I saw this story on the BBC news site earlier. It recounts that tale of a 68 year old man called Jim Lee. Jim, according to the system does not exist. You can read all the details for yourself, but for me, it boils down to that fact that as he has no record of family here, AND as he has no record of employment here, AND as he has no record of any sort of monetary contributions, then the system – OUR system – cannot deal with this. It cannot integrate him into the network of benefits that he needs in order to live a decent life. So he does not exist.
First glance ? Seem sort of reasonable .. if he’s not paid in, then why should the State pay out ?
But it’s not, is it ?
The State says that Jim does not exist according to their records.
Well the baby that will be born in the next 24 hours and then abandoned does not exist either – so should the State not care for that ?
The immigrant who is currently trying to get into Britain to take full advantage of our Social Security and Health system does not yet exist either. Will the State ignore them just as badly ?
In both the above cases, the State will use money and resources to feed, house, provide health care, look after them.
So why not for Jim Lee ?
The baby has no history .. has not paid tax or NI … has no ‘number’, yet it will be cared for. Okay, so it’s incapable of looking after itself and needs care, but there is a principle here, not an emotive judgement.
The immigrant is actually in the same ‘no number’ situation as Jim, yet the State will not only feed and clothe them, and after a time find them housing, it also has whole departments set up to sort this from the minute the person lands and proclaims – falsely or not – asylum. Those systems make life for the immigrant at least bearable. And the very basic element of this part of the State system lies that premise that you must exist, because you are there, there in front of someone official, there in the flesh.
Why can the system not do that for Jim ?
If an immigrant, unknown until they set foot in the UK can exist, then why can Jim not ?
Something, somewhere, is monumentally screwed up.