When we first heard that a disused bank in Hamilton Square had been taken over to house and feed the homeless we naively thought that Wirral Chamber of Commerce under the guise of a ‘Birkenhead First ‘ initiative were behind it.
We weren’t just convinced because the former bank was a Barclay’s – which let’s face it has to be the Chamber’s bank of choice! No! -we also found out the ‘Love Activists’ were involved . We assumed this was an offshoot of the Chamber’s ‘Fantastic Festival of Beautiful Things’ . All very touchy-feely, hippy -drippy and vaguely nauseating.
Plus the fact it all seemed to encompass two headlining modern themes : ‘pop ups’ and ‘homelessness’ – which all of a sudden are ‘sexy’. As we know the Chamber of Horrors CEO Paula Basnett can’t open her mouth without using the term ‘pop- ups’ but when it comes to homelessness were not talking about vagrant love we’re talking about how homelessness (like foodbanks) have suddenly become a fashionable issue to be seen to support . Something which shames us all.
Now we hesitate to use the term virtue-signalling because as Aesop said : ” No act of kindness ,no matter how small, is ever wasted” . However there appears to have been a worrying shift from preventing homelessness to sustaining the homeless on the street. Dare we suggest this approach only exacerbates the homelessness situation. There are sandwiches, hot drinks, blankets and even haircuts dispensed by commendable volunteers but no money for support services and a lack of affordable housing which would prevent vulnerable people ending up on the street in the first place!
As far as we’re concerned this is David Cameron’s nightmare vision for a ‘ Big Society’ made flesh . A community of volunteers providing what were essential public services to the vulnerable as there is no other option because public money has been diverted to pay inflated salaries to high level ‘public’ servants who frankly don’t care if the homeless (or any of us) live or die.
Now of course we know that Wirral Chamber of Commerce have nothing whatsoever to do with this particular ‘pop up’ we are warming to the ‘Love Activists’. They even offered our photographer a cup of tea. They seem to understand that life is is rough out there for rough sleepers especially when it isn’t for our rapacious leaders .