I’ve received a letter from Capital One stating that my account is now closed and they’re threatening debt collection agencies. Only a few weeks ago they agreed to a 12p a month payment – which I couldn’t make because I was overdrawn when my bank took half of my benefits in bank charges. I didn’t have twelve pence.
If I were in a cartoon I would be a creature running around trying to put out endless fires as anvils fall on my head, dropped by creditors, and Fat Cats shove sticks of dynamite in my mouth (and other orifices) before running me off a cliff, at the bottom of which would be £s, $s and €s waiting to kick my head in.
I might try to learn how to say “I literally have no money” in different languages. If Google translate can be trusted then in Greek it is “Έχω κυριολεκτικά καθόλου χρήματα”, in Spanish it is “Yo, literalmente, no tienen dinero”, and is “Tá mé literally aon airgead” in Irish. I would assume my family in the past has said the last one a few times before.
This became more surreal when Cameron told us we should pay off our credit card debts. I pictured myself in the court – the one I’ll be sent to just before I go to debtors’ jail – trying to explain gas meter surcharges, banks taking 50% of benefits for going pennies overdrawn, how my debts were paid promptly when I had work … how now my cat is without Dreamies and in a bad mood.
Cameron was due to tell delegates at the conference in Manchester, “The only way out of a debt crisis is to deal with your debts. That means households – all of us – paying off the credit card and store card bills. It means banks getting their books in order.”
Then Cameron rewrote the speech. He claimed, the BBC says, that it was a metaphor. I think he means a genuine metaphor – rather than a lie about a cat being the reason an immigrant was allowed to stay in the UK. In reality he realised how deeply offensive it is for someone from the Axis of Eton to tell those of us who are genuinely struggling to pay with cash we don’t have, from jobs we don’t have.
To be completely honest with you, though, I can’t be sure. I don’t understand the Coalition’s PR: they seem to be floundering, making things up as they go along, covering their tracks and trying to convince us that the bleeding obvious is, in fact, very opaque indeed.
It comes to something when a trader seems to be the honest one among the money-grubbers. If you didn’t see it then Alessio Rastani was interviewed on BBC and tells us:
“This is not a time right now for wishful thinking that governments are going to sort things out.”
“The governments don’t rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world.”
“Personally, I’ve been dreaming of this moment for three years. I go to bed every night and I dream of another recession.”
“When the market crashes … if you know what to do, if you have the right plan set up, you can make a lot of money from this.”
He adds that millions of savings will vanish and that the economic crisis is like a cancer so you can’t simply wait for it to pass. He tells us exactly how cold and calculating the system is – a few earning their fortune from the crisis while the rest of us suffer.
While, admittedly, I wouldn’t want to have a drink with Rastani, I welcome his bluntness. It comes as no surprise to hear this, not for a second, but as I’ve said in this blog many people still fail to realise how global capitalism works and how an institution like Goldman Sachs influences their lives, while they sit watching Coronation Street and drinking another brew because they can’t afford to put the heating on.
Even Microsoft Word recognises Goldman Sachs and doesn’t demand a spell check.
So, while I’m being forced to live the life of a victimised cartoon character, I will fend off creditors when they phone, write and, eventually, turn up at my door by screaming, “I’ll tear you little meeces to pieces”, or perhaps throw two pences at them while shouting “that’s all, folks”.
I can’t see what else I can do.
Number of credit cards I owe: 2
Number of banks I owe: 1
Amount of debt to be paid on gas meter: £52.49
Number of jobs with a decent income I need to be able to pay debts: 1