By John Charles Dyer, UK Correspondent
30 March 2013. Lytham St Annes, Lancashire.
Easter was one of my two favourite days once upon a very long time ago in a place now 7,500 miles far, far away. Contemplating Easter as it approaches, I can hear my father turning cartwheels in my head, but not in a good way. He's not happy. Not happy at all.
Easter Sunday churches across the United Kingdom and the United States heave with families feeling their way around a sometimes unaccustomed environment. Young women in fine hats join the regulars, the older women wearing Lavender. Men sport polished shoes & pressed suits, stretching necks discomforted by the tightness of neckties last worn Christmas service. The old regulars wear no tie at all. Both the regulars and the Christmas and Easter crowd eye each other maybe with just a little judgment (kept to themselves of course).
The faithful gather in plain wooden structures or in remarkable, richly adorned palaces called Cathedrals. They sway, singing the old hymns, performing the old, corporate rituals. Some smile those utterly vacuous, vacant smiles which more accurately imitate a drug ecstasy than a religious experience. Some plumb the depth of Easter's meaning with earnest contemplation. All churches smell of abundant flowers & orris root perfume. The social halls echo to the sounds of children eagerly anticipating Easter egg hunts & Chocolate bunnies.
All is joy & warm fuzzies ... except ...
... except for the poor, the disabled, the vulnerable, the widow, the “demobbed” (newly separated) soldier, the debtor, the redundant (laid off), the homeless, the mother without a husband and the children who would be without any food this Easter but for overworked food banks. These languish willfully unseen by officialdom, disconsolate and feeling abandoned by their neighbours, many of whom, this Easter, stuff the pews.
A host of draconian new measures go into affect in the United Kingdom the day after Easter. In the past benefits recipients were relieved from Council tax (a local property tax paid by the resident not necessarily the owner). Not as of April 1. As of April 1 they will also pay a penalty if they have a "spare" room, dubbed the bedroom tax. While inflation rises their grants are now capped below inflation. They are forced to accept any work that presents itself including without further compensation or suffer draconian sanctions. 680,000 thus far have been. The list goes on and on of the changes to welfare that grow the food banks, children on the streets, suicides and hate crimes against the disabled, but not the promised way out of "the welfare trap" to almost any.