DEAR EDWINA…

Dear Edwina;

It’s 9 o clock on Tuesday, the morning after the night before, where we were both on a panel on The Big Benefits Row on Channel 5. I haven’t watched it back, I was there, and know what I look like when I’m angry.

I need to get this out – because it’s everything I wanted to say last night but couldn’t, as I kept being rudely shouted over by you. Honestly, my three year old behaves better than that. At least he knows that when Mummy does her ‘will you just be QUIET and LISTEN to me’ then the best thing to do is to stop running your mouth and let Mummy say her piece.

But you didn’t. Because you were terrified of what I had to say.

I wanted to say, when asked by Matthew Wright, that poverty is almost indescribable to someone as blinkered as you. That turning off the fridge because it’s empty anyway, that sitting across the table from your young son enviously staring down his breakfast, having freezing cold showers and putting your child to bed in god knows how many layers of clothes in the evening – it’s distressing. Depressing. Destabilising.

Sure – you could probably live on benefits for a week to ‘prove it could be done’. But imagine living for 11 weeks with no housing benefit, because of ‘delays’. Imagine those 77 days of being chased for rent that you can’t pay, ignoring the phone, ignoring the door, drawing the curtains so the bailiffs can’t see that you’re home, cradling your son to your chest and sobbing that this is where it’s all ended up. It feels endless. Hopeless. Cold. Wet. Day after day of ‘no’. No we aren’t looking for staff. No there isn’t anything else to eat. No I can’t put the heating on. No I haven’t got any money to pay my rent arrears. No, no, no,

Sitting on the bathroom floor vomiting up the paracetamol and sleeping pills I took to try to end my own life – that wasn’t, as you hissed in an aside, “a rich girl pretending to be poor.” I was alone, with nobody to ‘pretend’ to. I didn’t write about my suicide attempts, because I was scared that if anyone knew how bad things were, I would lose my son. There was a lot I didn’t write about. You become adept at keeping up appearances, at smiling and saying you’re fine. It was almost a year before I was referred to a food bank for help, almost a year of searching for work, holding my home and my son together at the seams with an iron will. And all those ‘no’s.

When you descend into personal attacks against your opponent, it is because you have no political argument left.

When you tweet your opponents grandfathers obituary all over the internet in a foul attempt at smearing their reputation, it is because you are scum.

Did you stop to think for one moment how you might have made my family feel? My nan, my mum, my dad, all people who dearly love the man whose life and death you used in a live television debate last night to try to unsettle your opponent? Of course you didn’t.

I was asked to sell my life rights to a movie director last week. I refused on two counts.

1. I’m not that interesting. As proved by you, when the biggest scandal you can dig up is that I used to drink Aldi lemonade with my grandad at his guest house.

2. I’m not an island. My life is interwoven with complex relationships, as are all of ours. Having been subjected to professional trolling for over a year now, I would never put my family through those levels of abuse. I get death threats. Rape threats. Personal attacks on my weight, appearance, sexuality, education, lack thereof. So I try to retain a degree of privacy, for the ordinary people on the periphery of the right wing media monstering of Jack Monroe. If you love someone, you don’t throw them into a bear pit.

If you’d have been willing to listen, you’d have realised how spectacularly you missed the point.

Poverty can happen to anyone. That’s why I unsettle you and your cronies. Because the Tory party rhetoric of ‘work hard and get on’ can fall apart in the blink of an eyelid. I worked hard. I got on. And I still spent a year and a half scrabbling around in a festering pit of depression, joblessness, benefit delays and suspensions, hunger, and the entrenching, gut wrenching fear that I was failing as a parent.

I’ve never claimed anywhere that my family were “poor”. They weren’t “rich” either. I’m not really sure what they were, which I guess makes them quite ordinary. As a child, I had dinner on the table and always had clean clothes. We had a holiday a year in a caravan in Devon or Yorkshire, and the occasional foray to Ireland.

I went to a grammar school, not with any coaching or private tuition, I just sat the entrance exam aged 10 and was offered a place. It was hardly Eton. I struggled at that school, grades gradually getting worse each year, until I dropped out with not enough GCSEs to take A Levels. I went to work, in a shop, at the age of 16. No degree, no Oxbridge education, no feet on ladders, no family business to inherit – just me and about £5.85 an hour.

But Thankyou, for giving me the opportunity to set the record straight about my upbringing live on air.

Thankyou for showing your party to be the nasty, out of touch, gutter scraping worms that they are.

Thankyou for the extra 5,000 supporters I’ve had on Twitter, my blog, personal emails since your revolting attack.

And I ultimately feel very sad for you. Sad that you can say on television, without an ounce of remorse, that people should be starving in Britain. Sad that you cannot see beyond party battle lines to the real human pain and suffering up and down the country. Because it’s easier to talk in statistics and sound bites than it is to hear one persons story. It’s easier to shout down than to have to hear what poverty is like in Britain.

As for your little hissed aside when the cameras stopped rolling: “Still working for Sainsburys are you?” Yes, I am. The ad campaign runs for another couple of days. I guess I ‘worked hard and got on.’

My mum wants you to apologise, by the way. Are you woman enough?

Jack.

@msjackmonroe

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670 thoughts on “DEAR EDWINA…

  1. Oh Jack. I didn’t see the programme last night, but this says it all for me. You are amazing, your story breaks my heart. And of course the saddest thing of all is that it’s a story that’s being repeated, again and again, across the country.

  2. i watched the benefits debate last night and it disgusted me just how removed from the truth that edwina is. i earn a GOOD wage but i still struggle to make ends meet as basic human needs – water heating bills etc are sky high. i commend you @agirlcalledjack as you stood up for yourself, spoke articulately and informed and left edwina with not a leg to stand on. people partied when margaret thatcher died and the next parties will be when edwina goes.

  3. Unbelievable. That’s all I can muster together right now. Her smug smug face was just, ugh.

    I’d have written pages of a reply to her too. Just ugh.

    I can’t even form a real sentence. I was up til 4am trying to save my relationship, I’m not sure it worked. But the reality of the real problems in the world (as documented above) might help me put that in perspective.

    Or I’ll just crawl up in a ball here.,,

    Well done Jack, they hardly gave anyone an actual debate….

  4. Hi Jack: (I could make some dreadful pun here about the programme being “Hijacked” by EC ….Your response is a painful and measured read describing with simple grace the realities you have had to face. You argue from a strong ethical place-it’s something many of your opponents can’t risk attempting to understand.You frighten them Jack and I’m glad you’re around to do so.

  5. What a sad, ugly & heartless woman Edwina Currie came over as. Not being articular or intelligent enough ( just like the Katie Troll) both had to use the lowest form of arguing by throwing totally irrelevant snipes about their ” opponents”. X
    ” if wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise every woman in Africa would be a millionaire” ( George Monbiot) The Self- Attribution Fallacy

  6. I have a mental list of ‘possible psychopaths in British politics’ , can you guess who is on that list? Yep, Edwina Currie. (I didn’t watch the debate as I am having problems with my blood pressure.)

    I don’t get what Currie meant by ‘still working for sainsburys?’ is she against people working?

  7. Hi Jack, I watched the programe last night and thought it was a complete shambles. No one was able to put their point across without being shouted over and personal insults banded about. I would have liked to see a proper debate but sadly this didn`t happen. I really would love to know where Edwina Curry gets the idea that people can just turn up to a food bank and fill their bags up.

    • I totally agree….the programme wasn’t worth tuning in to. People with real points to make weren’t given the air time to make them and trolls dominated the evening. I only tuned in to see Jack…wish I hadn’t….why bother getting an articulate, well informed panel member then allow her to be treated like that??

  8. Well said Jack – you are incredible and SO brave – a voice for my exact feelings… And undoubtedly for many others…
    And Edwina, you obviously have no idea!!!!!!

  9. I am sat here Mentally applauding you. No only that she is a fine one to talk sleeping with another woman’s husband there is in my book nothing lower than that because of the lies lies and damned lies that are involved . I wish for you Ms Monroe nothing but happiness and warmth and your Mother is right an apology would be the right thing to do but then look at the person whom she Is asking it of. Stay as you are an evolving butterfly delicate beautiful and strong.

  10. I am about to watch this debate on I player. The politicians don’t know about being in poverty, I was like that once struggling to bring up four children with no money but the wage I earned, you know the rest, ( no heating etc) I am in a better place now I have retired, but still have to decide want to spend my money on rant over sorry, keep going you really are doing more good than harm

  11. The thing is Jack she doesn’t care about other people’s suffering.She is a self serving narcissist,she only cares about herself,I don’t really understand it myself,I think it’s a kind of illness – trying to communicate with someone like her is like throwing pearls to swine.She is incapable of responding with honestly or compassion,she is completely outclassed by your integrity.That’s how I see it.Jackie xx

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

  12. I watched the thing last night and like most sane people was rooting for you – all you do is support ordinary people and try and give them a voice – yet the rich and privileged seem to be too protective of their own position to ever concede you are talking the truth. You are so brave and you really rattled them, well done. Always on your side Jack and the Likes of Currie showed herself up for what she really is, and all her kin. I am proud to link my blog sobernoodles with yours.

  13. They will never get it. There is always something that we can do to help ourselves. Always. But when we do it in the face of being ever more trodden-down it rankles not just a little bit.

    And they will never, ever, ever get it. I’m glad you scared her somewhat and sad that you had to suffer her attitude.

    In response to her aside I might have been tempted to fire back with “at least I didn’t prostitute myself to the top” but it seems a little unfair to prostitutes.

    Hang in there.

  14. Pingback: A Splendid Example of UK ‘Politics’ | Musical Gibbon

  15. Good for you! What a bunch of nasty, bigoted, self interested arses they all are. Keep going and carry on speaking out as long as you feel able. Lots of people support you, me included!

  16. Are the Conservatives deliberately shooting themselves in the foot? I have always been what’s called a ‘floating voter’ and my political inclinations I keep private. I wrote to my (Conservative) MP about a month ago over another issue. What I received in reply was a wishy-washy response in which the underlying message seemed to be ‘money matters more than people’. Now, after seeing the foodbank debate and reading this (as well as other things that Currie et al have said), I have to say that some of the ‘floating’ has gone. I don’t know who I will vote for at the next election, but it will definitely not be the Conservatives.

    • Foot shooting is a very apt term. I don’t like voting as I don’t think there has been a lot to choose between the parasites on offer but next time I will vote for anything that keeps the toads out.

    • sandyfaithking – I agree. As a floating voter I’ve had the view that all the mainstream parties care about roughly the same things I do – essentially, a chance for us all to get on and prosper whilst caring for those who need help. As a result, I’ve voted for all of them over the years.

      I don’t want to vote labour this time and I’m not too impressed by the lib dems but the staggering lack of respect and decency shown by Edwina Curry has really made me face up to the fact that actually the current bunch of tories are pretty unpleasant. The egg’s not just on Edwina’s face this time. For me and probably many others she’s smeared the whole party.

      One of the most telling comments by the awful blonde woman (can’t remember her name) was that 1% of the population pay 30% of the taxes. Doesn’t this make you think that the gap between the rich and poor is wider than ever. Why can’t we live in a country where wages are higher and housing costs aren’t distorted by the unfair tax reliefs given to private landlords.

      I’m sick of a political system that simply favours it’s mates, whether blue, red or yellow.

      It’s time for a change. I just wish I knew where it could come from.

      PS. The program was a total shambles but it has opened up the debate.

  17. Well said Jack. I’ve seen plenty of times when loud mouths like Edwina and Katy Hopkins shout over someone and put them down personally because they’ve got no political argument left.

    It shows them up for the shallow, ignororant, sheltered buffoons that they are. If you can’t debate in an adult, dignified and well informed way, you shouldn’t be given air time.

    • Well said… although it is a shame you were not given the opportunity to say it last night.. I was looking forward to hearing what you had to say.. and the tv time was taken up with two very VERY stupid women… which is also very sad as the only two people on stage last night who had dignity.. were you and ‘white Dee’… says it all really doesn’t it!

  18. Well said Jack.
    Just begun watching recording of Wright Show and Terry Christian summed up Katie Hopkins/Edwina Currie to a tee……”competition between KH & EC who could be most hatchet faced horrible Haridan on there”
    Both Terry and Matthew Wright agreed it was like a Bear Pit (accidentally on purpose?)
    So well done for doing your best to get your points over, despite being spoken over by Rent a Tory and only letting one f word slip out!

  19. Good for you Jack. I was so shocked at the way you were treated by currie and annoyed that you didn’t even get to say what you wanted to. I can’t even begin to understand how someone can not be ashamed of the poverty in this country.
    I hope EC does apologise to your family because below the belt she was indeed. Keep up the good work jack x

  20. Well done. Brilliant. Good for you. You are an inspiration. You did yourself proud…. all words lacking from Edwina’s day today.

  21. Well said Jack, Edwina Currie came across as a spoilt petulant rich brat with absolutely no compassion for those less fortunate than herself,by her action of tweeting your grandfathers obituary she has proven herself to be nothing but callous & heartless.
    If Edwina Currie does not apologise she will be once again left with egg on her face and an even bigger stain on her character – shame on her !

  22. I watched you last night…bravo! It was immensely satisfying to see an honest, gutsy and hardworking member of the public take on a blinkered and archaic politician who cares for nothing more than popularity. Well sorry Edwina but you have no idea about the today’s people and your run in with a girl called Jack, as well as the manner in which you handled the discussion suggests that there is not much left out there for you except mybe to drape a blanket over your legs and wait for your ocado delivery.

  23. I didn’t watch that debate but your post is, well, self explanatory. I am disgusted by the behaviour and treatment you received. Seems pretty obvious that your petty ignorant opponent was put in her place, even if she didn’t let you have your full say.
    And I am shocked and saddened to hear that you get such vile threats made against you and that you have horrible comments directed at you. I can’t understand it, but I certainly hope you have found a way to keep it at arms length and not let it shake your confidence – perhaps it has the opposite effect?! I hope so.

    Ever since I heard about your blog, how it arose and started reading it, I have nothing but respect and admiration for you – for your strength of character, resilience and resourcefulness in overcoming difficulties I can only imagine, for what you have achieved for your family and in your work and for being an inspiration to others, me included.
    Keep up the good work x and thank you

  24. Didn’t watch last night, but have been following your posts for a couple of weeks and this one was a little different to the others.

    No one like Edwina Curry (not even John Major anymore) so do your best to forget this. You are in the right and the world is a better place for your efforts. Keep it up.

    As a species we need to learn to be nicer to each other and help each other more. I despair sometimes that so many influential people refuse to get that.

  25. Well said Jack. I’ve been there too, it was no fun. My kids and I survived, but I often wonder how much it damaged them. All that struggle, but they have made it, maybe it makes us stronger. Edwina is a strange person, she is intelligent but has little empathy I suspect. All she knows is Edwina’s world, don’t let her get under your skin, you are doing fine. x

  26. You won, full stop. They were telling lies and got shown up so they got personal. Edwina behaved like a playground bully, twisted her own words and told lies.

    Jack congratulations on Sainsbury’s, to speak for the poor why should you stay poor? I hope you and your boy never have to suffer like that again and you can look him in the eye and know you did it by using your obvious talents, what a great example, you will inspire lots of single mums to do the same.

    There are very few role models who don’t sing but you are a great one.

  27. Wonderful reply – sadly Edwina is beyond any rational and unbigotted thought. Remember many people are with you in spirit. It may sometimes seem a cold comfort to be in the right in adversity to such callousness but ultimately you have integrity and that is truly the most we can aspire to. You are a great role model to your child and many many people.

  28. You rock! People need measured, intelligent, honest and articulate representatives like you to stand strong in the disgustingly corrupt media. There are so many who depend on people like you to ask the difficult questions and point out the inconvenient grand social injustices to the sickeningly out of touch institution. Never stop fighting, the fact that your personal life and not your message was the only avenue of attack by your opposition should be taken as the worlds biggest compliment. Thousands stand behind you that much is obvious, if it makes them scared enough to mud sling then you are doing everything right. And in conclusion congratu-fucking-lations!!

  29. Go Jack. Edwina Currie is a nightmare of a woman who slept with John Major. Can’t think what is worse, sleeping with another womans husband or that man being John Major. She was bloody rude. So when you get your ballot paper remember what the Tories really think of hardworking people. Work for minimum wage and think you are lucky. While the bankers get the bonuses people queue at foodbanks.

  30. Thanks for showing Edwina Curry up for what she is, her and Katie Hopkins needed putting in their place. Her tirade to an unemployed mother to “Get a job” would have got me up and smacking her in the mouth, this person who receives half her ministerial salary as a pension and a state pension and winter fuel allowance as well.

    The less said about Katie Hopkins the better apart from she put all the capitals in COMPLETE BITCH! Well done jack

  31. I’ve never been a fan of Currie but I watched the programme last night and was shocked at how rude and vicious she was. She didn’t do herself any favours, did she?

  32. Well written – you have put your view across clearly, succintly and intelligently. Shame you werent given the chance to do so on air.

  33. I meant to catch up on the C5 debate last night. I’m not sure I can bring myself to watch it if its not really a debate but just Tories yelling. Currie sounds venomous on camera and off.

    I did catch the R4 one the previous day where there debate seemed to centre on tatoos and what you looked like. I’d kind of expected better of the Today show, but I guess thats what journalism has decended to.

    I do think you’re right about them being scared and baring their teeth when they’ve no recourse to reason any more. Your whole thing about everyday cooking being for anyone I think is a liberating thing. A bit dangerous. Like education. Don’t want all those poor folk thinking for themselves.

    Lastly, you’re being a really powerful, cogent, eleoquent voice (when you’re allowed to speak) for lots and lots of people who don’t have one. It’s a job and a responsibilty that you’ve shouldered without question. The flipside of that is that its ok for you to get paid for that. I know you know that, I guess I’m just saying that we all know that too.

  34. just shows how scared of you and your opinions curry was, all that digging she had done into your lifestyle and background, what a sad example of a human being that woman is, I was hoping that someone would put her in her place with a nice back handed comment about climbing the tory ladder on the back of the affair she had with john major for 4 years

  35. I don’t have a TV – I binned mine last time Edwina was on it regularly – but I don’t need one to know what went down last night – well done for trying to speak the truth – don’t be discouraged

  36. very nicely written, i was discusted with hopkins and edwina last night. These people really don’t understand, with there high educations and silver spoon up bringings. I was also out of work for a couple of years through no fault of my own, the job centre don’t make it easy to get your benefits as a lot of people think. Im working now thank god but the best i can do is a 20 hour contract on minimum wage. i really wish they could live a year out of work with cv like mine and lets see how easy they find a job. stuck up cows the pair of them.

  37. I witnessed the disgraceful remarks of Mrs Currie yesterday evening, and am so sorry. You handled the matter very well considering the level of provocation. Sadly, people like Mrs Currie, once given a public platform, quickly descend into ridicule and cheap remarks. I remember her when she was a Councillor in Birmingham and she has not changed since.

    I was rather disappointed by last night’s programme. It could have been a genuinely serious and mature discussion, but instead was hijacked by two over-grown children – Hopkins and Currie.

    I admire your spirited self-reliance. You have a great deal to teach all of us. Even an old lady like me. I wish you every success with your life and am sure we will be seeing a great deal more of you in the years to come.

  38. I’m sorry, I switched off after 10 minutes because I just couldn’t stand watching the Katie Hopkins roadshow anymore. It was akin to having one of those really annoying, attention grabbing puppets on a kids show! I’m sorry (but also glad to be honest) that I missed your encounter with another disgusting display of being out of touch by a Tory. x

  39. Is this some form of irony – didn’t some old Tory say:

    “In my work, you get used to criticisms. Of course you do, because there are a lot of people trying to get you down, but I always cheer up immensely if one is particularly wounding because I think well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left. That is why my father always taught me: never worry about anyone who attacks you personally; it means their arguments carry no weight and they know it.”

    - Margaret Thatcher, From an interview for Italian television (RAI), conducted by Enzo Biagi (March 10, 1986)

    Found at: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Margaret_Thatcher

  40. To be treated like that by an attention-seeking 70 year old child must have been most unpleasant . Thank you for remaining so measured , you are all the more effective for it , and that must be gall and wormwood to those who dare not look over their walls of enritlement and self-interest .

  41. What was intended to be a serious debate on the Benefits row did indeed turn into a circus the moment the two clowns that is; Katie Hopkins and Edwina Curry appeared, all that was needed was a clapping seal balancing a ball on his nose to complete the show, however well said Jack and some of the audience members who through trial and error did eventually get a word in past these two very arrogant and self obsorded women.

    • Jack
      After readings your post, this wee verse came to mind. I used to have this sitting on my desk at work….it connected with me and seem relevant today.

      OM
      Become loyal to your innermost truth.
      Follow the way when all others abandon it.
      Walk the path of your own heart.

      Jack
      Stay true to whom you are
      Thank you for sharing your post.
      Some people are so disconnected from the truth that it verges on delusional.
      GB x

  42. Well done Jack, I was cheering you on last night and as for Edwina we can only pity her ignorance and wonder if she is deliberatly trying to sabotage her own party, by showing their true colours. Her family must be so ‘proud’…if I were her daughter I’d be getting my name changed by deed poll.

  43. She blasted her private life – including her affair with John Major – all over the public sphere in a book. She doesn’t understand the concept of protecting family and friends by not loudmouthing her intimate secrets to the world. Dignity is an alien concept to her.

  44. despite the continous claims by the right wing media that most people are behind welfare reforms – the story on the ground is quite different, none of us believe a word that is said, we listen to a governance that has only derision, scorn and a diet of lies for the electorate, they play us for fools as . this comming year 2014- 2015 will possibly be the ugliest, foulest display of ill mannered snake oil sales associates ever know, the great circus of the millenia -desperately grasping has-beens revealing each owns true colours..Jack Monroe – you stand head and shoulders above this vile lot.

  45. The debate was a total farce but at least for a change some real voices of opposition were heard. Such important issues being given a blink of an eye to be discussed. Let’s hope the next one is longer and they introduce some basic rules like the host chooses who speaks and then no one else can speak until they have finished. If they break those rules they have to leave. Time out for Edwina. Well done Jack! I’m glad you were able to write this piece and gain so much more support too.

  46. I have no idea why a woman who is only known for messing up the egg industry and sleeping with John Major was on that program. She had no facts to offer, simply sniping at others that she knew better than them. Perhaps her main qualification is that she’s a condescending bitch?
    You presented facts, which she didn’t want. So she shouted and used personal information to try to shut you down. Always the way of the bully and tyrant.
    You still showed her up but I hate that it was of personal cost to you,.

  47. I was unaware of your story and your work before last night, but I’m glad to say that’s no longer the case. You handled a difficult, emotional situation incredibly well and, inevitably, the ghastly Currie (and, of course, Hopkins too) were shown up for the vile, ignorant morons they truly are. Well done!

  48. Brilliantly written, Jack. While me and my family have to watch the pennies and there is a distinct possibility that things might get worse before they get better, if they ever do get better, I could never be described as poor. We have a very nice house, I have a reasonably well-paid job (teacher – I won’t go into the related grumbles about that as they are not related to this issue and are well-rehearsed elsewhere), we eat well and still turn on the heating when we are cold. I have never experienced the sort of poverty you so brilliantly describe in this blog entry.

    However, it doesn’t stop me having great sympathy for anyone who has to live in this way. It doesn’t stop me wanting a radical change in the politics of this country to try to make this sort of thing much rarer. People in a rich country like ours should never have to worry about whether they can afford to eat or to stay warm.

    I think you are spot on about the Tories (in fact my big worry is that Labour won’t dare to change things properly if they get in government). I didn’t watch the programme last night as I knew it would make me even angrier. However, I totally respect you and anyone else who is working to try to change our politics and society.

    I think you are an inspiration. It is ridiculous that opponents try to use your recent success as a slight against you. It is brilliant that you have, through resilience and hard work and inspiration (as far as I can see, although I don’t really know very much about you). Just because you are not any longer starving (I hope), does not mean you are not entitled to comment and campaign for those who are still living in poverty. In fact, it is an amazing testament to your commitment to a better society that you still campaign for others.

    Thank you. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. You are right, they are wrong.

  49. The ‘still working for Sainsbury’s’ remark translates as….
    I am going to demean this threat to me and attempt to make her feel like shit AKA go into BULLY mode.
    I will put Jack Munroe in her place.
    I will not acknowledge that she is a much better politician than I am and that she showed me to be the vile person that I really am with not a political clue what I am doing.
    So instead I will attempt to belittle her rather than acknowledge all of the good work she has done and acknowledge that she is fronting the advertising campaign for a massive, successful UK company for a bloody good reason!

    Ridiculous woman has embarrassed and brought shame to herself. I have been looking forward to your ‘ Dear Edwina’ all morning. Knock them down one by one Jack not one of them has answered you back yet. Voiceless little parasites.

  50. I didn’t watch it. couldn’t bear it. I’m glad you were there. You are AWESOME. thank you for being brave and facing all that sh!t.

  51. Well said, Jack. Thank goodness you are strong enough to answer back to hideously monstrous people like Edwina C, part of the really, really nasty party! I’ve been poor, not as poor as some perhaps, but pretty bad for a time as a young mum about to be evicted from my home. These people have no empathy and no understanding of how poverty grinds you down. Keep up your good work!!

  52. the programme just showed what sort of person she really is , she knew she couldn’t win so resorted to underhand childish means but just showed herself up to be the mean minded self absorbed person she really is .

  53. Ever heard of compassion Edwina and Katy ? Ever thought that people may be on benefits for other reasons than a lack of drive or laziness or that part time work doesn’t pay enough to cover bills? No probably not. If you’re on benefits it’s because of your own fecklessness. What a nasty and blinkered outlook to have.

  54. Watched that programme last night and it just proves that Edwina, that other stuck up TORY idiot (whatever her name was) and the rest of that despicable Conservative party have NO IDEA, NO CLUE and just don’t give a FLYING F**K about anyone but the rich. The Tories were formed to keep the “rich, rich and the poor, poor!!”
    Those two arrogant, ignorant B’Stards just verified that point.
    I lost my job in August 2013 and my income has gone down 85%, All I get for 30 years of work is a poxy £71 JSA a week. I’m in imminent danger of losing my house. I’ve had to resort to food banks. I have and still do apply for every type of job possible (even those that don’t offer a living wage) with no response. I’ve been on every course suggested by the Job Centre. There aren’t the jobs out there that Ms Currie thinks there are. The ones that are have countless applicants for so employers have an
    overabundance of choice.

  55. I hold my hands up and admit that I had to turn the channel over as it all got far too infuriating. You did an amazing job, and it goes to show with the increase in Twitter followers and positive feedback. Edwina on the other hand, well lets just hope she realises how much of a cretin she really is. I don’t like to say karma will come around for her, but a little bit of me just hopes she experiences the shit that comes along with depression, poverty and humiliation. Here’s to wishing.

  56. I couldnt agree more. I watched the show last night an my first few mins of viewing was through clenched teeth..ranting about how somebody needs to push their (EC&KH) faces through the nearest job centre window. Im not a violent person n had a bit of fright when this anger welled up inside. Ive been in poverty more times than I want to recall. Worked 20+ jobs in last 27 yrs.. Currently juggling bad health with £6.90 per hour. Just to prove a point to my husband after listening to his rants about “If you want to get on then get off ur ass n get a job” Yes im married to a cons supporter n ive often thought of the Divorce word.. but he hasnt had to endure the indignity of it all. I already had 2 children when we met so he did miss all the poverty days. Trying to calculate how I would manage if he died tomorow.. I was left with £5 to last a month for food/travel to work an household cleaning/clothing etc. After paying essentials I would be destitute. All for the “Work hard to get on” Not only are unemployed living in poverty but so are some of us who have worked since leaving school. Bills have quadrupled but wages stay stagnant. This is the reality. This is life as we know it. Im lucky hubby has a pension to look forward too.. myself.. im goin to sell a kidney or a lung or maybe my eyes.. without it.. His pension wont keep us. But its ok were currently looking on ebay for a caravan. Thankyou for speaking up for All of us poor mortals.

  57. How can Edwina Currie be against Food Banks, surely they’re an example of Big Society in action? Perhaps they’re abandoning that as well as the Welfare State now, and resorting to Every Man for Himself?

  58. I cannot thank you enough for your strength of character and your calm and logical argument in the face of such ignorance and willful blindness as perfectly demonstrated by Edwina. I cannot compare what I have been through to your experience but I have felt similar feelings of depression and unhappiness. Thanks to your example and your determination many of us can feel that we can also make a difference and help to improve the life of those around us in need of help. I’m just beginning my voluntary work for the Foodbank in Leeds in large part thanks to your inspiration. Thank you.

  59. I didn’t see the programme, will catch up on iplayer, but everything you have said in your follow up needs to be heard by everyone in this country.

  60. Stay strong, don’t let the Tory trolls grind you down. They will never, never understand poverty. You’re better than them – though I’ve only watched part of the program and will watch the rest tonight I actually thought it was rather good, and the Tory trolls showed themselves up for the heartless, inhuman pond-slime they are.

  61. Jack you have already done more for the people in the UK than Edwina Curry has ever done. Feel proud! We are very proud of you.

  62. I was homeless and jobless living in a welfare hotel in Richmond it can happen to anyone. Edwina is a narcissistic exhibitionist all that matters to her is publicity actually she shows the Nast side of the Conservative party

  63. I’m not a “commenter” on news sites or blogs usually but I just wanted to say bravo to you for the above post. Brave, honest and human…aptly the opposite of everything that wretched Edwina Curry represents

  64. For anybody considering voting Conservative, remember that the opinion and attitude towards the poor passionately expressed by Currie and Katie Hopkins last night, are deeply routed and shared within the party.
    Should the evident, obscene dismissal of peoples desperate plight to survive witnessed lastnight, still not cement your opinion, quote EC: “Go and clean a toilet” (like the piece of shit you are)… then I would also like to remind ‘floating voters’ it was the Queen of Selfish herself, Margret Thatcher, that crippled the working classes by crushing the Unions and selling off all their jobs to the international private sector, during her monstrous reign in the 80s. Her legacy lives on our skilled labour has vanished and the media backed it to the hilt.
    The rich get richer, the poorer get poorer. That’s what the Tories do best and they will stop at nothing to protect their privileged interests.

    • Bang on the money there Giggsy.

      All done in the 80s with the ‘not economically viable’ tag as a justification, all the while propping up ‘inward’ investment with obscene handouts (presumably because they too would not be economically viable).

      A shower of uncaring, selfish bastards.

  65. Oh, please! No-one taking part in that programme or watching it can possibly have expected anything other than a right-wing circus. All you did was allow Channel 5 to have a temporary ratings boost by allowing benefits claimants to be trashed on TV yet again.

    Edwina Currie? She recently described herself on Radio5Live as someone who is paid to argue. She may not even believe half of what she says but that’s how she makes her living: being a nasty piece of work. She was recently peeled like a grape by a QC on a Radio5Live phone in programme where the cutbacks in legal aid was the topic.

    Katie Hopkins? A total loser. Couldn’t even win that piece of trash TV ‘The Apprentice’.

    Matthew Wright? No skills to manage a debate so just sets up a bear pit of people screaming at one another.

    Jack Monroe – I thoroughly admire your writing and your struggle to change your life and I hope you are now on an upward trajectory but please stop being so naive. If you are going on TV with the likes of Currie and Hopkins, be prepared to shout louder than them and dominate the discussion and be prepared for your personal life to be used against you. That’s how they work. They want to win and they don’t care if they have to lie and shout to do it. It generates more work for them

    • Have you ever heard the phrased “give someone enough rope”?

      An avowed benefits opposer on my Fbook wall today was saying how vile Currie and Hopkins were.

    • Why should she sink to their depths, her stance and attitude has more integrity and honesty and THAT’s what ordinary people want from OUR politicians. House of commons has been filled with buffoons like these 2 and a decent debate can no longer be had there. Political elite my arse!

    • It actually wasn’t a right-wing circus. There was a lot of reasonable comment, the host pointed out several tmes that the most benefits are paid to pensioners, and KH/EC made fools of themselves with no help from anyone. I think it’s time the debate moved on from Left v Right. Like everything in life, things are so much more complicated and nuanced than media soundbits would have us believe.

      • I think that what happened to Edwina Currie and Katie Hopkins is that they turned up expecting a right wing circus and found they were in front of an audience more intelligent and informed than they were able to cope with. They both dealt with it by trying to make reasoned discussion impossible.

    • I agree with much of this but strongly disagree that the way to win is to shout over the idiots. Don’t lower yourself to their level. I suspect the only way to remove them from our TVs is for people to refuse to appear with/opposite them.

  66. I love that ‘sheltered buffons,’ its so true! I am horrified by the Tories, always have been though they’re worse than ever now. I’m sure the TV company picked EC cos of her extreme views and eagerness to voice them.
    You do such an excellent job of fighting back though Jack, I’d just be crushed into a heap & cry but you remain eloquent, polite and clear at all times,
    You should get an apology but I doubt it’ll arrive.
    Thank you so much Jack for all that you do on our behalf.

  67. i’m never interested in anything she has to say. I imagine I will disagree as soon as she opens her mouth. You, however, have taught me something (along with your recipe for thai curry and chowder!). I’ve never been in the situation you describe and I am ashamed to say that I have never really appreciated the horror experienced by people in it. I would also never be so ignorant, cruel, inhumane or arrogant enough to presume anything about the experiences that have put people in such a heartbreaking situation.
    Anyway, I think you are fabulous and I have sought out the local foodbank and will be making a contribution because of what you have highlighted to me.

    I also agree with your Mum. Edwina should apologise. Bad form.

  68. Fascinating to watch that show and then the footage of IDS in front of the Parliamentary Welfare and Pensions Committee yesterday. Katie Hopkins, Edwina Currie, and IDS all behaved exactly like small children who know they are in the wrong but don’t want to admit it.

    There seems to be a very childish and self centred demand for conformity at all costs somewhere at the heart of their attitudes, along with a complete inability to understand that the world doesn’t consist of an eternal present stretching back into the past and forward into the future.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

  69. I live in Italy – a recent move but have followed the benefits debate in general. I missed the exact programme last night. They really do not like it when their work hard and you get your just deserts claim is challenged. I have my own tale to recant about losing everything despite working hard. I can well imagine what they were like. Keep on hun.

  70. What a nasty spiteful old women Edwina curry is, I had to leave the room after what i heard her say Maybe you should have reminded her of her betrayal to John Majors WIFE !! She has no idea what its like for the thousands of people that go without food and heating, no jobs or jobs that don’t even cover the cost of living!!

  71. Pingback: The Big Benefits Rabble… | Sweet Reasoning

  72. I couldn’t watch the debate last night and, reading this, I’m glad I didn’t! Not through ignorance, but because I’m also someone who won’t put on the heating (no gas at the moment anyway!!), has an empty fridge, hasn’t left the house for the past 5 days, can’t find work and wishes every morning that I wouldn’t wake up! I’m just grateful my kids are grown up (22 & 20) and have not had to suffer the poverty faced by thousands of kids today, yes, it was tough, but god knows how I’d cope now!! Shame on you Edwina, you just don’t have a fekkin clue, then again, you never have!!

  73. I tuned in expecting to get a balanced debate and it was spoiled by having Katie Hopkins and Edwina Curry on, two very out of touch people. You and the lady off of Benefits Row came out the best and should be proud.

  74. The programme started well and quickly dissolved into back biting and obnoxious behaviour when the mouths of Katie and Edwina opened and bitter, twisted personal opinions came out. They simply showed themselves for what they are.

    She couldn’t allow you to speak because your story had you had the chance to tell it would have undermined everything she said. She also couldn’t let you speak because she is a bitter twisted old woman without of date ideas and understanding of the system as it is today,and she showed herself up completely last night.

    It could have been such a good debate and could have produced answers and interesting discussion, but these two stopped all that …. I wonder were they paid to do just that?

  75. I haven’t mustered enough courage to watch the program yet, I only recorded it because you were on it Jack, knowing you would air the truth is the only reason I pressed the record button.
    I hope with so many others that the truth about this Governments nasty agenda will become general knowledge and so many of us won’t be afraid to go out anymore, keep going Jack :) xx

  76. Caught the Ch5 ‘debate’ good on you, Dee and Rachel Johnson – well most of the commentators actually. Dee showed more class and intelligence than either the spawn of Matthew Hopkins or the failed MP Currie.

  77. it became a farce due to having people like that hideous EC and KH on and an audience that also were not able to debate it was awful – you and hayley needed more airspace and the headteacher

  78. I totally agree with the comments about this letter and while watching the Benefits debate I was appalled by the disgusting behaviour of Edwina Currie and Katie Hopkins. Both women didn’t care about or want to hear other people’s side of the argument because they were too busy spitting venom at everybody. Even ‘White Dee’ put her views across in a mature and adult way. You put your views across well and were brave to stand up to her. Edwina showed her true colours and showed the country what a vile woman she really is and what the tories really stand for. I thank God for people like you who are real human beings. You stood up to a party who clearly have no grip on reality and the lives of people in this country.

  79. she once also said northerners were unemployed because we drank 10 pints a night – we need a recap in the media on the nasty things she has said because she is still around and still a platform for tory nastiness proving its still there – she proved that last night ..

  80. This piece is far more powerful than the televised arguments and soundbites that people like Edwina are trained to deliver. It’s rather like putting a trained gladiator into a ring with a novice – you can guess the outcome. Honestly, the programme makers also bear a lot of the responsibility for not allowing you your say and for not moderating Currie’s attack. Deeply impressed Jack – thank you.

  81. Jack – I thought the woman was a disgrace, and sent a clear message of what the Tory party thinks of the benfits row. As a former MP one would have hoped she would have been able to come up with a sensible input to the show, but no her hateful, and personal remarks simply showed the woman up.

    I find it funny that she was insistent that people should do anything if it meant finding work. Let’s remember, this is a woman who went to work and slept with John Major to get ahead – let’s be honest I’d rather be on the dole than sink to that level.

    Keep doing what you’re doing Jack, we all think you’re great !!

  82. I’ve been following you on Twitter for a while because I think you’re an amazing, articulate, strong person and I love hearing what you have to say. (My husband had never heard of you before – now he thinks you’re fab.) Please keep up the good work. You’re right – they shout you down because they’re scared of what you have to say. Keep fighting the good fight.

  83. Hi Jack, this made me cry. Thank you so much for being the amazing, brave person you are. I am well educated and have a good job, yet spent over a year living on an overdraft and trying to stick to an impossible weekly budget. I dread to think how I would have coped with a child. There is something deeply wrong with our society.

    • Please let’s be honest – politicians from across the spectrum use personal attacks. It’s a ploy which was given a name by the Romans – ‘ad hominem’ – and has been around for as long as debate itself. Better if everyone stuck to the actual argument. But of course name-calling can be so much more (self) satisfying.

  84. I think edwina and Katie were very rude and their arguments made no sense whatsoever, it made me laugh when you swore, you were only saying what 98% of the population wants to say! they have no concept of poverty at all! the thing that annoyed me the most when someone suggested putting the minimum wage up to a level that people can afford to live and the cheeky cow said they can’t afford to do it! why? Because they claim for second homes, food and goodness knows what else costing the taxpayer thousands and they have the cheek to call benefit claimants scroungers, they are both disgusting and vile human beings

  85. Oh what I would give to see you elected as an MP, someone who understands what it is like in the real world. Just need another 649 odd then and perhaps we might get real results and not politics.

  86. If you wanted to get personal back you could’ve pointed out the public loathe Currie so much that she was the first to be voted out of Strictly Come Dancing and her book detailing her affair with John Major sold about six copies. Also it lead to one of her daughters not speaking to her – not sure if they’ve since made up.

    Currie’s need for attention is really rather sad because she was once a woman of substance and someone to be reckoned with. She had power and she could’ve had more. She was of course thrown out of the Commons by the voters and has since chosen to become a well-paid media troll. She’s not stupid so she must know deep in her heart how hollow that is compared with what she achieved in the Commons – namely sponsoring an amendment to equalise the age of consent for gay people.

    You have a bright future in front of you Jack and many people – myself included – greatly admire the huge contribution you are making. Currie has nothing in front of her save for bitterness, regret and a very sad old age.

  87. I remember seeing Mrs Currie in Derby city centre during the 1980s. Her two children were running around on a traffic island on next to the Council House and she could not control them. They completely ignored her and so should we!

  88. Jack

    Surely the coldest, hungriest, most hopeless day you ever spent could not be as bad as one spent inside the shell of that soulless, wilfully ignorant, screeching, hateful, cheating vapid, harridan?

    To look in the mirror and see that chilling void, lacking all humanity and decency gaping back? The thought makes me shudder.

  89. It was just like the day time Jeremy Kyle Show. Allow the person with the vilest opinion and/or loudest voice their say, allow everyone else only the tiniest say, so they get angry, then step back and watch the fireworks. Step in as Mr Reasonable, and repeat.
    KH was predictably vile, EC was more vile than I remember and sounded like she had new false teeth to boot.
    A debate wasn’t allowed, and I was, literally, shouting at the telly. Which, sadly, is just what they wanted.
    I was so frustrated for you, not being allowed to get your point across

    Was also trying to engage with Arabella Wier after the Food & Drink show, where they were making ‘cheap meals’ for £2 a portion. AW insisted that you needed to buy in bulk, and she didn’t have room, and plan obsessively, which she couldn’t do. She just wouldn’t hear the message. Almost wanted to stay in a place where she couldn’t afford to eat healthily if she was poor
    Still, managed to get both our blogs mentioned on their site, so that’s a result
    I do find these programmes where they are supposedly making cheap food, misleading, unrealistic and extremely unhelpful

    • Agree! I found Arabella Weir almost offensive in the way she was saying what she was saying last night! And I read the statement where she said Jack could only eat healthily on a budget because she bought in bulk. Think I must have missed the bulk buying bit on Jacks blog. I think it does take time and planning, and, obviously, its easier the bigger your budget is, but you can eat healthily on a budget as you and Jack and indeed lots of others prove day after day. Plenty of people eat badly on a large budget too. And £2 per person for a pudding, budget food, give me strength. I don’t think my blackberry pudding costs that for all of us!! Budget food. Not really.

  90. You are so very brave. A great role model in a country which desperately needs them. I am a mum and work from home and to hear what you and your small boy went through is terrifying. I preordered your book as soon as I could. I love your recipes and your political stance. I wouldn’t have thick enough skin to ignore the vile trolls but you do. Stay strong. X

  91. Well said and well done for trying so hard against all odds!!!! In the past and in not so public places, I’ve squirmed with humiliation and unexploded anger whilst wondering how people who are supposedly so “clever” can be so stupid or adversely wondering how they can deny the truth and squash it with “clever” practiced, repost! I’ve come to the conclusion that they cannot face the idea of being “wrong” and that even when proven “wrong”, they still manage to be “right” and blame others for making mistakes. They fear that the truth doesn’t bring with it, the answers they need, so they manufacture a make believe world of illogical but politically “correct” drivel. By politically “correct”, I mean something that promotes their political views in a way that can seem to some to be logical.

  92. What can I say. All respect to you for your strength, for your tireless campaigning on the issues of hunger and poverty. Her attacks on you just go to show how morally bankrupt they have all become. As they say, Don’t let the bastards grind you down!

  93. Edwina Curry lives near me, and I often see her walking the dog by the river. Sometimes she has her daughter and granddaughter with her. I thought she’d retired from politics.

    I didn’t see the programme you refer to here, but gather from what you’ve written that she behaved very badly. I’ll ask her whether she’s apologised, next time I see her.

    If not, would you like me to hurl her in the river? :)

  94. 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏
    Dearest jack
    Beautiful written!
    I felt physically sick watching the show last night at the way you where shamefully treated. Tory scum currie could Never survive in the real world of poverty for a week without assistance. The haves like that b**ch Hopkins need to step into the shoes of 1000s of people suffering in poverty in this country. That is why giving money to help suffering animals and people abroad should stop and people should look closer to home.
    Well done for keeping you hands of the toffee nosed cow currie 👏👏👏👏👏

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • I would like to say respectfully that I don’t believe compassion should be governed by geography, therefore I disagree with your suggestion that “giving money to help suffering animals and people abroad should stop”. For one thing I am 99.999% sure that the government doesn’t give any money at all to suffering animals abroad. As for people – the level of deprivation suffered by too many in other countries is so extreme, and the amount of money needed to feel one starving child so miniscule, that I believe it would be the gravest inhumanity for us as a country to stop giving that aid. Thank you.

    • ‘giving money to help suffering animals and people abroad should stop’? Whoa! Animals are suffering as a result of this governments draconian cuts too. The shelters are fit to bursting with innocent, once loved pets that people can no longer afford to feed. We should continue to give money to foreign aid because for centuries Britain raped and pillaged the world in the name of the British Empire. We owe much and we form part of the world.

      • If we were helping people in this country, they would be able to keep their pets. Won’t we be in a better position to support other countries if we focus on the UK’s economic recovery?

  95. The bit where, in response to “pay working mothers a living wage”, Edwina’s response of “we can’t afford to” was a damning indictment of capitalism by a former Tory MP.

  96. Did the gruesome two some sneak out early before the show ended cos i did not see them at the end of the show pmsl (scaredy cats)

  97. I didn’t watch this programme – because I could foresee the kinds of odious and ill-informed garbage which Currie and Hopkins would spit all over it – but thank you for continuing to write rationally, clearly and with astonishing generosity.

  98. Well done for speaking out on behalf of those who are suffering. Personal attacks are the last resort of the thwarted idiot, they run out of arguments and decide to have a nasty dig. You might be working for Sainsburys now (well done on getting one of those rare jobs out there) but that doesn’t negate your experiences in the past, neither does the history of your family. Currie and Hopkins are out of touch, bigoted, nasty fools who need a good shake.

  99. I didn’t watch the debate , too painful for someone newly confined to a wheelchair, well done for saying your truth, don’t let the bigots get you down. Next week they’ll be howling about some other issue and we will still getting on with our lives, step by step.
    Respect xx

  100. What the Nasty Party forget is how many of us are reliant on benefits because of their policies. I’m a single parent civil servant on year 4 of a pay freeze. Doesn’t matter how hard I work that’s a pay cut and I’m extremely grateful for the 14 quid a week child tax credit. It costs me thirty quid a week for my daughter’s travel to college but there is no ema any more. I’m luckier than some because I live in social housing so rent is not asrronomical.
    We’re all in it together. Yeah right. So long as the working claas are turning against each other we’re not.
    Thank you for being our voice and for the recipes which have fed us well on our tiny budget

  101. I didn’t see the programme, but your response looks dignified and, to me anyway, devastating. I didn’t see Edwina Currie’s performance – and make no mistake she has always had a strong sense of the theatrical, I cite as example her waving in the air a pair of handcuffs at party conference – but I have read about it and am shocked. Not surprised, but shocked. Your response showed far more civility than I could have mustered had I been treated in the way you appear to have been.
    Keep up your good work.

  102. I Watched with bated breath…terrified once again…of the backlash of people blaming those on Welfare…for the state of our country.
    i was more than amazed…at your courage…and those that put facts before the debate….unlike those…that tried to keep up the lies…and propoganda…Edwina Cury..is famous for Erm..oh yes Eggs…The other woman..the one with the very large mouth…no…cant think of her name…probably because she is a “Nobody”….they couldnt hold their own argument…so they got personal…rude and downright ignorant.
    shame on them….and well done to you Jack….you were AMAZING…and i for one…am sorry for how rudely you were personally attacked…but thats bigots for you…take care…and thank you ..love and hugs xxx

  103. These people have no compassion, they live in their bubble. They need to live on benefits, Then they need benefits stopped for example because the DWP/ATOS Say they failed to complete the assessment because they had a heart attack during it. They need to be treated like a criminal on JSA and become suicidal because they cannot get one interview. How can you be better on benefits, if you don’t have enough money to by food? Why are zero hour contracts allowed to happen? Why are landlords allowed to charge as much as possible… How long before no one can afford to pay rent? Please find out the facts before you judge. Please think. Please care. Please visit the real world. It is hell here. Why criticise what you don’t understand? You say get a job… Why don’t you try and help that to happen.

  104. An ex student of mine put me onto this debate. They were all discussing it this morning amongst themselves. Some really impressive debate from them and respect for each other and their differing opinions. Shame that the same can’t be said of Edwina. Thank you for being an excellent role model for thousands of young people.

  105. I tend to agree with Allison Franklin (though I might be a tad less blunt about it). Jack, don’t get defensive after putting up with that kind of abusive trash. It’s utter crap. That woman is just not worth it. I understand your frustration, but you should not feel you need to share your most private details due to an episode with a cold-hearted callous woman like that. Maintaining a dignified silence is infinitely stronger. Dust yourself off and move on. Small boy can be rightfully proud of having a fantastic, dedicated, committed hard-working mum such as you. You have a great future ahead.

  106. I didn’t see it but I believe what you say. Keep going, Jack. You speak for so many people. And I am appalled and so sorry that you have received such nasty, awful threats. I hope you can stay strong. There are many, many people rooting for you. I’m sending love with this post, I hope you can feel it and that the love you get from your supporters displaces the hatred Edwina and her ilk aim at you. xxxx

  107. Well said, Jack. My heart goes out to you for what you have been through. I saw last night’s show and – aside from the obvious disgust at them having two rentagobs on there, being paid to be offensive, I was really annoyed that Matthew Wright did not allow you to answer his question! I had been looking forward to hearing what you had to say and the way you were treated by him was incredibly unfair.

    Words fail me about Edwina’s behaviour and of course she owes you an apology – but try not to let her get to you, she has not been taken seriously since the egg scandal… She is trying to use you to get attention/revive her ‘career’.

    You have done, and are doing, a truly wonderful thing. Your story is incredibly powerful because it is true and you clearly have great integrity. You also have a rare talent, you produce amazing recipes and I personally believe very strongly that you deserve to be rewarded for that. Next time you have an opportunity to gain financially from it, take the money! Don’t let idiots like Edwina make you feel bad for doing a Sainsburys ad – enjoy your success and the helping hand for you and your son. I know you will always continue helping people and I wholeheartedly applaud you for that. In other words: I and many, many others think you are wonderful – don’t let the bastards grind you down. :)

  108. Well done you! I didn’t watch the programme, but I so admire your courage in speaking out for all the people who are in the same situation as you were – and your iron will and determination shine through in this blog. Well done you for being there, for putting Edwina Currie in her place, and for showing what a nasty party the Tories are.I hope that this gets into the papers and shuts her up – she and the Tories makes me ashamed of this Government, they are carving up the country at the expense of us “little people” in order to massage their own bank accounts. Shame on them !Sending huge hugs, and my sincere condolences to your family – what was said on air was disgraceful and you should get a full apology …. but don’t hold your breath sweetheart – these scum have no conscience xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  109. You could off also said that opening your legs for your boss gets you a step up the ladder, Thank the lord we are not all trying to do that even though we are Desperate

  110. Well said Jack, such brilliant, sincere, human and inspiring writing. I admire your strength. Those two women Currie and Hopkins are so disgraceful they shouldn’t be given airtime.

  111. Decided to watch the great benefits debate on channel 5 last night, but instead of an adult debate about what needs to change, it was hijacked by Edwina Currie and Katie Hopkins, it was turned into a pantomime, with these two harpies portraying the ugly sisters to perfection, they are a perfect example of why this country is in the mess it is in. I mean everybody understands the benefits system needs to change, but instead of trying to help people get back to work by retraining, or helping people start up there own business, or by protecting those too vulnerable to look after themselves all they want to do is demonise, be negative and putting people down when they should be picking them up. This should not be happening in the 21st century we are supposed to be a civilised society, instead these hateful people sound more like hounds baying for blood. Disgusting. I thought everyone else that participated did very well in telling it like it is, especially under such difficult conditions.

  112. I’ve been following your blog for some time, with admiration and interest. You are so brave, and your are giving a voice to people who are struggling and suffering in a way which this country shouldn’t tolerate. I haven’t seen the broadcast yet, but hope it hasn’t hurt your family. When can we buy your cookbook?

  113. I watched the programme and couldn’t believe how ignorant and rude Edwina Currie actually was she struck a very low blow and that totally disgusted me, along with the other very rude and out of touch person Katie Hopkins who tried to do similar to Annabel Giles.Those two specimens should be ashamed to call themselves women, they certainly do not have a compassionate bone in their bodies. I believe in Karma and they are creating so much for themselves, I think we have to rise above it sit back and watch the outpour of bad energy tht they are collecting for themselves, as is said every dog has its day ! Well done you and am sure most of the UK will be behind you……..

  114. Edwina and Katie what a Pair of Hard faced women!!! They Haven’t got anything going for them..No Personality,No Manners,No Looks,very cold women..Pity Them as they are not Living in the real world..But they will Fall and they wont Know how to Handle ”SURVIVAL”

  115. What a magnificent, potent and POWERFUL passage Jack – thank you – I stopped everything I was doing to read it when my son posted it on his timeline. It realigned me at that moment from what I was doing – gratefully so – and at the same time I heard a voice in me asking and I wonder whether Jack could also articulate the benefits of it all that have come out of it for her and for others – one immediate being that she has power and clarity in her voice and will be changing lives globally as a result….
    Thank you for your raw and beautiful commitment.

  116. I have known poverty. Having to sell my things are have my children go hungry. Nearly having my home reposed. Benefits aren’t there for those who need them. Fortunately we’re back on our feet. I actually starting my new job on Monday.
    Last night proved what I’ve always thought politicians are vicious nasty people who will say and so anything to have their opinions listened too even attack a single parent who has done her best for her son.
    As for Katie Hopkins I’ll just say this. What a bitch.

  117. Didn’t dare to watch the programme for fear that it would make my blood pressure explode.
    Anyone can ‘manage’ on benefits for a week with a full cupboard, a roof over their heads, the utitlties paid up to date, clothes in the wardobe, a warm winter coat etc.
    Life on benefits isn’t a life it’s barely an existence. It is hell. Fighting your way through the benefits system in order to actually receive any money in the first place is a total nightmare.
    I despair of this country, of the old adage of ‘work hard…blah, blah, blah’ yep, done that, done all the ‘right’ things and still you can get stuck in a situation through no fault of your own, illness, disability, redundancy you name it, it can happen to anyone.
    Please keep fighting Jack, you offer so much strength and are such an inspiration to so many.
    You really are a woman with more guts, integrity, humour and honesty than anyone of the ‘rent-a-quotes’ that are wheeled out to try and belittle you and your achievements.
    Thank you for everything you do for those without a voice.

  118. Hi Jack,
    Just came across this, and to me it sums up what you do perfectly.
    The only people mad at you for speaking the truth, are those that are living a lie, so keep speaking it.
    Keep fighting the fight Jack we are all with you.

  119. Jack, I’m so sorry to hear that trolling extends to someone as hardworking and inspiring as you. I’m very naive and not on twitter, so that world is beyond me. But please know that you are an inspiration and I hope that all those who love and support your work and what you do goes some way towards making it worthwhile.

  120. Reblogged this on sealingwaxandstring and commented:
    I can’t tell you how angry the current Tory government makes me – even my usual stream of inventive invective dries up. So, for those of you in any doubt of the crippling effects of poverty (which I have experienced) and with any notion that new foodbanks are to be hailed as a success and an indication of good community spirit, please read this.

  121. For goodness sake, you are busy posting all over the internet about how badly you were treated. It seemed to me you gave as good as you got, even to the point of swearing on camera when you lost your cool. Maybe don’t appear on televised debates if you can’t take it? Life is hard when you have a young child, every parent struggles in the beginning, I know I did, trying to make ends meet on a low wage. You are not unique in your experiences It sounds like life is much better for you now, so well done for that. I watched the show out of curiosity as it has attracted much media attention. I thought it was a terrible piece of television, no discussion, just a bunch of people shouting at each other. No-one came out of it well.

  122. Dear Jack,
    The show last night showed you in a very good light and Edwina Curry showed up the Tory values in an equally poor light. I have to confess I had not heard of you or your blog previously but I did feel that I wanted to get into the TV and tell the others on the show to ‘grow up’ as I found their behaviour, Curry in particular, to be that of the playground bully who calls names when they come up against an opponent who actually has what is needed to come back at them.
    I too have worked all my life but now am unable to following strokes, although I have paid in to the system for many years that same system will not give me any support now that I need it.
    I hope you do continue to rise and to get the word out about the reality of poverty. I must admit I really dont like having to go cold but have no choice at times now so I can understand how difficult it must have been for you, with a child and alone.
    I wish you all the very best for future health and happiness.

  123. Jack, you have to rise above this crap as i have said so before. Did not see the show , sounds appalling. Do not take part in such things and then have to feel you need to justify afterwards. Do not read comments, do not respond to criticism from nitwits, just do your own thing beautifully and forge ahead. Otherwise, as i have said before it will do you in and you will be viewed as a lessor person than you are. There will always be the haters, just do not give them the time of your day. Engaging in defence of yourself via media is not a winner…you have a loyal support base, just ignore the rest. Their loss…..but if you continue defending etc it will lesson, just come up with next weeks super “never thought of making that” recipe and column. Do not read crap comments!

  124. I was outraged that you were not allowed to say your piece and that Matthew Wright did not come back to you. Anyway, it has given you the opportunity to present your position so eloquently above and has only served to strengthen you in the eyes of the public. I also wanted to hear more from Annabelle Giles who seems to know what she is talking about because she has lived it. There it is, you have to live it or witness it from close quarters to really understand the suffering and desperation of living life on benefits. As for the likes of Katie and Edwina, come the day of the revolution….

  125. I’ve seen it now on 5 On Demand. Edwina Currie behaved disgracefully, but exactly as you would expect for a Tory. Your mistake was to let her get under your skin. The little time you had was wasted responding to her jibe. Next time, ignore the old-timers. They have had years of training but perhaps that’s one trick that won’t work again. XXX

  126. I can’t understand that so many people (Tories et al) think you can just walk into a food bank and walk out with goods. If that was the case all the rich people would be shopping there too. But they are not about free food as first of all someone has to donate the food in the first place. Yes its often about to go out of date, but food banks are meant to be a last resort when you have absolutely nothing in and give food for the next few days, not a months shop as Edwina Curry and Lord Freud seem to believe. And they are means tested, you need at least one referral from somewhere like Citizens Advice or a social worker to get into the system. Its still seen as shameful by many people on benefits are very proud and don’t want to feel they have sunk that low, so many who potentially qualify for help don’t ask for it, especially those who don’t have kids at home or are older – the things you will do for your kids are not the same as the things you will do for yourself, you may let yourself go hungry but never your kids.

  127. I watched last night in abject horror at both Katie Hopkins and Edwina Currie, I’m glad that you now can say what you should have been allowed to say last night. My husband was made redundant from a well paid job at xmas and is finding it hard to get back into work, so I know all to well how the descent into hard times can happen as quick as lightening, but that currie woman in her grace and favour mansion would have no idea about that would she? Well done Jack you are a million times the person she will ever be, and most importantly you are real.

    Di

  128. i totally agree with all the comments above. i watched the program and was so disappointed at your treatment by EC. wouldnt we all just love to see her lose everything and try to exist. exist yes as it certainly isn’t living. well done jack.

  129. Currie is the lowest form of pond life and her behaviour last night is truly indicative of what this debacle of an unelected, travesty of a government are about. Edwina Currie and for that matter Katie Hopkins have never done a decent hard days work in their lives. You did well last night, girl and I would like to see you lead a campaign to stop demonising the least fortunate in our society before it truly gets out of hand and we have pitch forkers targeting innocent people.

  130. If this was the attitude and behaviour of Edwina Currie it was completely wrong and ought to have been curtailed immediately. Was no one chairing this? You were indeed speaking for many and if Edwina Currie was using such behaviour instead of a coherent argument then she deserves never to be heard from again on this issue. I hope you will agree with me that a universal basic income for everyone would help to lift people at their wits end due to lack of resources to keep their heads above water. Many of us are working toward a future where all the basic costs of life can be fully provided for. Good luck and well done on creating this text telling us all what went on and how it affected you.

  131. Reblogged this on home of real food and commented:
    I have to say I’m not politically driven, I am people driven and get truly concerned by narrow minded views it damages individuals. We are not our family we are individuals no- one has the right to attack personally another, respect is a common courtesy, respect others and do your damnedest to help not attack. If you have nothing positive to say don’t say it.

  132. I watched the programme last night and applaud you for not getting up and hitting that evil Woman. I admire you for being truthful more than that woman will ever be. Well done x

  133. …to be honest, who’d want an apology from a person who’s only claim to fame is fucking (surruptitiously) John Major (a Conservative with Conservative values) and ‘managing’ what turned into an utter egg fiasco?

  134. As for Edwina having a go at your success – success gained by your own work ethic – isn’t that the epitome of what the Tories want? They preach about putting yourself out there and becoming self employed etc instead of lefties sat at home living the good life (on £71 a week) yet when you have success you are automatically one of the ‘hard-working middle class’ Katie keeps spouting off about and meant to change your views accordingly. Edwina calling you out on your association with a supermarket who have had campaigns in the past like ‘Feed your family for less’ and always produced recipe cards to encourage people to eat a better variety, and trying to knock you down and belittle what you have achieved – well that speaks volumes about her ill manners and hypocrisy.

  135. I used to only read your recipes and skim over the political commentary. I realise this is wrong and have gone back and started reading every post, in order.
    Every single post I read makes me love you more. You are truly an admirable and special human being. You have the luckiest son ever with such an honourable and inspiring mother. I am so happy to point to you as a role model for my daughters and my son too. Much much love to you.

  136. Hi Jack.

    Ordinarily I ignore the media and don’t watch TV at all, but last night I switched on to see what I thought might be the culmination of recent years of government/media anti-human rhetoric and the counterfire it has necessitated in trying to redress the balance. I think it is beyond doubt that the vitriol aimed at poor and vulnerable is designed to distract attention from the ubiquitous wrongdoings of the rich and powerful and the likes of Curry and Hopkins epitomised that hypocritical posturing.
    Unfortunately, and despite the amount of decent people I admire appearing on there, the progamme as a spectacle seemed little more than a real life enactment of a social media ‘debate’, with the usual ‘rightie’ contributers resorting to ad-hominem attacks and abuse to distract from the real issues because they didn’t have an actual point to make.
    Aside from your written rebuke to John Littlerichard’s (have I got his name right?) public admonishment of you I wasn’t familiar with you or your situation, but having witnessed you defend your family from a so-called educated woman of the undeserving privileged class, and now having read this blog, you can count me as another supporter.
    All the best to you and your family from me and mine- in solidarity x

  137. If you go to E. Currie’s Facebook information page you can click the edit button and suggest a link to be added. If enough people vote/nominate the the link, they will add it to the page, so they say. I just nominated a link to this page here. If enough of us do it…….

  138. Intelligent, thought-provoking and emotional. What a fantastic response.

    Somehow, I doubt that Edwina will agree with me but what more can you expect from such a morally corrupt, Tory dinosaur who will most likely only be remembered for an ill-advised affair with the (then) PM. And eggs.

  139. i agree with every thing you said, i am a single mum and i have to get a job, i apply for loads of jobs, but have no luck, i struggle every week with feeding me and my daughter, i do not have my heating on hardly , as i can not afford to, i think a lot of these politicions have no idea how much we struggle,

  140. Last nights debate was interesting as it showed how ill informed Edwina Currie and Katie Hopkins actually are about poverty and its effects on health and aspiration. They were both extremely rude and unwilling to listen and it was disappointing that either were given so air time. You on the other hand Jack, conducted yourself well and would have added constructively and informatively to the debate if only you had been given more chance to speak. You are an intelligent voice in a mad, mad world.

  141. I never really took much notice of politics, since they are all as bad as each other in their own special ways, but I saw that program last night and was quite horrified by Edwina’s behaviour.
    I’m quite glad though, because it made me look up your blog to find out more.

  142. Hi Jack, I was disgusted by Edwina and her nastiness to you and you family. The problem is you don’t fit the “scrounger” profile and that scares her. I can remember her on any tv show who would pay her discussing her poor Daughter being bullied, that is exactly what she tried to do to you last night. Don’t let her get to you , she is nothing but a Panto villain. I hope you get a tv cookery show it would help so many.You should be proud of yourself for helping yourself and others.

  143. Pingback: Jack Monroe Vs Edwina Currie | WHEN TORIES ATTACK

    • Oh by the way that juvenile delinquent that the likes of Currie and Bottomley insisted I would be rearing … is now a most wonderful, beautiful human being working very hard for our NHS as an obstetrician … :-)

  144. “When you descend into personal attacks against your opponent, it is because you have no political argument left.”

    She never really had a political argument to begin with, she descends to personal attacks because she’s an awful person with an axe to grind and the morals of a black-hearted Tory trollop.

  145. I think Edwina was under the impression that “he who shouts loudest, get’s heard the most”. So glad you finally get your say and that the world is paying attention.

  146. Dear Jack, people like Edwina Currie try to paint you as disingenuous because you don’t fit their sordid little narrative of misinformation. Currie is a deeply unpleasant human being, whereas you are ace. End of.

  147. I don’t see any reason to attempt to explain anything to that ridiculous woman, she is a joke! Well done Jack on what you did manage to say. The programme could have been a useful and educational debate but to have allowed such pathetic creatures as Edwina and who was that very bitter woman with the blonde hair who hadn’t a clue??? to spout such nonsense in the face of all the facts was just farcical. It would be an insult to those people who sadly suffer from dementia to suggest that maybe this is what is wrong with Edwina suffice to say that something isn’t right there. Sorry you had to be subjected to such a personal attack but really, don’t let it get to you. Anyone could see that she hadn’t a clue and was having to resort to the lowest personal insults to cover her embarrassment.

  148. This is truly an amazingly powerful post, thank you. As a single mother myself who’s felt that desperation of bailiffs, bills you can’t pay, scrimping to buy nappies and food- of powerlessness, worthlessness- thank you for voicing this. The cowardice and nastiness of those who show disrespect for the dead and contempt for living human beings just shows up their own ugly lack of compassion and humanity. Your courage and honesty is inspirational. All the best to you and your family.

  149. Reblogged this on EPIC Blog and commented:
    Edwina Currie has always been vile but her performance on this program really showed her truest colours. EC is a evil, vicious witch. All about political wrangling with her and as Jack points out not a thought for real people’s suffering

  150. Edwina go and suck on your eggs, and get to grips with the real world, don’t forget it’s scum like us pay your pension and keep you living in the lap of luxury.

  151. If she thinks poor people are nothing but gutter scum that should be left starving and living on the street, maybe you should have treated her to some street justice? I would have paid good money to see that bitch dropped on live TV.

  152. When something said is so true and factual it becomes so inspiring to those who cant get the chance. Reading your letter I can only describe it as a thing of beauty. Edwina Curry is a nut case as everyone knows, as is the Tory party members. I would even go as far as to say they are dangerous murdering reprobates.

  153. well done you Jack, I live in a Welsh Valley, It was the Tories who killed our Valley, When Maggie Thatcher closed the mines down, she put nothing back in so the 3 generatios after are all un-employed, The Tories MUST NOT get back in to power. says:

    WELL SAID YOU JACK

  154. well done! as a single mother of three I struggled to bring up my children….but was blessed with a political party in government at the time who did not stigmatize and who supported me to work part time and finish a Master’s Degree whilst raising my kids. It was bloody hard work….we did without most things….but at the end of the day I worked, struggled and raised three amazing people. My heart goes out to anyone in the same position today…the coalition government is short sighted and lacks compassion, grace and humility. seems that public school doesn’t equip individuals with the qualities most essential to living collaboratively….and gracefully.

  155. I was so disappointed with how she treated you. You’re right that she obviously had nothing to defend her argument so descended into personal attacks. Unacceptable behaviour in my opinion. Keep doing what you’re doing :)

  156. I had heard of you, but last night I saw a spiteful old bag put in her place by a girl called Jack – worth the whole show and what a way to use the ‘f’-word – swearing is so commonplace to hear it used with effect is a thing of wonder. You said more in those few minutes than Currie or ‘Make me an MP Dave’ Hopkins with her pathetic parroting of the Tory slogan. Well done girl; more power to you.

  157. I missed the prof due to sickness and in many ways I am glad I did, I cannot stand watching low down cheap tricks and I am sorry that you were once again subjected such a vile attack. I know you say that you have a thick skin, but when I am reminded of the attacks made upon you on a regular basis, it sickens me.

    You are one brave fighter and what you are doing is making a difference.

    Big Hugs San x

  158. Edwina Currie is a bitter old has-been. This article in the Mirror is interesting- she’s had her nose in the trough so long she can’t comprehend that some people have a genuine need for food banks… Best to ignore her- DON’T FEED THE TROLL! http://www.mirror.co.uk/…/edwina-currie-happy-demonise…

  159. Disgusting and despicable, but sadly very predictable behaviour from that woman.
    I fear though that people will fall for the crap that they did in the 80s and 90s, when I woke up to the election results and even more despairing when they were voted in yet again, and I knew we would have to suffer for another 4/5 years.
    My Mum said last week ‘ Please God let me live until next year so that I can vote against them’. I’m certain Dave et al would prefer it if she didn’t live until then, not only because of the vote, but because they’d save on paying her pension.

  160. I watched this last night and thought Edwina Currie’s behaviour was spectacularly disgusting. Keep on, Jack – you were bang on x

  161. I didn’t see the debate last night. I read your open letter because my eldest daughter, who’s 27, regularly tells me about your blog. She thinks you’re amazing and since I think she and lots of other 20 somethings struggling with the real world are amazing, that’s good enough for me. I doubt that Ms Currie will ever apologise, so – I just want you to know that I feel ashamed, angry and insulted that you could be treated in that way by another woman, especially one whose age, privilege and experience should have taught her better. I wish you all the best and I’m sure that your courage and integrity will bring you and your family all you deserve. Xxx

  162. You go girl. I can identify with so much of what you are saying. I’ve brought my daughters up alone, with no financial or family support for the last 17 years. I currently work part-time to support my daughters through college & university. It ain’t easy. Most days I cry. At present I have had my housing benefit stopped due to a ‘clerical error’, I have been told it could take 16 weeks to resolve it! Stay strong,sister. Edwina Currie is a stupid ugly woman with crap taste in men!.

  163. Good for you Jack. They want to cut benefits. Firstly they neex to examibe the way they are administered and some of the incompetent idiots that work for the private firns who run the job centres on their behalf (no doubt fellow cronies) my youngest daughter is currently having dealings with ESA.
    She keeps receiving letters informing her that her sick note runs out on a certain date which isnt even accurate. Do they not read the medical certificates she sends to them? It would appear not,how much tax payers money is being wasted sending out letters which need not be sent? (Would love the statistics with this information) .
    I know disabled young people who sign on and in receipt of DLA with learning difficulties but they get no help with job applications information is not provided in a way in which they understand. Yet they have the audacity to state they have an equal opps policy. Not for claimants .
    Private landlords who do not fulfil their legal responsibilities such as gas safety checks evict their tenants if they dare complain. Just keep the downtrodden down thats tory policy look after the rich and the poor will have to sufffer as do injured soldiers who served this country.

  164. Eloquent and polite. Something Curry knows nothing about. I didn’t watch the programme, mainly because I find this sort of media frenzied ‘bear-baiting’ unpleasant to watch but glad to hear that where other’s shouted their thinly veiled, hate filled rhetoric, party line bigotry and heavy handed pandering to the short sighted Tory elitists, there are always others who shame them with their quiet dignity.

  165. Seems to me you’re both as bad as each other for agreeing to go on a show that was clearly set up to be a pantomime by a budget television company desperate for some good ratings. If you wanted some respect you should have waited until you were invited to a proper debate. I have no sympathy for either of you.

  166. I never watched last night as I can’t abide Hopkin or Currie. The feedback on FB etc, is very positive. The two named above done themselves no favours. As you say ‘personal attacks = no political argument’. Thank you for telling it how it is.

  167. The rich fatcat elite, bankers etc have NO idea in what goes on in the REAL WORLD.

    As for the ‘get a job’ mob

    1 – Where are these jobs, they speak of?
    2 – Why would an employer take people on when they can just explot they though workfare?

  168. The whole programme was a shambles and I’m sorry anyone with any integrity was duped into being involved – car crash telly of lowest order – good old channel 5! great letter though, hope she reads it, but doubt she will, and even if she did I can’t imagine her understanding a word – too dense and self satisfied to consider being wrong.

  169. I didn’t watch this, I’m now very glad I didn’t; I’m annoyed enough just reading your response let alone having to watch you attacked. Your story should be drummed into every elected politician – those with humanity will accept it for the fact that it is and strive to ensure that no other family are made to endure the situation you found yourself in. Those who don’t embrace it should be stripped of their seat.

  170. you are sooooo right, i hate the tory scum, cant wait till 2015 to kick the rich twats out. (that’s if they don’t form another unelected government) God bless ya and your an inspiration, and a fantastic person. Keep going! :)

  171. Jack, I missed the programme but can imagine all too vividly how spiteful, inaccurate & generally nasty Currie was – I’ve heard her on the radio spouting her Rent-a-Gob shite. Your response is magnificent.

  172. Hang on, not everyone in the Tory party is a gutter scraping worm! Edwina Currie was very horrible on C5 last night and she certainly does not speak for me.

    • I think it’d be good if more conservatives who find this sort of behaviour unpalatable made that plain to the party, either by writing to them directly, or publicly declaiming the behaviour.

      If it IS your party, get it under control guys!

      As it is, barely a day goes by without one of the party or their allied newspapers demonising the poor, the disabled and other vulnerable members of our society.

      These attacks on Jack Monroe are not uncharacteristic of a certain, vocal section of the conservatives, who seem to feel attack is the best form of policy making.

  173. Shared on Facebook, as one who worked, did what was asked of me, kept to the organisations rules and did what I could for our customers and then still got told that ‘we’ve decided to restructure and there’s just not a place for you in the new structure’. What you say needs saying, more power to you.

  174. The show was very poorly facilitated/chaired. It was Mathew Wright’s job to allow people to speak without constant interruptions and to ensure that that people could be heard. The frequent change of panellists was not helpful, and he seemed out of his depth at times. He should also have stopped the personal attacks at the outset. I think that you came out of it with dignity and authority. EC has no media currency, and it’s interesting that she and the other woman (I don’t know who she is) were the only people the producers could muster to defend welfare reform and austerity. Where were the DWP spokespeople or IDS himself?

  175. You were great Jack, articulate and dignified under much provocation from that stupid woman who doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about. I enjoyed reading your response so much. Well done girl, very well done. If I were your mum I would be very proud of you!

  176. Dear Jack – I’ve just watched that disgraceful ‘debate’. Were you tempted to walk out? Anything intelligent was shouted down or ignored or turned into a glib and usually false soundbite. Edwina Currie just isn’t very bright and every few months likes to remind the world of this. You did well to show such restraint. Hope you get to properly say your piece on an adult news forum: have you ever done Question Time or guested on C4 News?

  177. What a beautifully written piece – once again, yes – every blog needs to be read all the way through. We are posting your blog from today on Facebook pages, a friend not on the internet has just asked me to print it out for her to read. Keep up the good work – for the many without a voice.

  178. Well done for standing up for yourself. If it’s any consolation, you have the possibility of a brilliant future rather than the less than starry past of a certain lady,

    • Oh that just says it all in a nutshell! Brilliant. And Jack – your integrity will see you through; thank you for being out there :))

  179. You didn’t get much of an opportunity Jack, but I thought you came out on the high ground. Currie came across as a patronising, thoughtless back stabber. She certainly didn’t gain supporters. You did.
    Currie is a right wing Tory with no concern for the family – she is after all, an adulteress – she has no idea about poverty, she opens her mouth before she engages her brain (?) (remember the eggs?) and in order to cut this short, she is plainly an unpleasant person. I believe she will get her comeuppance. There are no reasons to take her seriously at all. She is merely a second -hand, second- rate Tory looking for a stage. As for food banks undermining shops and supermarkets – where does she think the food came from in the first place? Santa Claus’s sack?

  180. They both are nasty people those two woman EC and KH, they had to resort to personal insults against you and Annabel Giles, heard KH saying that Annabel was a failed model! Considering she was famous in the eighties and married to Midge Ure! Remember in the eighties when EC was going on on about eggs causing salmonella, I worked in the Coop as a seventeen year old, we couldn’t sell any eggs because of her stupid comments! Surprised KH is allowed back on TV after her comments about Scottish people, would like to know what exactly she is an expert on anyway.

  181. You did good, girl. I came from a quite well to do family, my Grandad had his own mill. My mum and her sisters and brother had public weddings, reported in the local paper. That did not stop my family descending into abject poverty!
    It is reported by the world health organisation that cancer has become epidemic. Seeing as cancer suffers are the most likely to be plunged into debt and despair plus make up the highest number of those evicted, there are going to be many more people plunged into the poverty trap.
    Cancer is not choosy. It doesn’t care if you are rich or poor! (broadly speaking) And thank you for putting Ms Curry in her place – she threw a low punch!

  182. Well said you! The promise of “no more nasty party” was a transparent lie. People like you who fight back are worth twenty of Edwina Currie. She also misses the point, She has drawn benefits (for her children) she gets benefits now as a pensioner, even Cameron used to get benefits for his children until he and his mates taxed them. They are hypocrites one and all

  183. You don’t write like someone with no qualifications. You write better than many graduates I know. And I think you’ve proved that you’re intelligent and hardworking and that you want to work and provide for your son. You found yourself in circumstances beyond the comprehension or imagination of people like Edwina Currie or Katie Hopkins. You and your son were failed by the system. And yet you’ve found a way of making a success of yourself and making your voice heard. You are far more qualified to speak about these kinds of issues than Edwina Currie. And despite the fact that you were the one to say “fuck” on television (oops, but also, who cares?) you came across far better than she did. Before last night I didn’t think anyone was more of a troll than Katie Hopkins, but last night Edwina proved herself to be at least equal to Katie in that respect. And speaking of Katie, what does she actually do with her life? As far as I can tell she makes a living by being paid to go on TV and make judgemental and unfounded criticisms of people she knows nothing about. It’s a shame people are prepared to pay her to be rude and gobby, as that appears to be her only talent, and if people stopped paying her for it then she too might experience what it’s like to live on benefits.

  184. i have to turn that bloody woman off every time she is on the Nolan show on radio five or any other programme. Arrogant, dismissive, sneering, hypocrite (along with Major, both championing the party of family values when they were having an affair). I can see why you wanted a more measured reply because it must have been so frustrating. Well done.

  185. You know what they say.. The best defence is offence! Edwina proved in one fell swoop that she has no clue what it is like to live in the real world.

  186. You are an amazing woman, and this is an amazing piece of writing. I am ashamed that Curry treated you so madly. She should apologise immediately. Forget the sex scandals — how dare she? You are, perhaps without intending to be, an incredible spokeswoman.

  187. Edwina Curry seems to have a short memory. Back in the 90s i think her and John major were all pulling the single parents down and slagging them off, when all along these two were having an affair. She is a vile vile woman. Jack you was brill last night and you held it together, dont let the likes of this vile woman get to you. I suggest you run for Parliament you would get my vote. Well done to you.

  188. Jack, I have to commend you for your maturity in not giving Ms Currie a whack across the chops for so rudely interrupting when you were trying, as is your right, to make succinct points in the debate. Long may you continue, in your campaign against poverty, and the evil scapegoating of the impoverished by the right wing in this country, and elsewhere.

  189. Firstly, I would like to comment that I don’t agree with Edwina Curries opinion and sway more towards Jacks point of view born out of her personal experiences. However I believe Jack let herself down on The Big Benefits Row on Channel 5 and allowed Edwina Currie to win the argument and get the better of her. Jack clearly lost her temper; shouting, swearing and almost bursting into tears from the personal remark Edwina made about her grandfather. Edwina clearly struck a raw nerve and Jacks reaction confirmed this to the audience at home. Jack should not have stooped to Edwina’s level and provided a measured response. This way Edwina would of looked stupid for making personal remarks during a political debate. Maybe a lesson for you to learn in here Jack and it’s certainly worth reviewing the footage of the show.

    With best intentions,
    Y-O-D-A

  190. Jack, I was impressed and inspired by you on the programms, almost as mich as I was appalled and disgusted by the revolting display of bile that Eggwina spouted as she tried to claim the moral highground.

    There is only one little apparent mistake, or perhaps it’s misplaced wishful thinking and that’s asking eggwina if she gave a thought to your family. (maybe two if the bile-spitting with of Westminster actually does what your mum wants) although, if eggwina does, I’d take it with a lorry load of salt.

    I think there would be merit in allowing others to see your ‘ugly’ side, although I must have missed that bit; what I didn’t miss was a fiercely determined, wise, kind-hearted, hard-working mum, daughter, battle-scarred campaigner who is willing to stand up for her self, her family, and for others who have been and are being vilified by an old, rich, heartless, callous, insensitive, blinkered and bigotted woman who, obviously, does not have a fraction of the humanity and generosity of spirit that you have.

    I think it would shock some people, and alert them or remind them of what Toryism is really about – and if someone can be that vicious in front of the cameras and the viewers, what she’ll be ready to say when she’s currying Kudos with others of her ilk, the Devil only knows.

  191. I wanted to watch the program last night but seeing the rest of the bill I knew I could not as it was never going to be a fair debate. Between Edwina and Katie Hopkins. I wish I were as strong as you are to stand up too these opinion rich, experience and empathy poor excuses for women.

    You really do make me proud to be form Southend, keep at it Jack

  192. Oh my God, and I thought in Italy things were bad and that the government was turning us in to a bad copy of the really bad US welfare situation (none)!

  193. You should be mighty proud of yourself. Edwina Currie disgraced herself last night as did Katie Hopkins. You demonstrated compassion and understanding, qualities that I hope stand for something in early 21st century Britain. Thank you

  194. Edwina Currie and Katie Hopkins were as vile and opinionated as always. They have no place on a serious debate. Both have a need to be controversial. Nothing more. Last nights performance did them no favours, they looked and sounded ridiculous.
    So sad that anyone with something important to say was shouted down by those big mouthed bitches. White Dee so dignified, Rachel Johnson a huge, pleasant surprise, Jack Monroe always talks a lot of sense, and knows what she’s talking about.

  195. Ha Ha … i just saw your awesome appearance on ‘The Big Benefits Debate’, and would like to say a big THANK YOU, on behalf of most of the working class people like me who were cheering at your ‘we’re NOT THE FEKKIN JOHNSONS’ rebuke to Edwina Curry … lmao … its a shame you werent given the time to explain the reality of the hardships of being on benefits … anyway, Im not much of a cook, but maybe your blog can help me with that, and you can definitely add me to the 5,000 new followers … lol … keep up the great work !

  196. As always such an insightful blog. What politicians hate is common sense, off message, none dogma, real peoples actual life experience as it’s just so far detached from their own bubble. For Edwina Curry she is just there for the money, to ensure she stays arms length from normal society. You just keep doin’ what you’re doin’ because it’s honest and right.

  197. who are these people anyway? they lie and cheat the system themselves, have they all forgot that although they earn good money, they have used our money to pay their MPs falsified expenses,If they had the same rule as the benefit system has then their wages would have been suspended and had a taste of poor street for themselves for a while while they fight for it back.

  198. Actually, in the past, at least 1 (or is it 2?) Tory MP tried to live on benefits for a week and FAILED – even though they started from a point of being well fed & nourished before they started. SO, if these paragons of Tory ideals/policies etc CAN’T manage it HOW do they expect anyone else to do it!!

    Edwina – you are obviously as right about this issue as you were about Eggs & Salmonella – remember that?!

    Next you’ll be saying that foodbanks are not a sign of Tory policies not working – well that’s obvious – people don’t go there because they are starving,They go because everyone enjoys a fun day out at the foodbank!! Get real Edwina – shouting over people to peddle dogma DOESN’T make you RIGHT.

  199. I was so angry on your behalf last night, Jack. And now I’m really glad you wrote this, with such dignity and integrity. Currie’s disgusting attack on you made me wonder where she got all that hate from. She must be such a frightened, sad individual to behave like that.
    My very best wishes to you, jack, in all you do. I look forward to reading more of your blogs.

  200. You are a hero and great role model, particularly for young British woman and I admire your courage. Unfortunately there is nothing in Edwinas moral code or treatment of other humans to admire as she clearly showed last night. Personal attack by a supposedly experienced politician rather than real debate – poor performance by her.

  201. I could not bear to watch the show as KH is the most vile creature to ever appear on our TV screens and EC is not far behind her, i knew watching it would send me into a rage and i had a poorly little boy to look after so i choose to watch the programme about sink holes instead (although i will watch it on catchup soon)

    But hear hear to everything you just said from a fellow single parent (with a job i may add, although im sure KH would have me labelled a benefit scrounger just for bringing up a child alone!)

  202. BLOODY WELL SAID, SHE WAS TRYING TO TURN IT INTO AN EDWINA CURRY PROGRAMME AND SHOWED BOTH HER AND HER PARTY UP BIG TIME, THE STUPID COW/

  203. I had utmost respect for you last night and even more so now.

    Thank you for standing up for so many out there who are genuinly struggling and don’t need to be. Thank you for being enough to stand in the face of it and deliver the points so precisely and honestly.

    Thank you. We need many more people like you in this country!

  204. I only watched a little of the debate but I will watch all of it later. The little I sore of Edwina Curry did not shock me. If you had stooped to her level you could have quite easily have said that you also admired someone ‘Norma Major’ who handled the affair Edwina had with her husband John, with dignity which is more than Edwina, herself was capable when she so blatenenty wrote about it just to up the sales of her book… Well done Jack, you did a fair representation in this reply of what POVERTY means for many both those out of work and those in minimum paid work…Keep it up girl and maybe you will be in parliament with a new party to fight the corner of the working class… A great big well done and now a supporter of yours.. Sheena

  205. I thought the debate wasn’t managed professionally….Back in the real world who wants the opinion of Edwina Curry and Katie Hopkins. You keep going……

  206. Dear Jack – I couldn’t of put it better , also a single parent struggling after always working then loosing my job and struggling again with two children. The pain, the hurt, the deep rooted worry that only remotely resides for a moment when the depression takes it swoop – all behind closed doors, with no one to hear, no one to care are amongst the hardest things to bear – I agree totally. What’s even harder is that deep, deep, sinking fear of total despair and guilt when you have to look into your childrens eyes and lie about how you really feel, when they ask is everything alright. These feelings Edwina and her ‘cronies’ will never feel – such shame!

  207. I just saw this programme or some of it tonight……… I admired you and it was so obvious that Edwina was scared of the fact you are intelligent and eloquent…… When Edwina ‘sideswiped’ Matthew’s comments about bankers saying 2 wrongs don’t make a right, I was gobsmacked… By the way I am newly retired, I have owned my own businesses and I have watched the last 7 years my now 28 yr old son struggling to gain an apprenticeship and work….. It destroyed his self esteem and caused depression. .It has opened my eyes…. These debates about Benefits are a DISTRACTION away from the BENEFITS we pay in Billions to corrupt Bankers and corporate companies who do not pay Taxes…… When oh when is there ever going to be an honest debate about these matters? ……..Our News is no longer FREE ……….. We need change and very quickly…

  208. I too watched yesterday. I was disappointed that there was very little intelligent debate. But please dont be angry. You stood up well and the only thing Edwina Curry and the odious Katie Hopkins achieved was to show the viewers how vile,uninformed and out of touch they really are. I

    • you are absolutely right – it was an appalling travesty of a programme – no debate at all – just ill-informed abuse of those who are most vulnerable in our society.

  209. An intelligent & well written piece by a young woman who couldn’t do A levels. What is the use of qualifications if they produce rude & ignorant people like Edwina Curry who thinks it’s fine to shout people down without allowing them to speak. The use of personal insults shows she knows she was on a loser. Both she & the vile Hopkins woman are given far too much airtime. In fact last night’s interview just confirmed what a self-serving bunch of bigots represent the Conservative party & for that I should think the Labour party are very grateful. (That & the antics of Gove, but that’s another rant).
    I’m a retired teacher supporting my 38yr old son who lost his job without notice when his company lost a big contract. he’s back at home, in a village with no transport & trying to find work to support his daughter who lives with her mother. He receives £70 a week & is supposed to live & apply for endless jobs. Good job my teacher’s pension is enough to keep a home for him (at the moment). He’s one of the lucky ones but sinks deeper into depression the longer this situation continues.
    Jack, you’re brilliant on TV & I wish you all the very best, plus lots more jobs!

  210. You can certainly hold your head up high….whereas Edwina should hang hers in shame. You have given an honest and well articulated argument….something that’s so lacking in out politicians.

  211. My husband and I watched the debate and would have liked to have heard what you had to say last night. Unfortunately we found everyone just shouted over each other, even the presenter talked over the top of people. I found the presenter would ask a question and move on before people had a chance to respond…

    I had never heard of your blog before last night but you sound like a strong and inspirational woman – well done for managing to turn your life around for yourself and your little boy :)

  212. Dear Jack, sounds like a staged fight for the ‘entertainment’ of the viewing public. I hope you don’t do anything like that again. I read in someone else’s account of the night that a person with a disability who came to present their point of view was told they weren’t needed, after they’d arrived. ! Totally disrespectful. And the idea that what your grandfather did or had is relevant to what you did or have is half baked. It can be … or might not be. My great grandparents were rich rich rich but my mother grew up in terrible poverty and it scarred her. None of this ‘the whole community pulled together’ crap. It broke her mother, split the family apart, and the emotional and psychological consequences continue to dog my mother to this day. Great Depressions and world wars and discrimination and addictions do that to you, I guess. Anyway, thanks for describing poverty so well, and emphasising the plight of your son through all of that. It’s all very well to ‘blame the victim’, but what about children? The whole thing sounds sickening and good on you for having the courage and the moxie to be as outspoken as you are. It’s brilliant.

  213. Just a huge thank you to Jack. My mum was so mortified when she had to claim benefits and would catch the bus to the next town so people did not see we used second hand shops. My family – like Jack’s – were neither rich nor poor but hit hard times. I remember vividly the fear over bills and the question of how we would survive Christmas and it makes me sick to my stomach that we have politicians in power now who have no understanding of what this is like. I got to Cambridge and I have choices my mum never had but I will never forget empty cupboards and the shame and fear of debt and the fact that it is soul destroying and frightening and totally exhausting to raise children in those circumstances. Jack I don’t know how to express my rage or my immense respect for you. Luckily you are a better writer than me and anyone reading what you have written can only stand in awe….

  214. I watched this..It was not a debate..It was horrid… Any how I am 64 years old..and when a single mum needed help ..but.. I did get back to work and cleaned pubs part time taking my son with me until I got back intofull time office work when he started school.. I also worked at the dog track 2 evenings a week and later the Bingo hall. I have been Bi-Polar since before it was called Bi-polar ..in the 70ties..Sadly both my children are also Bi. Guess what::::::: they both work..and myself retired at 50 now 64. ( Auto immune disese and my depression and remitoid artritus) on benefits… But..for 14 years I have worked a day a week for Age UK Rye..in the shop..It gets me out..makes me get dressed and talk to people…Sometimes in winter it is hell. and on the odd day I do give in and stay in bed…… Maybe I feel some of the people who do not wish to work could be asked to help others.. I do not think benefits should be for life or give people more than going to work else it is unfair.

  215. Well done for last night. Edwina was pure poison and you were right to hit back in the way you did. Count another supporter among the extras you earned last night, and keep fighting the good fight.

  216. well said, you have done what you need to do to get where you are now for you and your son and yes along the way you have been very creative with food and shared what you have do so others can have some hope, so they may not feel as desperate and alone as you have

  217. I’m so sorry you were attacked by someone so unworthy, in such an unworthy manner. I am not a television watcher and I missed this, but I read your blog and am filled with admiration for the way you’ve managed your life. “Pity the rich: all they have is money.” You have decency, backbone, and character, and your mother must be so proud of you. I’m actually in tears on your behalf: always remember you don’t **deserve** attacks. It’s *them*, not you. And you write beautifully.

  218. I was horrified last night watching this debate. Katie Hopkins is just a snobby fool who has no clue but Edwina Currie was just so vindictive I was stunned. Well done you for standing up to them as I would have folded under that…………..or bopped them one :-)

  219. Poor Edwina… i think she must have been possessed by whoever’s teeth she had borrowed for the evening ;) #teamjack

  220. Can’t you see this government want to scrap benefits so as usual like all governments they try to turn the population against it so there is less oposition yet in reality the biggest benefit cheats are our very own Conservative government there wages are paid by the exact same pot that pays benefit and remember 90% of people on benefit have little choice through the greed of our corporate society which might i add has many of our great so called all in it together politicians part owning or getting back handed payoffs whatever you believe the fact is until we get a government for the people and not the other way round we will remain in the greed selfish arrogant world we now have left for our children.

  221. I found the debate very frustrating. it was very annoying listening to the nonsense spoken by Edwina Curry and Katie Hopkins. It was a shame you didn’t have the opportunity to say more. On a more positive note, the comments on the programme made me even more keen to support food banks. I’ll be going shopping tomorrow morning.

  222. well said, you have done what you needed to for you and your son to get where you are now, you have been creative with food and shared what you have done and maybe given people some hope, I did think that two of last nights guest’s were on for ‘rating’s’ rather than substance

    good luck for the future

  223. Go Jack! You’re doing amazingly. Brilliantly. You’re articulate, switched on and you have, as they say, sand. How you’ve managed to keep going … it’s impressive.
    I’m just a Tory(-ish) semi toff, I have *no* idea what *real* poverty is like despite my own years of patchy employment and depression, and I’m blown away by your message.

    Not all politicians, not even all Tories, are self serving arrogant gits but it’s very hard to believe right now. Voices like yours are very important – to kick our ‘rulers’ back into the real world.

    I didn’t watch the C5 prog (my TV can’t get that channel!) My friends who struggle to eat and pay bills get very angry about the spongers they see down at Job Centre. I get angry because Job Centre treats my lovely, bright, hardworking friends like criminals – giving them appointments at impossible times (no bus available for the 20 mile trip into town, at that hour) and then sanctions them for being 10 minutes late…

    I wish you every good break going. Health and happiness to you and yours in 2014 and every after.

  224. You have to realise that you are the Tory person’s worst nightmare: an articulate person who has experienced life on benefits and is not ashamed to talk about the hardships. Sadly most people on benefits suffer in silence, both the deprivations and the constant abuse through the media. You threaten the Conservatives myth of the “scrounger”, on which their war on the poor rests, and so all they can do is attack you personally. I’m not sure if it’s worth responding to such attacks, but hang on in there! There are many people in this country who are right behind you.

  225. Jack, you should be proud of yourself, you are caring, a good mother, articulate, intelligent , passionate and brave…your opponents showed none of these qualities.It breaks my heart to hear of families struggling and having to use food banks( thank gods they exist) in 21st century Britain. I don’t have all that answers, and am aware politicians of all parties use spin and rhetoric to gloss over their purposes, however, it could never be worse than it is with the Tories in power( not much evidence of a coalition, is there? I beg Everyone eligible to vote, to use this right, no matter who you choose…..perhaps even strategically voting. Jack, b look designs on you and your little boy XxX

  226. Well done Jack. As a single mother of two, who has a degree, and works but who needs benefits to not even barely survive, I salute you. Xx

  227. Pingback: Free? At what cost, and to whom? | Symbol Pleasures

  228. Frances Ryan New Statesman

    US Neo Con very right wing rhetoric …seen this ban benefits rely on families type comments in The Telegraph , Daily Mail ( how come they usually post from Thailand …very dodgy ? ) and Order , Order …the shills use the same line ..shock horror

    ” Not content, Currie took it on herself to challenge austerity food blogger Jack Monroe on whether her grandfather was rich, as if believing if only she could prove someone in a working class woman’s family had at one time in history had some money the entire social security system would fall in on itself and poverty itself would be disproven as a left-wing fabrication. “My grandfather’s dead,” Monroe said. “I know, I saw the obituary,” retorted Currie, somewhat menacingly. “

  229. Pingback: Friends with benefits « Robert Hampton

  230. I did not watch the program as I felt that it seems impossible nowadays to get any balanced view of society in the UK, there are too many self interest groups and too much human greed. I support everything you are trying to do Jack and think you do a wonderful job bringing to people’s attention issues but at the same time offering some great solutions in terms of feeding oneself on a low budget. I have been there and at 16 left home after a very messy family divorce and lived in a single room. I was lucky to get a part time job whilst still at school in an old fashioned grocer and was allowed the broken eggs, ends of cheese to take as meals.
    People like EC and KH annoy me with their pomposity and their bloated self importance, unfortunately the UK has become full of people of their like ruled by money. Who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing? I am sorry that you obviously got treated so badly on the show and that it was totally unbalanced. Keep smiling and keep up the good work you have a lot of support.

  231. You did particularly well, as did “White Dee”. I think Ch 5 were being provocative, or even trying to redress the balance, by having those nutters Edwina and Katie representing the “other side”. It was really useful and helpful to hear the statistics on the program as well.

  232. Just finished watching the show on playback – shocking amount of airtime given to those a two women (you were not one unfortunately). I thought in the small amount if airtime you received, your passion did you great credit!

  233. That was awful to watch, it could have been a real forum for cultural change. Sorry to hear you were treated so badly. hugs xx

  234. I discovered your blog about 2 weeks ago and have been an avid reader and fan of yours since then. When I heard you were going to be on the Big benefits row program I was so looking forward to hearing you talk about your experiences. Did I get to hear this? No! All because of ignorant comments from a bigoted politician making stupid comments which had absolutely nothing to with the debate whatsoever. Well done for sticking up for yourself I am so proud of the way you handled yourself (I don’t think I could have stayed so calm in your situation)
    I wish you all the best x x

  235. I didn’t watch the whole programme! However I was appalled at the barrage of abuse supplied by Edwina Curry! What a stupid arrogant woman. My mother was divorced with 2 young kids, she was disabled and struggled for many years, suffered abuse and hate mail from local people because she was divorced and a threat to their happy marriages. She might have given up but for the help given by grandparents and had she not been so stubborn.
    I know there are people out there who give being on Benifit a bad name! But the majority do not choose to live there lives on the poverty line, or below in most cases( like my mum)
    Good Luck to you in all your endeavors. Xx

  236. You were brilliant, thank you for being a voice for many of us!!! Unlike Edwina and Katie Hopkins, my only sadness is that someone in the audience or one of the others on stage didn’t tape up the above mouths, of course not my first option, but violence doesn’t solve anything :D

  237. I watched the benefits show last night and I just thought it was a barrage of personal attacks made by Edwina curry and the Katie women, clearly there to be bitchey about anyone struggling, at some point in our lives we go through hardship but we struggle on, I’ve sat counting pennies for a tub of butter believe me I was hard up but I worked so that I could hold my head up, I didn’t want to worry my family so nobody knew how I was struggling but here I am now a better person for it and even though i’m a little better off now I still scrimp and save, I do however think we have a culture that want something for nothing and won’t get out of bed to work when they can get benefits, it seems a generation thing – I left school looking for a job to help my parents the young today {not everyone} think the first move is to sign on, jack I wish you all the best in your future, I see it being very bright…take care hazel lawley from tamworth, Staffordshire.

  238. it’s just showbiz! Currie and Hopkins were there to get everyone riled (C5 didn’t want a serious debate – they wanted angry people which makes good TV). You were provoked and did well Jack – I just wish you hadn’t used the f-bomb.

  239. I didn’t see the panel, I’m relieved to say given what you say here. Thanks for further stating so clearly, that too many people are on the edge of a precipice, and may, by twisting an ankle be in great danger. Your ability to come back is admirable and, regrettably, rare. The system is designed to keep the downtrodden low. My continued applause.

  240. Well said, as a disabled lady who has struggled to bring up two sons to adulthood on my own – I know exactly where you are coming from. Edwina and that excuse for a female are a disgrace. How dare they try to tell us how it is. Well done you for standing up against them. Keep fighting, keeping being true, you have an army of supporters behind you. x

  241. Edwina’s behaviour last night was appalling. I was shocked by her childish, spiteful and inaccurate point-scoring and inability to listen which demonstrated the type of behaviour we have sadly come to expect from politicians. Well done for speaking out so intelligently and for managing to overcome the challenges you have faced. I wish you every success in the things you are trying to achieve and every happiness for you and your son.

  242. really, i don’t think anyone with half their wits about them takes any notice of the adulteress and pornographer currie. and i call her that not by my lights but by her own, adding only that she is a hypocrite with no consequence among people of any self respect.

  243. you were fab Jack these people have no idea what its like to be skint lights off heating down and fridge only got bare basics i ended up in this situation through divorce and was lucky enough to get back to work with the help of my parents watching my kids after they finished work but those days trying to live on benefits were the darkest days of my life thank you for speaking out xxx

  244. Respect to you and your family Jack,the one good thing that came out of all this,is you showed,or,(she did it quite well on her)..how much they have really divided and segregated themselves from the real world…snobbery still does exist and humanity and the fundamental connection of the people is so much stronger now,they are on their last legs,you are a lovely human being and she is a vile creature from the black lagoon,a dieing breed…thank f@ck…i was so hoping you was going to slap her right in the mooey,yet,that would of been too easy,you handled it brilliantly , well done , all the best and i got your back,always xxx.

  245. Just watched the programme on 5 +1day. So glad you wrote this letter or we would all have been forever wondering what you were trying to say. What an exceptionally rude and ignorant woman Edwina Currie is. Such bad shouty manners. She ruined the programme. Viewers couldn’t hear anyone’s opinion while she was barking. Your letter is a fantastic response. Keep up the good work.

  246. edwina obviously is still affected by the salmonela scare she created in the 1980s as she is full of shit.edwina,why not stick to what your best at,shagging john major.

  247. Well said Jack! I lost my job due to health issues 5 years ago. Not fit enough to hold down a job, not bad enough for any benefit after working for 38 yrs. should be getting my state pension this year, but that goalpost’s been moved 6 years away too! :-(

  248. Edwina and Katie are just bitter old trouts, people laugh AT them, not with them. The only way they can get on TV now, or get people to talk about them is by slagging other people off. They’re not offering anything useful to anyone at all. Keep your chin up Jack, we all know who made sense during that debate x

  249. Bravo to the witch Edwina for a perfect public political suicide. Any just society would consign this inept, vicious harridan and the rest of her highly unpleasant cronies, to where they belong – ignominious permanent exile from public life. She and the whole unsavoury lot of them do not deserve even the most inconsequential of footnotes in the political history of this green and currently unpleasant land.
    Congratulations Jack for a spirited and articulate bite back. You are to be admired and your son will be proud of you.

  250. From the relative comfort of Australia, where I am currently out of work, I came across a “share” of your blog on farcebook. My 28 year old daughter (in the UK) posted. It brought back many memories for me as a single parent trying to raise 2 kids on benefits while looking out for a job that could finance childcare or offer hours that enabled me to care for them outside school hours. In those days, it was nasty, but there were not many people like the odious Hopkins (famous for being obnoxious) and Curry (famous for being more obnoxious). These people will always be a blight on the face of humanity because they don’t have any. They are toxic, mean-spirited and self-satisfied. They enthrall themselves with their “superior” attitudes and disdain for anyone who holds opinions and virtues they do not understand. When they denigrate the poor, the vulnerable and those unable to help themselves, they show the true nature of their “me” society desires to protect their gravy train at others’ expense and no amount of shouting down will help them when they are seen for what they truly are. They have stolen what is ours (everybody’s) by birth and right – a chance to contribute and pay our own way – and replaced it with privilege and position based on which school they went to, or which club they belong to. They are thieves and charlatans without an oune of honesty, empathy or feeling between them. Unfortunately, last year, the Australian people elected the tories evil twin, the Liberal National Coalition. It is the same here now. Stand strong, Jack. You have a lot more people on your side than you possibly know. Don’t give in! Your contribution is much more worthy than any of the impostors who shout you down or seek to ridicule what you do and who you are.

  251. I too watched the programme last night and can’t agree with you more regarding the obnoxious sneering attitude of Curry and Hopkins to anyone who they thought was “below” them. I’m 63 now and retired with a, for the present at least, decent standard of living. I own my home and go abroad most years on holiday with my wife. But when we were first married and our son was a wee boy things were very different. I was unemployed, living in a council house and often had to hide from the rent man because we simply could not pay him. We struggled to put food on the table and our house was always cold during the winter. Every friday I walked the 5 miles in all weathers to sign on at the dole because I did not have the 10p for my bus fare.
    As i say things are much better now but I’ve lived through the Thatcher years and now we have Cameron and the rest of his Greedy Self Serving Tory Scum who are only in it for themselves and their very rich backers. I will always oppose their greed and will never vote for these, the real parasites with their let them eat cake attitude most of whom should be in jail for the frauds they have perpetrated against the ordinary people of the UK.
    So Ms.Jack you should rightly feel proud of who you are and where you come from and never let the likes of Curry and Hopkins ever make you feel any different.

  252. Well done ,you were pure dead brilliant as they say in Glasgow .Good luck and keep on winding this scumbag govt Iam disabled and have been waiting on P,I,P,since last may .,keep telling me to fone back at the end of the month ,They don’t know their arses from there elbows!!!!!

  253. Pingback: Dear Edwina, Thankyou for last night. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me. #bigbenefitsrow | Carole...

  254. Jack, your message is for the public not for that person who passes herself off as a woman. EC has no compassion nor guilt. She is a gutless, trollop who has degraded and defiled herself to gain notoriety, fame and financial success. I would sooner gouge my eyes out with rusty spoons than exchange places with her. You have shown that although adversity and horrendous hardship can strike at any time in people’s lives (yes, been there myself too, chick) it actually makes you more determined, more motivated and more inventive in your outlook. Not a bad thing but not something everyone is capable of. The welfare state was created to help those in need not a lifestyle choice. But who creates the greater evil? There will always be weaker members of society who need looking after )pensioners, genuinely disabled and their caters, etc) and that is what makes us human and intrinsically separates us from animals – by looking after those that need help.
    There are bigger, more cunning thieves that need to take part in a debate before using the more vulnerable in our society as cannon fodder for the the media masses.
    Best wishes to you and your family, Jack from a mother of five adult children who struggled (even though my husband worked all hours) and two young adopted daughters, who trained later in life to become a teacher. And I’m loving it!!! X

  255. Nurse, for 20 yrs could have been killed by very disturbed patient at my work who died right in front of me after headbutting me, biting and punching me. I still hear that crack to the skull. Have never got my life back and I am on benefits. Can’t get a reference because it has been so long since i worked and constantly under threat of sanctions. Have gained a distinction award at university and I wake up each day thinking here we go again another effin day .. Fill out application forms, get interviews but can’t get reference. I used to get excellent references before I had to stop working. Worked my self to the bone and did my best to provide a good service and now I have to listen to these horrible people each day going on about people on benefits. They have no idea what it is like to be living under severe stress stress and trying to get back to engaging in life and financially independent. I get suicidal ideation one day and and hyper-vigilant with my health the next day.. It goes from one extreme to the other. Yep British stiff upper lip and all that ?? Fuck right off !!! Best wishes Jacks and anyone else that is struggling out there .. Xxx

  256. Thank you Jack for being a voice and for saying exactly what we wanted to to that vitriolic Tory.
    I worked hard I got on, I joined the Navy to be a nurse, got married, had a son then decided the forces and all they entailed werent right for my family. I left, got a job in clinical research and found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I owned two properties, we had two cars….. I was 24. Then overnight my world shattered, my husband left, I was made bankrupt, homeless and to top it all I was 6 months pregnant and had a 2 year old and no where to go. So I moved The 175 miles home to mum, but guess what, no one wants to employ a 6month pregnant single mother so I claimed benefits. I justified that this was roughly the same amount as statutory maternity pay and I would return to work when my youngest was 9 months old. Only finding a nursing job that doesn’t involve nights is nigh on impossible. I applied for every job alert I got, but got no where and eventually my professional registration expired. I started applying for auxiliary jobs but was told time and time again I was over qualified. So I set up a toddler group and decided that at least if I couldn’t find paid work I would make a contribution in some other way. I sat with my babies in the dark around a calor gas stove in the lounge, I received food parcels from the church and like you sat looking longingly as my kids ate. Eventually after 6 years on benefits a friend gave me a job working for her domestic care company. By now I was running local campaigns (mostly aimed against wrong doings by our Tory Council) and had been prominent in Occupy. I moved in with my new partner and in May 2013 stood in the County Council elections as an independent candidate. I am now part of the first independent Council since 1973 after a landslide victory over the ruling Tory group. My partners 4 children moved in with us in July and now as a mum of six, I run a company am a County Cllr and my partner works away 5 days a week. It’s hard work and we’re doing okay but I know only too well that it could all come crashing down in the blink of an eye. Ms Currie really hasn’t got a clue.

  257. I’m sure my comments will get swallowed in a sea of others, but I feel the need to add my story to this. I grew up in Canada, in similar circumstances. What I like to call “invisible poverty”. I always had food in my belly, and clothes on my back. But… my parents sold their wedding rings to pay for the electricity; and used foodbanks to put a small amount of food on the table. Our Christmas dinner, I later found out, was because the church delivered a basket. That sort of thing. We claimed bankruptcy twice, and lost our house when I was 13. But, y’know, I never lived in a cardboard box… so, do I count as poor?

    The fact that I am 30 years old, and am *finally* going to graduate university this summer, the first of my entire extended family; is the thing in life I am most proud of. The 2nd? That despite it all, my family had tenacity and grace, and “held it together” in the worst of times. That doesn’t mean we didn’t struggle. That we didn’t need help.

    Just cuz we hid it well, doesn’t mean we weren’t poor.

  258. Jack – Sending you love and support from Australia! I think you are incredible and I admire you and what you are doing. It takes courage. You have given a voice to many, many people who are struggling to make ends meet – and not just in the UK. Good luck to you and your little man X

  259. Hi just watched the benefits debate tonight after work was disappointed that Edwina Curry was so rude she did not allow you to get your point over. I have been on benefits however was lucky to have a little savings pot to get me through the tougher times, but this did not mean I was not aware of people less fortunate. I think that this site is a brilliant idea most of the people who talk about creating cheap meals do so with a bigger budget your site is far more realistic.
    All the best Joanne

  260. No matter what someone like Edwina thinks they have achieved in life, if all around despise her for her words then maybe she has not actually achieved anything worth having.

  261. OMG EC is still around? sorry but I thought she was an absolute nut job back in the 80′s. I was pregnant with my first living in London at the time, and the Dr’s told me to stay away from eggs. Then I couldn’t eat cheese because of some other food scare. What topped it for me was when she broadcasted to the nation that it may be a cold winter and that seniors should knit hats and gloves to keep warm, ah yes that was her brilliant response to jacking up the heating costs of the country. At that point I took my pregnant (single) arse back to Canada..and we did fine thank you.

    Keep on doing what your doing, it needs to be heard…everywhere.

  262. Dear Jack,
    Thankyou ever so much for saying your piece; I too have been there and done that, and I almost couldn’t believe my own ears last night. The shock of seeing such a nasty, bitter outburst directed straight at someone from an elected mp is something that will stay with me forever. It wasn’t even a political argument, just a hate rant from an ivory tower down onto the class she won’t even acknowledge: the everyday class. I think even the working class is a thing of the past now, but the disparity is so profoundly sharp that by behaving just as a normal person would you have likely done more for highlighting the privilegeds’ lack of humanity than an entire revolution. Thankyou for standing up for us all, from me and my family. You were awesome. Keep the faith. Sy.

  263. Keep that clever little head of yours held high…you deserve every success, What an inspiration you are and standing up to them two witches just made the debate for millions…well done Jack x

  264. Good on you! I come from a Tory area, reasonably affluent, and I now live in Barnsley, S.Yorkshire. Since moving here and settling down, I then lost my job and have been hungry, cold, couldn’t pay my rent, was waiting for JSA and housing benefit. I was incredibly lucky and was told about a food bank by chance, and a more humbling, and painful experience I can’t imagine. It was so incredible to see people who need help, given it, with no questions and no judgement, just what they need because they need it.
    Anyone that denies poverty in the UK, and hunger in the UK, just because they can’t see it, should experience what I experienced. I was so grateful that I cried. Watching people with kids, people with tiny babies, and old ladies come in I felt so much less deserving than them.
    I have a job again now after 7 months of struggling, and every time I buy food, I put several luxury items into the trolley that goes to the food bank. I can no longer devote my time to help them, but remembering how touched I was when I looked and saw expensive items and treats like cookies in the bags I took home, this is the least I can do. More should do the same, just a tin or packet of something, will make someone feel so much better, look for the trolleys in your local supermarket. Charly x

  265. Well the one positive thing that dreadful circus of a show did was show up the truly ugly side of the Toryites. Katie Hopkins was positively ghoulish, and Edwina Currie, well words fail me, you’d think with all that good breeding and education she’d have learned some manners. Disgraceful. And they have the gall to say that it’s the people on benefits that are the scumbags.

  266. I also watched it to and I most say they also made me feel like its a crime to be on benefits I worked as soon as I left school but as soon as I had my to older children I did work in between havering them it won’t until I had my youngest son that I had to leave work and care for him to witch I be leave in saved the government more money by careing for him it would of cost more for them to have someone come in to look after him but you still say am a scrounger I didn’t ask for my son to be ill and I work 24 7 7 days aweek looking after him on 140 every 2weeks with bill to pay gas 30 electric 30 tv water 14 pounds each 14 pounds counclie tax 35 pound towards my rent now work it out and tell me if am better of being on ESA don’t get child Ben or child tax as his 18 now his 100 pounds he gets ever 2 weeks gose on bus fairs to hospital phone calls and toiletries and washing powder so on if my washer breaks now will hand wash as I cart afford to buy a new one now and I have to wash every day most time up to 7 times a day for my son I’ve not been given and thing for food bank so most days I have to go with out and feed my disabled son and now I’ve never felt so helpless and ashamed and that I’ve done something wrong to upset people like Mrs curry for something out of my control they don’t have a clue and I’ve also tryed to end my life it makes it hard as I’ve suffered most of my life with depression and panic attacks and sit in my house most day with my blinds closed unless I have to pay my bills and my son spends his life hiding away in is bed room and I think that’s how the government like it out of site out of mined this as been one of the hardest times in my life didn’t not even no what Christmas was this year not dinner never mined a turkey we couldn’t even get a chicken we had soup and bread nothing under the tree didn’t even up my tree up as was no point as my benefits was cut as soon as my son was 18 and my rent was stoped twice I cart bear to read my mail any more and hide away and before anyone asks no I don’t drink or smoke my money was spent on trips for my son had his needs but now where just prisoners but with out the 3 meals a day and am sick to death of being judged my small mined people it would loved to swipe my life with someone that worked and they can have mine by all meens

    • I’d just like to send a big hug to you “one of many” for devoting your life to looking after your boy and don’t worry about vicious hags like Edwina Currie, her opinion only matters if we let it and I really don’t care what a woman who has shown a total lack of empathy for her fellow man has to say, think or feel. I think that there are many, many more people like me out here who admire you for the sacrifices you have made and have even (like me) shed a tear when I read this. Perhaps you can make an appointment with a benefits adviser (If you are over 50 age UK are great for helpful advice, you haven’t said what illness your son has but perhaps there is a support group for families like yours that may offer support and advice) and see if you are getting the right amount of benefits, you seem to be getting so very little for the situation you are in. There are millions of £’s worth of benefits left unclaimed because no one tells you freely in government departments that you are entitled to them. Please don’t give up hope and shut yourself away, be assured that there are a lot more reasonable people in the world than there are Edwina’s it’s just that the Edwina’s shout louder. Much love Julia xXx

  267. I thought the whole programme was a fiasco designed for increased ratings and media coverage, instead of an informed debate. Matthew Wright was such a ‘limp rag’ as a Presenter that he allowed some very rude, selfish and ignorant people to shout their opinions and personal abuse over the top of others. You were very good in keeping your cool for most of the time and trying to put your points across in a rational manner (pity you lost it once and used the ‘f’ word because that plays into their hands, but I don’t blame you). With hindsight, I think that you would have done even better by rising above Edwina’s bullying, loud-mouthed tactics on you by stopping and saying, in a calm but firm manner, that if she is not prepared to listen then you are wasting your time talking to her. Then keep saying “Are you prepared to listen” until she shuts up! If she starts talking over you again, when you begin again to explain your points, then stop and glare at her! Don’t try to talk loudly over her as you go down to her level! Also say that you’re not there to discuss your family and don’t be drawn into that one! However, I suspect that she had been briefed beforehand to adopt that approach to try to stir it up!
    If you get invited on to such discussion programmes again, you now have experience of what they’re designed to do and can go pre-armed with tactics to foil their plans and show yourself as the most intelligent, articulate, well-mannered person on the programme.
    I believe that Edwina showed herself up in a very bad light. Also she, along with many Tories, will be scared of the publicity that you’re getting because it shows how their Policies are hurting honest citizens of this Country.
    Keep forging ahead Jack, we’re right behind you!

  268. Have not seen the debate Jack, but after reading blog comments and online media, am horrified at Curries attitude to those in need. My household was on $160K (aussie dollars) till two months ago when husband’s employer said, we’re ‘restructuring’ and your services are no longer required. One can go from doing well to their world turning upside down in the blink of an eye. Two months on, 100 unsuccessful applications later, our world is still upside down. People like Currie remind me of our scumbag treasurer in Australia who just told our drought ravaged farmers that they’re on their own, swings and round abouts, and that the liberal (torie like) government won’t be assisting the farmers, The pig of a man is quite happy to chow down on aussie produce but then turns his head and doesn’t care what happens to the very people who provide the food that he puts on his tax payer funded plate. Keep up the good work Jack. You are doing an amazing job, your food is fab, and don’t let the knobs get to you. Send those tories down to a Australia and see how far they get in a room full of people who will cut them down to size quick smart. Aussies don’t take kindly to those who won’t help their mates.

  269. Edina Currie is a bile-spewing caricature, rather than the politician she thinks she is. It’s terrifying such hate-filled people like her have helped (or help) ‘run’ our country. It’s all bullish, incorrect judgements and no credibility. People like Currie can shout as loud as they want, no-one’s listening!

  270. This is not just Britain’s problem, either. I live in New Zealand now and the National government here also consistently treats the poor as if it’s all their own fault. I’ve never heard of you or your blog before, Jack, and of course I didn’t see the interview, but your piece was put up on my daughter (Ariadne Cass)’s facebook page, and I just wanted to say all power to you! And yes, I don’t know why you left school at sixteen, but it clearly isn’t because you lack either intelligence or a work ethic. We need people with your spirit everywhere!

  271. On the subject of benefits, what benefit has Edwina ever been to the UK? Her ‘career’ and private life have both made her a public laughing stock. She is the very epitomy of the party she represents: cold, vicious and self serving. I would bet my last penny she’s never sat at the table and watched her child eat a cheap meal as her empty stomach growled with envy, or washed her child with a cold, wet sponge from a lack of hot water or been told “Sorry, you won’t be getting any benefits, we lost your paperwork.” She sickens me.

  272. I hope that this grows and grows and gets the full exposure it needs and deserves. I work for a disability charity and we see people in poverty in our shops and business every day. Some of them volunteer and give their time, and we share their lives and their stories and the pain is that we cant give more ourselves to help. People like Edwina Currie are starting to show the same disdain that you feel being shown from Victorian times, the sort of patronising misunderstanding of the problem, and attacking the individuals rather than the factors and conditions that put them in that position.
    You are strong and dignified – that much is evident , and the programme was farcical. It was a circus rather than a “debate” and an opportunity for a professional MP to use their power to undermine. Disgusting tactics. SO again I say I hope this snowballs and you emerge as the dignified strong person that didnt stoop while she grovels and suffers the backlash she so well deserves.

  273. Keep going girl, keep going, the only thing that shows politicians to be so out of touch is the way that, when confronted with reality, they play the “shout louder than you until the interview ends” card, its such a shame that the poorly conducted “debate” (it wasn’t a debate at all) didn’t last for another hour, or another hour, because ultimately Edwina would have run out of steam, possibly sometime after midnight, and THEN the world would know the truth – politicians act on their own interests even after they are booted out of parliament, they can’t help themselves because at heart they are very selfish and indoctrinated in the belief that their party is the only one with the answers, even when they are wrong.

    The propaganda machine that exists with this particular coalition has at least answered one eternal question of mine – so THIS is how the Nazi Party of the 1930s persuaded the German people to vote for them.

  274. Ur an inspiration jack, dam the man! We need more people like you inspiring those with next to nothing that there is always light at the end of the tunnel an we just have to keep going till we see it :) x

  275. Unfortunately they used Katie Hopkins who cannot please anybody. She had some good points and at no point did she say she was against benefits for those in real need but she got shouted down as well.

    The television company used her and currie to increase friction to make “good tv” and not good debate.

    Also your state Pension is not a benefit. I have paid contributions for many years in order to qualify for my “pension”

    • I have paid taxes and contributions for many years in order to qualify for my IB/IS/ESA (whatever it is this week). How is that any different?

      The vast majority of benefit claimants have worked within the last year. Most of the rest will be working within the next year.

      The pernicious lie is that there are two sets of people, one that are hardworking and deserving of help and another set who have always been on benefits and always will be. In fact that second set of people is a tiny number, almost all with some sort of physical or mental health problem.

      Which is why Katie Hopkins and Edwina Currie did not have any good points to make and why they could neither afford to allow anyone else to point out why they were completely and utterly wrong.

  276. Hold your head up high you came across as a dignified, well brought up young lady with manners. Edwina came across as someone who sleeps with her boss to get on, which is exactly what she did.

  277. Hi Jack, I did not watch the show, and a lot of what ypu say doesake a lot of sense. But I want to bring one thing to you attention. When you ‘became’ unemployed from your job to look after your son, YOU chose to leave your job. And this is my problem. You have the audacity to moan about the system, and how hard done by you are, but it was you that placed yourself in your situation. I understand how hard it is to be on a low wafe, I am married to a full time student, and we have a baby on the way, but at no point do I expect the govern to look after me because my situation has changed beyond the realms of my wage.

    Yes, my wife and I will receive benefits of a sort, and I am incredibly thankful for that, but we are going to stuggle to make ends meet on a monthly basis.

    No one has the right to judge you as a person, and by that I mean sexuality, outward looks etc, and politicians and jounalists alike have no right to try and smear you.

    Ultimately, I agree with you, but you quit your nightshift job, no one else forced you to do that. Could you do that if ypu worked in Dehli or Beijing, of course you couldn’t, because you would literally starve.

    The reason it took so long to get any kind of social benefit when you left work, is because it was your choice, and that isn’t the way the system works.

    Please post this, as the last comment a few months ago, never materialised for some reason.

    Many thanks.

    • You need to do a little more research. This “chose to quit your job” argument is trotted out from time to time, but Jack has debunked it on a number of occasions!

    • Yes, what a choice she had between keeping her job and not putting her son into care… How selfish and thoughtless of her.

      Children don’t just vanish if you’ve got to go out to work and not everyone can afford to pay for childcare. You say you understand what it’s like to be on a low wage but you don’t know what it’s like to be unmarried with no one to help you look after your child.

      Jack has also written extensively about trying to find part-time work so that she could continue to look after her son but she wasn’t able to find this. As someone who has suffered unemployment in recent years I don’t have trouble believing her struggle at all and I have nothing but sympathy for her.

  278. PS…
    Shared on my FB page with the following comment…

    “Just in case you missed the poorly constructed Ch5 opportunity for The Party propaganda machine to demonise more of its citizens via an evil old toad of an ex-MP – here is a pretty good summary from someone who had the Wicked Witch of the East turn on her and still had the grace not to mention said witch having to shag John Major to get a Ministers job…”

    Yes Edwina, I can play the “lets get personal” card too …

  279. I can only praise you such a strong articulate person you are a shining light in this sometimes dark world I am honoured to be part of your blog and totally agree you are a fine writer. Also your defence of your family honour is right and admirable Thank you for all you do!

  280. It was a shame they had two professional trolls (KH + EC) on at the same time because they tried to out-troll each other, but you got your points across Jack. Well done and congrats on all the extra likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter! Your becoming an increasingly painful thorn in their side, keep it up :)

  281. bloody hell! i am glad i did not see that debate, i would be hissing and spitting and swearing! i hope that woman, Edwina, does experience hardship one day to open her eyes and mind.

  282. I haven’t watched the show (and never will as I detest the host and the two guests that caused you such issues) but just want to say don’t worry about what those ridiculous people were saying.

    They do not live in the real world with the rest of us, they never have and never will.

    And, if circumstances changed and they had to, they would crash so hard and so fast. Which they know for a fact. But you didn’t give up, you didn’t crash and burn, you picked yourself back up and fought for everything you have. Which is why they try to beat you down – they know they could never accomplish what you have and it terrifies them to their core.

    You remind them of their own faults, you remind them that they have no strength whatsoever and to those with (undeserved) privilage and power that is something they never want to be confronted with.

    So keep going, keep fighting and look beyond those who seek to bring you down to make themselves feel safer. You bring hope and joy to so many people that appreciate it.

    Illigitimi Nil Carborundum and all that ;)

    • I second Stacey’s comments. It is so ridiculous and utterly unfair that you get trolled by anyone. I hope these messages of genuine support help you to keep your head up.

      EC and KH were vile and I’m appalled that CH5 invited them in the first place, as the programme failed to be of any use as a debate about these terribly important issues.

      The programme failed on many levels – but you Jack, were marvellous. Good on you – and may I offer a sentence I sometimes tell myself? “I have a 100% success rate at surviving bad days.”

      Best wishes.

  283. Pingback: Dear Edwina, Thankyou for last night. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me. #bigbenefitsrow | I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive

    • What do you mean get a grip? Edwina and Katie are quick enough to “stick up for” people that are in work, but who sticks up for the people that are genuinely struggling!? Whether that’s people on benefits or people that work part time but are still stricken with poverty… Why should our citizens be going hungry in a civilisation like this? It really does sicken me how people like you must think that this is okay… Small minded and vile if you ask me…

  284. I didn’t see the programme so can’t comment on it, but my opinion of this general debate is that it seems to be polarised to the extreme. Pretty much everything I have heard and read is one side saying that all people on benefits are scroungers, the other side saying that none are. I may be exaggerating very slightly, but not by much and only to make my point.
    I also think that when confronted with a vastly reduced income, attitudes have to change if hearts are not to break. I have been in this position myself several times in my life and have survived intact each time, by taking any job available (temping, rubbish money, but money, cleaning etc), calling in favours and eliminating luxuries. And by luxuries I mean anything you don’t need to live, like TV, soft drinks, tea/coffee, newspapers, biscuits etc. Yes it’s gutty, but it’s rarely forever and many people face worse on a daily basis. Like Jack I have proved that I can live on £1 a day – I missed tea as I drank hot water, but that’s not the end of the world. I think the reason why so many otherwise resilient people go under emotionally is because we are surrounded by people better off than us financially. I imagine that most people would struggle to live on the income I currently have (no benefits, I was an IT manager, I am now a cleaner and a good one), but I have lowered my expectations and don’t compare myself to others. That helps a lot. Best wishes to all.

    • The problem is that the media and politicians want attitudes to be polarised because that allows them to focus on poverty as a controversy rather than facing the reality of Britian today.

      The simple fact is that in some parts of the country it isn’t a question of taking any job that is going. There simply aren’t enough jobs in that area. It isn’t possible to simply go somewhere the work is because usually there are more than enough applicants for jobs in those places so an employer isn’t going to pay for you to relocate and certainly nobody else is.

      In the mean time the benefits system operates according to wildly unrealistic targets that lead to people completely unfit to work being forced on to jobseekers allowance, and JSA claimants randomly deprived of benefits so that Jobcentres can make their “quota” of sanctions.

      It takes upwards of 6 months to get a wrong decision appealed and corrected, during that time it’s possible for somebody with severe health problems to have no income at all.

      These are the realities that have to be dealt with. Not some entertaining row about whether benefit claimants are or aren’t “deserving”. The reality is that the average JSA claim is for less than 6 months. Most healthy unemployed people were the very same hardworking people that Cameron claims to be protecting less than 6 months ago or will be before the end of the year. That is the reality that we aren’t supposed to discuss.

    • I think when you are as poor as some, the answer is not to reduce expectations. I shouldn’t expect to have heat, light or food? Really?
      I think we need to raise expectations! We should expect that people have the basic physical needs met. That’s why social programs were set up in the first place, by our grandparents who survived the Depression.
      When you are on an iceflow, where any movement can tip you into the killing sea, you do not need advice on lowering your expectations. You need a lifeline, to tow you to safety. Once there, you need a firm foundation – food, clothing, heat, a place to live that can’t be taken away from you on a whim. Some sort of security and faith in that security is absolutely necessary in order to have the strength to move forward on solid ground. Hungry, exhausted, cold and undernourished will not contribute to creating any kind of life. There is no hope, no way to see a future, no income to make ends meet let alone save anything. You can’t work in these conditions, every ounce of energy goes to surviving from one minute to the next.
      This is wrong! We live in a world where this should not be happening to anyone.
      If we can give tax breaks to corporations and to the wealthy, then we can support our poor. Better food for them than yachts and bonuses for those who are already warm and well-fed.

      • I really did not say that you (or anyone else) should not expect to have heat light or food. What I see around me is a culture where one is considered underprivileged if one doesn’t have a tv in several rooms, a mobile phone, a computer of some sort, a stack of dvds, mpsomething player, etc etc. These are lovely to have and nothing against them, but they cost money to buy, run and replace, and they are luxuries. We feel hard done by if we can’t have them. I know people who are desperate because their outgoings are more than their income, and yet they buy ready to eat food when out instead of taking a sandwich, and have holidays away every year. They feel (and I can sympathise), that they deserve these things. But they can only pay for them by going further into debt. This is what I mean by lowering expectations. Not going without food at all, but by eating the food you can afford and not lusting after that which at the moment you can’t. And I agree, it would be lovely if all the undeserving rich stopped buying yachts and took less income so others could live more easily, but it’s not going to happen. So I still say, rather than be unhappy, accept your current limitations, know that it won’t be forever, and keep your head high. My mum’s been doing it since she became disabled 34 years ago and she’s one of the happiest people I know. All good wishes.

  285. I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of you until a few weeks back and saw the ad, and asked who you were – knew nothing of your background or history. My other half told me what she knew and I was impressed at what you’ve achieved, but didn’t think anything more of it, until yesterday when I read Fleet Street Foxes blog on the same TV show (which from her description and now reading yours, I have absolutely no desire to watch).

    Anyway someone on FB posted a link to this blog and well all I can say is bravo for sticking the proverbial two fingers up at that odious woman and all that are like her. Reading through the comments it seems I’m not alone, and if I’m not, you most certainly aren’t too – you can add another digit to that 5,000 figure you quoted – cos I just added my name to it!!

  286. Edwina curry and katey hopkins showed themselves up as very rude and uniformed fools.lets face it Ew has not got any morals as she is a self confessed adultress. As for kt the woman detests children because of their names and does not allow her children contact with these children.Why do we give any one of them air time ? They cannot behave in public or in private.

    • I agree with you Cath, they belong on the Jeremy Kyle show, I also think what Hopkins does is damaging her children, almost abuse, by teaching them that children with different names are bad? Do people name themselves?…. are you defined by a name? The ignorance of these two women is astounding! Not to mention the hypocrisy!

  287. Go to Change.org and read stop this ‘ZERO HOURS CONTRACTS’ and Daniel Walkers story, he loves work, he worked for the DWP and MOD for 12 years, he now works for Balfour Beatty ….yes the Building Contractors…..who now run Government Offices..??
    Doing the same job as before…..But !!…now on one of these farcical contracts..when he has to wait at home until they call him, unpaid, no income and no benefits at all, since early November, slowly but surely losing all hope…..This Government in this period in office have surely shown that they are
    “Unfit for purpose”…..and should never again be allowed to destroy this country and the very people who made it Great Britain.
    Help by putting your signature to these petitions to Cameron and Milliband…..please!!!

  288. I love love love love this reply to that vile women Edwina!! Unfortunately that pathetic excuse for a women will never experience what it is like to suffer poverty as she has and always will be fed with a silver spoon!!! Jack, I was utterly angered for you that you weren’t able to set the record straight and I hope she reads this and feels disgusted at herself! However, in life here will always be the likes of Edwina who will unfortunately always have a one tracked, narrow minded opinion! Well done to you Jack on your reply 😊

  289. I don’t watch telly, Jack, but well done for taking on that unspeakable Tory bitch. Don’t worry about whatever she said…….. one day with any luck her sort will get what they deserve.

  290. Dear Jack
    I’m so sorry to see you being used to boost tv ratings like this, because that is what they are doing with you. The real evil here lies with the producers who thought up the most inflammable combination they could, in order to draw viewers in to see a fight.

    It’s all about the advertising and it will always be the same, the only solution is not to participate or watch. (Which is why I threw the tv out several years ago).

    I had similar circumstances to yours when my children were small and we lived by the daily trawling of supermarket skips (yes, it’s not a new phenomenon, this was 20 years ago). We lived like this for years and were proud of our resourcefulness.

    I’m very glad to see you making this issue a matter of debate and conversation, and not to be hide from your detractors. The privileged right have no invested interest in your cause, rather you discomfit them in their smug complacency.

    Keep on Jack, you are a trailblazer and a very fine woman.

  291. well done girl you go for it , the biggest scroungers in this country are in Downing Street not Benefits Street , im sure them twos expenses bill came to far more that what a a dozen people on benefits claimed in a year , they make me sick , but be sure karmas a bitch and they will get whats coming to them , fate will take care of it xx

  292. Watched it from a link on face book. Deplorable presenter. Edwina Currie doing her usual passive/aggressive nasty attack and that awful woman Katy something who appears to make a living out of being snotty to the lower orders with utter ignorance and disgraceful manners. You did yourself proud – though I bet your mum winced at your ‘slip’! WHat a shame that the opportunity for a sensible debate was lost because of these two poor excuses for women. But then, I felt you had all been set up anyway. Go on doing and saying what you do and say, hang on to your dignity and integrity and let the right wing dig themselves into a hole. They cannot ultimately win on this. And let’s hope there is a tv producer out there who wants to do a decent and honest story one of these days. Well done, I shall be following your blog now.

  293. Wow. Inspiring. Well as you say anyone who is trolling you (where do they find the time?!) or being spiteful is obviously unsettled by you and that certainly says more about them than it does about you.

    It is sad in this day and age that PR isn’t just the good stuff anymore it is also made up of the bad stuff such as people trying to dig the dirt and attempting to smear others, so called celebs taking their clothes off on reality TV, nasty spiteful old women bullying another human being instead of taking an interest in what they have to say (shut your mouth for a minute Edwina – you might actually learn something) and the list goes on and on.

    I think your story is inspiring and look forward to seeing your journey unfold.

  294. I didn’t watch the show last night, and to be honest I’m glad because Edwina Currie makes my blood boil at the best of times. I might have been tempted to throw the telly out of the window last night.

    You’re right, Jack, she resorted to the personal attack because the Tories are terrified of you. So many people can identify with what you are saying – ordinary people who have found themselves in situations they never imagined, and because when you’re right at the bottom of the pile there’s no-one there to help you.

    I’m sorry you were submitted to what sounds like a horrible attack, but Currie is a disgusting human.

  295. My heart goes out to you Jack. As for Edwina Curry, she is a has-been who got sacked for her information about eggs! I mean, come on, the tories and the media must be scraping the barrel calling on her for information.
    Curry is the woman who went out for huge lunches and dinners paid for by newspapers, other media and dinner parties for those who think that they are above us – and every time she ate she ordered more food, expensive food, and then would take home a bag for her family – who the hell does that kind of thing? She did.
    I know she cut across you and wouldn’t let you get your points across, but she came across as a loud-mouthed bully and an embarrassment to everyone who knows her. You came across as the winner, the one that people supported and the one that people would rather listen to.
    Let’s hope you get to go onto another show without a bully like Curry, or if you do, throw up her past to her and then see how she yells :)

  296. Jack, until this post, I’d never heard of you or the tv programs which lead to it. Just watched the benefits scrounges program as a result of your post and thought you, and all of those on benefits came across as dignified and keen to see a change. By contrast, those shouting you down came across as unreasonable, extreme and ignoring the facts. The program itself helped put the benefits issue into perspective. After watching and reading your post, I am left feeling that the number of scrounges who have slipped through the system, whilst outrageous and offensive, is tiny when compared to those really suffering unnecessarily. And the whole benefits cost is dwarfed by the massive value of tax avoidance.

    I hope your family are rightly proud of you and can bear the knock on effect of comments from those with ignorant or extreme views. Don’t give up.

    I wish the media would maybe focus on the facts, highlighting the real issues and genuine suffering, rather than focussing on the sensational. Let’s hope things change soon.

  297. Jack, this is the first time I’ve visited your site – what a fantastic thing you are doing on here. Good on you. My friend linked to the above article and because I am currently at home with a bad knee I read it then watched the programme concerned. Don’t let those horrible women and their disgusting agenda and personal comments get you down. Keep your nerve and drown them out.

  298. Nicely done Ms Monroe. That Currie woman is nothing but a creature. I really don’t understand where her perspective comes from… which can’t be said for C5 – why else would they have had that awful Katie person on-panel?

    Best of luck. You’re doing wonderful things.

  299. Reblogged this on and commented:
    A great letter from Jack Monroe to Edwina Currie following Currie’s vile attack and attempt to silence Monroe on C5′s Big Benefit Row on Monday night. In this open letter, Jack answers the questions the like of Currie and Hopkins were so keen to shout over. And it should be heard.

    I can’t re-blog it, but another necessary and topical read comes from Sue Marsh, Disability Rights Campaigner and author of the blog ‘Diary of a benefit scrounger.’ Marsh was also asked to appear on the show, but dropped at the last minute in a move that demonstrated C5′s commitment to the disability point of view. Marsh explains what happened in this post – which is important reading.

    And, Owen Jones who also appeared on the Big Benefits Row, wrote up a piece for the Independent – entitled ‘The Hopkinsisation of political discourse’ – a look at the tactics used by candidates such as Katie Hopkins and Edwina Currie to shout down what they don’t like to hear with ‘fewer facts and more venom.’

    All highly recommended.

  300. I didn’t see this – I don’t know who you are jack – and I actually have stopped watching this stuff as quite honestly it just a game to most people (those who have never really touched the real world). I wish you luck in your campaign. I wish you success. However I feel your note-worthy points are no more than an “unsightly stain on their designer top” to those who are far away from the reality of the real world. One quick wash, and a good “spin” and its all back to normal for them.

    A voice echoing in the wilderness is still a voice – and I will watch with interest to how you leverage this opportunity for the silent majority.

  301. Edwina Curry has never entered my thinking space until I watched the show, what a vile and completely out of touch woman. “Foodbanks are putting the shops out of business”, where the f**k does she think people are buying the food being donated to the foodbanks? Keep up all the good work you do Jack!

  302. Well Edwina Currie wrote a book about a woman who dumps her husband, then actually dumped her husband on the day the book came out. Coincidence? Self-publicist? Scruples? Compassion? Ugh.

  303. I’m not much of a wordsmith, like some. I just want to say well done for keeping your dignity. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from the two critics, lets say.

    Of course, the supporters of their point of view will say they were ambushed. That’s about all they could say. They couldn’t do anything except throw insults at you. I was staggered.

    Again, well done.

  304. Dear Jack.
    I live in Lexington, KY, a 1 hour drive from the poorest county in America where people suffer the consequences of abject poverty day in and day out, living in the same conditions you mentioned in your post, some much worse. I fight for them and try to show them how to make healthy meals with the bare minimum ingredients they have to work with, and have shared some of your ideas . You are doing a great job and I’m proud of you. Keep up the great work. Oh, the area is Owsley County, Kentucky. God bless you Jack.

  305. Wow… I’m currently talking to debt resolution charities to try and find a way out of a massive British Gas bill because my JSA doesn’t allow for it.

    I already pay the first £25 of it to my landlord to cover what my Housing Benefit doesn’t.

    I have sold everything I have of any real value to pay other bills.

    And all the while people like that sit in judgment because we’re “workshy scroungers”.

    Well, I finally managed to find a job after five months of unemployment. I’m a part-time support worker, £7.50 an hour for 16 hours a week.

    I’m £12 a week better off. And I still can’t afford to live!

    It’s highly unlikely the Tories will ever listen to “the little people”, like you and me, but they’ll have to take stock when they lose the next general election.

    Which they will, if they fail to silence enough of us.

    You deserve to be heard, Jack, but the people with the power to hear aren’t listening. But that shouldn’t discourage you. Keep hammering. People like you will bring this self-serving bunch of parasites down.

  306. Oh dear, Jack – I watched the programme after reading this, and I really wish I hadn’t – I still have a bad taste in my mouth this morning so I can’t imagine how you must feel. You came to the programme with facts, relevant experience and passion. Edwina came with nothing. You spoke, she launched into a nasty verbal personal attack on YOU and your family and effectively silenced you because the presenter did not have control of the panel. This is a tactic I have seen used several times over the last few days (see the link) and it is very nasty. The only intention of this tirade was to silence you. There’s a great book which may help you to deal with bullies, it certainly helped me – link below.

    https://www.awesomebooks.com/search/?q=take+the+bully+by+the+horns&s=no&c=all&x=60&y=20

    I hope that you don’t let this get to you, and that there are people who love you (apart from the 5,000+ of us who care! ) who will nurture you after this savaging.

  307. If its any consolation see the look on her face after being called a ‘stupid f**king b*tch’ by Gordan Ramsey. Its my fave TV clip ever! Much respect to you xx

  308. Like a few others, I had never heard of you Jack, until this so called debate .!! so albeit unintentional, the wicked Winny has done you a favour, and shown herself up for the bitch she really is! Your open letter was amazing, and shows a lot of compassion and passion, wrapped in words that mean something, not just rhetoric! Well done you! Your parents and your son, must be very proud of you, you have a new follower! Good luck, you will go far!