December 19, 2016 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette December 1st 2016
Robert and Elizabeth, no poetry here…
Robert sleeps in a shop doorway his cheap sleeping bag laid out on a corrugated cardboard mattress, he is cold, hungry and homeless through no fault of his own making. He has all that he owns in a Sainsbury’s carrier bag plus some loose change in his pocket given to him by a passing stranger. His only luxury is a mobile phone given him by a charitable organisation for his protection on the mean night-time streets of Brighton. Robert is one of the poorest people in England.
Elizabeth has 78 ‘Royal’ bedrooms in her palace all en suite, all with beds covered in duck down duvets and no doubt set upon interior sprung mattresses. She has works of art on her walls and horses in her stables. She has a wagonload of flunkies to help and protect her throughout the day and night. Her home is being renovated at the expense of the tax paying public to the tune of near on £370 million. Elizabeth is one of the richest people in England.
Austerity always harms the least well off and the most vulnerable people in any society. It is little wonder that the electorate are fed up with this rotten system.
LAST week I visited two churches of interest, Wimborne Minster stunning in its complexity and content. The chained library, the coffin in the wall and the grand organ. Signing the visitor’s book I noted the previous visitor had written an expletive. M. Keen of wherever you are, why? Next, St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s on Hayling Island at 1000 years old one of the oldest Saxon churches in England. I got there a few years too late, it has been reordered in much the same way as Rustington church, bright and airy but without passion. The New Forest was lovely and I felt more at peace walking the woodland paths.
Correction: The vistor’s book mentioned was actually in the lovely church of St Peter and St Paul in Ringwood, pictured here, and not Wimborne Minster.