The supplicant classes

There is much fuss about a priest supporting the Prime Minister’s Brexit scheme on BBC Question Time who was an actress as well as a dog-collared priest in her own church. Indeed the Daily Mail even managed a picture of the lady, who unfortuitously rejoices in the name of the Rev Lynn Hayter, worshipping. She is not drowning but waiving on the left of the picture below  – which clearly shows her to be surely no more unusual than our own ‘vicar’s daughter’ Prime Minister (albeit she might be now nearer to drowning than waiving):

Yet, meanwhile in the Church of England a real Reverend is less convinced about the governmental skills to look after its people’s well-being. A vicar from Highertown in Truro, is so digusted with the government’s performance that he has written to Amber Rudd. He wrote as follows, (with very light editing) and for me, all the more powerful for the restrained prose in spite of the direct experience:

When will our government wake up? Do they not care that 1.3 million emergency food packages were given out through Trussel Trust Foodbanks in the year ending March 2018? Does our government not see that a single parent with three dependents is £200 a month worse off just because Universal Credit got launched?

….The Government should not be surprised that mental health issues are on the rise alongside poverty and deprivation. I can tell you now they are painfully linked. Did you know that when you can’t eat straight – you won’t think straight. When you’re struggling to make ends meet and the system is pitched against you, your self worth, esteem and mental well-being can quickly plummet.

Can we not have a benefits system that treats people as human beings instead of statistics, or party political goals. Can we not lower ourselves to lying to the public about the number of people in employment? Yes, that’s great that more people than ever are in work, but you fail to mention that most of these new workers are earning below the living wage, or on zero hours contracts, or gig economy contracts that make it very difficult to manage and live with any desire to save or plan for the future.

Did you know that relative child poverty has increased for three consecutive years and now stands at 4.1 million, or 30 per cent of children? Did you know that our Acts 435 service at All Saints in Truro has helped 350 people in financial crisis in two years, the majority of whom are working and still can’t make ends meet?

And most requests are for basic necessities like clothes, beds, childcare costs and travel to work…..

It breaks my heart that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society will take the biggest hit from Brexit. People’s homes, jobs and communities are at risk and, as (international law scholar and human rights practitioner) Philip Alston, said: “Ironically, it was these very fears and insecurity that contributed significantly to the Brexit vote.”

“And even more ironic is that Brexit is your most helpful distraction. For the government it helps to distract the most vulnerable from their biggest threat which is poverty, and it distracts government from the biggest threat to their power which is the voice of the people. Please listen.

You have a lot of repairing to do around Brexit too – we know that David Cameron called the referendum vote to honour the Conservative Party manifesto leading up to the 2015 General Election. But we also know that it was only in the manifesto because you were losing voters to UKIP, and that you’d been arguing internally about the EU for years.

We also know that your party’s brexiteers lied about the benefits of Brexit, and that they led the way on the idea that Brexit was solely about immigration and closing the borders, even though immigration is needed to sustain crucial infrastructure, health care and services. Your party’s Brexiteers led the way in suggesting that Brexit would benefit the NHS and yet two years on we know nothing about how that will happen, and if the NHS will benefit at all.

I am writing this because I care about my community, my neighbours and the people I meet and hear from day to day. I’m sure you feel the same about your neighbours. There are many things you could do to help fix these things, but most of all I hope you listen. And hear what life is really like for far too many people.

When you accuse a UN envoy of a political attack on the Government you are simply saying to me and millions of other people that you are not ready to listen. I hope you hear this, and I hope you will act.

It appears that he eventually went public with this letter by posting it on facebook.

Meanwhile, whereas Cornwall has long been dirt poor, this oh so touching picture of Dominic Raab on Twitter in downtrodden Molesey, Surrey to ‘generously provide food’ for ‘families in our community’ ‘at this time of year’ smiling sweetly at his local Tesco, will I’m sure, be heartwarming.

I doubt it is actually his community that he is supporting for he considers that “The typical user of a food bank, is not someone who’s languishing in poverty, it’s someone who has a cashflow problem episodically.”

I hope his voters are impressed and do not forget that he was so pleased to outline how crucial the caring, sharing, Institute of Economic Affairs had been to his thinking at its sixtieth birthday celebrations, and of course in launching his book ‘Britannia Unchained’.

I’d venture to suggest that resigning as a Minister could well have given him a cashflow problem.

I rather doubt that he was a supplicant at a foodbank.


  1. Peter May -

    I entirely agree – it is appalling.

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