This ominous ‘Welcome to Australia’ image has been doing the rounds, posted and liked by people ranging from the intelligent and humane to the dibblingly imbecilic — oddly all, within the Cannibal’s line of sight, Brits who clearly feel the Aussies have a thing to two to tell us and are keen to show their righteous disapproval of freeloaders, especially, you know, foreign freeloaders.
Fine. No one likes a scrounger.
One problem here: this photograph isn’t real. The photo isn’t real and the issue behind it isn’t real.
The fact that the ‘sign’ is posted on a country road in Australia, a country that has no land borders, probably ought to set those critical thinking bells ringing.
The image is a Photoshop job. No such sign was ever made by the Australian government.
The image was apparently created and disseminated by an Australian race hate outfit called Freedom of Speech Productions (you can see their logo imposed on the picture), which is associated with the Australian Tea Party (still no alarm bells ringing with the people who posted it?)
It’s a shoddy fake too. You can actually see the background through the corners of the ‘sign’ thing. Oops!
Clearly the image taps into the myth that there are hordes of people coming over ‘here’ (insert name your country) to sponge off ordinaryhardworkingpeopleeveverywhere, and bring the state to its financial knees, steal the gold from your grandmother’s teeth, etc., etc.
You might be interested to know that not so long ago there was a study done to identify these foreign scroungers in the UK, and find out just how much they were costing the country. You might be even more interested to know that the study was unable to find any of these alleged spongers. The problem is you see, they don’t actually fucking exist.
Not only are they not a millstone on the necks of ordinaryhardworkingpeopleeveverywhere, they just are not.
The scrounging hordes were made up by the tabloids and UKIP and the right wing. Funny how we didn’t hear about that study in the Telegraph, the Mail, the Sun, the Express, the BBC, etc.
Go figure, eh.
Reality check: you can’t claim benefits in the UK if you are not British or an EU citizen. Simple as. Even more simple than that, you can’t claim benefits in the UK even if you are a UK citizen if you are not ordinarily resident in the country. Not even if you are married to a Brit or the progeny of a Brit. Just not a happening thing.
So all this talk of sponging, freeloading, scrounging hordes from other countries is bollocks. Absolute bollocks. And then more bollocks. It is the absolute Platonic form of bollocks for fuck’s sake.
Of course people admitted as refugees will get limited state support. But it is very small, as is the numbers of people — small handfuls — admitted to the country is minute and will have no discernible impact on the economy (except to contribute to it when they start working).
If we want to talk about freeloaders — and there is a conversation to be had about freeloaders — perhaps we could start with Google, Starbucks, Amazon, who are foreigners who DO come over here cap in hand and then pay little or no tax on business done within the UK. Look at the recent deal done between the Conservative government and Google, which let the company off something like 80 per cent of its tax bill. Imagine if you or I went to the tax man and said ‘I don’t feel like paying all this, so let’s do a deal.’ Yes, we’d end up in prison.
Just for fun — because I know at heart you are a rationalist — here’s scrounging and sponging and freeloading in actual numbers:
Social Security Fraud 1.7 Billion
Social Security unclaimed 4 Billion
Tax evasion and avoidance 120 Billion
So welcome to your reality check. If you want to be taken seriously check your facts. Credibility is not free.