HARDSHIP, homelessness and poverty have mounted for 10 years whilst a mega-rich tax-avoiding minority live their lives in an insulated ‘bubble’, I find myself asking how this could have come about.

One of the most important genetic qualities we possess is the ability to empathise.

Just witnessing the plight of another human being, a fish or an animal triggers feelings of empathy.

The sight of someone drowning, injured in a road accident, the victim of violence or one of many other calamities usually prompts spontaneous action to rescue them.

It’s difficult for me to equate these acts of kind-heartedness with what I see all around me.

Has empathy gone into hiding or is it a case of us adopting an ‘out of sight, out of mind mentality’? If we shield ourselves from witnessing hardship, squalor and suffering, how can our naturally empathetic genes click into action?

Confronting affliction is extremely emotive to me.

I recently witnessed almost 100 Dorset families forced to collect free food parcels so that their children can eat healthily during the holidays when school meals are unavailable. I know how awful that must be for them since as a youngster in the last World War, I relied at times on free bowls of soup from the Salvation Army.

Most of us don't emphasise with the appalling societal neglect brought about by austerity since they rarely witness the suffering first-hand. We might shed tears watching it on the TV but otherwise we give our natural feelings of empathy very little opportunity to influence our social consciences.

If I had my way, I would obligate the architects of this monstrous Tory austerity, Osborne, Hammond and May to spend some time in actual contact with the results of their lack of humanity.

Instead, Theresa May boosts her reverence with frequent 'photo-shoots' outside church (presumably to influence us that God is ‘on her side’). I earnestly hope He isn't or her congregation!

The other villains are often pictured inexpertly using a pair of pliers or a screwdriver at some factory or other wearing a yellow jacket.

Have we been seduced by politicians from witnessing hardship first-hand and feeling it for ourselves into blaming the victims themselves for their plight?

It certainly avoids our own culpability in their shattered lives. Is it a case of, “As long as my iPhone is working, sod empathy, that’s for losers”.