Bellowing Tories (Brian Smith)

There has been a lot of press coverage about the recent House of Commons debate about food banks.

Some Tories, in holiday mood, distinguished themselves by bellowing with laughter every time a case of poverty was mentioned.

Just in case he doesn’t mention it in his next communique to The Shetland Times, I thought I would mention that one of the 296 MPs who voted against investigating (a) the use of food banks, and (b) UK hunger in general, was the Right Honourable Alistair Carmichael, member for Orkney and Shetland.

Brian Smith


Add Your Comment
  • Ali Inkster

    • December 20th, 2013 16:52

    And if an investigation of food banks found that their clients were spending there benefits on drink and drugs or bingo even seems to be the lastest fad (encouraged by Labours opening up gambling for all), what then comrade should we encourage this behavior or should we be cruel to be kind by letting their bellies tell them what brains won’t. And that is food and bills come first, flat screen tv’s, sky, and the aforementioned vices come way way down the list of priorities when money’s tight.

    • Sandy McMillan

      • December 21st, 2013 0:10

      QUESTION/ Why do we need food banks, The reason is that the Tory/Lib-Dem Coalation Goverment is given far to much to aid to foreign Countries, why does India need aid, and also why China, they are shooting rockets of to have a look at the moon, this money if it were spent on there own, they would not need hand outs, and it basically the same with all the other countries that this Goverment gives aid to, DOES DAVID CAMERON OR HIS SIDE KICK not know where the real problems are, if they do not they should not hold the position they do, The UK starves while the rest of those who get aid from UK have a high old time of it all at our expence.

  • Brian Smith

    • December 20th, 2013 19:10

    Tired and emotional.

    • Ali Inkster

      • December 21st, 2013 12:02

      Take a rest then comrade writing more than a one line comment must really have worn you out.

  • Robbie Work

    • December 20th, 2013 20:55

    Well said Ali.
    Comrade Brian lives is a small sector of society which thinks that there is little or no need to work for an income and that everything should be provided for by the state, or the local council.
    He suggests that Tory politicians aren’t doing their jobs properly and just wasting their time laughing at others who are trying..
    Well Comrade Brian. Take a look in a mirror.. Do you see the same thing? If not, book an appointment with Specsavers. You’re overdue for a check-up.
    And, before you come with one of your usual wise cracks. I typed this message on my own time. How much of your ‘paid time’ did you waste on this letter, or all the other letters you have published throughout your working life.

  • Hugh Jamieson

    • December 20th, 2013 22:41

    I for one feel completely conned by Mr Carmichael. I voted for this guy at the last 3 elections as I hate Tory policies. I never for one minute thought this guy would hijack my vote and get into bed with the Conservative party. I will not make the same mistake at the next ballot box.

  • rosa steppanova

    • December 21st, 2013 4:09

    You’re absolutely right Ali. Not a single loaf of bread should be wasted on these undeserving poor. I’ve just returned from Edinburgh where the homeless wear mink coats, eat caviar and drink champagne while smoking Cuban cigars, playing poker and communicating on their iphones. As a tax payer, I’m scandalised and very disappointed the Daily Mail hasn’t picked up on this yet. Perhaps you could tip them off? For the sake of the nation and the values we all hold dear.

  • Stella Winks

    • December 21st, 2013 8:30

    There are, of course, many reasons why food banks have become necessary and in the long term these can be debated, fingers of blame pointed and denials broadcast – but, meanwhile, folk are hungry! In a world of i this and that devices, designer fashions, superficial and hedonistic indulgences – this should never happen! Short term – feed those who are without, long term – do something about it!

  • John Tulloch

    • December 21st, 2013 8:35

    “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
    (King James Bible, Luke 15:7)

    There’s no call for any party to gloat about this, they’re all in it up to their necks.

    It’s said charity begins at home” and while we may all feel good about slagging off “them” down in London, what about “us”, what’s going on in SIC/SCT?

    What do the Skerries folk think about “US”?

    Will our enthusiasm for renewable energy and “carbon taxes” charged to all, whether in tied farm cottage in Argyll, Shetland croft house or Glasgow East End tower block, help less well-off people be able to afford to buy food?

    I recently read that one electricity utility chief said electricity is a luxury and we should use less of it! Well, I suppose nobody can deny that, it’s the very reason why I’ve started using my coal fire, instead.

    Of course, the “energy is a luxury”, “heat or eat” dilemma now reaching epidemic proportions has been a pillar of Labour, SNP and Liberal policy for several years and the Tories, just as bad initially, now seem to be repenting, thank God!

    It was all predicted many times and our politicians are now looking even more like blackguards and fools than ever before – Q.E.D.!

    So let’s belay the cant!

  • Martin Tregonning

    • December 21st, 2013 10:48

    Rosa, I am not sure what this has to do with the daily mail – my postman always seems well fed (but not fat) and I don’t think he would look good in a mink coat.

  • Ali Inkster

    • December 21st, 2013 11:50

    Rosa du dusna need ta gaen tae Edinburgh to fin a bunch o parasitic low life, although hollyrood is full o dem. Due need look nae further dan lerick. I’ve witnessed folk going fae da benefits office tae da chemist tae da Thule where dae will sit an drink an bitch about how hard up dae are. And while I winda employ wasters lik dem I’m damned if I want ta pay fir dem tae get pissed.
    Another thing Rosa I’m bloody sick Fed up we politicians borrowing money in my name ta buy da vote fae da lik o de.
    I have nae problem we helping folk dat canna help demsels, but why da hell shud I wark sae others can drink n tak drugs.

  • Yvonne Graham

    • December 21st, 2013 14:38

    While I can see where Rosa is coming from I think her response to Ali is a bit knee jerk. Although Ali did not qualify his comments I think it has to be recognised that perhaps some people do prioritise their spending incorrectly – whether they are in receipt of benefits or not!

    With that said it is disgraceful that an increasing number of families are having to turn to food banks for an essential need. In Shetland people who have to survive on benefits find it much harder to manage – after all they do not have the option of shopping at Aldi, Asda or any of the other cheaper food outlets. This makes it more difficult to make the same amount of money you would receive in Edinburgh or Glasgow go further. Add to this the increased cost of electricity in an area where we might not suffer the lowest temperatures but the wind chill makes it much colder and it becomes very difficult indeed.

    It’ s a problem for all of us living here but much more so if you live on a low income.

    • Sandy McMillan

      • December 21st, 2013 21:52

      You say about low income, I am a pensioner with a weekly income or pension of £120.35,+£15.60, pension credit, the £15.60, take my income slightly over the the livable income, out of total of £135.95, I have to pay rent £8.00, Council tax £7.50, electricity £19.00. district heating £20.00, comes to £54.50, petrol for the car limited to £20.00 per week, then the bread and milk daily, and the weekly groceries, this does not include for cloths, shoes, and the bits and pieces you require to help run the house, such as TV Licence, club book, after all is said and done there is very little left, I do not drink that is alcohol, there must be quite a lot on Shetland in the same boat, and all the Government can do is laugh and take the mickey, especially our MP Alistair Carmichael, the sooner Scotland and Shetland get away from that rat infested Westminster millionaires the better.

  • Peter Long

    • December 21st, 2013 19:23

    It’s Christmas! So why not consider the words of the Lord Jesus:

    Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

  • David Spence

    • December 21st, 2013 22:09

    In a society where monetary greed and material greed prevail, it is not surprising that in a society where the political representatives, the vile Tory Party, advocates and condones the more negative aspects of human nature in the art of getting rich by whatever means possible, even if it means lying, cheating, deceiving, exploiting, being dishonest, bribing the consumer in their vile quest to get rich as quick as possible.

    Lets not beat about the bush, when it comes to the principles of money and its value, this, in most cases, brings out the worst in human behaviour. However, there are those (very much few in numbers) who operate their business in a more, lets say, honest, professional manner where providing a good product or service to the customer is paramount to their principles, and not the ‘ quick buck mentality ‘ many capitalists of the larger corporate kind have.

    You only have to look at our political representatives and their greed in improving their own lives at the Tax Payer’s expense whilst at the same time, keeping quiet (deceiving the public) their expenses for many, many years until it was a news paper exposed them for what they really were……….previously mentioned.

    It is not surprising that many, many people are angry and disappointed in our political system and how the impression is ‘ look after number one and screw everybody else philosophy ‘ that many politicians are in it for their own selfish needs and not this of truly representing their constituents.

    Mind you, capitalism and selfishness go hand in hand………..sorry, look after number one mentality…..and to hell with everybody else.

    Is there any good in a capitalist based society (the USA being an example – 4.5% of the worlds population, consumes 31% of all global resources, produces 25% of all global pollution) ??? Well, I would have to say, based on recent events with the biggest rooks in society, the banks, a most resounding NO!!!!!

    • Gordon Harmer

      • December 22nd, 2013 18:32

      What are you trying to say David, come on spit it out don’t be shy.

  • Stuart Hannay

    • December 22nd, 2013 9:35

    “At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, … it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”
    “Are there no prisons?”
    “Plenty of prisons…”
    “And the Union workhouses.” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
    “Both very busy, sir…”
    “Those who are badly off must go there.”
    “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
    “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
    (Charles Dickens)

    Happy Christmas everyone

  • Brian Smith

    • December 22nd, 2013 21:41

    This is how the Daily Mirror covered the food banks debate.

    Peter Long’s quotation sums it up.

  • Harry Dent

    • December 23rd, 2013 9:57

    I think a lot of people are missing the point when they allege that people use food banks because they’ve spent their benefits on consumer goods, drink, fags, and drugs.

    You can’t just walk into a food bank and ask for food – you have to be referred by an accredited agency, which isn’t always easy.

    People go to a food bank and, typically, get but three days’ worth of food. I’m not really familiar with the illegal drugs market but I’d hazard a guess that half a dozen tins of economy beans, a couple of sliced loaves, and a box of cornflakes won’t finance your next smack deal, still less get you significantly closer to buying your 64″ plasma screen TV.

    It’s more likely that people using food banks have sold their TV to buy food for their kids.

    One example I read of last week:

    Man works 364 days a year doing a part-time delivery job.

    Claims Jobseekers Allowance to top up his limited income.

    Has to apply for ten jobs a week to keep JSA, despite having limited access to the internet and severe problems with dyslexia.

    One week, he applies for just nine jobs, so the DWP applies sanctions, and stops his benefit for FOUR WEEKS.

    Another example:

    Young man working in a bar is shifted to zero hours contract.

    In a week when he is offered no work, he signs on to look for work and claim JSA

    DWP contact his employer to ask when he left his job, even though he hasnt left.

    Employer says he didnt know he’d left (even though he hasn’t), and sacks him

    DWP tell claimant he can’t have any money because he made himself unemployed.

    No drink, no drugs, no luxury goods. Just two honest hard working men, left with no choice but to beg for food from the good people at the Tressell Trust and the Salvation Army.

    Meanwhile the Tories egged on by the LibDem acolytes bay and roar with laughter in their subsidised bars and restaurants in the House of Commons.

    In my view Brian Smith was too soft in his initial assessment.

    • Ali Inkster

      • December 26th, 2013 17:29

      example one a man defrauds the system by claiming unemployment benefit while working.
      example two a man tells dwp he is unemployed when he is not he should of told them he had no hours available to him on his zero hours contract.

      both examples are of people trying to screw the system and failing harry so just what is your point.

      • Robert Sim

        • December 27th, 2013 11:09

        Example one: multinational firm uses UK tax-avoidance schemes to avoid paying any corporation tax at all for three years in a row.

        Example two: in May 2013, MPs said that Google was “doing evil” by avoiding British taxes


        Small, powerless individuals who get caught trying to break the benefit rules (probably out of desperation) are the least of our worries.

      • Ali Inkster

        • December 27th, 2013 17:39

        Yes Robert a tax system tweaked and changed by Labour’s financial genius Gordon Brown, so much so that he had to get an accountant to do his own tax return (which he put on his parliamentary expense account). Labour also waved £7 billion of tax due by Vodafone ( a major contributor to the Labour party). Tax laws brought in by Labour that allow corporations to choose which European country they pay their tax in but no parity of taxation across those countries, a mess that will take years to sort out. Labour also ran up a deficit of 52 % of GDP before the bank bailouts with nothing set aside for the inevitable tough times (remember Brown sold the country’s gold at rock bottom price he even forced the price lower by announcing his intention to sell six months in advance). And now they sit on the opposition benches bitching as someone else attempts to sort out the mess.

  • David Spence

    • December 23rd, 2013 11:17

    lol Well Gordon, as the recent (2008) Bank crisis demonstrated, the banking system is in a win-win situation. It was proven in 2008, where it was the Tax Payer who had to bail out the banks (to date, to the tune of £142 billion) despite the fact it was their greed which caused the crisis in the first place. However, because the banking system is such an integral part of society these days, there wasn’t much choice but to bail them out, otherwise the whole of western society would collapse as a consequence………..or so we were told lol

    Mind you Gordon, one should also question the connection between the banking system and this of the Arms Industry, where, as you will know, there is a lot of money to be made in war……….as US Foreign Policy quite aptly demonstrates……….but that is just an aside lol

  • stephen shirmer

    • December 23rd, 2013 12:22

    A point of view.

    Yes the 2008 banking crisis was partly due to the unregulated banking system and banking greed, though it should not be forgotten that peoples personal greed has played a big factor in supporting the banking system,

    House prices always on the rise and welcomed by most people selling a house, or just sitting on a financial asset, alas not those on a normal living wage trying to get on the housing market or even finding something reasonable to rent.
    Easy credit available to purchase those things you really need or not !
    And all the while the system panders to peoples greed the more the gap will grow between the rich and poor.

    Bon Noel .

  • David Spence

    • December 23rd, 2013 20:55

    I agree Stephen, people who owned property or housing were also making vast amounts of money and profit as a consequence of the values going up to ridiculous rates in proportion to their location. However, as you have said, the snow ball affect started in the USA with the Bush Administration relaxing regulation laws and, more or less, leaving the housing market as well as the banking to ‘ market forces ‘ where, literally, anything goes in regards to making profits. This was primarily through mortgages to those people who either could not afford it or would find it difficult to repay or worst of all, people buying property on the assurance their values would go up thus making huge profits for themselves as well as for the banks. Because banking is multinational and there are no boundaries in regards to the movement of money (only 3% of money is actually paper and coins, 97% is digits on a computer) then such influences of banking in one country can affect another countries banking economic performance(s).

  • Harry Dent

    • December 24th, 2013 11:36

    Of course it’s the Trussell Trust who run foodbanks; I must have had Robert Tressell, author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, in my mind.

  • ian tinkler

    • December 25th, 2013 1:18

    Having worked in with friends in Dulwich Church Crypt, a food bank (Shelter) in 1972, SE London, Salvation Army run. Food banks have little to do with politics, only the idiots would claim that. Sadly it has more to do with helping untreatable, mental and personality disorders as well as the deserving poor. There but for the grace of God go any of us. (Personality disorders, a horrendous condition which embraces everything from alcoholism, drug abuse to kleptomania and paedophilia). It is so very easy to blame politicians here. How about using our own monies, Hands in our own pockets and just consider that £15 million to Mareel. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy Christmas

  • David Spence

    • December 27th, 2013 19:36

    Ian, I would be interested to know how many other football clubs are not paying taxes that we are not hearing about? I believe, and no doubt I will be corrected, Rangers FC, were due £149 million in taxes to the Treasury, which beggars the question which has already been mentioned……….and not just football clubs, other sports and other businesses avoiding paying their tax for the sake of greed and selfishness…….both attributes to capitalism…………isn’t it ironic that the most corrupt behavior should come from the very institutes which handle societies money and other commercial interests, and where the Government contradicts itself (typical trait of the vile Tory Party) where they preach morals to everybody else but at the same time allow their rich business buddy friends and financial contributors to their party to break every rule going to achieve the maximum of profits.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • December 27th, 2013 21:01

    Robert, detecting tax avoidance early is a key strand in HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC’s) anti-avoidance strategy. The Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) rules enable the government to react quickly to close loopholes by changing the law, sometimes within days of the disclosure being made. The DOTAS rules mean that HMRC can immediately put resources in place to conduct intensive investigations into avoiders’ tax returns, and so far they have helped to protect billions of pounds of tax. HMRC regularly reviews the DOTAS rules to make sure that they reflect changes in the market for tax avoidance schemes.

    Tax avoidance scheme promoters have to give HMRC early information about schemes which fit certain ‘hallmarks’. The promoter also has to provide HMRC at quarterly intervals with details of any clients who have used their avoidance scheme. In addition, anyone using a tax avoidance scheme that falls within the DOTAS rules has to tell HMRC about it, usually by including a Scheme Reference Number (SRN) on their tax return, or on a special form, if they don’t complete a return. This along with the information from the promoter allows HMRC to identify tax avoiders. Promoters and users who do not comply with the DOTAS rules face substantial penalties.

    HMRC never approves tax avoidance schemes. The fact that a scheme has been disclosed and has been given a reference number simply means that a promoter has complied with their obligations under the DOTAS rules. Every six months HMRC publishes statistics showing the number of disclosures made under these rules.

    Every week we hear of “small, powerless individuals who get caught trying to break the benefit rules” to the tune of millions of pounds every year. These people are a minority but cost you and I a small fortune and need to be brought to account. Pointing the finger at someone else in a more powerful position does not make what these thieves do even slightly acceptable.

  • Harry Dent

    • December 28th, 2013 6:29

    Ali, neither man was committing any fraud. Both were attempting to act within the law.

    In case 1, a man with a disability and limited access to the means to apply for work, missed a target for the first time. Officials decided that heinous crime be punished by removal of all benefits.

    In case 2, a mistake by an official led to man’s employer sacking him. Again officials decided to withhold benefits in order to punish the man for their mistakes.

    Two hard-working innocent men being punished for the crime of being poor is an outrage, but hardly an isolated instance under this government which is happy to see people go without food as part of its vicious scapegoating agenda.

    For the avoidance of doubt, both men’s benefit claims were entirely within the law.

  • Ali Inkster

    • December 28th, 2013 16:16

    So Harry with a “peerie” change in your tale you now lay the blame squarely at the feet of petty officials, not the nasty Tories after all.

    • Harry Dent

      • December 30th, 2013 12:49

      As far as I can tell the officials were acting to the letter of the law as created by the coalition.

      The primary blame lies with the government, Liberals and Tories alike, though the adjective “nasty” scarcely does justice to their behaviour.

      I’d have to question the behaviour of the local officials who seem to be enforcing the letter of the law with great enthusiasm, though it may well be that they are acting under the threat of disciplinary action and the sack if they fail to sanction enough claimants each month.

  • Stuart Hannay

    • December 30th, 2013 3:26

    I don’t think it’s individual staff who are making the decision to impose ‘sanctions’, it is rather a top-down approach from the coalition government. One can se this as a good or bad thing depending on your viewpoint but have no doubt that it is systematic.


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