The Poor Can’t Cook – What a Give Away!


When Baroness Jenkin of Kennington, a member of the House of Lords Refreshment Committee that spent £250,000 on champagne since David Cameron entered Number 10, said recently that the rise of hunger and food bank use in the UK was because “poor people don’t know how to cook”, there was understandable uproar, but she has since apologised, and some people think that should be an end to it.

But was her apology sincere?

“I made a mistake” she said. “Obviously I was stupidly speaking unscripted.

“What I meant was as a society we have lost our ability to cook, or that no longer seems to be handed down in the way that it was in previously in previous generations.

“Life is considerably cheaper if you are able to cook.”

Most of that was fine. As a society, we tend to rely more on pre-prepared food than earlier generations, but that is at least as true of well-off people as it is of those with very limited means.

In fact, it is people with plenty of money that are likeliest to eat, by choice, food prepared by others, whether they eat at restaurants or they employ a cook.

Poorer people have less choice, because they have less money, and the very poorest have the least choice. If they eat junk food, and don’t cook, it may well be that they can’t afford the gas or electricity. They might – just – manage to heat a ready meal, but not a meal from scratch. Some people haven’t even the money for that, and there are reports of foodbank recipients giving food back for that reason.

The part of the Baroness’s apology that was, for me, the most telling was the line “Obviously I was stupidly speaking unscripted.” Now that did look scripted, as if she’s been told off for letting the cat out of the bag! Disdain for the poor is common in the Conservative party, but they’re normally careful to shroud it in weasel words, and leave it to their friends in the press to wage a campaign against them.

That’s the script that Jenkins failed to follow. An odd mistake for a former public relations consultant.

See also this excellent post by the inestimable Johnny Void.
Some of the comments make valid points too, such as having a freezer and the money to run it making eating cheaply easier. One or two commenters have criticised the post for getting some prices wrong. While that was a valid point, owned up to quickly by Johnny, it does accurately portray a dilemma faced by someone with only loose change left to feed themselves for several days. If the item on your shopping list, the cheapest cous cous for example, is not available, and the next price up is out of your reach, it throws your whole plan off, and you have to search for other cheap staples. Sudden increases in price can have just as devastating an effect.
Of course, if you are financially buffered against such things, you can pontificate about poor people’s lack of culinary skills until the organic grass-fed cows come home.

Yet More Evidence of the Dishonesty of IDS

Spotted on Twitter by Same Difference:


And yet Iain Duncan Smith persists in denying that there are targets. Is he a liat=r, is he delusional or is he, perhaps, both?



#CameronMustGo – Make Your Own Poster

The hashtag #CameronMustGo on Twitter continues apace, now into its eleventh day, at the time of typing this.

I’ve been posting some parodies of one of the Tory election posters from 2010, and making a few new ones, while I wait for next May’s offering.



You can get a template from, along with templates for a couple of others, but if you want to replace the picture of Cameron with another, or with a picture of someone else, you need to fill in at least some of the original photo with the background. It can take a bit of work to do this preparatory work, so I thought I’d post the one I made, and which I work from:


Now all you need to do is cut out the photo you want to add, resize it if necessary, paste it into the template, and add the text, using the Franklin Gothic Demi font (freely available to download, just Google it).


UPDATE: The new Tory poster, starting the campaign for May’s election, has been released.

Tory poster2015

I’ve had a couple of stabs at it:


…and if you’d like to do your own, I’ve made a template:

Poster1 2015b

#CameronMustGo & The Nonsense Of Right Wing Political Correctness


I have a very minor reservation about the definition of “political correctness”, but it doesn’t detract from this excellent article.

Originally posted on TheCritique Archives:

by Martin Odoni

Okay, I’ve realised just as I’m gathering my thoughts to write this that I am about to give air to a lot of eye-roll-inducing behaviours. I’m going to be guilty of name-dropping, of talking about experiences on social media as though they’re as big a deal as what happens in the real world, and congratulating myself on my own jokes – jokes that are painfully old at that. So in advance I ask you please to forgive me, and to trust me when I say that I do have a legitimate point to make.

So let me begin with the name-dropping bit. Bonnie Greer, that most American of British authors, yesterday started, perhaps inadvertently, a bit of a Twitter-storm with a mildly vexed Tweet aimed at right-wingers who insist on following her on the Internet. I doubt I need to give too much explanation of the…

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Why the BBC Should Report on #CameronMustGo

Tory Press

For four days, the hashtag #CameronMustGo has been trending on Twitter, yet it has been largely ignored by the mainstream media. The BBC has only just noticed,  though they are doing their best to downplay the hashtag’s importance.

Some people have asked why it should be reported – it’s only Twitter, after all, and not a “real” news story. The BBC have no obligation to report it.

Except that the BBC, along with other news media, have created that obligation. A photo of Ed Milliband eating a bacon sandwich is, apparently, news, but thousands of people venting their anger at an out of touch PM is not.

A badly worded tweet by Emily Thornberry is, apparently, news, but thousands of people venting their anger at an out of touch PM is not.

A handful of rich celebs whining about a proposed mansion tax is, apparently, BIG news, but thousands of people venting their anger at an out of touch PM is not.

…and so on.

The BBC, in particular, has a duty to be impartial. If they don’t want to report on criticism of the Conservative Party, then they should give their opponents the same consideration (and not just UKIP).

 See also:

The Twitter Antidote to Right Wing Press Attacks: A flood of tweets sends #CameronMustGo viral and rattles the agenda of the powers that be (

BBC finally reports on #CameronMustGo – and makes a mess of it (

#CameronMustGo and the media backlash (

Why #CameronMustGo marks a decisive change in UK Politics (

Speak against the government and be labelled a terrorist.

Originally posted on The poor side of life:

“Let’s not arrest bankers, let’s look over here…you are criminals on the Internet. If you speak against gov you are terrorists.” Says the BBC news.
Yes sadly that’s their opinion. They aren’t liking the hashtag #cameronmustgo on Twitter either. You can tell that they don’t like it because they aren’t reporting it. It’s been top trending for a couple of days now. The British public have no faith at all in cameron. And why should we?
Here’s a short list of the crimes he’s committed so far….
The selling off of the NHS.
The bedroom tax.
The council tax supplement.
Universal credit.
The blatant discrimination of all ill and disabled people.
Taking away the support for independent living. (Soon to come).
Selling the post office to the highest bidder.
The disgusting treatment of our firemen and women.
The criminalisation of being poor.
More child poverty than has ever…

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#justiceforched Need Not Include a Job in Football


Rapist Ched Evans has been released from prison after serving half of his five year sentence and, predictably, there are calls for him to be reinstated at Sheffield United as a player.

Some of those calls come from fans of Evans, who can’t bear the thought of their hero being guilty,

Others, like Judy Finnigan, are just thoughtless.

Finnigan suggested that Evans should be allowed to get his old job back because the rape “wasn’t violent”.

There is a difference between what Evans did and a rape committed by someone using a knife, for example, but both rapes are inherently violent. Rape is a violent act in itself. A longer sentence would be deserved for the knife-wielding rapist, because using a knife would be an extra criminal act. The rape itself is just as serious in both cases.

In fact, Evans’ victim has suffered a great deal, beyond the rape, at the hands of some of Evans’ fans. She has been forced to relocate, with a new identity, because of threats of further rape and violence, including death threats, three times, and there are constant attempts to reveal her new identities on social media.

While it cannot be proved, for now, that Evans is in any way responsible for these threats, he and his friends have done nothing to curb them. They could do so easily, via the website set up to overturn the Evans’ conviction, but they’d rather concentrate on using dubious “evidence” and innuendo.

So, now that Evans has been released from prison, why shouldn’t he be allowed to resume his career? Several commenters have asked if that would be better than him drawing unemployment benefits. That supposes that those are the only alternatives. There are other jobs, as other sex offenders have found out. Teachers, to take just one example, wouldn’t be welcomed back to school if they had to sign the sex offender register.

If he can’t find a job by himself though, maybe he should sign on. Perhaps the Job Centre  could find him a placement where he could work for his benefits. Unlike most of the people on workfare, a more punitive regime than Community Service, Evans is a convicted criminal.