Posters berating homeless beggars as frauds far from the truth

This week Nottingham city council’s poster campaign on homeless begging – suggesting that money to beggars funds booze, drugs, and fraud – was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for being discriminatory. The ruling is good news, but the fact that these posters existed at all is indicative of the way in which it has become increasingly acceptable to berate the less well-off. From TV shows like Benefits Street showcasing Britain’s poor as if they were a circus act to the use by politicians of language like “shirkers and strivers”, such prejudice is increasing.

I learned at 16, and homeless while still at school, that in order to keep the good opinion of others I needed to show just the right amount of piety so they wouldn’t accuse me of pissing their money down the drain – while not appearing as though I’d got above my station…

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