When did we become such a nation of whingers?

Whinging often results in getting others to pay for our mistakes, argues Bob Britnell

It was touch and go this week whether I wrote about being fed up with people who admit of no personal responsibility or whether I tackled the Welshman who wrote to his bank in Welsh and then complained when they asked for the letter in English.

I presume he did it as a stunt anyway, just so that he could cry “discrimination”, better known as “it’s not fair”.

Seguing neatly in to where I started, when did we become such a nation of whingers? Whatever happened to taking it on the chin and keeping a stiff upper lip?

The window of opportunity for claiming that you were mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) years ago is closing and the ambulance chasing lawyers will be moving on to other fields.

In reality, how many people can actually remember being sold PPI? Very few, I believe.

And I suspect that a lot of the mis-selling claims are bogus: people signed up for things which they didn’t understand. It happens all the time – tough, that’s the school of hard knocks from which we learn.

The latest one is the Telegraph campaigning on behalf of the victims of crime who bought a motorbike, car, caravan or similar on the internet only to find that it was never delivered – or else they were tricked into sending huge sums of money, house deposits and so on to bogus bank accounts.

Now, I can have a huge amount of sympathy for anyone who loses a large sum of money and a lot of these are not rich people, they’re ordinary folks whose only fault is that they didn’t check that the destination account was the right one.

The cry is that the banks should not allow bogus bank accounts to be opened and therefore ought to compensate the victims.

But why? It’s not the banks that sent the money to the wrong place. It’s unfortunate that it happens, but don’t blame them.

My longstanding objection is to the FloodRe insurance scheme: this works on the basis that people who buy homes in areas of flood risk can’t get home insurance. Well, what a surprise!

To ensure they could the government came up with this cunning wheeze whereby all those of us who didn’t buy next to a pretty river pay a bit extra to subsidise the insurance of those who did. Does that sound fair to you?

Then of course there is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board whereby victims of crime can seek a payout from the state – a payout they surely they should get it from the criminal?

What links all these and others together is that it is actually you and I paying for these things, whether directly by increased insurance premiums or indirectly because our banks increase charges or reduce interest rates to pay “compensation”.

But, to come back to where I started, when did we become a nation of people that always seems to want others to bear the burden of our own mistakes?

My examples above are few but typical. Faced with the results of people’s own poor decisions, the response of much of the public seems to be, “it’s not fair, it’s not my fault, and somebody else should pay for my mistake”.

Often, of course, that somebody is the government – and having no money of its own, it means you and me dear taxpaying reader will be footing the bill.


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