Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Don't worry, it's only an unemployed person who was killed.

Charles Bunyasi, a public service worker who needed another job to pay the bills, was horribly killed when his delivery van was stolen and driven into him. He suffered terrible head injuries and was left for dead. The language used by the police and media demonstrate just how far we've come in demonising the unemployed.

Detective Chief Inspector Cliff Lyons said:
"Charles was an honest man making an honest living. "He was a working man who had two jobs to supplement his income and to support his family. It is a tragedy."

Remember the women who were killed by Peter Sutcliffe? Some were prostitutes. Those that weren't prostitutes were 'innocent.' This language was repeated during the Ipswich murders.

On my way to work this morning, two men were chatting at the bus stop, reading the coverage of the Ipswich case. "My sister lives in Ipswich," said one. "Yeah, but don't worry - he's only doing tarts," came the reply.

It's hard to avoid the hard wired and sanctioned misogyny in almost every area of public life. And racism. And now - what shall we call it? otiosaeism? Let's just call it what it is - the sanctioned hatred of the unemployed.

Poor Mr Bunyasi, and his family. His life was precious, whatever his employment status.


  1. What is disconcerting is that I can imagine reading the above comment by Detective Lyons and not even notice what you have brought to light. The media’s unrelenting pursuit of the most vulnerable sections of our community as being the substantial cause for the UK’s most pressing problems permeates its way into the national conscious until all the ad captandum arguments and incomplete analysis of our most marginalised get accepted as fact. But what else should we expect? Is this not just another manufacture of consent/ necessary illusion invented by Government and the corporate economy of the mass media to redirect attention from the real scoundrels?

  2. It was ever thus. As a white woman I didn't hear it when the media only reported the ethnicity of a suspect or criminal if s/he was black, until black people pointed it out. It took femininsm to draw my attention to the fact that when prostitutes get murdered they're not 'innocent'. Which group stands up for the poor? Actually - and it pains me to admit it - the Church of England has an excellent track record, and look at the barrage of criticism the Arch Bishop of C was met with earlier in the month. When that happens to the ABC you can imagine how special interest groups are treated!