Earlier this week an unnamed 48 year old man covered himself in petrol and set himself alight outside Selly Oak Job Centre in Birmingham. The man is currently being treated in hospital for severe burns to his legs.
Specific details of what drove this poor man to such extreme actions are sketchy. However it is believed that it may relate to either a job application, or an issue with his benefit payments.
You would expect that anyone with a shred of compassion for a fellow human being would be saddened that an individual could be driven to such a desperate act.
Regardless of whether you believe, ‘as some do’, that government austerity measures may have played some part, or if you fully support benefits being cut, or even if you think that all unemployed people are a set of workshy parasites, surely any reasonable person would take a minute to reflect, and whatever circumstances this poor man finds himself in, would not wish such circumstances on their worst enemy.
Not everyone feels the same.
The thoroughly revolting blogger, Guido Fawkes, has reported on the incident with the predictably cruel headline, “Man douses himself with petrol, lefties explode”. He went on to say that, “Given the price of petrol, this was obviously a well thought out plan.”
He claims that the “usual suspects” and “others who should know better” are trying to claim that this is a “consequence of austerity.”
Fawkes added, “There is no reason to believe the incident had anything to do with a lack of jobs. If only Labour’s five point plan for jobs and growth had been in place, he would have been fine, right?”
He tagged the article “Looney left”, and “spin”.
It must have passed Guido by that throughout Europe suicide rates have increased in each year since the initial banking crisis. It must have passed him by that Greece had the lowest suicide rate in Europe but now has the highest, it must have passed him by that a decade long trend of falling suicide rates in the UK ended as the banking crisis unfolded, and increased as we moved into an age of austerity.
Did he also miss the man in Birkenhead who tried to kill himself at a job centre earlier this year? Perhaps he didn’t see the DWP memo sent only last week, warning about the risk of suicide amongst claimants?
Whilst you cannot draw concrete scientific conclusions from what I outline above, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell us that there is a problem, not just in the UK, but across Europe.
It is a shame that a man who has suffered his own fair share of personal difficulties, such as, bankruptcy, drink driving, and joining the young conservatives, cannot behave with a bit more humanity, rather than conducting himself like Norman Tebbit on a laptop.