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A Cynical Change To Food Bank Vouchers

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To those who grumble about Guardianistas and that kind of thing, please overlook the website and newspaper this is from, and think about why the changes have been made instead, in the context of the statement that benefits changes aren't meaning more people have to visit food banks*.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/patrick-butler-cuts-blog/2013/sep/06/welfare-cuts-trussell-trust-...

*You don't need a degree in economics to see how sanctions targets in combination with cuts to welfare could lead to more people going to food banks so they can eat
 Phil1919 23 Jun 2015
In reply to Timmd:

Thanks for that, interesting.
 DancingOnRock 23 Jun 2015
In reply to Timmd:

I'm always cynical of the way figures are presented anyway. 150,000 people sounds a lot of people. It's actually the number of parcels given out.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/patrick-butler-cuts-blog/2015/may/04/those-food-bank-data-complic...

Whether this is because more people need them or it's easier to use is not 100% clear.
 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> I'm always cynical of the way figures are presented anyway. 150,000 people sounds a lot of people. It's actually the number of parcels given out.
> Whether this is because more people need them or it's easier to use is not 100% clear.

it could simply be 1 very very hungry person!!

If food banks weren't there, at all, would people simply economise in different ways? Is having a car, phone, tablet, holidays, satellite tv, smoking... now a basic human right?

Perhaps a long term view, should be to encourage people to save for rainy days, have insurance and the like. It will probably take a few generations to remove the 90/00s mentality of you can have it all, just spend spend spend... but it would be so much better, if people lived their lives with a little spare capacity.

1
 wintertree 23 Jun 2015
In reply to Timmd:

Or a cynical interpretation of a change designed to safeguard personal privacy by recording and sharing the minimum data about a person that is required.

1
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Whether this is because more people need them or it's easier to use is not 100% clear.

Sanctions, legally administered or otherwise, seem to be the game changer here.
 DancingOnRock 23 Jun 2015
In reply to The New NickB:

> Sanctions, legally administered or otherwise, seem to be the game changer here.

Seem? How do you mean?

Presumably you need to qualify for a voucher. We're talking about vouchers here as opposed to just turning up at a food bank and obtaining food.

I don't know how the process works.

Seems odd that we give vouchers for food banks. Why not just for supermarkets?
In reply to summo:

> If food banks weren't there, at all, would people simply economise in different ways? Is having a car, phone, tablet, holidays, satellite tv, smoking... now a basic human right?

The people I see at food banks don't have any of those, many will also be technically homeless.
1
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> Presumably you need to qualify for a voucher. We're talking about vouchers here as opposed to just turning up at a food bank and obtaining food.

They qualify through being destitute, having all your benefits stopped can cause this.

> Seems odd that we give vouchers for food banks. Why not just for supermarkets?

Food Banks are charities providing food from donations and bits of grants they can pull together, supermarkets are not.
Post edited at 11:07
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 girlymonkey 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:

> If food banks weren't there, at all, would people simply economise in different ways? Is having a car, phone, tablet, holidays, satellite tv, smoking... now a basic human right?

I am only aware of personally knowing 1 person who uses food banks, but he genuinely has none of the things you mention other than a very basic phone which he can only receive calls on as he can't afford to put credit on it. He doesn't have a landline and has epilepsy, so has to be able to contact doctors and they have to be able to contact him. He was delighted recently that he has been able to save up to buy a 2 ring electric hob which means he can now cook food that he gets from the food bank.
I can't speak for the general populace using them, but please don't tar everyone with the same brush!
1
 DancingOnRock 23 Jun 2015
In reply to The New NickB:
We're talking about emergency vouchers from a government agency, because their benefits aren't forthcoming or have been delayed not about generally destitute people.

I understand the charity bit but not why the government are using a charity to 'fill a gap'.
Post edited at 11:16
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 Oldsign 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:

>
> Perhaps a long term view, should be to encourage people to save for rainy days, have insurance and the like...

Call me crazy but we could have an insurance scheme set up on a national level whereby people pay a contribution from their wages which then pays out in the case of illness or unemployment. Too radical?
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> We're talking about emergency vouchers from a government agency, because their benefits aren't forthcoming or have been delayed not about generally destitute people.

How do you define destitute?

> I understand the charity bit but not why the government are using a charity to 'fill a gap'.

It isn't the government filling the gap, the government say they arn't needed, people on the ground disagree. Take a look at society, charity is used to plug many gaps, Big Society and all that.

I tend towards the view that is an inefficient and ineffective way of dealing with big issues, but others will disagree.
1
J1234 23 Jun 2015
In reply to Timmd:

I sometimes wonder what would happen if all the people papping way on UKC and forums like it (including me) went and actually went and gave a day or evening a month to actually doing something, rather than expecting a somewhat amorphous (is that a word?) "someone" else to do it, would things be better.
 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to Oldsign:

> Call me crazy but we could have an insurance scheme set up on a national level whereby people pay a contribution from their wages which then pays out in the case of illness or unemployment. Too radical?

I agree, but most insurance schemes, make a one off payment or a time limited, the UK system pays out for life, with little incentive to stop claiming and return to employment, many countries that have a similar employment insurance, the money directly used for the insurance and it's time limited, after 12mths of claiming your benefit diminishes rapidly. The scheme is a stop gap.
 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I can't speak for the general populace using them, but please don't tar everyone with the same brush!

I would agree, those in genuine need (next to impossible to vet), should be given some form of voucher, so they can shop anywhere for food and the supermarket simply claims the money back.
1
In reply to summo:

> I would agree, those in genuine need (next to impossible to vet), should be given some form of voucher, so they can shop anywhere for food and the supermarket simply claims the money back.

Who from?
1
 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to The New NickB:

> Who from?

as in who funds it, the state. Will probably be cheaper in the long run, charity staff aren't exactly models of efficiency and many are very well paid too, so just because public donations go through charities to the 'needy' doesn't means it's the best route.

I would have no problem paying more tax, if I thought it went to people in genuine need, the problem is finding genuine and not fake.
 DancingOnRock 23 Jun 2015
In reply to The New NickB:

The government understand they're needed. These are referrals from the DWP following a change in April.

They're 'filling the gap' providing short term relief for people who are waiting for benefits.

This is only relating to 2% of the people using Food Banks.

How do the other 98% get access to them?
 ByEek 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:

> If food banks weren't there, at all, would people simply economise in different ways? Is having a car, phone, tablet, holidays, satellite tv, smoking... now a basic human right?

Are you serious suggesting that people who use food banks go on holiday? Or can afford to own a car. And why is TV always held up as one of life's great luxuries. It isn't expensive to own a TV. And a phone. If you haven't got a phone, how do you conduct telephone interviews? Have you not noticed that phone boxes are kind of extinct these days?

If you think living in poverty is something you can just shake off, I suggest you try it.
 DancingOnRock 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:
I think anyone on benefit should be given discount vouchers for supermarkets. Maybe tied straight into their Tesco Club Card (other supermarkets are available) to avoid embarrassment or fraud.

It shouldn't be too difficult to implement.

.
Post edited at 11:35
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> How do the other 98% get access to them?

Other agencies, usually local government around here.

1
 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to ByEek:

> It isn't expensive to own a TV.

I said satellite tv.

If you are correct the stats these charities and papers like the guardian spew out, disprove their cause. If there we X number of hundreds of thousand of food bank users etc. .does that mean there are really that many families or households who don't have or own any of the things I listed, I seriously doubt it.

You can drive through the poorest areas of the North East, the welsh valleys, Glasgow... you will still see cars, satellite dishes on nearly every house, people on mobile phones, smokers....

Poverty for many in the UK is a very relative thing.
1
 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> I think anyone on benefit should be given discount vouchers for supermarkets. Maybe tied straight into their Tesco Club Card (other supermarkets are available) to avoid embarrassment or fraud.
> It shouldn't be too difficult to implement.

I agree a kind of top up card, you can even program it so the card won't buy certain items, but then people will think I'm being too harsh again.

1
In reply to summo:

> as in who funds it, the state. Will probably be cheaper in the long run, charity staff aren't exactly models of efficiency and many are very well paid too, so just because public donations go through charities to the 'needy' doesn't means it's the best route.

I agree to an extent, I don't think anyone is getting rich out of food banks, most of the banks are entirely volunteer run and most of the donations are actual food.

> I would have no problem paying more tax, if I thought it went to people in genuine need, the problem is finding genuine and not fake.

Again I agree, although I am dubious of you definition of genuine need. I'd rather resolve the cause of the issue, but that's not easy.
 DancingOnRock 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:

Read the link I posted. 1.1M users is actually the number of parcels given out.

It's a disputed statistic as it's a good one to present a distorted picture but a good one to measure absolute increases.
 Postmanpat 23 Jun 2015
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> I think anyone on benefit should be given discount vouchers for supermarkets. Maybe tied straight into their Tesco Club Card (other supermarkets are available) to avoid embarrassment or fraud.

> It shouldn't be too difficult to implement.
>
Lol. You must be kidding?! Can you not imagine the myriad ways to play this system?
Post edited at 11:42
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 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to The New NickB:

> Again I agree, although I am dubious of you definition of genuine need. I'd rather resolve the cause of the issue, but that's not easy.

physically or mentally unable to work
A credit report from an independent company proving they aren't sitting on money

it wouldn't be that hard to prove, but people will claim it's against some right or other to demand such information.

I agree, solve the cause, but that requires a change in society as whole, next to impossible in the short or medium term.
1
 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to DancingOnRock:


> but a good one to measure absolute increases.

but, are there simply more users, because there are more banks?

There are better measures of poverty other than people taking something which is offered for free, by different groups, with different criteria.
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 DancingOnRock 23 Jun 2015
In reply to Postmanpat:

None at all.

You can just as easily play the food bank system.

You allow people on benefits to buy staples at cost with the government picking up the difference.
 DancingOnRock 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:

> but, are there simply more users, because there are more banks?

> There are better measures of poverty other than people taking something which is offered for free, by different groups, with different criteria.

As I posted earlier.
 ByEek 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:

> You can drive through the poorest areas of the North East, the welsh valleys, Glasgow... you will still see cars, satellite dishes on nearly every house, people on mobile phones, smokers....

Right. So what you are saying is that if you end up having to use a food bank, you are undeserving? Has it not occurred to you that there may be a myriad of reasons someone ends up in a food bank? Perhaps the cars, TVs and phones were earned through hard work. Then times become hard, a job is lost and suddenly you have no income and no food, but you still have a phone a TV and a car outside.

I find the vilification of those at the bottom of our society disgusting frankly. It is like kicking a man when he is down.
2
 Postmanpat 23 Jun 2015
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> None at all.
> You can just as easily play the food bank system.
>
You think?


 Oldsign 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:

> ... charity staff aren't exactly models of efficiency and many are very well paid too...



As somebody who has direct experience of work in the charity sector I would have to disagree. Most of the people I worked with came from a wide range of backgrounds, from education to social work, to business and finance. Many had taken big pay cuts to go from the private/public sectors to the charity sector. Due to decreased funding, many charities often are models of efficiency. Many of the development officers I know now act as volunteer managers on top of their previous job descriptions, volunteers now largely replacing paid staff.

It's easy to generalise from a position of ignorance. Not a great position to form a world view from though.
1
Jim C 23 Jun 2015
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to summo)
>
> [...]
>
> The people I see at food banks don't have any of those, many will also be technically homeless.

Alas, on a programme on benefits recently, there were people claiming food that were smoking whilst telling us they are hard up. I'm not sure how balanced a picture that was.

I also know parents that tell their kids that they have to do without treats ,that they can't join clubs etc. because thet are too poor, but both are heavy smokers.

The kids suffer first with these addicts.
(as that is what they are when they make decisions like that)
 elsewhere 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:
> A credit report from an independent company proving they aren't sitting on money

LOL

I could have cash under the mattress, money held by somebody I trust or a bank account I don't declare.
How would this "independent company" fix or change anything?
How would this "independent company" eliminate dishonesty?
Post edited at 12:36
 DancingOnRock 23 Jun 2015
In reply to Jim C:

> Alas, on a programme on benefits recently, there were people claiming food that were smoking whilst telling us they are hard up. I'm not sure how balanced a picture that was.

> I also know parents that tell their kids that they have to do without treats ,that they can't join clubs etc. because thet are too poor, but both are heavy smokers.

> The kids suffer first with these addicts.

> (as that is what they are when they make decisions like that)

Reality TV is there purely to sensationalise and get ratings. It's not real life unless it's a documentary.

 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to Oldsign:
Glad you've had a positive experience.

I would not say I am entirely ignorant. I did some free work for cancer research UK a number of years ago. The paid for staff, often well paid comparatively had what you might call varying competency, many were simply out of touch with the people who were doing the fund raising at ground level.

It changed my perspective, apart from feeling like my time etc was being taken for granted by the salaried staff, I felt I could not support them directly anymore and cancelled my direct debit too.

I now give and assist small local charities that position themselves a bit nearer the end user.
Post edited at 13:29
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 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to elsewhere:

I can only presume by peoples reactions to my comments that the UK system is running next to perfection, requiring only a slight refinement. Good luck with that!
1
 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to ByEek:
If you can afford all the trappings of modern life, perhaps people should consider saving a little instead of updating their phone, car etc.. so when circumstances change, because they will that's the way of things these days.. they won't completely caught off guard.

The problem is its always somebody else fault, that they didn't save, have insurance, needed a new toy... But also some one else who bails them out.

No, I'm not tarring everyone with same brush, there are those who plan and take responsibility and those that don't.
Post edited at 13:34
1
 ByEek 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:
> The problem is its always somebody else fault, that they didn't save, have insurance, needed a new toy... But also some one else who bails them out.

This is my problem. Who is saying it is someone else's fault? I certainly don't see people in this desperate situation blaming everyone but themselves for their predicament. I do however see people like you saying that those in a desperate situation are blaming everyone but themselves. And then you have the audacity to dictate to them what they should or shouldn't be doing based on assumptions that suit your stance. Are you a Tory MP or Daily Mail reporter?
Post edited at 14:23
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 elsewhere 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:
> I can only presume by peoples reactions to my comments that the UK system is running next to perfection, requiring only a slight refinement. Good luck with that!

You presume incorrectly.

It is niave idea that a "credit report from an independent company" could pick up the frauds that I can think of let alone the frauds that a habitual criminal or somebody familiar with the benefits system would come up with.
 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to elsewhere:

> It is niave idea that a "credit report from an independent company" could pick up the frauds that I can think of let alone the frauds that a habitual criminal or somebody familiar with the benefits system would come up with.

I know, my father works in a benefits office as a claims adjudicator in Cleveland. The goings on within the benefits system, the incompetency of some workers, the unworkable and ever changing rules, unhelpful union intervention, dire IT systems and the level / types of fraud within it are truly staggering. With the current system he would never be out of a job that's for certain!

The system is too public sectorised, too amateurish to keep pace with both technology advances and the skills of those committing the fraud. Only a private professional operation, with a bonuses tied to keeping fraud within 5 or 10% of claims could solve it.
4
 Dammage 23 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:

Fraudulent claims are estimated to account for around 0.7% of benefits expenditure, which includes all disability benefits and old age pensions. Of course it could be more in reality, but I don't think anyone is suggesting that it's anywhere near 5 to 10%, let alone over.
1
 summo 23 Jun 2015
In reply to Dammage:
> Fraudulent claims are estimated to account for around 0.7% of benefits expenditure, which includes all disability benefits and old age pensions. Of course it could be more in reality, but I don't think anyone is suggesting that it's anywhere near 5 to 10%, let alone over.

I was picking those numbers out of thin air, but referring to number of claims, not percentage of budgets.

The problem is from having it explained to me, is it's very hard to know exactly how big fraud is. Disability benefits often hinge around things that are incredibly tough to diagnose, or prove. There are people known to claim under multiple names, from differing offices, organised crime faking various certificates ie. false names, deceased names...
Benefits fraud isn't like an episode of Bread with some likable rogue chancing the system between jobs.

For me, the crack down should be at both ends, ie the ending of HMRC chasing the £100 late submission fine was a mistake and those making fraudulent benefit claims should be pursued too. Cheating the system should be made to carry the same stigma that drink driving now does.

A national ID card or number from birth, for life, and an intergrated system between all government offices will help a little in fraud prevention. But, again it's human rights this that and the other.
Post edited at 18:12
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In reply to Que Sera Sera:

> I sometimes wonder what would happen if all the people papping way on UKC and forums like it (including me) went and actually went and gave a day or evening a month to actually doing something, rather than expecting a somewhat amorphous (is that a word?) "someone" else to do it, would things be better.

I help out these people.

http://www.sheffieldfoodcollective.co.uk/
In reply to summo:
> I know, my father works in a benefits office as a claims adjudicator in Cleveland. The goings on within the benefits system, the incompetency of some workers, the unworkable and ever changing rules, unhelpful union intervention, dire IT systems and the level / types of fraud within it are truly staggering. With the current system he would never be out of a job that's for certain!

> The system is too public sectorised, too amateurish to keep pace with both technology advances and the skills of those committing the fraud. Only a private professional operation, with a bonuses tied to keeping fraud within 5 or 10% of claims could solve it.

Some of the financial banks have been gloriously transparent and not corrupt...? To be honest I'm not sure how much whether something is private or state controlled and run accounts for the integrity or efficiency of the organisation itself. The NHS for example, has been described by people who know about these things as the most efficient health care system in the world, which I find surprising given how people complain about it's flaws, but no publicly or privately run organisation is flawless.

I'm not one of those people who is inherently in favour of the public or private sector running everything, by the way, I think things end up in a mess if you have everything being run on just one kind of model, & that society needs a mixture.
Post edited at 16:58
In reply to Que Sera Sera:

> I sometimes wonder what would happen if all the people papping way on UKC and forums like it (including me) went and actually went and gave a day or evening a month to actually doing something, rather than expecting a somewhat amorphous (is that a word?) "someone" else to do it, would things be better.

The answer probably is we all should do something practical and helpful, if we can at all find the time.
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> We're talking about emergency vouchers from a government agency, because their benefits aren't forthcoming or have been delayed not about generally destitute people.

> I understand the charity bit but not why the government are using a charity to 'fill a gap'.

Increasing use of food banks exist because of the changes to the benefit system, meaning people are left without enough money to buy food. The 'why' is something a lot of people are asking and arguing about, but everything the coalition said about those with the broadest shoulders bearing the majority of the load (of austerity) doesn't appear to be becoming reality. I understand the government doesn't much like to talk about increasing food bank usage, or like it to be brought up, as anything I've heard them say has been along the lines of more people use them because more food banks exist, which to me doesn't seem to fit very well with people talking about how humiliating they find it to go to a food bank.

Whatever the political explanation, the poverty unfortunately speaks for itself. :-/
Post edited at 17:02
 DancingOnRock 27 Jun 2015
In reply to Que Sera Sera:

> I sometimes wonder what would happen if all the people papping way on UKC and forums like it (including me) went and actually went and gave a day or evening a month to actually doing something, rather than expecting a somewhat amorphous (is that a word?) "someone" else to do it, would things be better.

Where do you think the food comes from?

http://www.trusselltrust.org/how-it-works
 Wsdconst 27 Jun 2015
In reply to Que Sera Sera:

> I sometimes wonder what would happen if all the people papping way on UKC and forums like it (including me) went and actually went and gave a day or evening a month to actually doing something, rather than expecting a somewhat amorphous (is that a word?) "someone" else to do it, would things be better.

Good point, think you've just swayed me to volunteer.
 EddInaBox 27 Jun 2015
In reply to Timmd:

Had you noticed that this story is dated September 2013?
In reply to summo
the problem is finding genuine and not fake.

The government's own figures show that less than 1% of claims are fraudulent. The vast majority of the spend on welfare goes on care of the elderly. The spectre of the welfare scrouger is grossly over played.

 summo 27 Jun 2015
In reply to John Postlethwaite:
> The government's own figures show that less than 1% of claims are fraudulent. The vast majority of the spend on welfare goes on care of the elderly. The spectre of the welfare scrouger is grossly over played.

The vast majority of tax is collected, should hmrc just ignore the few fish who get away?
 DancingOnRock 27 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:

> The vast majority of tax is collected, should hmrc just ignore the few fish who get away?

Yes. I think that's pretty much what they've decided to do. With limitations on resources they're concentrating on the people who owe the most.
 Mutl3y 27 Jun 2015
In reply to summo:

Why can't you accept that you were misguided to write that stuff about 5% or 10% fraud? It's been pointed out to you that the actual level is under 1%. You should do the decent thing and admit that the problem is not as bad as you thought and move one.
In reply to ByEek:

> Are you serious suggesting that people who use food banks go on holiday? Or can afford to own a car.

Some do. A couple I am very close with are in their words on their uppers.
She has fibromialga and keeps trying to work but the illness always gets the better of her.
He does a little cash in hand work when he can and is her carer.
They have used food banks a few times.
But, they have a massive dog that eats more than I do (minced raw meats with pasta added) , drive a freelander (in his words the £50 a week it costs to buy is only 1 days cash work) and in the 3 years I have known them he has gone clay shooting every Sunday at a cost of £20 per time plus fuel to get there.
They honestly believe they are skint and on very hard times.

 Postmanpat 28 Jun 2015
In reply to John Postlethwaite:

> In reply to summo

> the problem is finding genuine and not fake.

> The government's own figures show that less than 1% of claims are fraudulent.
>
What is their definition of fraud and how do they estimate it?

 Fraser 28 Jun 2015
In reply to Timmd:

QU: in this country, can you only take advantage of food bank offerings if you have been referred?

The reason I ask is that I know in the US, (or at least the states I have a knowledge of), this isn't the case and you don't need to somehow qualify on an official basis. Anyone can romp up and get free supplies without a piece of paper sanctioning it.
 Simon4 28 Jun 2015
In reply to Timmd:

> To those who grumble about Guardianistas and that kind of thing, please overlook the website and newspaper this is from

No chance of that.

How likely would it be that you would accept or even think about anything put forward by an article in the Daily Mail, i.e. equal an equal and opposite propaganda rag? You would immediately dismiss it due to its source as being loaded, selective, distorted or just false, written solely to confirm the prejudices of its readers and to inflame their irrational passions and hatreds. But the one-way mirror never shows you your own reflection, so you don't see the irony. You think the Daily Mail is produced by barely human wretches who delight in torturing the poor or immigrants just for the fun of it given the tendency of the left to dehumanise its opponents, why would you expect anyone of opposing views to see this piece in any other way, given its source?

An highly polemical and partisan article in the Guardian (not that there is no other kind), will never convince anyone, it will simply be taken by Guardian readers as self-evident confirmation of their high-minded, generous, profound wisdom, while anyone else will dismiss it as typical Guardian b******. Just standard boilerplate, no thought required either to write it or to read it. Which is why the vast majority of comment pieces, in most newspapers, never change minds at all, just reinforce existing views. Indeed, confirming people in their comfort zone (together of course with trying to maintain permanently declining newspaper sales and shore up their collapsing economics), is the main purpose of most of these pieces.

Mark Twain was once asked if he believed in ghosts. He replied "no ma'am, I've seen too many of them". Which is exactly how non-Guardian readers react to a Guardian columnist with a pitiful, one-sided sob-story. We've heard too many of them, which is why they are immediately dismissed. Or rather not even listened to for long enough to dismiss, just viewed as general whining waffle.
2
In reply to Simon4:
> No chance of that.

> How likely would it be that you would accept or even think about anything put forward by an article in the Daily Mail, i.e. equal an equal and opposite propaganda rag? You would immediately dismiss it due to its source as being loaded, selective, distorted or just false, written solely to confirm the prejudices of its readers and to inflame their irrational passions and hatreds. But the one-way mirror never shows you your own reflection, so you don't see the irony. You think the Daily Mail is produced by barely human wretches who delight in torturing the poor or immigrants just for the fun of it given the tendency of the left to dehumanise its opponents, why would you expect anyone of opposing views to see this piece in any other way, given its source?

> An highly polemical and partisan article in the Guardian (not that there is no other kind), will never convince anyone, it will simply be taken by Guardian readers as self-evident confirmation of their high-minded, generous, profound wisdom, while anyone else will dismiss it as typical Guardian b******. Just standard boilerplate, no thought required either to write it or to read it. Which is why the vast majority of comment pieces, in most newspapers, never change minds at all, just reinforce existing views. Indeed, confirming people in their comfort zone (together of course with trying to maintain permanently declining newspaper sales and shore up their collapsing economics), is the main purpose of most of these pieces.

> Mark Twain was once asked if he believed in ghosts. He replied "no ma'am, I've seen too many of them". Which is exactly how non-Guardian readers react to a Guardian columnist with a pitiful, one-sided sob-story. We've heard too many of them, which is why they are immediately dismissed. Or rather not even listened to for long enough to dismiss, just viewed as general whining waffle.

You're a very strange man it can seem.

Firstly, aren't you don't just the same thing with the Guardian you're assuming I would do with an article from the Daily Mail? I think you are

Secondly, since you don't actually know me, I do read and consider with an open mind (as far as humans subjectively can do) articles from The Spectator and The Telegraph and The Times, as well as the more left wing papers.

With regards to the Daily Mail, with how their online content features comments about circa 12/14 year old girls being 'leggy' and similar, I don't check it's website or buy it as a point of principle. Have a google about the Daily Mail's online comments on young girls and you might be surprised, and perturbed too.


Edit, Here you go Simon, how does a comment along the lines of 'All eyes being on the 8 year old' grab you for creepiness?

http://www.themediablog.co.uk/the-media-blog/2013/01/daily-mail-turns-the-creepiness-up-a-notch.html

Please, if you're not going to read the article in the OP with an open mind, can you not send this thread off topic with your opinions on people you've never actually met?

Other than that, (genuinely) have a nice Sunday.
Post edited at 12:31
 Jon Stewart 28 Jun 2015
In reply to Simon4:

I can't divine any coherent thread from your post.

You seem to be critical of those who prejudge newspaper articles according to the publication they're in, and then champion that position a paragraph later. It's like some crazy double-multi-layered-bluff when you add:

> the one-way mirror never shows you your own reflection, so you don't see the irony.

Are you a character in a Charlie Kaufman screenplay?

Then there's the whole "equal and opposite" premise of the Mail and Guardian which it seems your whole world-view is built upon...which makes me think you've actually never read either because they're really really different. They're utterly dissimilar in terms of audience, style and content as well as political bias. There is no symmetry, although there is of course opposition in political outlook. Go and have another look - although I warn you that your entire understanding of the world may need to be adjusted once you see how different they are.

I do agree with you though that comment pieces in newspapers serve generally to embed existing views; which is no revelation, just an obvious fact of human nature and capitalism: you don't try to sell people something they don't like.

Although I know you never actually attempt to justify any of your incoherent nonsense (no mystery there), I am genuinely quite interested to know how it works in your own mind - or if you're just quite a sophisticated troll who's perfectly self-aware and actually buys the Guardian from time to time because it's a reasonable quality newspaper, if irritatingly biased at times.
 flat eric 28 Jun 2015
In reply to DancingOnRock:



> I understand the charity bit but not why the government are using a charity to 'fill a gap'.

Because they are ideological zealots who want to roll back the state to ensure they and their rich friends pay less in tax, no matter what the cost to the rest of the population.
 Gone 28 Jun 2015
In reply to Fraser:

Our local food bank needs a referral and won't usually serve the same family 3 times as their mission is to help short term need and if there is an underlying financial problem it needs dealing with differently.

I am a citizens advice volunteer and assess people for food bank vouchers. I don't demand written proof of income and expenses but I will say no and direct to debt and budgeting advice instead if I think they should have enough spare, or some other action needs taking.

The most common reason is'benefit delays' - either someone has recently applied for benefits and not received them yet, or their benefits have stopped for some mysterious reason and not yet restarted. In many cases the money will get backdated so if the clients feel awkward about accepting charity I suggest they treat it as a loan and put some tins in the donation box once they get their money.
 Postmanpat 28 Jun 2015
In reply to flat eric:

> Because they are ideological zealots who want to roll back the state to ensure they and their rich friends pay less in tax, no matter what the cost to the rest of the population.

Oh no they're not.
2
 DancingOnRock 28 Jun 2015
In reply to flat eric:

> Because they want to ensure everyone pays less in tax, and services are more efficient.

Fixed it for you. But I'm not sure how that answers my question.

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