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Food banks? What food banks?

Outcry after ex-Lord Mayor blasts Liverpool benefit claimants. Listen here

Written by . Published on September 19th 2013.

Food banks? What food banks?

SOMEBODY will eventually say food banks don’t exist, but instead are a conspiracy theory, just to scare the better off in Blue Rinse Britain. 

It’s easy: just get a few hundreds gobby Scousers to dress like ragamuffins and drag their rickety kids to a church hall and watch as they pretend to be ever so grateful for food parcels. 

To hear these comments from someone who once represented this city is astonishing

You might expect Education Secretary Michael Gove to be in this sort of denial. But not one of our own, former Lord Mayor Eddie Clein. 

Gove set the tone in the House of Commons last week when questioned by Wavertree MP Luciana Berger about the expansion of food banks.

Michael-Gove1Gove: Poor people bring
it on themselves
Berger even had the cheek to suggest that in Liverpool, food banks have started to issue school uniforms to hard up families.

Food banks, replied Gove, resulted from families not managing their money.  It’s a pity he didn’t say that to the bankers for not managing our money. Instead he handed them a giant-sized piggy bank. 

So when ex councillor Clein (he was rejected, along with most other Lib Dems, by the electorate) popped up on Radio Merseyside last he chucked in his own pennyworth. Not only did he agree with with Gove’s supposition, but went a lot further. 

He first attacked Luciana Berger (by the way Eddie it’s Berger, not “Burger”) , describing her as ‘a public school educated, university educated person who “has quite frankly given the word ‘exaggeration’ a whole new meaning”. 

Clein insisted there were almost as many food banks around now as when Labour ran the country. 

 But, hang on, where were they?

 ”I travel all over Liverpool and I’ve never come across a food bank. I still don’t know what the demand is for food banks,” he told Roger Phillips. 

Clein, a pharmacist, outlined his travels around “the poorest constituency in Europe” meeting people as he delivers prescriptions . 

“What makes me feel uncomfortable is they are all standing there with iPhones. This is where I think Gove is coming from when he talks about lifestyle choices. 

“These people don’t seem to have any shortage of money for non-necessities of life, but when it comes to choosing whether to put food on the table …. I think that is what Gove is talking about.” 

All of this proved too much for Mayor Anderson who took to his PC to tell both Gove and Eddie Clein what he thought of them.  It also sent on fire the message boards of the world's biggest news website, Mail Online, where the story attracted almost 500 comments.

This is what Mayor Anderson said of Gove: “He’s really outdone himself this time, insulting some of this country’s hardest hit families by claiming that those who are being driven to turn to food banks are only doing so because of their own wrong doing. This is pure arrogance from a man who is supposed to be in touch with society, he is so out of touch that it is almost laughable. But what do you expect from a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth who has wanted for nothing.” 

Eddie CleinEddie Clein: Should have
gone to Specsavers
Then it was Eddie Clein's turn to earn the wrath of Joe Anderson: “As Mayor of Liverpool I have witnessed how hard it is for families to live through this turmoil. I have seen first-hand the people who have to rely on these services, I know and understand them. So when I heard former Lord Mayor and Lib Dem councillor Eddie Clein not only agreeing with Gove’s comments but digging the knife in deeper I was in disbelief. 

“This is a man who claims to know this city and its people; he has seen the struggles of day to day life for many, yet makes comments which back the view of this ConDem Government. I remember being taught as a boy to not judge people, that stereotypes are bad and that prejudice is wrong.

"This is something we are all brought up understand and especially in this city, where we have had to fight stereotypes more than most. So to hear these comments from someone who once represented this city is astonishing.” 

Food banks, said Mayor Anderson, are a last choice for the majority of people, a choice made through sheer desperation. 

“The truth of the matter is that the number of people using Trussel Trust food banks has increased from 61,468 in 2010 to 346,992 in 2012-13."

It will be interesting to see what the Labour Party decides at its upcoming conference to do (if anything) about the plight of people, about the bedroom tax or the rule forcing the disabled and the sick to get off their backsides and find a job. 

Meanwhile the elusive search continues for those foodbanks….they are nowhere to be seen.

Obviously a conspiracy, then.

Former Lord mayor of Liverpool in food bank denial by Liv Confidential

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

John ShawSeptember 19th 2013.

It's becoming a habit, this is the second time today, that I find myself agreeing with Joe Anderson. I would endorse every sentiment expressed by Joe. If you require proof visit Seel Street, opposite The Alma De Cuba, frequented by the Liverpool glitterati is a house that doles out food to the homeless on a daily basis. This has been the case for years. Fareshare are proactive in this city, they will willingly point you in the direction of poverty, just visit some of the food banks they supply.

AnonymousSeptember 19th 2013.

I think Eddie Clien should go along to a food bank and just observe for himself the situation. I think he may come away enlightened. Let's give Eddie the benefit of the doubt till he does this. He does tend to get carried away if there's an audience. My guess he will be shocked at real world Liverpool.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Deja VousOctober 5th 2013.

It looks as if you pre-empted it spot on Anon

Paul WardSeptember 20th 2013.

One decision that poor people might care to make is to avoid Eddie Clein's establishment. Perhaps a drop in his income would clarify his thinking.

John ShawOctober 5th 2013.

Eddie has just recanted, he's on the box with Luciana whose invitation to visit a food bank, has changed his view. Well done Ed, you have my admiration, it takes a bigger man to realise when he has been in the wrong, and hold his hand up.

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