Monday, October 25, 2010

Tristram Hunt Is Gerald Dreadful MP...

Tristram Hunt, the new Labour MP for Stoke and sometime TV historian, once called me "cloyingly sanctimonious". As if.

Well, it seems he too has learned the art and, as Paul Goodman tweeted earlier, turned himself into Geraldine Dreadful MP's long lost brother.

His article in today's Daily Mirror is one of the stupidest things I have read in months (and yes, I include Sally B's twitter feed in that). Apparently the wicked Tories are going to bring back the Victorian workhouse... And no doubt send children up chimnies too. Oops, mustn't give them ideas...

I am trying to think of something cloyingly sanctimonious to call Hunt (maybe something that would rhyme?) but I am just too lost for words...


Anonymous said...

Tristram Hand Shandy perhaps?

Paul Halsall said...

I am quite honest in saying that the Tory cuts have made me consider suicide.

I am not joking.

As a person with AIDS, I am now managing to work part time, but it is very very hard, and I cannot guarantee I will always be able to do so.

The Coalition, aided it must be said by that rat James Purnell's policies (and damn Gordon Brown for allowing them), and its policies means people with terminal diseases are being cast out from DLA, Incapacity Benefit, etc.

I have been HIV+ for over 20 years and have had AIDS for 5 years. I worked most of those years.

I don't really see a future in any case, and the coalitions' actions will see me on the streets.

I am sure I am not alone in contemplating this way out.

When the Tories came in I said I was scared, and Iain mocked me.

Well now they have revealed their policies, and my fears have been more than justified.

Phil said...

Actually, if you read the article proper TH is talking about the *ethos* of the workhouse.

For example one of the miserly measures introduced in the Spending Review is to cut Housing Benefit by 10% to people on JSA for a year or more. If you're actively seeking work which, despite what the papers might tell you, is the majority of people in that position, how exactly is that helping? It makes ends much harder to meet, puts those people under a great deal of totally unnecessary stress, and has economic knock on effects through the reduction of their collective spending power.

In other words they're being left to get on with it. It's not so much as the government giving them a "hand up" than a kick in the teeth.

That kind of morality, or, it should be said, *immorality*, once governed society's attitude to the poor and disadvantaged. That was in the 19th century. We're now seeing its return in the 21st. So yes, Tristram Hunt is entirely right and proper to draw parallels.

Ian C. L said...

cupid stunt would be suitable

Dave said...

Dale: "Apparently the wicked Tories are going to bring back the Victorian workhouse... And no doubt send children up chimnies too. Oops, mustn't give them ideas..."

Hunt: "The cuts we are witnessing today to Britain's public services will not send us back to the worst days of the 19th century."

This blogpost has got to be one of the stupidest things I have read in months.

Jimmy said...

There's an obvious flaw in your comparison: People are laughing at Hunt.

Anonymous said...

@paul halsall.....i can't imagine living with your health problems, so all credit for the efforts you make .
however i can't help wondering why, if what you said was even vaguely true, the terrence higgins trust were not screaming from the i visit their site and lo!

'First things first though – don’t panic! Although some of these measures may seem very worrying, many will not be implemented for some time, and most of those that will be put into action straight away (in this new round of announcements) are freezes rather than cuts. '
to be fair they do also say that there COULD be severe impact in the future...but it is a could......what do you claim to know that a well respected outfit like the tht don't?
housing benefit is to be capped at 500 quid a week, and living in manchester i can't imagine what sort of accommodation for a single man would not fall into this bracket, so being on the streets seems a bit of a stretch.
so the most vocal supporter of hiv+ people is not echoing your view.
perhaps you should get in touch with them?

Demetrius said...

Under the previous Government child labour seems to have returned to the UK. It seems that they have been coming in from the Balkans, notably Romania. The area around Malvern is one where apparently they have been found.

Mark Wallace said...

Tribalist Affront, perhaps...

Manfarang said...

Maybe the Tories will bring back transportation to Australia-if we are lucky.

Tapestry said...

So where will this fellow draw the line? A bankrupt country cannot have a soft heart. It was his party which got us into this mess. Why doesn't he put the blame where it truly lies?
Gordon Brown and his financial idiocy which ruined our once great economy. Let him dwell on that, or at least he readers.

But he wouldn't think of looking at why we are in this mess, would he. Or indeed suggest ways to get out of it.

Windsor Tripehound said...

When I read nonsense like this from an MP I'm reminded of the comment made about Huey Long when he was elected a senator for Louisiana:

"At least Caligula sent both ends of his horse to the Senate!"

Unknown said...

Posh socialist who's never had a real job - just what the Labour party needs.

P. Stable said...

I disagree with the headline - Tristram Hunt's attempt at class war is absolutely hysterical, while your Geraldine Dreadful postings are about as entertaining as bus full of orphans driving off the edge of a cliff on the way home from collecting basketloads of abandoned kittens.

Paul Halsall said...


Thanks for your ref to the THT site.

HIV sites spend a lot of time calming people down. That's what they do.

Since I live in the MB of Bury in a council flat, I will probably be safe for the time being - I thank God for that.

But these kind of movements tend to be prospectively incremental. [See for example how quickly New Labour's introduction of a 1000 a year student fee soon ballooned to 4000, and now we see 1200 (all without lecturers beings paid any better)].

So, one year's "No life tenancy" soon becomes "life tenants are leeches".

My finances right now are kind of complicated (because I am working part time in academia), but, just to let you know, my ability to work is very specific on my willingness to fast (not eat) a few times a week, even though eating is required by my meds, so that I can leave the house without fearing the WORST POSSIBLE disgrace in public.

If I did not have this particular teaching job, I would not really be able to work.

As it is, even though delighted by the work, I am still exhausted 12 hours out out any given 24.

So back to ATOS, which is taking people like me, who have years of consultant reports, and whose conditions are, after all, terminal (I don't ever expect to make an impression on the pension system), and reducing living amounts (after housing) from around 110 pounds to around 65 pounds.

Which is not enough

Paul Halsall said...

Let me emphasise, I think the coalition's policies have made things much worse, but New Labour began this.

Anonymous said...

In 1997 I was a staff nurse working in the NHS. At the time Labour were campaigning day after day on how the NHS was failing and how awful people's expeiences were and how squalid the hospitals had become. I had patients turn up on the ward physically shaking will fear, only to visibly relax when it became obvious it was not true. Sometimes this was acompanied by anger.

I learnt then that labour was quite happy to terrify the helpless for a good cause. That's what Hunt's doing here.

OldSlaughter said...

"The Eton workhouse"

Glass houses and stones. Not sure Tristram Hunt is in a position to play the privilege card. Nice bit of metropolitan parachuting by Labour there. Feel for the constituents of Stoke-on-Trent.

phraxi said...

Isn't his middle name Berkeley>

Tim said...

I think that Mr Hunt made some very good and valid points. He was not claiming that the Tories would literally bring back the workhouse but:

"The cuts we are witnessing today to Britain's public services will not send us back to the worst days of the 19th century. But the approach of David Cameron and George Osborne to the welfare state reeks of the 1800s."


Paul, I know what you mean re: Atos. A place to talk if you need it:

Anonymous said...

I always thought that TH had one of the most interesting career paths around. PhD awarded in 2000, presenting TV show on BBC TV by 2002.

The only other person I can think of who could touch this is Suzi Leather, the head of the Charities Commission, who in 1997 was promoted from the position of housewife to chairman of an NHS trust.

Mick Turatian said...

...send children up chimnies too...

I hope the Tories still have principles enough not to send children up things they can't spell!

Unknown said...

Hunt writes:

In Manchester, the German socialist Friedrich Engels recounted: "Accidents occur to operatives who work in rooms crammed full of machinery..."

It's a good thing the Conservative Party was around to pass the Factory Acts, then!

Unknown said...

The great thing is the parallel with Sion Simon. Look how his career blossomed - NOT

Houdini said...

Paul Halsall, it seems you must revel in your plight to bash the Tories; you are the type that caused these problems.

Houdini said...

Let me emphasise, I think the coalition's policies have made things much worse, but New Labour began this.

Too late son, you showed your true colours earlier...or should that be colors?

Penfold said...

What about the old favourite.............Merchant Banker.!!

steve said...

There are some wonderful ex-workhouse listed buildings on the site of Stoke's City General Hospital (well University Hospital as it is now.)

Hunt is just showing that he has a poor understand of what was one termed "poor relief." That is shameful for a historian.

Then again it won't be the first time a "socialist" from a privileged background has used his own beliefs of what the poor think to further his own ends.

Janner said...

I do despair

This is not some wicked Torreeee plot to attack the untermensch

The money to pay these benefits DOES NOT EXIST

How can this nail be driven home? A whole section of the media (led by the BBC 'natch) are in denial.

They seem to think that there is a hangar full of money somewhere being used to buy champagne and cigars for 'the toffs'

Unknown said...

@ Paul. Thank you for being visible with HIV/AIDS. That still takes much courage. I agree with most of the points you make.

Its also good to see you working with your illness.

Even last night the Minster for the Disabled at APPG Disability discounted the information provided by doctors stating it was important to have properly trained specialists in disablity. Herein continues to lie the problem.

I live with and campaign in the HIV field ,, and the training and resources given to minority disabilities remains very poor when often these are the most complex. We are aware of the level of training in HIV at the DWP.

Poor decision making can often lead to protracted appeals which in terms of HIV are often abandoned due to health impact or the fear of public exposure.

@Phil I agree this is about the "ethos". The direction of travel on supporting the disabled and those with long term illnesses is a very backwards step on the progress made on disability equality. Turning back the clock to Victorian times.

It is going to get much worse.

As Lord Rix said last night how can these cuts be fair. The government seems to start from the point of view that we have full disability equality. As we do not its clear that the government is unfairly targeting an group that is not equal and thus all reforms and cuts have an unequal impact from the start.

Interestingly there was talk of legal challenge using Equality/DDA & European Human Right Laws.

To say that we are return to a more "draconian" era is true.