Food poverty: you think it doesn’t happen to normal people. The Guardian, 6 June.

There are such conflicting opinions over benefits, unemployment, etc. Claimants are portrayed as either vulnerable, saintly people (e.g. The Guardian), or workshy scroungers (e.g. The Telegraph). When was life ever this simple?!

Jack Monroe has been through an awful lot and reading her story certainly dispels the notion that all unemployed benefits claimants are workshy or lazy or want something for nothing.

On the other hand, there comes a time when we have to deal with the people who do milk the system and who live with a something-for-nothing attitude their whole life. Frankly, this applies across the social spectrum, because I can think of plenty of wealthy people who have an ‘entitlement attitude’. Some of them sit in the House of Commons. Some of them run multi-national companies.

It comes down to this: people need to be valued as human beings and treated with dignity, but equally, there must be a collective sense of responsibility (this applies across the economic spectrum). With rights come responsibilities. Of this, Jack Monroe is a shining example.



Society, The Guardian, Thursday 6 June 2013.

Food poverty: ‘You think it doesn’t happen to normal people’
Jack Monroe’s A Girl Called Jack blog vividly charts her life on the breadline, from visits to the pawn shop to living on a £10 a week food budget. Policy makers should take note. By Patrick Butler.

The undoubted star turn at the food poverty meeting at the House of Commons this week was Jack Monroe, a 25 year old single Mum, prodigious blogger, austerity cook extraordinaire, and breadline veteran.

Jack had a good job, until she had to give it up for childcare reasons. She spent the next 16 months unemployed and on benefits, living hand to mouth, and dependent, in the end, on charity.

Her descriptions of her demoralising, mundane existence during that time were vivid and arresting: the one weetabix for her son’s breakfast, mashed with cold water; the trips…

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