Sunday, January 13, 2013

Death Of A Salesman

Colour me cynical, but could this story :

Shopkeepers and stallholders said yesterday that they believed the two victims were homeless. One line of enquiry is that one of the men might have been stabbed to death following a row over selling The Big Issue without a licence. One of the men was found outside the Sainsbury's store in Martineau Place while the second was found slumped yards away near Boots in Union Street.

"We've heard that they owed money to someone."

Have any relation to this story ?

The Mail on Sunday last week spoke to Big Issue sellers in several British cities. In Glasgow, five of the seven vendors we found were Romanian. The sole British seller claimed that luxury cars arrived at the city’s distribution depot at 6am each Monday to pick up copies.

The man, who did not want to be named, said: ‘Large, flash cars, like Mercedes and BMWs, pull up and load up in bulk with the magazines before driving off to have them distributed. What are people driving cars like that doing buying loads of copies of The Big Issue to sell on? There are too many copies for one or two people to sell, so they must have a gang working for them. And they’re doing it because there’s lots of money in it for them. It’s organised crime. People who are clearly wealthy enough to drive cars like that have no business getting involved in selling The Big Issue. There are hardly any Brits now and that’s because we are being muscled out. The intimidation can be terrible sometimes but you just have to stand up to them. I know of one guy who got beaten up. It’s a scandal.’

I know you have to be licensed to sell the Big Issue, but I didn't think the magazine enforced it that strictly. No, the reason my cynometer flickered was that there have been one or two incidents in the last few years of homeless people being ruthlessly exploited for financial gain helped out with a work offer by public-spirited people. On the other hand, I know from first-hand experience that the British press never likes to spoil a good story for the want of a few facts, and homeless people are generally in need of money - so the above story MAY be a tad embellished.

We shall see. A man with no name has been charged. If he turns out to be called Dave Bloggs or John Smith, I shall have to admit that I may be too cynical.

UPDATE - "John Ward, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody until Wednesday after making a two-minute appearance before a district judge at Birmingham magistrates court."

So I am too cynical. I was starting to believe that wasn't possible.