Can’t pay? We’ll take it away.
Every Sunday night the TV pickings are so slim that we end up watching Can’t Pay We’ll Take it Away. The channel 5 entertainment show (if you can call it that) lucky you. It’s High Court enforcement officers carrying out High Court Writs across the country.
I feel ashamed of myself for watching. Week after week, I see people with no alternative but to hand over their possessions or call friends and family. They’re left to all but beg them for the cash to get these guys off their backs in order to keep their own homes and businesses. Most of the time they just about scrape through enough money to satisfy the writ before anything has to be done and payment plans can be agreed. Some landlords arrive at their properties only to see it completely trashed, their retirement investments diminished by free loaders with no intention of ever paying rent, nowhere to be seen when the officers and landlords arrive.
Ok, so what’s the beef?
It bothers me that we now consider this an acceptable form of entertainment. I’m betting channel 5 aren’t paying these people for their appearance on the show, how different their lives might be if they were. Tonight I’ve watched a 53 year old dinner lady evicted from her London home of 12 years because her landlord put the rent up. She couldn’t afford it. He went straight to the High Court to get her evicted a few months later – officers could change the locks without her even being there. I can’t fathom how he would need to put rent up so high he’d evict his tenant for any other reason than greed. Perhaps there’s another side to his story but he sure as hell hid it from the cameras.
I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes
The guys in the vans do a great job. They are not the vision of ‘bailiffs’ that are burned into the back of my mind. Often when they arrive to their jobs the emotions are running so high inside that they get blasted with abuse. Often it’s verbal and sometimes, physical. People are understandably defensive of their possessions and panicked at the prospect of being out on the street. I’ve watched families pushed to the limits. People really broken by how they have been treated.
I’ve decided we can no longer watch the show. Other people’s desperation and misery cannot be deemed entertainment in this house. Not now, not ever.