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Jack Monroe is pretty well-known after running a successful cooking and political blog A Girl Called Jack (now re-named Cooking On A Bootstrap) where they taught, and inspired, thousands of people to cook meals for a couple of pence.
Not because Monroe wanted to. They had to, as they were living in an extremely difficult situation with their son, often living on £10 a week due to circumstances out of their control, and almost entirely down to failed austerity policies.
As Monroe says, in the absolutely heart-breaking blog post ‘Hunger Hurts‘ which everyone should read:
For reasons unbeknownst to me, this month my Housing Benefit was over £100 short. I didn’t get a letter that I know of, but I can assume that it’s still the fallout from the cockups made by the various benefit agencies when I briefly went back to work from March to May. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to work out that £670 of rent can’t be paid of £438 of Housing Benefit.
So I’m a week in arrears, almost two, as by the time Thursday comes and the next £167.31 is due, there’ll still be nothing coming in. The Income Support went on keeping me afloat, briefly, as did the Child Tax Credit. Now I’m not only in arrears, but last night when I opened my fridge to find some leftover tomato pasta, an onion, and a knob of stem ginger, I gave the pasta to my boy and went to bed hungry with a pot of home made ginger tea to ease the stomach pains.
Jack Monroe is someone I personally admire, for fighting every day and trying so damn hard to push through whilst in poverty. It’s admirable, and should be celebrated. But now the Tories are using Monroe. They believe that if Monroe can survive living on almost nothing – there is no reason why ‘most people’ can’t. And Monroe is pretty pissed about it.
In a now-deleted Tweet, the Bath Conservatives said this – and if there’s any proof you could possibly want that the Tories are oblivious to real-world problems, it’s this:
Cowardy custards deleted their tweet after 70 people replied to it in outrage. Shame I got a receipt for that shit sandwich. pic.twitter.com/VGdfkiZIv8
— Jack Monroe (@BootstrapCook) February 17, 2018
It’s pretty insulting for everyone. You can’t feed a family on thin air if your benefits have been stopped or are late. You can’t fill children’s stomachs with a smile when you’re on a zero hours contract and you haven’t been given a shift all week. But the Tories don’t see that. If you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, it’s your own fault you didn’t move out of the way first.
In response to Bath Conservatives’ f*cking ridiculous tweet, Monroe published a blog called ‘My Ready Meal Is None Of Your Fucking Business‘, explaining why they are so angry:
I have lived, waiting for this moment, for almost six years. Waiting, to be upheld as some kind of justification for the deepest incisions of Conservative cuts as they seek to justify their barbaric policies by attaching them to someone who can be used as an example of ‘pulling themselves up by their bootstraps’.
If you are forced in to an almost impossible scenario – like living on £10 a week – you could probably manage it – but only if you had every other necessity in plentiful supply. Like Monroe, however, you’d probably be behind on rent, in debt, skipping meals and unable to turn on the heating or electricity. That isn’t living, that’s surviving. Barely.
Monroe did some angry Tweeting as well as angry blogging, and the following tweet just sums up the utterly ridiculous austerity sh*t-storm that millions in this country are now at the mercy of:
I repeat these truths – millions of peoples heartbreaking real life experiences – every single day. Yes I *didnt die* on £10 a week. I managed the odd risotto. BUT WHY SHOULD ANYONE HAVE TO?
— Jack Monroe (@BootstrapCook) February 17, 2018
Sure, you can live on one meal a day. You can bundle yourself up in layers so you don’t turn the heating on. You can sit in the dark, because you’ve already taken out the lightbulb so you don’t accidentally turn it on.
But why should you have to? Britain is one of the richest countries in the world – there is more than enough to go around.
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