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Saturday 17 November 2018

UN Slams UK Poverty - Press Sneers

There must be no doubt that the means for rescuing [the poor] … will require public effort and public funds. Poverty can be made to disappear. It won’t be accomplished simply by stepping up the growth rate any more than it will be accomplished by incantation or ritualistic washing of the feet” - J K Galbraith, Washington DC, 1963.
Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, has concluded a fact-finding visit to the UK by excoriating the Government and its lack of assistance to the poor. To its credit, the Guardian has put his conclusions on its front page today. No other paper has bothered to do so. After all, there is potentially another Curse Of Strictly to report.

As the BBC has reported, “Quoting figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, he said that more than 1.5 million people were destitute at some point in 2017, meaning they lived on less than £70 a week or went without essentials such as housing, food, clothing or heating … A fifth of the population, amounting to 14 million people, are living in poverty, Prof Alston said”. The Government’s tin-eared response was all too predictable.

The government rejected his analysis, pointing to rising household incomes”. Well, Mandy Rice Davies situation, eh? But this is supremely disingenuous: those rising household incomes include those at the top whose incomes have increased at an obscene pace.

Moreover, even the Beeb can’t resist reminding its audience that Alston is FOREIGN: “Levels of child poverty are ‘staggering’ and 1.5 million people were destitute at some point in 2017, the Australian said”. So when the Daily Mail got on the case, the result was all too predictable. First came the allegedly straight news article calling him “controversial”.
The inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker make sure their audience knows “Critics have blasted his tour and said the UN should to be studying poverty in third world countries rather than the UK, the world's fifth largest economy”. And “a Government spokesman said: 'We completely disagree with this analysis’”. No word about food bank usage.

Then comes the “opinionfrom failed pro-am ranter Leo McKinstry. “I would argue that Professor Alston and his team, although independent human rights experts, are marinated in progressive orthodoxies, and went into their investigation with their script about ‘Tory cuts’ already written.Dressing up their preconceived notions as new evidence, I believe they have simply regurgitated what they were told by Left-wing activists and lobbyists”.

The delusional McKinstry reminds his readers that the UN “totally ignored the other side of the story - that, for all its flaws, modern Britain is a remarkable success story, combining economic growth with dynamic enterprise and a strong civic infrastructure”. He needs to get out of London more often. Because he’s talking out of his backside.

And the Murdoch Sun, all too predictably, enlists the deeply unsavoury Philip Davies to rubbish the news. But poverty is real, and most of those suffering have no other voice than the interventions of left-leaning politicians and the likes of Philip Alston.

To quote Prof Galbraith once more, “A plea for public funds by the head of Lockheed, Chrysler or a deeply needful bank is instantly heard; the poor man doesn’t ask, for he knows no-one is listening”. Including our free and fearless press.
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chris s said...

Davies' partner is McVey - so hardly a disinterested observer.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a long-ago time there was a king of England (and Scotland, Wales and Ireland), Charles the First.

He was a devious and deceitful man who closed his mind to many warnings of widespread social unrest and changing circumstances. He thought his rule and will "divinely" inspired. Eventually he was overthrown in a tragic and bloody civil war. This led to a theocratic military junta and the birth of what we now call capitalism. Later, his son was reinstated as king, albeit under "tighter" constitutional control. Capitalism continued without any such control and led directly to the most genocidal, blood-soaked and rapacious empire in human history. Over three centuries later, the effects of this linger still.

Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor is age 70 and likely to become Charles the Second. It looks bleak, Britain......If history is anything to go by.

Pete said...

The gutter Mail seem furious that Alston wouldn't reveal which hotel he stayed in as though it makes a difference. Talk about trying to kill the messenger. As for claiming he's "left" wing it just shows how ignorant his critics are. Phillip Alston and his former MP brother Richard Alston are well known conservatives.

Rich M said...

“It means we have no vote, no voice, no veto. No MEPs, no commissioner and no say when we leave”. I've not often heard a passionate leaver recognize that EU membership gives us a vote, voice, and a veto. If she thought a little about what's coming out of her mouth she might find she's actually a remainer?

Anonymous said...

If half of Africa is fighting to get out of France and come to the UK how poverty stricken must the French be?

Andy McDonald said...

Anonymous of 14.57, hate to break it to you but we've already had King Charles II. He died in 1685. Sorry for the spoilers.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Anon at 14:57 - but he'll be George VII, as stated by himself.

Anonymous said...

"he UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, it contains many areas of immense wealth, its capital is a leading centre of global finance, its entrepreneurs are innovative and agile, and despite the current political turmoil, it has a system of government that rightly remains the envy of much of the world."

The first sentence of the Alston report, as seen at https://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?LangID=E&NewsID=23881

Why are the Wail employing a man who is either (a) functionally illiterate (b) too idle to read the report, or (c) quite possibly both?

Anonymous said...

Charles, Schmarles. George, Schmeorge.

What's it matter when the country's on its way down the shitter?

Anonymous said...

Rich M at 16:40 - Not disagreeing with you but I think you meant to reply to the Nadine Dorries article.

nparker said...

Well, it matters because of historical accuracy, and the fact the comment was kind of rendered a bit silly by the mistake.

rich m said...

All the right words but not necessarily in the right place.

rich m said...

All the right words but not necessarily in the right place.