As Children Starve, Rees-Mogg Finds Growth in Food Banks ‘Uplifting’

I’ve had to write this response to Rees-Mogg’s fatuous, complacent and quite frankly, evil comments about the massive increase in food banks, because it made me so furious. On Thursday, Mike over at Vox Political reported that the Camborne Pool and Redruth food bank reported that some children in Cornwall are literally starving. This food bank hands out 10,000 meals a month, but states that they know there are many more children that they aren’t reaching.

At the same time, Rees-Mogg, whom Mike describes as the darling of the Tory party, was on LBC radio saying that he found this ‘uplifting’. Mike responded by describing Rees-Mogg as an ignorant, homicidal fool.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/09/14/food-bank-says-children-are-starving-rees-mogg-finds-that-uplifting/

Yesterday, Mike also put up the news that a food bank in Bath has challenged Mogg to volunteer to work for them, so he can see for himself the hardship that the people coming to these banks are experiencing, and hear their stories. Mike commented that there was fat chance of that, as Mogg hasn’t done a day’s work in his life. But he would be improved by having to work in one, or, better still, having to go to one himself.

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/09/15/after-rees-mogg-said-food-banks-that-couldnt-help-the-starving-were-uplifting-hes-challenged-to-work-in-one/

The I yesterday printed Mogg’s comments in full. Basically, the aristo Tory MP for north-east Somerset said that the amount of generosity shown by people in the expansion of food banks was ‘uplifting’, and then went to claim that state aid could not solve the problem of poverty or provide for all the poor.

There’s nothing new in what he said. Bill Clinton made pretty much the same speech when he was president of the US. Clinton stated that there wasn’t a government programme that could solve every eventuality, and so praised private charity and initiatives in doing so. His speech, and admiration for private charity, was part of his ideological commitment to reducing still further whatever was left of the vestigial American welfare state that Reagan and the Republicans hadn’t already destroyed.

Thatcher, and it seems Young Master Mogg, believed that reducing state aid would result in more people giving to charity. And it’s true that studies in the US have shown that Conservative religious people give more to charity than secular liberals. But this misses an important point:

Private charity on its own is insufficient to tackle poverty. State aid is far better at doing so.

I also found a piece in Lobster’s ‘View from the Bridge’ a little while ago, that quoted a biography of Thatcher. Before she died, Thatcher herself supposedly realized that destroying the welfare state hadn’t made people more generous.

Which completely contradicts what Mogg has said above.

As for Mogg’s own attitude, this is the arrogant complacency of a wealthy aristocrat, who has little understanding of the lives of working people, and who fears them and the state will undermine the position of himself and his similarly entitled monied chums at the apex of British society. Young Master Mogg has voted consistently against increasing welfare benefits for them, and voted for increasing the tax burden on working people. But he’s been dead opposed to increasing the tax burden on people earning over £150,000 a year.

It’s the attitude the complacent British upper and middle classes, that looked with bland equanimity on the grinding poverty and squalor of industrial Britain and saw nothing wrong with it. It’s the same attitude that produced this appalling piece of poetry on the benefits of work to children.

‘Tis proper, Sophy, to be sure,
To pity and relieve the poor.
But do not waste your pity here,
Work is not hard to her, my dear,
It makes her healthy, strong and gay,
And is as pleasant as your play.

from Peter Vansittart, Voices 1870-1914, p. 76.

And it’s also contemporary in that we’ve had for the past decade or so Tories and Blairites telling us how wonderful work is for the mental wellbeing of the disabled, even when the empirical evidence says the exact opposite.

Mogg’s a complacent, ignorant pratt, who looks on the growth of child poverty due to the free trade policies of his poverty with complete indifference. Get him out. He has no place in politics, and his views will lead to more starvation and suffering.

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3 Responses to “As Children Starve, Rees-Mogg Finds Growth in Food Banks ‘Uplifting’”

  1. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. Michelle Says:

    Quite a poem, makes me think little has changed in the narrative of those who feel entitled to view others down the lense of an exploitive hierarchy! Thanks for the additional info Beastie. Ps as this is down your way had you heard of the Fishponds workhouse and the memorial by Bristol’s radical history society:

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for that, Michelle. I really hadn’t heard of it. I live over the other side of the city, but I’ve had friends who lived in the area. One of the modules for the MA History course at UWE was on the Bristol Corporation of the Poor. I didn’t take it, preferring to do the War of the Roses instead. But we had a seminar using some of the materials from the course. These were some of the reports drawn up by the system’s inspectors about poverty in Bristol at the time. And it was very grim, with people living close to starvation, dressed in rags.

      As for the poem, I honestly don’t think anything has changed. Perhaps it did for a time, when the social reformers of the 19th and early 20th centuries made the ruling classes aware of poverty and pricked at their consciences. And the necessity of everyone pulling together in the Second World War, and the development of the classless society of the 1960s did something to create a more equal society. But Thatcherism has meant that the rich can return to their old instincts and habits – idle complacency, blaming the poor for their poverty, and congratulating themselves on their place in society with the arrogant conviction that they are at the apex, not because of inherited wealth, but because somehow they are innately superior to the rest of us.

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