Well, that’s one

By DeusExMacintosh

FRIENDS of an acclaimed Scottish writer have accused the new government’s crackdown on welfare benefits of being a factor in his suicide.

Paul Reekie, who, along with Irvine Welsh, was part of a wave of young Scottish authors who rose to international prominence in the 1990s, killed himself in his Edinburgh home last month. The Leith-based writer and poet, who was 48, left no suicide note but friends say letters informing him that his welfare benefits were to be halted were found close to his body.

Reekie’s former publisher Kevin Williamson believes the actions of Chancellor George Osborne, who has introduced unprecedented measures to slash Britain’s welfare bill, helped to push his close friend and literary collaborator towards taking his own life.

The founder of the Rebel Inc publishing label has sent a strongly worded letter to Osborne, linking his policies to Reekie’s death.

The letter states: “It has come to my attention that while many of my friends and I were at the funeral of our good friend Paul Reekie, aged 48, it would appear that you were giving a speech in Parliament announcing your intentions to slash the benefits paid to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

“I thought I would let you know that Paul took his own life. He didn’t leave a note but he laid out two letters on his table. One was notifying him that his housing benefit had been stopped. The other was notifying him that his incapacity benefit had been stopped.

“The reason I’m writing this letter is just so you know the human cost of attacking those on benefits.”

The Scotsman


  1. Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Actually LE, the most eloquent comment I’ve seen was the coda on the DVD of Gattaca, effectively a public service announcement that was originally planned for the end of the film. It prompts one to think that it is the “normals” without “issues” who are more likely to be surperfluous to the advance of human culture. A bit harsh, yes, but with an element of truth.

    Is this cold-heartedness because the consequences are unseen, like ordering a military strike by rocket, and not needing to see civilians dying in agony?

    Have subsidies and tax dodges for the finance sectors been trimmed similarly?

    Oh well, if dead or homeless, you don’t vote and can’t hurt the pollies.

  2. Hugivza
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, ’twas ever thus – “it’s the rich what gets the gravy, and the poor what gets the blame.” Compassion and government are strange bed fellows. Increasingly there seems to be a global hardening of attitudes towards those who have little power to effectively criticise or influence public opinion; and thus ultimately to destabilise the political dream of self perpetuation in office.

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