Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Thursday 2 April 2020

Laura Kuenssberg’s Astonishing Giveaway

While most of our free and fearless press homes in this morning on failure of the Government to get NHS staff tested for the Coronavirus, it is left to the FT to point up a looming problem for rather a lot of ordinary people: “Jobless claims rocket by 1m as virus delivers shock to economy”. All those self-employed workers who will get no help until June at the earliest. And no doubt many more.
Laura Kuenssberg ((c) Guardian)
This news awoke many in the Westminster bubble from their slumbers, not least Christopher “No” Hope from the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph. “Department for Work and Pensions says it registered 950,000 new claims for Universal Credit between March 16 and March 31. The normal run-rate is 100,000. One source says the figure is ‘astonishing’”. Why “astonishing”? How are they expected to pay for food?
Just over an hour later (does her output have to be vetted by management first, perhaps?) came the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg: “This is absolutely astonishing - Around 950,000 people have applied for Universal Credit since govt introduced 'stay at home', policy on 16th March - it would normally be about 100,000 over a fortnight”.
Activist Shola Mos-Shogbaminu, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, was not astonished. “No it's NOT 'astonishing' that 950,000 people have applied for [Universal Credit]. Millions aren't covered by Govt economic package incl self-employed, redundancies, newly unemployed & those who can no longer have multiple jobs to make ends meet”. Quite.
Community activist Pat Byrne, from Glasgow’s West End, where they know a thing or two about poverty, was on the same page. “Why is it astonishing? There's a pandemic. The only places opened are supermarkets and hospitals - the masses of newly unemployed and self-employed who can't work and have to wait till June for help - all have to find a way of surviving, ie Universal Credit”. It’s about surviving. Which is not astonishing.
Another voice added “why is it astonishing? - The Government has asked people who are self employed and [on] zero hour contracts to apply for Universal Credit as they have left them behind. Wake up Kuenssberg”. Another of those “£80k a year” moments for the media class. That was when they realised they were in the top 5% of earners. This time is when they realise just how difficult life is for millions at the bottom of the pile.
And then there was a reminder of Universal Credit’s shortcomings: “It's not astonishing. Everyone knew it was going to be this high. Which is why I'm so worried. With low supermarket stocks there's been nothing going to foodbanks. But Universal Credit is too low to live on, people only survive thanks to foodbanks. So 1M + families will starve”.
Even other journalists were calling out Ms Kuenssberg, and freelance Bruce Whitehead was one of them. "It is not astonishing that Kuenssberg is astonished that self-employed people are resorting to Universal Credit to survive. She’s on a different planet - probably Chiswick”. Cruel. Cruel but fair. It’s what life is really like for millions of citizens.

An awful lot of media folk live in pampered isolation; Laura Kuenssberg just let slip that she is one of them. How did she think the economy worked? Welcome to the real world.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at


[The Legalballs Fund has now closed]


Anonymous said...

Not sure if this is nationwide but an email came through to me saying food vouchers for low-income families will not be available until term 5.

Anonymous said...

Kuenssberg doesn't live in "pampered isolation".

She's a far right tory liar and propaganda clerk. Bought-and-paid-for. Knows full well what she's doing and why.

Has anybody yet discovered what she actually DID during her year at Georgetown Uni and who she fellow-travelled with?.....Asking for a Friend.

Andy Foster said...

This is not the first example of Kuenssberg's blank-faced complacency at what's actually happening. Last night on the ten o'clock news her response to the big jump in coronavirus deaths was “The peak seems to be coming sooner than the government anticipated”. What planet does she live on?

Jonathan said...

Why is anyone surprised at Ms Kussenberg's 'reporting?

Basically she is Propaganda chief for Dom Cummings, spouts anything she is told.

One infamous tale about about Ms Kussenberg from Popbitch is whenever she returns to her old Alma Mata the illustrious Georgetown University in Washington DC to lecture about journalism, muted mirthing is heard all around when Laura opens her North and South.

Laura isn't taken seriously by our American friends, so why do our media?

Anonymous said...

Tells lies out of the side of her crooked gob and we have to pay for it.