Guest blogspot: Bring on Those Funny Money Woes! by Kate Atkinson


I’m not normally one to voice my political opinion – this being a matter very close to my heart, I tend to get angry and upset very easily when met with the same meaningless, patronising, verbatim Daily-Mail-headline retorts I’ve been hearing for years. However, it occasionally gets too heated and (usually after bursting into furious tears) I want to add my two pennies’ worth.

Edwina Currie

This morning, I was listening to the debate on Five Live about Iain Duncan-Smith’s recent claim that he could (and would) live on £54 per week. I listened as Edwina Currie declared this a reasonable amount with which to get by; I listened as Stephen Nolan ‘challenged’ her to put her money where her outspoken mouth is; I listened as they suggested going for it together. What a lot of people heard was a very hesitant deal being made, and then backtracked upon as Tories do so very well. People saying, ‘there’s no way she’ll do that, there’s no way – it’d be too hard…’ I heard, however, a highly condescending offer being made to the poor, dumb masses, by these two very generous and philanthropic rich people.

Here, you little insects! Guess what we’re going to do? We’re going to have a go at living your peculiar little impoverished lifestyles for seven whole days! I mean, we’ll probably still be living in our mansions with our central heating and our cleaners and our freezers full of food, not to mention that we’ll still be perfectly mentally healthy due to our previously untroubled lives… and it is, of course, quite beside the point that we personally would no doubt be able to live on just what we have now, and absolutely nothing extra for a number of years if we were to be so daring, but a week should be fun enough, don’t you think? What larks!

Besides this, though, there’s the fact that these two will return to their respective lifestyles feeling that they’ve had a ‘fun experience’, as Currie referred to it live on the radio, and that they’ve actually made a point or done some good. And still there will be people living on even less than that. People that have no choice, no get-out clause – and yet Currie still stands by her principle that we can only pay ‘what we can afford’ to poor people. Oh, really Edwina? So it’s okay to cut their resources even further – to tighten the noose and see just how much more it’s possible to bleed out of them? Two words: bankers’ bonuses. We can afford those, apparently. And there are the other discrepancies: Currie suggesting that her having to live on less than £54 per week in the 60s being comparable to living on the same now. Nolan not actually giving a damn about the state of living people have to put up with, as long as his show is listened to and his wage delivered at the end of each month. I could bring up everything, and would, if I didn’t know it would get shot down with whines of ‘but Edwina says’, and ‘let’s agree to disagree’.

Just wanted to have a small attempt at fighting against this supercilious effort to pour oil on troubled waters – we’re not falling for it and we will never be on your side.

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