Watch out, there’s a thief about

AS a generalisation I think people are divided into givers and takers. I would like to think the recession brings out the worst in some folk but that would be self-deception.

In societies where unspeakable poverty is widespread people in their goodness help each other rather than take advantage of the vulnerable.

The UK and Spain, for all their economic woes are hardly destitute yet one is known as rip-off Britain; the other as Costa del Crime.

The unpleasant truth is the two communities seem to breed parasites. Some are out and out criminals; others exploit weaknesses in the law to enrich themselves through the efforts of others.

I have no wish to talk about politicians but I am reminded of a cartoon, said to be last year’s best. A small boy tells his father he is weighing up his career options.

Shall he choose politics or opt for organised crime. His father advises the former. He says they’re the same thing but you don’t go to gaol for it.

The reason I mention politics is to point out the similarities of those attracted to either of the two careers.

Although they tend to be life’s losers they talk big, they lean towards dishonesty; they have few skills. They are chancers always looking for a fast unearned buck.

In both countries I know wealthy men who leave a slime trail of unpaid bills, misery, poverty and bitterness behind them wherever they go.

It is the way they are wired; they can’t help themselves. It is a psychological failing; they are career slime balls. It isn’t the money. When the lowlifes wish to make an impression they have wads of notes in their mitts.

Standing on their wallets adds inches to their height. The big-shot who got the round in isn’t necessarily the person who paid for it. There are the creeps who scour communities focusing on the vulnerable; the old and the trusting. Others parasitically leech from more trusting traders.

My advice is to get your fees up front. The smarter crooks who have graduated often wear suits but the mindset remains the same. An irony is they could probably earn a similar amount by doing honest work.

Conventional work though is abomination to them. As they show you around their villa they will take you for €100 or less. What drives them is their need to put one over on another human being.

This is their real currency. In a distorted way it convinces the kipper tie crook that this makes them superior. Is prison the answer?

Only if before they sleep in it they build it.

It is another irony that prisons are built by honest men to provide a hotel for dishonest men; a strange world indeed.

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