 ) the story ‘opens’ in Central Park, its late Fall, the onset of winter & street ( ‘sidewalk’ ) tramp ole ‘Soapy’ is beginning to feel the pinch of the cold, out there sleeping on his usual ‘park-bench.

    Its a long arrived at decision but after a bit of ‘tough?’ thinking he decides his only ‘solution’ is to get himself a ‘nice’ warm prison-cell for the winter i.e. get himself ‘locked’ up in the ‘slammer’ ( sing-sing! ) for the cold season. The question is Q. How?.

    He tries everything, initially managing to drag himself of his park-bench, hobble downtown & try to get the attention of the ‘local’ ‘irish’ beat officer,. He even manages to summon up the ‘energy’ to smash a shop window with a brick even but to no avail, no matter what he tries to do to get arrested, no success, he can’t.

    Depressed & suffering the painful pangs of abject ‘failure’ Soapy casually walks past a church. Suddenly as if out of nowhere a bright ‘transclucent’ light appears, ‘divine ‘eureka’!, completely out of the blue the ‘idea’ strikes him like a hammer blow that in actual fact his whole life has been an utter failure!. Its time now, with the help of ‘blessed’ light of course, to transform, to change.

    Its at this point, completely out of the blue, that the ‘cop’ appears around the corner, spots poor ole Soapy, his ‘whistle’ is blown, & he shouts ‘arrest that man! ‘ etc etc etc O. Henry does not spell out the end ( i.e. in terms of Soapys’ plight from this point forth in the narrative, we the reader are simply left ‘hovering’ in suspense, left alone to ponder, to guess what happens next! ).

    Yes God certainly is a black ‘jokester’, a cruel prankster, or at least he is in the literary ‘satirical’ universe! i.e. the world of ole Soapy. Lots to learn, reflect about with regards this tale, the kind of ‘moral’ tale that kinda makes me wonder why Jesus ( Gods’ son ) when he was around, all those 2000 years ago, cd’nt have let us ‘all’ know ( the human race ) that in fact the ‘plague’ ( Black Death ) killing thousands, millions ( ‘wiping out’ the whole population of the famous ‘Galacian’ cathedral town of the Santaiago de Compostela in NW Spain ) was in fact caused by ‘the brown rat’ sneaking in land, & off fishing boats!. Yeah wd have saved us all including ‘science’, a lot of time & trouble!

    Historically modern ‘society’ may not have taken so long, indeed a ‘couple’ of centuries, hundreds of years to evolve either. Neither wd ‘Mans’ healthy evolution & the remedy to the ‘many’ diseases plaguing us in ‘contemporary’ times be taking so long to appear. Could have lovingly & kindly put the minds to rest of the many amongst us still waiting for the ‘return’ of a miracle!. Yeah like all great ‘classic’ writings O.Henrys’ little gem raises all the right questions.

    * The Thames Reach Charity

    Byethe way if your imagination is piqued in any way, perhaps by the ‘stories’ of great story Artists like O.Henry & you’re now ‘hooked’, your general ‘interest’ in issues like human illness, disease & poverty ( ‘street’ homelessness even ) aroused, then you could do no better than learning more about & visiting the website of the charity organisation working with ‘homeless’ men & women in London called ‘ Thames Reach ‘.

    This ‘charity’ organisation has ‘a mission’ & thats to help people who use their services develop supportive relationships & lead ‘meaningful’ lives. They’ve been involved in many ‘street-level’ campaigns too, including issues like eg. Super Strength Drinks, Begging & Drugs etc. If you want the ‘truth’, a real ‘insight’ ( not ‘urban’ myths! ) into the real ‘nature’ ( cause ) of long-term homelessness & ‘real’ solutions to this ‘endemic’ social problem then check this particular ‘charity’ outfit out !

    • * Outstanding Issues & Questions ( The topic of ‘drugs’/addiction & lg-term homelessness! )

      I for one feel that the ‘Thames Reach’ perspective on ‘homelessness’ ( the related issues it touces on & the ‘proposed’ solution(s) to ‘poverty’ ) goes some way in raising the ‘key’ questions & addressing related problems often ‘overlooked’ or indeed consciously ‘avoided’ when it comes to discussing the question of ‘long-term- homelessness & drugs or ‘addiction’ on the streets.

      For some ‘critics’ of social policy what exacerbates this kind of problem oversight is the existence of 2 types of extreme ‘interest’ groups ( there are ‘others’ in-between! ) who ‘crop’ up again & again in this area eg. those groups ( ‘activist’ formations ) who may be seeking to establish ‘life’ long careers as the poors rescuers or indeed ‘saviours’ therefore having a ‘vested’ interest in not only the poor but their continuation ( i.e. their ‘continual’ saving of the poor! ) & on the other extreme, groups ( ‘gangs’ even ) that may wish to ( on the ‘surface’ of it ) more viciously ‘exploit’ those more ‘impoverished’ amongst us. Maybe placing the fear of God into those who more openly wish to talk about & if possible once & for all ‘resolve’ this question- this whole issue of ‘homelessness’ & ‘addiction’, drugs that is.

      * Perspective 1

      When you ‘do’ start to look at these questions the picture starts to get a little ‘complex’. Eg. the notorious Mexican Cartel Drugslord ‘El Chapo’ recently re-captured after 6 months on the run, following an ‘earlier’ jail-break from a top-security Mexican Government penitentiary explicitly stated in a ‘prior’ interview with the Hollywood Actor ( ‘drugs’ activist ) Sean Penn that he agreed that ‘drugs’ were ‘a destructive evil’ but there was nothing else he ( & guess he was suggesting for ‘economic’ reasons his ‘fellow’ regional countryment too) cd do about it ie their very ‘survival’ depends on the ‘global’ drugs trade

      From this ‘moral’ perspective then ( thinking about the ‘Thames Reach’ philosophy! ) a ‘possible’ solution wd be that if ‘addicts’ etc ( often finding themselves ‘long-term’ on the street ) were to be actually in ‘work’ & able to afford their ‘vices’ ( or pleasures – depending on the way you look at it! ) then 1. they’d be actually able ‘themselves’ to pay for their ‘gear’ & 2. there wd be a ‘positive’ knock-on effect for the rest of society in terms of less ‘auxillary’ crime eg. shoplifting, theft, robbery & the rest!.

      If no ‘harm’ is done to the rest of us, then why should the rest of society be alarmed or indeed ‘care’ about individual drug use?. In this sense these ‘addicts’ may without ‘guilt or conscience be doing the under-developed, poorer general ‘economies’ of the world ( the ‘general’ even poorer population! ) a big favour.

      Think for a moment about the claimed ‘widespread’ white-collar m/c use of drugs including ( please don’t be surprised! ) Doctors not just the usual suspects eg. Bankers, City traders, Sports People & celebrities etc – not so much of a hoo-ha! about that is little social fact is there? Why? I guess cos’ these people can afford their ‘indulgencies’ & I guess to some extent have the potential ‘negative’ effects ( very negative effects ) under control, therefore less dangerous – or indeed annoying to others, ( in fact its use amongst this social class is generally more ‘discreet’, hidden away i.e. behind closed doors or at least private ‘club’ walls!).

      * Perspective 2

      Of course there is the other ( morally ‘opposite ) argument that to start viewing Drugs Lords whether Mexican or otherwise as ‘secular’ Saints, Robin Hood figures in any way ( of course their ‘regional’ people often do, apparantly ‘seriously’ do – tho’ I cd be wrong on this! ) would be dangerously misleading & simply disguise ‘truer’ perhaps more sinister, evil motives ( i.e they’re only in it for themselves, they take ‘all’ the profits, the idea of a ‘trickle’ down to the poor in their respective countries, regions, neighbourhoods is a ‘myth’ & a very dangerous false and misleading narrative at that i.e don’t believe it! )

      Eg. to underline, this point ‘some’ claim that no matter what the ‘economic’ state of countries like Mexico, Afghanistan or whatever ( i.e. the world ‘drugs’ based economic belts always ‘mentioned’ in the ‘popular’ press ),whether ‘rich’ or ‘poor’! ), if theres a fast buck to be made ( a ‘slow’ one even ) then their will always be less than scrupulous people ( regardless of race, nationality or ethnicity ) ‘out there’ ready to ‘exploit’ those circumstances. If it means selling & making millions of dollars from Class A drugs then they will do so without conscience & regardless of ‘external’ harm or indeed benefits!. A benevolant ‘underworld’ out there, righting the wrongs of global capitalism, re-balancing the scales of ‘wealth’ & poverty, no way, its a cynical ruse, the ‘criminal’ underworld is as ruthless & ‘selfish’ as ever it was!

      What do you think here? Whats your ‘opinion’ on the basic tenet points of view raised here? What further questions do these 2 ‘perspective’ arguments raise for you? If you cd take the time to answer, I’d be very interested to know!

      • * Nb ( A final ‘tho’ important point! )

        A final point here is that the ‘central’ argument, as I see it, raised by this ‘blog’ is that ‘authorities’ by the use of PSPO’s & ‘fines’ etc to remove ‘rough’ sleepers from town-centres are by this very policy ‘criminalising’ the poor, destitute, & ‘homeless’.

        This in some sense may well be true ( my ‘full’ position I state overleaf! ) but what is also worth mentioning ( & other folk realising, blogger included – actually I’m sure in ‘reality’ you do! ) is that the use of Class A drugs under current legislation is a ‘criminal’ offence.

        So in terms of the lg-term homeless ( the ones you often witness most vociferously, ‘aggresively’ begging on the streets, in city-centres etc ! ) & backed by the ‘evidence’ of personal experince & thourough ‘scientific’ studies/research carried out by ‘homless’ charity’s like Thames Reach then many of the ‘rough-sleepers’ you talk about ( the lg-term homeless I refer to ) are ‘criminals’ already!.

        Its also worth pointing out that the ‘genuine’ homeless ( there are a few! ) from my ‘experience’ ( Nb. including ‘begging’ myself a ‘few’ years back when my ‘dole’ money was not sanctioned but ‘wrongly’ stopped! ) are not the ones you tend to find ‘begging’ directly in the ‘centre’ of towns, cities in the main.

        When for example I found myself in the un-fortunate ( tho’ ironically ‘enlightening’ position of begging! ) I situated myself ‘strategicall’y & ‘intuitively’ around the periphery of the centre, so as not to be noticed, not to be ‘picked’ up by Wardens or Police.

        I find today still that the ‘genuine’ destitute act out a ‘similar’ street tactic when trying to raise the little cash to ‘survive’ their circumstances. This type of unfortunate ( as myself ) tends not to have that wreckless ‘audacity’, pressurising aggression that actual, smack, bang, in the middle of a town-centre lg-term homeless beggars ( not necessarily ‘rough-sleepers’, some claim generally not in fact! ) tend to have.

        • * The Mentally ill ( or ‘The’ Lurkers! )

          It would’nt be ‘fair’ nor an ‘accurate’ picture of course if it was’nt mentioned that a signifcant proportion of the folk ‘you’ see directly ‘begging’ in ‘city-centres’ ( & cd be mistaken for actually being ‘homeless’, or ‘addicts’ – ok sometimes they are! ) are the ‘mentally’ ill.

          In Bham city-centre for instance one of the ‘strangest’ occurances you can witness when out ‘busking’ is during the early hrs of the evening ( as ‘night’ falls! ) when a bizzare, almost ‘ghostly’ gp of people suddenly appear

          E.g. Around New St ( ‘Tesco’s’ ) & begin approaching people, asking for money & how ‘some’ people presuming these ‘night’-shifty individuals are ‘street-people’ or something & give it to them eg. a 50p, a £1 coin or something.

          What ‘some’ unsuspecting ( generally ‘evening’ commuters! ) seem not realise is that these are’nt the ‘homeless’, ( they’re all socially housed, if not ‘hostelised’ all of ’em! ) neither are they the ‘walking’ dead’ ( so no need to fear ’em & pass over yer hard-earned money ‘trembling’! ) no they’re what I ( ‘we’ ) call ‘the Lurkers!’ & out every night at ( ‘dead on!’ ) 5.30/6pm!.

          • Morally Incompmentmentis?

            Begs the question too, cd this ‘unearthly’ group actually ‘justly’ classed as ‘criminal’ i.e. deceitful frauds? ( or are they too ‘excempt’ from such ‘deviant’ labels?, a more accurate, fairer description being that they’re just simply ‘insane. In other words morally incompentmentis i.e. ‘ they know not what they do? )

          • Nb

            Please note the term ‘the mentally ill’ could be in some instances more accurately re-phrased ‘learning difficulty types’.

          • * The Times Are A’ Changin’ ( a ‘new’ work ethic! )

            However as reflected in the ‘sentiment’ of the classic Dylan song ‘ The Times Are A’ Changin’ eg.the ‘working’ philosophy up here in Birmingham UK ( my port of residence! ) is rapidly becoming like that of the ‘co-operative’ workers of
            ‘ the Michegan Farming Initiatives of Detroit ‘ USA i.e. up here we’re learning to hustle harder, learning to make ourselves more useful & in turn ‘trade’ that ‘use’ for the necessities of life!.

          • Of course I’m all for a greater ( keener! ) understanding of mental illness & indeed ‘sympathy’ for the mentally ill tho’ with a few important exceptions eg. psychopaths, sociopaths, & that other ‘type’ ( or ‘gameplayer’! ) who one way or another find themselves in the mental health ( ‘psychiatric’ ) system i.e. the ‘archetypal’ malingerer!.

          • But there again when you do look in & thru the window(s’) of ‘reality’ & witness with a sickening disgust sometimes at what you see, the very ‘heights of human depravity’ any feeling person cannot help but react with not only ‘nausea’ but a ‘spontaneous’ reactive’ protective impulse to safeguard even the ‘most’ morally disgusting & ‘fallen’ whether that be psychopaths, prostitutes, or drug users ( not just the weak & ‘exploited’ but self directed kind! ), which in its own way ‘is’ the most ‘natural’ expression of love that anyone can have for ‘all’ that is mankind!.

          • And if it really is ‘human’ that which you are ‘now’ looking upon, no matter how personally ‘alien’ to you in its moral ‘toxiciy’, then there is in all ‘truth’ always that ‘element’ of thinking ( of quiet wonder! ), always that ‘space’ ( however small, however tiny! ) in the back of the mind quietly telling you, whispering to you, that if it were, not by the grace of God ( no that won’t do in this the 21st Century post-modern ‘scientific’ world ) but if it were’nt for chance, or some other lucky circumstance then there as a malleable ‘human-being’ myself to there, I cd have gone or ended up too! eg. a prostitute, a drug user & if unlucky in the ‘gene-pool’ a psychopath!

            Of course when you pass through an ’emotive’ stage ( a ‘spontaneous’ phase! ) of this form of deep ‘self’ reflective ‘moral’ thought & ‘reactivity’ then one ‘can’t’ help but begin to feel the return of at least a little ‘re-conjured’ human sympathy! – But funnily enough not for the ‘malingerer!’

          • * Exceptions To The Rule?

            The plight ( self-destruct? ) of the Aborigines in Australia eg. whole bush communities ‘wiped’ out by ‘mineral’ Corporations & Land Developers or by negative group ‘response’ eg. ‘escape’ into alcoholism, drug addiction & ‘internal’ violence.

            The issue of Race, Exclusion, Poverty & Criminality in the USA what with a significant proportion of the Black male population now in prison as a result of the so called ‘war on drugs’.

            Whats going on now ( the pro-‘creative’ activity ) in places like ‘Detroit’ ( itself up until recently an abandoned & ‘desolate’ city ) may prove to be the kind of ‘insightful’ solution applicable to similar social problems found elsewhere ( & yes globally! )

          • Afterall Q. Whats the best defense against the wickedness & the ‘devilry’ of ‘the Man’?

          • The Australian Points Based System ( Busking & ‘Buskers’ from abroad )

            Byetheway what does ‘busking’ abroad or should I say in Australia come under, in their ‘points’ based system i.e. what kind of ‘visa’ should I require, Q. a working holiday ? ( or just plain ‘holiday’-maker & take the guitar with you ? )

          • As for Europe ( ‘post’ the referendum ! ) any problems & I have just the solution ( incidently ‘similar’ to the finance industries market ‘access’ agreements in the EU ) I call it ‘ the European Busking Passport ‘ ( or EBP ) .

          • Or ‘necessity’ being the mother of invention by the ‘alternative’ name i.e. the MiFid 11’Busking’ Visa the technocratic substitute or equivalent ! .

          • May even need a special ‘permit’ to busk in London ‘ the city state’ soon if the capital city’s ‘saliariat’ get their way. . The popular ‘image’ of Corbyn as a member of the ‘establishment’ what with his ‘direct’ participation in the ‘remain’ campaign, & Dianne Abbot as one of the ‘new’ Medicci, reinforced in many w/c voters eyes! .

          • Nb

            I refer ( above ) to ‘Greater’ London that is, & on top of the already existing ‘Camden’ licence ! .

          • Conclusion(s)

            Anyway enought said here, yes enough, ok theres a lot more to be said but I think thats best done elsewhere. Plus you’ve got to be careful who you pass your knowledge, wisdom & ‘ideas’ onto these days, afterall there are many people ( the ‘great’ ! ) out there who might turn them into a ‘reality’.

          • ( *See. Exeter’ParkBench’Blog2 for further ‘related’ comments )

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