Yesterday was an even more hectic day for me than Thursday!
I decided to cash the cheque from my sponsors, and so filled in the application form for the foreign currency account that I'd picked up about a month ago in Cosham from HSBC. But first, I had to hand my housing benefit renewal form in at the council offices in Wecock. This was to prove to be the beginning of Fridays nightmare.
I'd filled the stupid form in, and took it, along with a photocopy of my giro which I'd taken on Thursday, to the council offices, only to have the dickhead bureaucrat hand it back to me, along with my photocopied giro, and tell me that he wanted four forms of identification.
Jesus fucking Christ, a simple giro has always been enough, but now it's suddenly not good enough. Now I have to have two things with my name and address on it, and two with my national insurance number on!
All this for a fucking renewal! My identity isn't in question. They know full well who I am, and where I live, as I'm already in reciept of housing benefit, the only thing they need to know is wether or not my circumstances have changed (i.e. have I got a job), which they haven't, and which they know full well I haven't, as the second I do sign off, and get a job, both Portsmouth council (who pay my housing benefit - to themselves), and Havant council (who pay my council tax benefit - to themselves), along with the fucking inland revenue will be informed immediately by the DSS that I'm no longer signing on.
So what's the point in me not only filling this form in, but also to supply an extortionate level of identification in order to get the fucking benefits which I'm legally entitled too?
It's to stop me claiming them that's why!
They do this all the time. There's no need for it, it's both inneffective, and innefficient. As I say, a simple phone call from them to the DSS would confirm that none of my circumstances have changed, meaning no postage fees for sending me the form in the first place, and no proccessing fees for someone to sit down and proccess the fucking claim. And they don't even have to do that, as I say, the second I stop signing on, and henceforth have a change in circumstances that will affect both my housing and council tax benefit, the dole office will inform all interested parties (inclucing both Portsmouth and Havant councils), that I'm not on the dole anymore.
But as I've said, none of that matters, as the sole and only reason for putting more and more barriers in the way of anyone wanting benefits is simply to stop them from claiming them. They say it's to combat fraud, and no doubt hold up billion pound a year fraudulent claim figures (why is it always a billion, if not 5 billion?), but that's all bullshit. It's just to stop you from claiming, that's all. The combatting fraud crap is merely the excuse those whores of Westminster use in order to justify their virtual abolition of the entire social security system in the UK.
That's why they still prattle on about it even now. Today, in the UK we have the lowest levels of unemployment in twenty fucking years, and with it (by definition), the lowest levels of fraudulent claims in twenty years. And yet they still clamp down, more and more, on benefits. Why? We never had these bullshit clampdowns twenty years ago when regular unemployment claims (as well as fraudulent ones) where clearly much higher, did we? It's because they want to abolish social security, that's why.
And all the while they've been doing this (during the past twenty years of right wing extremism), hacking and hacking away at all the benefits that you and I, the common man claim, they've also been increasing both the amount, and variety of benefits that they claim.
Cutting super tax for rich cunts, from 60 to 40%. I didn't see them knocking 20% off the base rate of income tax (the tax normal people pay), did you? Not to mention the God knows what kind of benefits both they, and they're parasitic friends are claiming to bolster their multi-million pound pay packets. They're called tax deductable benefits. They don't actually get a giro, they just get the tax man saying "You owe us this in tax, we owe you that in benefits, knock what we owe you, off of what you owe us, and give us the remainder."
By claiming these rich man giros, Rupert Murdoch (proprieter of the most far right national daily in the UK), regularly pays a mere 1% in income tax. He regularly claims in excess of £200,000,000 ($300,000,000) a year, in tax deductable benefits. This on pre tax profits of near on £800,000,000 ($1,600,000,000) a year.
Apparently the poor cunt needs all those benefits to feed and clothe his shabbily dressed children, who would undoubtedly starve without them!
You won't find any benefits clampdown on those fucking benefits. Mind you, you just try claiming the damn things. Unless you've got an entire army of top flight lawyers and accountants standing behind you when you put your claim in, the tax man will laugh in your face and send you on your way.
That was my housing benefit taken care of anyway, or at least it would have been if they weren't a bunch of pricks (I'll have to sort it out later). Next up, even more bureaucratic fun cashing my US dollars cheque!
I got the bus to Waterlooville town centre from Wecock, and found (yet again), they'd put the fucking fares up. Only a few months ago it was 80 pence ($1.20). It's now £1 ($1.50). That's an increase of 25%!
I don't see those cunts on TV shouting and screaming about that, just as I don't see them shouting and screaming about the continued erosion of social security and the NHS. It's because they don't fucking use it, that's why. When train fares go up by 5%, it's the lead fucking story, as I've no doubt it would be if the government started chipping away at their beloved tax deductable benefits, which they all claim (just as they all use the train for long journeys). Every single item of clothing worn by those cunts on TV is tax deductable. "Oh, but it's work related!" they cry as they file their £50,000 ($75,000) a year benefits claim. You don't NEED it, you WANT it, you fucking parasites, in which case BUY IT YOURSELF.
Work related clothing my arse!
Hard hat and boots on a building site, yes. Hand made £1,000 ($1,500) suits, and more, which you'll probably wear only once, if at all, for fear of people thinking you're a 'fleabag' when they see you on TV, no. I haven't even begun to mention those ridiculous (in both price and appearance) Elton John type garments, which are only ever worn by cocksucking pop stars, and Jonathan Ross, which again, are all tax deductable.
Anyway, I got to Waterlooville, and took the application form for a foreign currency account into HSBC. There, I was informed that I'd be better off with a bog standard current account, which I could still cash US cheques into (for a fee), as it would be cheaper. Unfortunately, the ID that I'd brought along with me (cheque book, cheque guarantee card, credit card, bank statement, and birth certificate) wasn't enough. They wanted a passport, and full driving license (I've got neither). Apparently, they weren't convinced that I was who both I, and all of the aforementioned documents, said I was (they could all be fakes!). So she sent me off with a new application form (for a standard current account), and told me to come back with it filled in, and all the ID I'd brought in, plus my phone bill, all my bank statements, and my medical card. Then I'd be able to open an account and cash my cheque.
I went home, filled the form in, grabbed all the identification she asked for, jumped on the bus back to Waterlooville again, popped back into the bank, and saw another woman (the previous woman was on her lunch break), who told me that the ID I'd brought (which by this time, had become a cheque book, cheque guarantee card, credit card, birth certificate, medical card, land line phone bill, and three months worth of bank statements), all with my name, address, and national insurance number plastered all over them, STILL wasn't enough. She said she wanted to see my most recent credit card statement, AS WELL.
It's worth remembering at this point, that I'm having to go through all this shit to GIVE THEM money. I wasn't applying for any kind of loan, or credit. Just a basic, bog standard, account to cash US cheques.
"It's the law." She said.
I then asked her if it was common practice for banks to cash foreign cheques for their regular current account customers, as I was getting sick of this running around and was starting to regret not taking the time out simply to phone my bank, and ask them if they'd cash it. The reason I hadn't done that, was the same reason I was currently sitting in that stupid fucking HSBC bank.
Just before I signed up with the site sponsors, I decided to make enquiries as to how I could actually cash a US cheque in the UK (all transactions on the Net are in dollars), so I popped into the HSBC bank in Cosham, and asked the bloke behind the counter, what kind of account I'd need. He asked me what it was for, I told him about my site, and the adverts, and he gave me the original foreign currency application form, and told me to fill it in, and bring it back, which had led to me sitting in that bank yesterday with a mountain of identification, and a cheque for a hundred dollars.
"Most banks do." She replied, "I don't know about Alliance and Leicester though.". So I asked to use their phone to call my bank, and ask if they had any facilities to deal with this. She dialled the number for me, and handed it over. After typing in my account number and stuff, I spoke to a girl, and asked her if I could cash a US cheque in my account.
"Yes, no problem." She said. "Just sign the back, write your account number on it, post it to us (it's a tele-banking account), and we'll send it off to a clearing house. There's a £10 fee."
So, I went through all that shit, and all I had to do was cash it in my own little Alliance and Leicester account anyway, which I've now done.
Now, bearing in mind all that crap I had to go through to set up an HSBC account (the rest are the same, full driving license and passport, I've tried to set accounts up before), and also bearing in mind they still refused to open an account even after I had all that ID, guess what kind of ID I used to set up my Alliance and Leicester account?
So what's the difference then? Why all the fuss?
The Alliance and Leicester account was set up entirely by post. At no point were they aware that I'm a long term unemployed working class geezer from a council estate, especially seeing as I wrote on the application form that I was a self employed computer consultant on £40,000 ($60,000) a year (that's what I told the credit card company too, again, entirely by post - hence the credit card).
In short, they neither saw, nor heard me. If they did, then they'd immediately be aware that I'm working class, due to my clothing (jeans, trainers), my accent, and my overall body language. In fact it's so obvious from my appearance, that when I spoke to the first woman at the HSBC bank, she asked me if I was on benefits. Not what I did for a living, but am I on benefits?
It was a sub-conscious assumption on her behalf which pretty much sums up the class system of the UK. She was entirely correct to assume I was on benefits. I'm working class, it sticks out like a sore thumb. If I was introduced to someone as being 'university educated' they'd never believe it. People like me either shovel shit on a building site, or sign on, irrespective of their intellectual abilities. I was in that bank during working hours, and I was far too clean to have stepped straight in from a building site, therefore I must be on the dole.
If I was black, this would be called racism. But I'm not, so it isn't.
I really don't see any difference at all between apartheid South Africa, and modern day Britain, except for the fact that where South Africa used colour, the UK uses class.
*** UPDATE ***
I've since had face to face dealings with the fucktards at the Portsmouth branch of Alliance and Leicester in Commercial Road, and I can happily report that those filthy, vile, genetic fuck ups, are in absolutely every way as vile and disgusting as the obnoxious whores of HSBC...
I keep on seeing HSBC's adverts on TV saying that's what polite in some cultures is considered rude and offensive in others, although I've yet to see the one where they show a culture that thinks treating people like a piece of shit you just trod in is polite and acceptable!
© Sean Copland 1995-2014