31/12/2013 16:51 GMT | Updated 01/03/2014 05:59 GMT

The IRA, Radiation, Nigel Farage - And the Global Homeless


The homeless in the UK cost the taxpayer around £1 billion each year. They have a life expectancy of just 47. So whether you're a selfish taxpayer or just human, getting rid of homelessness makes sense.

Globally, there are 100 million homeless. Last week saw some bizarre and disgusting news reported about their fate, which made me think about the wide range of reasons people become homeless, the various fates that await them - and the urgency with which we must safely and affordably house our populations.

In Japan, the recovery team at the Fukushima nuclear reactor are behind schedule with the most ambitious radioactive cleanup in history, and having already turned to unruly gangsters to sort their under-staffing issues - they've now started recruiting the homeless. Headhunters refer applicants for the deadly work at around a hundred quid per head.

Across the Irish sea,  sectarian violence has caused 411 individuals and families to become homeless in just one year, according to new figures published by the government. It seems strange that in one part of the UK, there is a box for "Sectarian Violence" on the homeless application form, which is so regularly ticked. Naive perhaps.

A people who aren't so naive as I when it comes to displacement, violence and escape are the Syrians - gathering on the other side of The Channel desperate for asylum. France have agreed to take just fifty, the Tories say aid should concentrate on the countries closest to Syria, and Nigel Farage has called for our borders to be opened - outflanking the government (once again) with his surprising generosity.

Except owing to a nasty racist reaction from his core vote (evidenced on UKIP's Facebook page), Farage has back-tracked and since said he'd only advocate welcoming Christian refugees. Everyone else (read Muslims), can remain homeless.

A society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. As a planet, we are failing on almost every front.