Tag Archives: Monroe

The UK’s food bank shame will not be solved by Tories like Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson (right) with his leader Boris Johnson: no wonder Anderson thinks he can get away with a Big Lie when his boss is the biggest liar of them all.

This MP is a disgrace to his Ashfield constituency.

He stood up in the House of Commons and admitted that his local food bank won’t give out desperately-needed parcels to people unless they sign up to take a course in budgeting and cooking skills – but you’ll notice he never said anything about whether such courses were effective in reducing demand.

Mr Anderson invited MPs to visit a food bank in his Nottinghamshire constituency where he said people “have to register for a budgeting course and a cooking course” if they receive parcels.

“We show them how to cook cheap and nutritious meals on a budget,” he added. “We can make a meal for about 30p a day and this is cooking from scratch.”

“There’s not this massive use for food banks in this country. We’ve got generation after generation who can not cook properly… they can not budget.”

Here’s video of what he said, along with some of the more well-informed comments by opposition MPs:

As usual, though, the best commentary on this came from the food writer and blogger Jack Monroe, who slated Anderson’s comment in an LBC interview:

“It’s not a lack of skills or knowledge that is causing people to struggle in food poverty in this country…it’s the lack of resources, it’s the lack of finances.

“It’s not that people don’t know what to do with a bag of pasta, it’s that they don’t have the 29p to buy it in the first place.

“Helping somebody conditional on them saying ‘you know what, I’m a terrible kind of poor person, this is all my own fault, please teach me how to be better at being poor’, is disgusting, actually.

“In his own constituency one in three live in poverty…I don’t think he’s the one to be touting the solution.”

Jack, who is a genuine national treasure, went further on the Cooking on a Bootstrap website, reminding us all of the main reasons people can’t afford food any more – and the fatal results of these Conservative Party policies:

If the ‘let them eat 30p meals’ brigade were really concerned for the welfare of people suffering, and I mean suffering, under the worst cost of living crisis this country has known for decades, they would take heed from the thousands of stories of people who have died at the hands of the callous DWP machine, and the people who enthusiastically grease its sharp and unforgiving cogs.

Stephanie Bottrill, a mother of three who was so concerned about the impact that the bedroom tax would have on her family, that she walked out in front of an articulated lorry.

Phillipa Day, whose overdose resulted in a coroners report stating that the flaws in her PIP assessment led to her death. A nine day inquest uncovered multiple failings by both the DWP and the private sector contractor Capita in the handling of her case. The coroner issued the DWP a PFD report – Prevention Of Future Deaths – which was supposed to force them to make significant changes to the system in order to prevent this entirely needless tragedy from ever happening again. Did they implement the recommended changes? Of course not. Not then, and not after multiple more coroners reports and PFDs from multiple subsequent deaths in similar circumstances.

Jodey Whiting took her own life after her benefits were stopped. Her family received a letter endorsing the DWPs actions, incorrectly stating that Jodey was fit to work, and mailed it to them as their daughter lay in a mortuary, awaiting her untimely and again, utterly preventable, burial. Following her death, and with his life thrown into utter turmoil at the loss of his mother, her 19 year old son Cory also killed himself.

I have thousands of these stories, each and every one a heartbreakingly familiar narrative: a vulnerable person denied absolutely vital assistance, unable to bear the pain of a day to day life scrabbling at the periphery of insecurity and just-about-survival, choosing a devastatingly permanent ending to a story that they didn’t get the luxury of choosing their own adventure in. God, they didn’t even get the luxury of choosing their own living accommodation, the colour of their front doors, or the meagre combination of basic store cupboard staples that made up their dinners.

What kind of world do we live in, where these horrific and very real examples of destitution and desperation are not a clarion call for an immediate overhaul of a barbaric and repeatedly proven fatal ideology?

And it begs the point, that with several hundred thousand pounds of full time staff at their disposal to do the everyday grunt work, you’d think that MPs would use a fraction of that generous budget to actually do some research in their chosen field.

Yes indeed. Lee Anderson’s most recent expenses claim alone came to £220,000. That will have included the cost of employing his support staff, so the question goes straight to the point.

The painful reality is that when most basic of human needs costs more than the meagre payments that the recipients are forced to subsist on, cheap pasta and canned beans aren’t going to make a jot of difference unless you’re willing to stuff them up your jumper and make a run for it. Those that claim to be the party of clever economics and fiscal responsibility would do well to remember this simple truth: the square root of fuck all is always going to be absolutely fuck all, no matter how creatively you’re told to to dice it.

I make no apology for the strong language; sometimes people need to be told the facts in the hardest possible terms, just so they’ll sink in.

You’ll hear it again in the following video rant from another great social media icon, Cornish Damo:

Sadly, This Writer doubts that any amount of factual argument will persuade people like Anderson to change their tune, because they believe in the tactic the Tories stole (back) from the Nazi propagandist Goebbels: The Big Lie.

Anderson thinks if he keeps repeating, often enough, the lie that poverty is entirely the fault of people who are poor, and not of those who have deprived them of decent, affordable food, housing, energy, water and all the other necessities of life, we will all eventually believe that lie.

It’s up to you to prove him wrong.

ADDITIONAL: This could be very embarrassing for Mr Anderson:

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Jack Monroe explains the UK’s cost of living crisis for ignorant Tories

Jack Monroe: “The people who have the least in this country have routinely been asked to shoulder the burdens.”

This is why the BBC tries not to allow socialists onto its current affairs programmes any more.

But it seems that Politics Live bosses couldn’t avoid inviting ‘Bootstrap Cook’ Jack Monroe, who made a name as the author of a guide for people on benefits, trying to feed a family with only pennies to spend on each meal (courtesy of a Tory government that couldn’t care less).

Jack had given evidence on the current cost of living crisis to the Commons Work and Pensions committee on the morning of March 9, and subsequently appeared on the programme to explain the problems people at the lowest level of society are facing – and the reasons for them.

Here’s what was said:

There’s so much good material here – that the Tory government would undoubtedly wish to suppress:

  • Every pound spent on a child’s health now will save £220 in the future (according to a recent study) – investment in early years education, free school meals, milk for kids and warm, safe, decent homes leads to saving on healthcare, justice and social support.
  • 4.1 million people in the UK are living in poverty, and 4.5 million in fuel poverty. The last number is set to rise to 6.5 million next month (April), when new energy prices are imposed by the privatised energy firms – and to 8.5 million by October. That means around one-eighth of the population of the UK won’t be able to afford to heat their homes properly.(And this doesn’t include the cost to businesses, that are not protected from the full force of the price rises by Ofgem’s cap.)
  • In the UK, 80 people were dying every day as a result of living in cold homes – before Covid-19 and the economic hits that people have taken since, meaning that figure is certain to become much worse.
  • A rapid government intervention is needed to life people out of poverty, allow them to heat their homes, feed themselves and their families and to prevent them from dying.

Jack said: “The Chancellor can find a whole orchard of magic money trees for his pet projects and the things that he deems to be worthy: ‘Eat Out to Help Out’, writing off furlough fraud. He needs to dig around in that orchard and find some money for people who don’t have the same recourse, don’t have the same voice, don’t necessarily have the same lobbying power – and that’s children, disabled people, vulnerable people, elderly people, and act in their best interests as well.”

Here’s a vital point: “If people had listened when those of us who started to raise the issue [did so] a decade ago, we certainly wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in now.”

Also: “The policy groups… today… the Resolution Foundation, the Social Policy Forum… they all advocated a one-off cash lump sum of around £500 to help lift people out of the cost of living crisis… in a mirror of what America did during the pandemic; to give all their citizens £500, to let them make all the judgement calls and decisions themselves about how best to rescue their household budgets and how best to sort out the situations that they are in.

“People who are in the lowest income deciles, when you give them money, it goes back into their local economies. If you give people who earn the top 0.1 per cent of wages in the UK money, it disappears off to the Cayman Islands. So giving people a one-off lump sum payment in order to dig themselves out of whatever holes they’re in isn’t just something that us mad left-wingers are banging on about, it’s what the government’s own think-tanks and policymakers are avidly recommending.”

Paul Scully, Tory minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, said the government had increased its euphemistic ‘National Living Wage’ by the highest cash terms ever. But this is a burden place upon businesses – not on the government itself; no Tory minister has explained where most firms are going to find the money to pay this increase, on top of paying energy bills for which the standing charge alone may have increased by 500 per cent, at a time when their customers are unlikely to be able to afford their services due to their own struggle to pay the bills.

Then he said: “It’s right that we actually make sure that we’re not recovering our economy on the back of the lowest-paid.”

Labour’s Jim McMahon contradicted him, pointing out that this is exactly what is happening: “BP and Shell have made record profits but they’re not being asked to contribute more; it’s households that are being asked to contribute more.”

Scully said the government wanted the energy giants to invest their huge profits in diversification away from fossil fuel – an admirable ambition, but is there any evidence that they are actually bothering to do it?

And Jack Monroe came back with the clincher: “I really have to take issue with the fact that you said that the government are not going to recover the economy off the back of the lowest-paid people, because that has been Conservative policy for the last 12 years. b

“Austerity-led ideology has meant that the people who have the least in this country have routinely been asked to shoulder the burdens of the bank bailouts and of all of the policies that consecutive Conservative governments have put in place – to reduce welfare payments, to reduce the support that is available for the poorest and most vulnerable people and the lowest-income households.

The economy has been rebuilt … on the bodies of the dead people who are no longer with us because they have been failed by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook