Sunday, October 24

The Boris Johnson County Court ruling actually made me feel sorry for him | Zoe williams

IIt was a piece of singular brilliance for Private Eye to do a speculative search on the sentences of the county courts (CCJ) and see if the name of the prime minister came up. Imagine the delight in the office when it was, as recent as last October, with ’10 Downing Street’ as the address, for an unpaid amount – to an unknown creditor – of £ 535. It was too good (and we all know how it ends that) to be true. Downing Street successfully struck out CCJ in a nanosecond; It was apparently a malicious defamation claim from a Covid conspiracy theorist, and you can add your own conspiracy theory here if that’s your poison.

Personally, I am relieved. For an entire morning, I was experiencing the most disturbing mood swing towards the prime minister: the feeling of companionship.

I had a CCJ in 1994. I can identify it so precisely without looking for it because my life as an adult essentially stopped at that point and didn’t resume until six years later, when the CCJ expired. Even if you don’t use credit much, it must be worth it to live normally – well, to live anywhere. To sign a lease, to get a mortgage, those kinds of basic things about the roof.

This is how it happens. First, you have to believe that the debt is just going to evaporate: who you owe money to, mine was a credit card company, it will just forget about you and move on, like someone you insulted on a train.

I don’t know why I thought that, but, in my defense, I had had terrible and contradictory financial models. My mother’s mantra was “Debt overshadows your whole life”; she would have been horrified to learn that he had a credit card in the first place. My father, meanwhile, was a trickster, which is a loving and filial way of saying a petty criminal.

Once, he hid his stereo on top of a closet with a blanket over it and then claimed it on the safe. The insurance company sent someone to your home to verify the claim. This person’s idea of ​​getting to the bottom of the matter was to ask what my dad did for a living. “I’m a forensic psychologist,” he said poise, and the insurance guy said, “I look a bit like one of those,” and then they went for a pint. This is not only true, it was also one of my father’s favorite stories – the best £ 800 he ever made (stereos, by the way, youngsters, used to be very expensive).

So, I had some pretty mixed messages. I would always stop before an actual crime, but you can see how I could think that debt could disappear under a blanket.

Anyway, here you go: you have a debt, you can’t pay it off, and it keeps growing. The bigger it gets, the less you want to think about it. Your illusion of fundamental optimism leads you to think that if it gets out of control, everyone will realize that you are not good at it and will get bored.

This is when the lyrics start. They explain very carefully, often with the judicious use of capital letters and red ink, that no one gets bored at all. They explain what will happen next. Sometimes they put up a debt helpline, to point out: “We are still human beings. We don’t want you to die. But this is as human as it gets. “Long before you get to a CCJ, they begin to tell you what a CCJ will mean. At this stage, most of the ink is red and the interval between each letter has decreased. envelopes also change color, a baroque and unnecessary touch, since, at this point, you are not opening any post.

Eventually, you get a claim from the county court. This would be the right time to open the letter, respond directly to the creditor, seek debt advice, and agree on a payment schedule. Only, of course, if you were that kind of person, you wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. Anyway, he only had two weeks to reply, even if he intended to. Sure enough, you now have a CCJ.

And this is where it gets serious. If you miraculously find the money to pay off your debt in the next month, you can get the judgment removed from registry; otherwise, the best you can usually hope for is to mark it as “satisfied”.

Poor PM, I thought. What if you lose your job in some kind of general election? You can forget about migrating your work phone to a personal account. You will need to get a pay-per-use burner. He will also have to stay in the same relationship, so there is someone else to sign installment purchase agreements and all that, or jump from one relationship with one creditworthy person to another, which… okay, maybe he can do. that works. However, for a brief period of time, he was a real human being, beaten from one chaotic life event to another, just trying to keep his head above the water long enough for nothing to turn into a sheriff’s situation, by least not while there were police heads. state visit. Thank goodness all that sympathy was out of place.

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