Wishing our readers a happy midwinter festival of their choice (or none at all, if that’s your preference).
But don’t forget, Jobseekers, you’re still supposed to be looking for jobs today. It may be a public holiday but if you’re unemployed you are set apart from nice, hard-working people and deserve to be punished.
But while you’re busy chasing those non-exitant vacancies, have a listen to David Sedaris‘s account of his job as an xmas elf in a New York department store… and know that, yes, things really could be worse.
To the dismay and anger of Labour councillors present at a Coventry Council debate on food banks, Cllr Julia Lepoidevin couldn’t wait to get stuck in and demonise local residents who turn to food banks to help feed their families.
The tory councillor for Coventry’s Woodlands ward suggested that people who visit food banks prefer to “choose alcohol, drugs and their own selfish needs” over providing food for their own children. The comment prompted swift calls for her to resign her position.
“But do colleagues in this chamber never have cases where families make a conscious decision not to pay their rent, their utilities or to provide food for their children because they choose alcohol, drugs and their own selfish needs?
“There are families that have enough income and make a choice. It might be a shame but it is true and those very families that I describe are the very families that will not engage with our services early and our services then have to pick up the problems through social care.
“This is why we need to know the impact lifestyle choices are having on our children. Until we know that we are never going to know the proper picture.”
Labour Councillors present at the food bank debate were so disgusted and angered by what they were hearing, Lord Mayor Hazel Noonan had to step in to restore order.
Responding to the comments made by Julia Lepoidevin, Labour Councillor Damian Gannon said:
“Councillor Lepoidevin’s comments were, quite frankly, reprehensible.
“Those in poverty aren’t feckless, they aren’t alcoholics or drug users, they aren’t looking for an easy life on benefits – they are hard-working people, low-income families who are looking to do the best they can for themselves and their families and that’s a fact!”
Labour’s Ed Ruane, cabinet member for children’s services, added:
“Councillor Lepoidevin’s commented that people who use food banks in Coventry do so because of lifestyle choices and because they are feckless.
“If she genuinely believes this appalling slur then she should produce the evidence or resign from the shadow cabinet.”
A furious operations director at a Coventry food bank said Councillor Lepoidevin’s comments risks stigmatising food bank users and could deter the city’s residents from donating to the food bank, which helps feed almost 18,000 local people a year.
Speaking to the Coventry Telegraph, operations director Gavin Kibble said:
“People come to us because they are referred to us by third-party agencies.
“One of those agencies is the agency for people recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol. But you can’t do the drink and drugs and just turn up. People are signposted to us through agencies.
“The food bank does not decide who it gives food to, it works on a voucher referral system from agencies.”
He added: “It sidelines people. We have people referred to us from domestic violence agencies, children’s services, debt issues.
“Are we going to stigmatise every part of society and question every decision they have made before deciding if we help them?
“We are going down a very dangerous road. Where do we stop?”
“It won’t stop people seeking support, but comments like that might stop people donating.
“When councillors make comments like this, for one reason or another, they muddy the water and that doesn’t help.”
Local Conservative Party leader John Blundell later backed his colleagues comments by referring to “some” bank users as being “feckless” sections of the community, who “do not engage” and “take advantage” of the service food banks provide.
He said: “I think she was talking from personal experiences. I think, undoubtedly, there’s a certain section of the community that is taking advantage of food banks just as there is a section which has genuine need. I would stand by that.”
“Her comments are a reflection of the frustration that families do not engage with us because they are feckless, they have issues connected with alcohol and we find it a very frustrating exercise.”
The Coventry Telegraph say that around 50 local people a day are using food banks and the total number (17,663) is up 40% in just 12 months.
Source – Welfare News Service, 27 June 2014
> Sadly, this scenario seems all too possible…
Posh Labour is leaving the door open for a UKIP victory – and Hartlepool could be about to prove it.
That’s the message of two academics who say the Labour party is foolishly ignoring the threat to its Northern heartland from the UK Independence Party.
With one eye on the 2015 General Election, and even the 2020 vote battle, the professors say Labour must learn that UKIP is not just a problem for the Conservative party.
Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin warn in their Revolt on the Right book that Labour leader Ed Miliband is about to get a big wake up call.
Prof Ford has told the Sunday Sun that voters in Hartlepool were probably still fed up with having Peter Mandelson made the Labour candidate in 1992, despite his lack of any local connections.
Prof Ford said the party was ready to start reaping the rewards of having local council candidates.
“The problem with Labour as regards UKIP is that is has a lot of people. Particularly in the contemporary Miliband Labour party, who are young, Southern based, university graduate, socially liberal, outward looking.
“The world of UKIP is a world they have basically no familiarity with, it might as well be Mars. They don’t realise how angry these voters are, how alienated they feel from Labour.
“Labour will say, ‘Look at these seats, we get 40%, 50%, there is no threat.’ But what they don’t see is the threat. There are now more ex Labour voters in some areas than there are current Labour voters.
“Those people who have sat out will not sit out forever, and they have lost the habit of voting Labour. You get a strong showing in 2015 for UKIP and in 2020 they will be selling themselves as the only party that can defeat Labour in the North and winning seats.
“UKIP will try to capitalise on the feeling that Labour takes the region for granted.
“South Shields is one of the safest Labour seats in the country and UKIP got 25% of the votes without really breaking a sweat. That’s not enough to get a seat, but it is enough to get second place and to make people think maybe I can have a voice now. It should be a wake up call but they have not taken this on board, Labour thinks it has it all figured out now.
“They see UKIP as an irritant rather than a real political threat.”
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said: “The professor from Manchester may sit in his ivory tower, but he obviously hasn’t visited Hartlepool. You don’t see UKIP in Hartlepool from one election to the next. I think it is important that candidates demonstrate how they are working for an area all year round, but you don’t see that with UKIP.
“That’s why they lost council seats in Hartlepool a couple of years ago. To think they will turn up six months or so before an election demonstrates they would take the electorate for granted and shows arrogance of the highest order.”
Jonathan Arnott, UKIP’s General Secretary and the Lead party candidate in the upcoming Euro elections, said the authors were right to highlight Hartlepool.
He said: “At the last European elections, UKIP took more votes in Hartlepool than any other party. We know that there is huge potential in Hartlepool, and this research merely confirms what we already know.
“Many Labour voters are attracted to UKIP’s policies such as ‘No Tax on Minimum Wage’ and our opposition to open-door immigration from Eastern Europe which has driven wages down for hard-working people. It’s not about the old left/right struggle, but about rewarding people who work hard.”
> And by definition punishing those deemed not to be working hard enough or otherwise undeserving ? Different arseholes, same old shit…
Source – Sunday Sun, 30 March 2014