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Frauds and snitches

In England, just as I remember in later years in America with ads against insurance fraud, TV campaigns against benefit fraud do a pretty good job of sending the appropriate message. A benefit thief may not mend his ways outright upon seeing an ad like the one below, but seeing many of them is likely to sow some doubts in his brain.


But in this particular ad, I am primarily astonished to see a depiction of what seems to be a neighbor dialing the fraud hotline to turn the purported thief in. It is a duty of a good citizen to report a crime, no doubt, but this particular scene leaves a lot to be guessed what the actual crime is (I bet that unless you are a recipient of these “benefits for living alone”, you’re as baffled as I am in regards to the nature of the problem), and there is a clear connotation of the neighbor alerting the authorities based on her personal conjectures.

I am fortunate not to have lived through that myself, but I am very familiar with the histories of the Soviet-block informer societies, and I am shocked to see this apparent suggestion to snitch. Then again, a Brit colleague of mine once noted with a modicum of self-deprecation that the British are largely expected to tell on one another. It must be working, if you believe the “600 calls” claim.