Ignorant stupidity from Oxfam again

Yes, yes, it’s a lovely statistic but it’s a completely moronic one to be using:

says Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring. “At a time when the five richest families in the UK have the same wealth as the bottom 20% of the population it is unacceptable that the poorest are paying such a heavy price.”

For the bottom 20% of the population has no wealth at all. As I’ve said before, if you’ve got a tenner and no debts then you’re richer than the bottom 20% of the country all put together. This is because it is possible to have negative net wealth: to have debts higher than your assets.

You know, like someone leaving uni with some student debt?

And this is just fatuous:

The Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest food bank network, revealed that more than 900,000 people received food parcels in 2013-14, a 163% increase on the previous year. Its figures understated the likely level of people going hungry, it said.

What? You give people food and that means that they’re now going hungry? Perhaps we should ban food parcels in order to reduce hunger then? Back here in reality we take the number of food parcels being handed out as being an indication of how much huger has been decreased.

18 comments on “Ignorant stupidity from Oxfam again

  1. Does anybody believe that if we took all the wealth from the top 5 families and spread it amongst the bottom 20%, that we would be any better off? What does the head of Oxfam earn?

  2. I thought Oxfam was about saving people from starvation in the third world, not in Liverpool slums, where they’re all as fat as houses, or rat thin from speed/heroin

    It’s getting boring, this foodbank stuff, but they will keep on at it because it’s an easy message to sell to an uneducated populace.

    Once Labour get in you will hear scarely a mention of them.

  3. Steve – I am wildly in favour of it, and have just bought shares in every fast food outlet, tobacco giant, brewer and satellite TV channel I can think of.

  4. “Does anybody believe that if we took all the wealth from the top 5 families and spread it amongst the bottom 20%, that we would be any better off?”

    So we would take money from the Duke of Westminster and give it to an alumnus of Westminster School who has just left Oxford with debts of £50,000 and a place at JP Morgan.

    Somehow don’t think this would quite achieve what Oxfam seem to want.

  5. I think the whole banging on about inequality thing is to do with how many peasants have been lifted off the bottom. Bear me out.

    100 years ago, you had your 5 richest families. Almost everyone else had to grub away 60 hours a week at some menial job. Pay was much of a muchness, everyone was frankly dirt-poor, lots of equality spread out among the bottom 95% of society, most people did go hungry now and again. The professional classes were a thin sliver, certainly not more than 5%, and the gulf practically uncrossable.

    Now those professional classes now make up 30% or more of the peasants. We still have our 5 richest families, but the peasants who didn’t make it out of menial labour (now: perpetual unemployment) are actually mostly jealous of the wealth of those who did climb the ladder, rather than of those already at the top.

  6. It’s very unwise to condemn Oxfam for “ignorant stupidiity”. The people at Oxfam are neither ignorant nor stupid. Judge them by their salary levels.
    They’re selling a product. Quite successfully.

  7. ” Almost everyone else had to grub away 60 hours a week at some menial job.” A touché oversimplified there. At the turn of the Century there was a substantial class of skilled tradesmen whose skills commanded a premium and a growing number of SME entrepreneurs, real Capitalists, not Corporate Wankers, developing the new technologies and hell-bent on improving their lot. Upwardly mobile working class people used the burgeoning night schools to improve their education, increasing their prospects, and supported by a Labour Party with roots firmly set in the Methodist and congregationalist ethic. Grammar schools were established to give bright working class children of both genders the chance of a university scholarship. My Mother passed the exam to enter Mary Datchelor Girls School, at that time the best girls school in south-east London. WWI upset the established order in no uncertain manner, and the necessity to find the best talent from those who survived the Western Front loosened class shackles markedly. You may have noticed the big hole recently made in those formerly considered unemployable, a process which we can all hope will continue.

  8. You just had to see that story in the Mirror about foodbanks where a working couple used them because they ran out of money after repairing their car (but didn’t want to call the bank for an overdraft). And the Mirror weren’t using that to bash foodbanks, they thought that was showing how bad the problem had gotten.

    At this point, I have no idea how many genuine cases make up those numbers. I suspect it’s not too different to the genuine level of unemployment which would be much lower than 2m if people got no benefits.All those shop and bar jobs I see would quickly get filled.

  9. @Lohse,

    Those tradesmen, entrepreneurs and so on were a tiny fraction of society compared to today’s professional classes.

    We now seem to have a trimodal distribution of income. The working poor are the first peak, the professional classes the second, and the third peak are the professional welfare claimants. While I am not sure if the peak of their income distribution is closer to that of the working or professional class – it is certainly higher than that of the working class.

  10. Re foodbanks: people seem to be under the impression that if you give a basic of human existence away for free, the resulting number of people who claim it are evidence that those people were previously unable to afford it themselves. Given the level of questioning/verification required is along the lines of ‘Are you unable to buy food, and have a need for it, yes or no?’ one suspects that a considerable amount of people (who undoubtedly don’t have much cash to be fair) are using these services to provide their food requirements, freeing up what cash they do have for other items. A wholly rational response to not having much cash in fact. But not evidence that hundreds of thousands of people are starving.

    All of this is just evidence of the continued infantilisation of the UK public – you already get housing, healthcare and cash for free on demand effectively, however egregious your behaviour, up to now you have at least been expected manage the cash yourself and make sure you don’t spend it all on beer and fags leaving no food for the kids. Now even that is taken away – spend your benefits on whatever you fancy at that moment in time because some socialist with a hidden agenda will give you free food as well.

  11. What Jim said.

    And also what JuliaM said. It’s high time Oxfam lost its charitable status and registered as a political party instead.

  12. Spot on Jim.

    It’s a matter of great regret to me that thus far no-one has set up a Twickenham tickets bank, a Premier Cru chablis bank, or a king prawn vindaloo bank!

  13. Jim,

    Spot on.

    And the thing is that Foodbanks have been brilliantly engineered by the Trussell Trust. I don’t object to foodbanks, but it’s now pretty clear that the whole “referred by various groups” is a deliberate ploy to make it seem like all of these are genuine, starving people, when in reality, anyone can pass the checks and they all know that no-one’s going to follow up on them telling porkies.

  14. …but it’s now pretty clear that the whole “referred by various groups” is a deliberate ploy to make it seem like all of these are genuine, starving people, when in reality, anyone can pass the checks and they all know that no-one’s going to follow up on them telling porkies.

    I frequently post the following link in the Graun comments when someone mentions yet again that you have to be referred to a foodbank by a “frontline care professional” – http://bristolnwfoodbank.org.uk/voucher-holders/

    As well as every fake charity under the sun, the list of organisations that can issue foodbank vouchers includes churches, schools, a debt management company, and a cafe. This is just one foodbank in one city. The eligibility checks are so lax as to be non-existent.

    If people want to donate food or help hand it out then I’m not going to stop them; just don’t fucking lie about how many people genuinely cannot make ends meet to adequately feed themselves.

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