Monday, 21 April 2014

An Easter story with a happy ending

Once upon a time there was a publication called the Mail on Sunday.  It pretended to be a newspaper.  Its editor hated poor people, and published lots of stories about how they were all too lazy to work and got lots of money for doing nothing.  The people who worked at the paper particularly hated food banks because they showed that some people were so poor that they had no food.  And the Trussell Trust which ran food banks angered the paper's best friend, a man called Iain Duncan Smith who was Secretary of State; he didn't like anyone who said he was wrong.
So the Mail had an idea.  It sent two people called "reporters" to food banks in Nottingham and London to make up lots of stories.  One reporter, called Ross Slater, went to the CAB in Nottingham and told lots of lies to get a voucher.  He took that to the Trussell Trust food bank and was asked some more questions, so he told more lies.  He was given about £40 worth of groceries.  When the reporters took their story back to the Mail, the sub-editors added some more lies, such as "no questions asked", and "vouchers for sob stories" and this was published in the paper.
But the Mail had not realised that this particular Sunday was special.  It was Easter Sunday.  And they had not realised that many people in this country would get angry at the lies.  On Twitter lots of real journalists started making up headlines for the Mail of 2,000 years ago, like "Outrage as carpenter feeds 5,000 people with no questions asked".  The Mail reporters didn't understand this, but they knew that people were angry.  So Ross Slater tweeted, "All food returned to saint Philip church Notts at 0930 plus small donation".  (Despite calling himself a journalist he did not understand punctuation.)  This did not help, because many people answered him with insults.
Some people had a good idea.  They tweeted that if people were angry about the Mail's lies they should give money to the Trussell Trust, and they gave the Trust's JustGiving page.  This brought in lots of donations, more than the Trust had ever had in one day, and they were very pleased.
But no one lived happily ever after, because the Mail went on making up stories.


  1. The fact that the right-wing press have now started to attack charities and their motives and that they have to resort to lies to create stories suggests that they are more than a little uncomfortable with the facts and the truth.

    Sure, if you tell a pack of lies you can get free food but what evidence does the Mail have that OTHER people are doing this?

    The truth is increasing numbers of people are using food banks because of an increase in sanctions. This is confirmed by the charities themselves.

    I know who I believe.

  2. The Guardian has picked up on the twitter backlash against the MoS

  3. Smith and the DWP attempts to slash the benefits bill is to make life tougher for those claiming JSA by levying punitive sanctions left right and centre.

    As a result, jobseekers face increased hardship and turn to food banks AFTER being referred to them by JCP, GP's, health workers and CAB.

    The rise in food banks embarrasses even this shameless government. So the rubbishing and misinformation begins.

    Food banks are blamed for existing in the first place. The government accuses groups like the Trussell Trust, the biggest provider of food banks in Britain of a 'build it and they will come' policy. Apparently the more food banks exist, the more people will use them. Thus food banks are being compared to supermarkets and shopping malls. Completely ignoring the fact that people have to be referred in the first instance.

    And then the Trussell Trust becomes tarnished via government smears. The government hates the fact that they (Trussell Trust) are telling the media that many of their clients are facing hardship due to Smith's 'benefit reforms'. So the DWP bizarrly accuses them of engaging in “fairly misleading and emotionally manipulative publicity seeking” and “effectively running a business”.

    Now we have the governments favourite rabid, flea ridden running dog, the Mail being lest loose on those who are unfortunate enough to need food banks. Apparently they are not deserving enough. According to the Mail some food bank users may be committing fraud and telling lies simply because a Mail 'journalist' did so in order to get a cheap scoop - “Vouchers for Sob Stories”.

    In a nutshell, be sanctioned on an ad hoc basis at the whim of a JCP or WP adviser. Rely non a food bank to stave of hunger. Have the food bank system you now rely on tarnished by its very existence. And of course be smeared as a faker by the Mail because you have the nerve to need a food bank in the first place.

  4. I have a meeting tomorrow with the JCP+ Adviser,regarding my Job Search Activity,I am required to apply for 14 positions a week,either using UJM other online job sites or by cold calling on employers. I have pulled all my records for the past 2 years and it is apparent that their is a problem! I use to apply for 3-4 positions a week,I researched the Companies and rewrote my CV accordingly,this resulted in 2-3 Interviews a Month. Fast Forward..I have not even had a response in the last 9 Months,I have submitted 472 applications in total on the UJM and received 1 reply (PPI) commission only.

    The "Problem" that we are going to discuss tomorrow is why I have not been more specific in the Claimant Book about my activities,I offered my own note book that contains all the details last time,this was not acceptable,providing 14 applications sent through UJM every Week was not acceptable,not calling Employers due to no credit on phone,not acceptable. I asked what was acceptable? I have started a log that documents everything I do from 0545 until 2300 daily,even down to what I spend my JSA on,every receipt is "Time Stamped" and attached to the log,,,Last time it was stated that they only have 8 Minutes to see me and did not have enough time to look at my old log,so I doubt that they will have time to examine this one,but it seems to be a conflicting statement,be more specific,no that's to much

    1. Cromwelk- Are you logging your job search details on UJM - the Job Centre seem to like this. I apply for about ten jobs a week - they are happy with this.

      They also like it if you have a basic Maths and English qualification (I have recently taken the EDEXCEL L2) and a basic ICT qualification.

      I also attend a job club one morning a week and volunteer one morning a week at a local charity shop.

      I have also taken several 'back to work/finding a job' courses.

      Has this found me work - not yet.

      Let me stress - I don't like giving my labour for free, I am bored senseless doing the same course over and over again but with a different provider and 'workbook', I think UJM is a con and I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall.

      But doing the above HAS keep the dole off my back. I have not been sanctioned by either them or A4e in over three years.

      Also, because I am doing everything they say and STILL can't find work means that when they challenge me as to why I have not found work I can point out that I have a positive attitude and it is not for the lack of trying.

      The reason I am unemployed is because of an eight year 'gap' in my cv. The dole cannot sanction me for this. They can only sanction me of they think I am not making an effort to find work NOW.

      My advisor couldn't care less whether I find work or not, she just requires me to do certain things and attend certain courses to keep her boss happy. If I do this, she is happy.

      In other words, I am 'playing the game'. It is annoying and I feel your pain but you have to play along.

    2. Similar situation,the problem being that the requirements or should I say how I present them,changes every 2 Weeks. I believe that the best Defence is a good Offence,I have tried to apply for any course that the DWP/JCP says are available,the problem being nothing is available or as I have done in the past I have put in a written request for training,jumped through hoops for Months only to be told no,but when I again ask again about what training is available,I am told to put in a request once again.

  5. CAB have a graph of the increasing number people needing help because of being sanctioned. With the minimum sanction now 4 weeks I'm not surprised at increasing numbers needing a foodbank.

    August 2013 will be the time when people started getting their PWPS interviews with the 'hit squads'.

  6. So now we're told that one of the positive aspects of the economic recovery is the number of people becoming self employed. The governments benefit cuts are cited as a prime reason. The government agrees saying "the benefits cap is making people more entrepreneurial".

    Of course, what the government fails to do is separate those who are truly entrepreneurially self employed and those who're working for a company and yet
    taken on in a 'self employment' capacity (just so the employee is now responsible for their own tax and NI rather than the company).

    And there are those who the WP has encouraged to go self employed and sign off JSA whether they have a viable business idea or not. The WP provider thus claims a job outcome and extra cash from the taxpayer.


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