As commenters rush to his support, charities vilify Rees-Mogg’s food bank remark as “unchristian”

Jacob Rees-Mogg, making a gesture that well defines him.

Some people will defend anything.

That’s why, on the day Jacob Rees-Mogg called food banks “uplifting” while volunteers there said they couldn’t stop children starving, commenters tried to defend him and attack This Writer for pointing out his cruelty.

“I dislike the man but this is not a true representation of what he said,” claimed one. “Press in the country are a disgrace. Very little real journalism left.”

“If you need to lie to get your political point across, maybe you should take a look at your point,” stated another.

Okay.

My point was that Mr Rees-Mogg said he found it “uplifting” that children were starving because food banks could not feed them. I say that point is accurate.

In his LBC interview, he said “I don’t think the state can do everything… It tries to provide a base of welfare that should allow people to make ends meet… but on some occasions that will not work.” We know that statement is not true.

Firstly: The citizens of the UK do not ask the state to do “everything” for them.

Secondly: While we do pay our taxes on the understanding that the state should “provide a base of welfare that should allow people to make ends meet”, the state under a Conservative government has consistently refused to do so since 2010. That is common knowledge; you only have to look at my recent story about the Universal Credit taper to see evidence of it.

Thirdly: If it does not work on some occasions, then the government is not doing its job properly and should make way for one that does.

In short: If state schemes are not providing enough for people to pay their way, it is because the minority Conservative government – of which Mr Rees-Mogg is a member – is refusing to provide enough support.

That, of course, is why food banks have proliferated; why they have become necessary.

Mr Rees-Mogg, in his interview, claimed that the huge increase in the number of food banks was because the Conservatives had publicised them, allowing Job Centres to refer benefit claimants to them – but this has been refuted by food bank charity the Trussell Trust as follows:

Trussell figures show that, far from triggering a flood of referrals, the decision had little direct effect on food bank activity. In 2016-17, just 5% of referrals to Trussell food banks were from jobcentres, a proportion that has remained virtually unchanged for at least the past three years.

Charities said that year-on-year increases in the volume of charity food given out in the UK over the past decade were driven largely by welfare reforms, benefit delays and sanctions that had left low-income people in financial crisis.

Of course, five per cent of referrals still represents an increase in the actual number, because the number of food bank visits has skyrocketed over the last seven years in which we have had a Conservative government; but we can clearly see that the effect of Job Centres being allowed to refer people to food banks is negligible.

So we are left with food banks trying to provide for increasing numbers of people, with a finite amount of food – there were desperate calls for more from food banks that were running out of supplies over the summer, remember.

It is in this context that Mr Rees-Mogg says the “charitable” efforts of those who run and supply food banks are “uplifting”.

Regarding charity, I am reminded of a comment on another political website: “Charity merely sweetens the stench emanating from the sewers of capitalism.”

As for it being “uplifting”, I find myself in agreement with Chris Price of Pecan, who said, “What he [Mr Rees-Mogg] is saying is that it is great that people are in poverty and that we are here to help them. It is a very unchristian thing to say.”

Harsh words for a man who recently claimed his Christian beliefs meant he could not support abortion or same-sex marriage. But then, Mr Rees-Mogg was pilloried for that remark as well – most effectively by Iain Rowan, who said he thought “being a committed Christian meant following the teachings of Jesus, rather than standing at the pick-and-mix counter in a sweetshop, only choosing the fizzy snakes”.

And that’s what Mr Rees-Mogg was doing with his comment about food banks. He was happy to say how “uplifting” it was that they existed.

But he won’t talk about how “uplifting” it is for children to starve because food banks can’t help them and the government won’t. And that is why his defenders are wrong.

Charities have reacted angrily after the Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said the rapid increase in food banks showed a “rather uplifting” picture of a compassionate country.

Challenged by a caller to a radio phone-in about the rapid rise in food banks, Rees-Mogg argued on Thursday that they fulfilled a vital function. “I don’t think the state can do everything,” he said. “It tries to provide a base of welfare that should allow people to make ends meet during the course of the week, but on some occasions that will not work.

“And to have charitable support given by people voluntarily to support their fellow citizens, I think is rather uplifting and shows what a good, compassionate country we are.”

Garry Lemon, the head of media and external affairs at the Trussell Trust, Britain’s biggest food bank network, said: “We agree that the work of volunteers and voluntary organisations is uplifting, but food banks are an emergency service and whilst they do all they can to offer support to people in crisis they cannot solve structural problems alone.”

Chris Price, the executive director of Pecan, which runs the Trussell Trust-affiliated Southwark food bank in south London, said: “What he [Rees-Mogg] is saying is that it is great that people are in poverty and that we are here to help them. It is a very unchristian thing to say.”

Source: Jacob Rees-Mogg view on food banks is unchristian, say charities | Politics | The Guardian


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7 thoughts on “As commenters rush to his support, charities vilify Rees-Mogg’s food bank remark as “unchristian”

  1. 61chrissterry

    You are correct Jacob Rees-Mogg is at the ‘pick and mix’ with his, so called, Christian beliefs and it is great that there are charities that are there to provide for those that the current cannot or will not.

    The Government renamed the national minimum wage to the national living wage, but for what reason, was it to confuse people that it was the living wage, very slight of hand.

    But the national living wage is far from a wage that people can live on unless there are additional sources. It was reported some years ago that The Queen paid some of her staff just the national minimum wage and they then had to claim Income Support benefit, which I now believe is incorporated in one of the new benefits, ESA, PIP or UC, not sure which because I find the benefit system in the UK now so confusing, perhaps another Government ploy.

    Charities came about because the originators of each charity believed that something was missing in what the state provided and so created a charity to support and campaign on the area they believe was lacking. Without charities most of the country would be in a far worse state that it is in now and as we know that is not good for a sizable proportion of the UK.

    Governments are supposed to govern for the benefit of the whole country and not just for a stated few.

    Rees-Mogg just has not a clue as can be said for most of his colleagues in Parliament. They had their pay increase, was it last year, of 11% and on top of that they even get expenses, with subsidised restaurant and bar at their own place of work. Pay restraint for the workers, but not for MPs.

    A few of us may have a restaurant, but a Bar as well, as for most of us to drink at work is a no, no and for those who come to work having consumed alcohol they could be disciplined.

    Even with the pay cap supposedly lifted, but only for some, the pay increase is still restricted, not even covering the current inflation rate, let alone the tremendous shortfall since the commencement of paycap.

    Rees-Mogg is a ‘I’m an alright Jack’ and stuff the others.

    He should be made to come and live like the rest of the country for at least a month or two and then he may have a realisation period, but I believe he would not because he is blinkered.

  2. marcusdemowbray

    JR-M’s meaning was that it is “uplifting” to see how charitable UK is. Three problems with this: 1) The need for charities etc. has increased HUGELY since Tories and their “Austerity” got into power. 2) UK’s Benefits are already lower than many other nations, going down relatively and getting increasingly difficult to obtain. 3) He might like to believe that UK is a charitable nation, but again we are less so than many other nations.

    Dark humour: some people might find it “uplifting” to see JR-M, Theresa May and the entire Cabinet “uplifted” to the top of the gallows.

  3. Florence

    For the so-called “member for the 18thC” his Christian politics of poverty are also of the 18thC. No doubt he would also be happy to tour a workhouse once a year as his Christian duty as lord muck and proclaim them “uplifting” in preventing people dying in the streets, and providing the employment of G4S (for it would be they who run such institutions).

    Except he is actually a member of the Tory government, as you say Mike, presiding over starving children and people dying, homeless, in the streets, and also the sick and disabled and elderly dying in their cold, dark, hungry houses too.

    In a way, I’m glad Mogg has had the spotlight shone on him, being presented as the “nice guy” representative of the elite that run the Tory party on behalf of the elite to preserve their position. It is obvious that he is simply the polite end of the same cudgel wielded by his class mates from Eton.

  4. Justin

    Time to send these guys out into the real world and what better time summer recess and xmas,like of smith, grayling, patel and mees-rogg, there advisors, like freud and the rest that think they know better,should all do stints in night shift homeless shelters, food banks, mental health units,drug and alcohol units, night/day homeless patrols to give them first hand experience of the effects of there policies,,when you have clueless people like this it is time to educate them and there is no better education than front line experience,make ministers accountable and responsible and give them education that they won’t get in oxford or cambridge,we might even be able to get some people that have been affected by there policies to assist them in there frontline roles so they can learn the hard way.

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