Currie v Jones: Do people go hungry in Britain?

Alex Hern reports on Edwina Curries shocking comments on poverty in Britain

“You look pretty hungry to me, Mr Major. Fancy a Currie?”

Disgraced former Conservative minister Edwina Currie continues to insist that no one in the UK  is ever starving, even after spending three hours last night in a food bank in Birmingham being told just that.

The event was held in response to comments made by Currie on Radio 5 last month.

At the time, Currie said:

“Are you telling me people in this country are going hungry? Seriously? Seriously? Do you know, I really have great difficulty believing that.”

I don’t think people in this country go hungry. But are these people at the same time maybe buying the odd lottery ticket? Do they just occasionally have the odd cigarette? Somewhere along the line does food come as the first priority?”

The public-and-panel event arranged this night was largely three hours of Currie, famous for destroying the British egg market, sleeping with John Major, and saying that “good Christians” wouldn’t get aids, arguing with people in poverty about whether they were in poverty. You can listen to the whole debate here.

One highlight, however, was blogger and author Owen Jones, who took Currie to task throughout the night; Jones’s opening comments are embedded below, and are well worth listening to:

Owen Jones (mp3)

The case of Mark and Helen Mullins is indeed a tragedy; they recorded a video earlier this year, explaining the troubles they were having, and it makes for difficult viewing:

Edwina Currie claims she knows about the Mullins. If she does, and insists in perpetuating her lies, she is more than just humorously out of touch; she is actively contributing to a repetition of their tragedy.

See also:

We need a new approach to tackling fuel povertyMatthew Lockwood, November 9th 2011

The coalition is actively increasing child povertyFelicity Dennistoun, October 11th 2011

ESA cuts will exacerbate poverty and remove help for disabledNeil Coyle, March 8th 2011

All in the family? Putting intergenerational poverty into perspectiveDeclan Gaffney, April 8th 2011

Warnings of generation lost to povertyEd Jacobs, February 23rd 2011

  • Newsbot9

    Of course, because people carry stickers which indicate their status. Alternatively, you’re a Little Englander who is labelling anyone who looks differently from you as inferior. Hm!

    There. Are. No. Jobs. What part of that don’t you understand? And scrap the benefits system…great. Five million or so corpses will quickly turn Britain into a sewer of disease, while gangs looking for food fight it out with police. A wonderful world you want!

    “£186 to live on after rent and bills? ”

    £65 from which bills need to be paid, and with the way HB works, you’re usually paying a proportion of your rent from it as well. You live in an unreal world, of course.

  • Newsbot9

    “Now, I’m not saying there are some who really are struggling to put food on the table”

    Yes, you are. You’re extrapolating from a family found to be an hate piece on the poor.

    And sure, why should people eat? Let em stave! It’s not like they’re HUMAN, after all!

    I see, you’re a social darwinist.

  • Newsbot9

    I see, so, despite the fact I’m working and struggle to eat, paying £3/month for my share of the broadband, which I REQUIRE to work is a luxury. I see. And the PAYG mobile I REQUIRE for my work to receive calls? A luxury.

    (My PC? A Celeron laptop from 2004)

    Pets? Nope. Car? Nope. And I’m quite typical – poverty is COMMON.

    Beans? Moderately *expensive*. Bread? Expensive, AND it goes off. You have no concept of what it’s like to be poor, you’re a fine example of the nasty party.

  • Newsbot9

    5% flat rate? Nope, no money to enforce anti-fraud laws. Companies would run riot. It’s Somalia writ large.

    And of course you’re all for this, Ancap, as well as physical violence towards the left. Typical of your kind.

  • Newsbot9

    You don’t have a clue, and it shows. Many, many people go hungry, like me (and I work). Food banks are overwhelmed by genuinely needy people.

    You’re lapping up a hate piece based on a single TV show and attacking the poor. The degree of hatred you have is genuinely frightening, simply because you’re too arrogant to ask for the help which is avaliable.

  • Newsbot9

    We don’t, YET, Iansayer.

    You’re extrapolating from a hate piece to smear everyone poor. And no, nobody is buying old, small TV’s. Not even for scrap, they cost to dispose of. We have a 20″ CRT sitting in the kitchen, on top of a dead fridge. We can’t afford to dispose of either, and they’re about as useful as each other since we don’t have a TV licence (too expensive).

  • Newsbot9

    Of course, it’s impossible that people are skipping meals and barely skirting starvation based on the deals they can find at the supermarket this week to be hungry!

    Denial, as usual, from the social darwinists.

  • DF

    So you took the time to respond to all comments supporting Currie, insulting most of the commentators, whilst I see some far right ridiculous ideas mentioned, your replies have not been constructive more hysterical. Conditionality for benefits is a must and raising them can only come with conditionality. As I said in my comment I agree for the need to have a welfare system that is fair, by fair I mean the money goes to those who need it not those who are abusing the system. I know because I have experienced the system but it took me to get to rock bottom financially before I was actually helped. Then it took years of working and sacrifices to recover financially, I was and am lucky I know that, but it was my hard work and determination that took me from this situation. That is my point; people need opportunity, incentive and sometimes help to get there. When I was on benefit and my wife found a job all benefit was cut and I was offered £1 per week, as I said we would have been better off staying on benefit, but pride and ambition ensured as a family we strove to succeed on our own. The benefit system in this country is an example to the world, but, it needs tighter controls as to who receives it and then the people who do receive it need more than money they need support, help in managing their situation and eventually if they are lucky enough to find work a gradual discontinuance of benefit ensuring they do not suffer financially. My biggest problem when I went through hard times was lack of help and understanding from family and people I knew, I say “people I knew” because it is at this time in anyone’s life they find out who their genuine friends are. So please no more insults

  • Iain stevenson

    Edwina Currie is a waste of oxygen.Full stop

  • Iain

    what’s it like to have a heart made of stone?

  • Iain_sco_2002


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  • Sandraeves

    im absolutely discusted with her and her idiotic attiude!…she says in one breathe “good christians dont get aids”…good christians dont SLEEP with other peoples husbands either!…as for people starving she needs a good kick in the proveribial!!! and put out to pasture with no refuge or food…maybe the reality chack then would give her the compassion she lacks…or a dictionary in order to find the definition or the word COMPASSION …….

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  • LJ

    I have worked hard in this country too, raising my three children, yet being totally let down by the system when caring for my father with terminal cancer. I have just lost my own husband who worked all of his life some days leaving home at 4 am and arriving hme at 1 am , then getting up again at 4am. We were left in a terrible siation of living on appproximately 55 pounds per week, my tall strong husband became weaker as we tried to pay for bills. But there comes a point if one is ill where your body simply cannot cope, unless you have even been in that position you could not comment. As for the treatment of carers who save a fortune to our government we are totally forgotten.

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  • Marf

    £1 billion is lost every year through welfare fraud; £70 billion is lost every year through tax evasion. Who are the bloodsuckers again?

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