The price of milk, the price of bread and MPs who shop


           I do know the price of a pint of milk, as I do the shopping. I did not remember  the price of a value white loaf until I read about the controversy.   I buy four crusty rolls in  a pack  in my local Co-op  or a brown small loaf from a local supermarket  when I want some bread. The lack of knowledge of items in the shopping basket by some MPs is more a commentary on who does the shopping in their households than anything else.

           The truth is all MPs are in the higher income bracket just by virtue of drawing the MP’s salary. No MP has to eat a value loaf if they would rather have a dearer bread product. It does not mean ,however, that a good MP cannot grasp what it is like to have to live on a  smaller income.  To be a good MP you have to spend much of your time thinking yourself into other people’s situations, to decide whether and how government can help them. All sensible MPs want their constituents to be better off, and understand that if you have more income you have more choices.


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  1. English Pensioner
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I have no idea what a loaf or a pint of milk costs; equally my wife has no clue what petrol or the car insurance costs.
    Each to their own!

  2. John Eustace
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I think these quizzes are trivial tricks by the media that should be ignored. You have more important things demanding your attention.

    And yes I also buy the groceries – sometimes Asda, sometimes Aldi, sometimes Waitrose. It’s not a very interesting task so switching around introduces some novelty.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Hi John

    Your second paragraph sums up the situation perfectly.

    Its called using your LOAF !

    I wonder how long it will be before the Press will repeat a certain Nadine comment :
    Two posh boys who do not know the price of a pint of Milk.

  4. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    JR: “The lack of knowledge of items in the shopping basket by some MPs is more a commentary on who does the shopping in their households than anything else.”
    Exactly the point I made to you yesterday, so why didn’t Cameron just say that rather than try and be clever by saying they have a breadmaker? The point of such questions is surely to ascertain if the MP has any comprehension of the cost of living and in particular the cost of food. Side-stepping the question with what was probably thought as a ‘smart’ answer wasn’t really very clever.

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    The real problem is that Boris, when asked on Newsnight by Comrade Paxman what the price of a pint of milk was (it is usually sold in litres actually), replied by asking the Great Man what the price of a loaf of bread was.

    The Great Man did not appear to know. So Boris let him off the hook by saying it was irrelevant anyway.

    But the damage was done.

    • Mike
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t he offer to tell him the price of a bottle of champagne instead?

      At least he’s honest though it does rather confirm the perceptions of the tory party.

    • outsider
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      If Mr Paxman did ask the price of a pint of milk it only shows how out of touch with the world he and his Newsnight producers are. As you rightly say Mike, shop milk is sold in litre measures and has been for decades, even if a few are still multiples of 55 centilitres. And there is no standard price per litre. That went out with glass bottles and milk rounds.

    • Mark
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      I assume that as BBC royalty (named star ed) eats brioche…

  6. JimS
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I’m not in the higher income bracket and I do my own shopping.

    I haven’t got a clue what the price of a pint of milk is because I buy it four pints at a time for £1.

    As to the price of a ‘budget’ loaf, well it all depends on what supermarket you have access to. I think it is probably 50p but as it is dry with no taste I don’t buy it. But then neither do I buy the premium breads either because they too have no taste and are dry also. I can only think this is because too many politicians have stuck their noses into what we get to buy so now we get ‘healthy’ tasteless rubbish. A bit like the useless, non-reuseable plastic bags, that Clegg would tax, that shatter into micro bits. I can’t believe THAT is good for the environment!

  7. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    The price of what size loaf?

    I vaguely recall when Marjorie Proops was outraged that the price of a loaf had risen to a shilling under the incompetent Tory government, as usual grinding the faces of the poor, and everybody knew what she meant by a loaf as well as by a shilling.

    Or at least, they thought they knew what she meant; but I’m now surprised to find that what was generally thought of and described as a 2lb loaf had been reduced to 1lb 12oz during the war and had never returned to being the full 2lb …

    But thanks to Heath the weight of loaves is now expressed in foreign mass units, and since April 2009 there is no longer any standard loaf to be correctly priced by MPs.

    From September 2008:

    “However, a European directive issued earlier this year has, in effect, abolished more than 800 years of British history and allowed bakers to bake loaves of any size, bringing in some of the laissez-faire of the boulangerie – where bakers can create bread of any shape or size – across the Channel.”

    “The weight of bread has been enshrined in many Acts of Parliament since 1266. Since The Bread Act of 1822 loaves, logically, always had to be a pound, or multiple thereof, but during the Second World War bakers were ordered to save precious flour by cutting their bread tins down to 14oz, a regulation that become law in 1963.

    When Britain went metric, bakers argued that 14oz – 397 grams – should be converted to 400g because this would involve relatively little disruption to their factories. The conversion was made over the May Bank Holiday weekend of 1977 and since then it has been illegal not just to sell, but also to bake an imperial-weighted loaf.”

    Just can’t get away from the bloody EU anywhere, not when choosing how to illuminate your own dining room or when buying bread to eat in your now gloomily lit dining room, except by leaving it altogether.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Cheap bread is all air, water, cheap flour and horrible slimy things to stop it drying out or going mouldy.

      • A different Simon
        Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Bread flake is one the best fishing baits during the colder months .

        I’m always searching for the ultimate “Mothers Shame” type loaf .

        The less suitable a loaf is for human consumption , the better it tends to stay on the hook .

      • James Sutherland
        Posted October 6, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        I just wish it DID have something to stop the stuff going mouldy – the last loaf I bought (from Tesco – 90p, I sprang for the non-value own-brand one!) has sprouted green fur already, 3 days after purchase. So much for the “weekly shop”. If only the ‘keeps for a week’ one didn’t smell and taste of vinegar…

        I still feel slightly irked by milk having shot up from 89p for two litres to £1.09.

        Of course, the real embarrassment for a politician is when commenting on these prices, and getting the figures horribly wrong; not that long ago, I found an MP (not our host!) bemoaning the supermarket price (per pint) being slightly lower than the quoted production cost (per litre), which he asserted was “predatory pricing”. Once corrected, his anti-supermarket tirade fell rather flat; he also seemed to have missed the fact higher milk retail prices are a bad thing for the vast majority of us who don’t work on the supply side of that particular transaction.

  8. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Personally I am glad the PM had no idea what a loaf of bread cost. He has other things to concern him. However, what is causing genuine amusement is the fact he has a bread maker – this places him firmly amongst the upper-middle-class white metropolitan chattering-class Notting Hill modish metrosexual elite – if he were a Guardian reader too the picture would be complete – the sort of people who Alexei Sayle used to say “knit their own yogurt”.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, but alas he also has no idea of for example the cost benefits ratio of HS2 which is 10 cost to 1 benefit – on a rational analysis either?

  9. Horatio McSherry
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand* why news people use these type of questions year after year after year. Working in the construction industry – and especially since 2008 – I’m nowhere near the top income bracket, but I honestly couldn’t have told you what the average price of a loaf of bread or pint of milk was until these two hard-hitting questions were recently put. I do look at the prices of things I don’t necessarily need, but I don’t look at the prices of necessities like bread and milk.

    *Actually I do understand; it’s an emotional and very political rallying call from the champagne socialists in the media to the “poor” to hate (and more importantly, oppose) anyone who isn’t them.

  10. lifelogic
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I tend to find most bought bread so soft, pappy, sweet and poor in quality that I too, like Cameron usually bake my own. Far better and cheaper too if you bake it when the oven is being used anyway and pizzas and endless variety too. I particularly hate all those horrible, long life in plastic, crumbly, smelly and revolting pitta breads all the supermarkets now sell pretending they are bread.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Cameron:- we will “keep” on cutting the taxes for hard working people – sure when will he even start especially as he is still spending hugely more than he can raise! 300 tax increases is it not? And artificially high energy prices and bank margins too.

      Cameron:- “let us finish the job” sure – when will he even start doing the job!

  11. lifelogic
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Cameron on HS2 just now, something like:- “The choice is between a new state of the art high speed railway or an only Victorian one” – what completely disingenuous and false choice, typical of a lying politician, charlatan or a bent photocopier sales man.

    The choice is between wasting about £80Bn on a daft railway worth perhaps max £5Bn while blighting thousands of properties and lives or spending the £80Bn on something sensible instead. Or better still just reducing taxes so each house hold can each have £4000 perhaps to fix their car, their roof, their boiler or start a business or the likes or reduce their debt perhaps. They might well prefer a non leaking roof, rather than a trip to Birmingham in 20 years time 10 mins faster!

    We are in the business of planting trees for our children and grandchildren says Cameron. Well I am doing this but despite the efforts of the Tories and their bloated incompetent state sector. Any as the tories ratted on IHT promise the government will steal 40% of the trees twice, at each generation transfer so the Grandchildren will only get 36% of them. The government will waste the rest on things like HS2.

    The Tory sales lines are:

    If you want Miliband vote UKIP and vote Tory we are not quite as useless as Miliband – neither will work they are doomed without a UKIP deal and possibly even then now.

    I would prefer Miliband to letting Cameron get away with his ratting and total contempt of the electorate, the difference is so very slight. At least well will not have to listen to his pathetic cheap sales techniques any more or watch him rat yet again.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      That is a different type of bread

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      It turns out that many of the trees we planted have not been for our own children and grandchildren, but for the children and grandchildren of other people around the world.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Indeed,or other feckless people just round the corner. Or for state sector workers to be given over large salaries & pensions.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      lifelogic–Didn’t think there was anybody in my league in the Contempt for Cameron Stakes but credit where credit is due, you are giving me a run for my money–And you rarely if ever mention his polluting of marriage (“because we are Conservatives”–What utter bilge) or his doing down of proper families along with Clegg, including his support for homosexual adoption and trying to persuade women they should be men, not to mention irreversible changes to the Constitution making a mockery of all that’s gone before. You are definitely getting the hang of it with the photocopier salesman bit–I have oft thought myself more in terms of snake oil as you may know.

      • forthurst
        Posted October 2, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        “You are definitely getting the hang of it with the photocopier salesman bit”

        A bit too techy – I could easily imagine him as the Marketing Director of e.g. Panasonic Home Appliances Ltd. He would probably be very good at it.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 3:54 am | Permalink

        Postscript–I have just read Lord Tebbit “‘I doubt if, by saying what he did, [Cameron] will have won back lost supporters. But he may well have lost the two or three homosexuals who might have switched their allegiance to him over it.’ Absolutely 100% right.

  12. matthu
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    A better question might have been:

    Do you know what has happened to the price of an average annuity recently?

    The point being that the price of a loaf of bread can fluctuate with the weather while the price of an annuity will affect you for the rest of your life (unless, of course, you have a gold-plated government-backed pension).

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Matthu ,

      – with annuity rates halving over a decade , you need a pot approaching twice the size
      – Instead of 5% return above inflation (implying a 14 year real value doubling period) the stock market will struggle to match inflation for anyone entering now rather than 2 years ago . Thus the saving rate to build up the same pensions pot has to be around 4 times as high .

      It’s clear that blue-chips with their high P/E ratios due to everyone going on the defensive cannot provide the growth necessary to build a pensions pot .

      So to get the same pension as 10 years ago someone has to save 8 times as much . 700% inflation .

      Any actuaries out there please tell me I’m talking rubbish .

      And some of us wonder why there is not an item in the inflation basket for “making provision for old age” ….

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      But that question would have to be accompanied by another:

      Do you know how much a pension fund invested in gilts has risen recently?

      Because the two are linked, and insofar as a pension fund was invested in gilts the two actually cancel each other out more or less.

    • A different Simon
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Matthu ,

      Politicians , union leaders and journalists always compare state sector inflation linked defined benefit pensions with fixed annuities .

      Even when the journalist is writing a piece to emphasise the scale of the gulf they quote fixed annuity rates rather than those which offer protection against inflation .

      This drives me mad so goodness knows how it makes actuaries feel .

      Scrap public sector pensions and make the affected come up with a replacement scheme which would be open to everyone which they themselves would be enrolled into .

      No more devising schemes for other people that they won’t have to use themselves like NEST .

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed but why buy an annuity unless you absolutely have too, other options are usually available.

      They are expensive because in effect you are forced to lend to government for almost no interest, yet another tax.

    • outsider
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      This is true. To obtain a £20,000 a year pension annuity on civil service/BBC/MPs terms today you would need a pot of £550,000 – more than that to reserve half for a spouse.
      Whitehall and political parties ought to be budgeting ahead for a generation of hard-up pensioners but they are probably not because top civil servants, ministers, MPs and BBC staff are not personally affected. Unless long-term interest rates surge far and fast, the gap between public sector and private sector pensioners is going to be vast.

      • A different Simon
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Outsider ,

        8 out of 10 private sector workers currently retire with a pensions pot of less than £30,000 .

        The Govt needs to implement the National Equity Release Scheme if it intends peoples savings be allocated to bricks and mortar rather than productive enterprises .

        I don’t think using housing as a money sponge is much of a plan but if that is what the politicians want for the rest of us they should at least ensure all of the components are in place to make it “work” .

  13. Max Dunbar
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    The loaf of ‘value bread’ costs the same whether you are a millionaire or on benefits. Having my bins emptied (less frequently now) by the Council costs me more if I live in a more expensive house and less if I live in a cheaper house. Why is food and drink priced the same for everyone but ‘public services’ are priced according to the perceived wealth of the consumer instead of the value of the product? In other words, bread and milk are priced according to market forces for these products and public services are priced according to the worth of the so-called customer. Privatise public services. Abolish discriminatory taxes such as the Council Tax – in fact, just abolish councils.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Max – I suppose that the council would argue that their success in making your area more desirable has added to the value of your house.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        What relevance has this to do with my point that public services need to be opened up to genuine competition and choice for the user so that those who are able to pay are also willing to pay?

        • Bazman
          Posted October 3, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          And those not willing to pay? The rich pay more and so they should they benefit more from public services and infrastructure. Yes they do and if you cannot see this then how did you earn the money to buy a more expensive house. Not by skill or wit obviously! Ram it.

          • Max Dunbar
            Posted October 3, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            Cannot make any sense of your incoherent comment.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

            As I said not by skill or wit…

          • Edward2
            Posted October 4, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            Now you’ve lost me as well as Max

    • uanime5
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      As Anatole France once said:

      In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.

      The same is true of the market as while the rich and poor both have to pay the same for bread and milk only one can easily afford it.

      • libertarian
        Posted October 5, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink


        Apart from laziness what stops the “poor” from being rich?

        Please also bare in mind that what you call poor people are actually in the top 7% of the wealthiest on the planet

  14. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Does it matter who knows and who doesn’t , the loaf of bread or like item still has to be bought. I buy a selection , put them in the freezer and take out as I need . I love bread , but in excess it is not all that good for you. Brown wheat germ and other whole grains are contained in other products and carbohydrates can be found in such foodstuffs as potatoes etc. Bread is a tummy filler and puts weight on. When a man comes into the surgery and tells me he lives on £69.00 a week, so lives on bread, sausage and beans. I want to tell him that quorn, carrots , potatoes, onions with a green can last for 5 meals or more and much healthier, however I cannot take the pain away in his choice between heating and eating

  15. Robert Taggart
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    This scrounger, who does the shopping, has no idea as to the price of bread – it always comes with something extra for us – bacon !
    As for the price of milk, again, could not say – it simply all adds up – on our credit card !

    Does this make Moi fit for Parliament ? !

  16. The PrangWizard
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I buy a wholemeal loaf at the Market Square in Wantage now and again. It is baked and sold by a Polish woman. It costs £2.40. Is that expensive?
    Just thought you’d like to know. The knowledge may be of use to someone.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that info. If ever I am in Wantage, I will avoid the Market Square. I might wait until I get home and buy a loaf in Tesco for £1.

      Daft really, I’d respect a politician who answered a question about the price of a loaf of bread along the lines of: ‘I’m the Prime Minister. I have a country to run. I don’t do the bloody shopping. I have people who can tell me if bread is getting expensive.’

  17. Mike Wilson
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Just listened to Cameron’s speech to the faithful.

    Not a bloke you’d follow into battle.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Indeed not. The speech was full of childish stories, largely aimed at dim 9 year olds’, invented silly contrived choices (such as between HS2 and an old Victorian railway as he idiotically put it). He paid tribute to Lady Thatcher but he is clearly the total antithesis of her in all his actions. He says he will “continue” cutting taxes for hard working people …. when will he even start? How can he start when he will not even stop pissing money down the drain on HS2, quack energy, the EU and a hugely bloated state sector and runs a huge deficit? Worst of all his word is now totally worthless. So even if he finds a working compass no one will trust him ever again.

      He could not even beat Gordon Brown, what chance has he got next time, the voting systems is against him and UKIP will have more support in the EU elections/ local elections in 2014 than the Tories. A deal with UKIP in 2014 is his only escape and even then.

      It does not look like he even wants to win to me, either that or he is just totally deluded. I am abroad & so cannot vote, but would prefer even the voice of the state sector unions Miliband, to a ratting Cameron for a second term.

      A sad waste of a huge opportunity that he stupidly threw away with his modernising, quack green, pro EU ratting, tax borrow and waste, drivel.

      • APL
        Posted October 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        lifelogic: “largely aimed at dim 9 year olds’ ”

        Or the Tory Parliamentary party.

        lifelogic: “such as between HS2 and an old Victorian railway as he idiotically put it”

        That’s a cracker! HS2 is Victorian railway technology – actually it’s older technology that that.

        I swear, these politicians have deliberately destroyed the education system so they can spew out any old sh*te in the expectation that no one will notice.

  18. lojolondon
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    The problem here is what passes for ‘journalism’ in our ego-centric Mainstream Media.
    Every year you can bet that someone from the BBC will ask a Conservative one of these questions, and whether that person gets it right or wrong, the response will be headline news.
    The best answer was Boris Johnson’s -“No, but I can tell you what a bottle of champagne costs”. Full respect, how does he do it??

  19. REPay
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    The commentators who excoriate MPs for lack of knowledge of prices also probably don’t know the price of a loaf or a pint of milk, though they may have sent a researcher to find out.

    I agree that it does not follow that not knowing these costs renders MPs incapable of understanding the impact of high food prices on poor people. Of course, it also does not follow that when they do understand that they will push for the EU agricultural subsidy to be reformed!

    Reply Indeed! As you know, I have made many proposals to get prices down, including CAP reform, but many of the best ideas require us to have powers that have been foolishly passed to Brussels.

  20. uanime5
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    The latest plans by Cameron to cut the benefits of the young so that big business can have tax cuts shows that he and many of Conservative MPs have no idea what it’s like to live on a smaller income. Here’s a few problems with his plan.

    1) Why would anyone who’s unemployed go into education or training when they’re more expensive than doing nothing and you can’t claim any benefits while doing either of them? They’re only viable for someone with rich parents who can support them while they’re in education or training.

    2) Under Cameron’s plans out of being in work, education, or training only work will be financial viable. As there’s 2.5 million unemployed people (1 million of them under 25) but only half a million jobs how exactly are the other million people under the age of 25 going to survive without turning to crime?

    3) If housing benefit isn’t going to be given to under 25’s where are they meant to live? What happens if they don’t get along with their parents, their parents don’t live in this country, or they’re orphans? Are the Conservatives going to throw them onto the streets?

    4) Child benefit stops at 18 but under the new plans people between the age of 18-25 won’t be able to claim benefits, meaning in many cases they won’t be able to move out of their parent’s house until they’re 25. How are parents going to cope with this extra expenses?

    5) Cameron’s benefit cuts will effect over 1 million unemployed people who are under 25 and all their families. Given that Cameron lost the last election because not enough people voted for his party how is giving millions of people a very good reason not to vote Conservative going to help him?

    It’s like he’s trying to lose the election on purpose.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      I thought the thread was on the topic of bread prices Uni
      Did you not notice?

      • uanime5
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        The topic was about whether politicians are out of touch with the public and the price of a loaf of bread was used as a way to determine this. I provided another way to determine whether politicians are out of touch.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 3, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          No you just had a rant on the on a policy promoted by the Conservatives at their recent party conference which you naturally disagree with.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Single mothers under 25 not getting housing benefit and having to work. Sounds expensive huh Edward? Lets face it with many having children at 15 they will be old hands too with maybe three or more. The taxpayer is going to pay for all this? Wow! How much per week will the childcare and B&B cost? That’ll teach em’ for having us down for mugs. Worth all the bread. Social engineering is just what we need. Take em’ all into care. Hang the cost let the state pay for it all.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          The UK is one of the few nations in the world who give benefits and housing to young people who refuse to take job offers, or refuse training or refuse to go to college.
          In other words they want to be paid by the State to stop at home and do nothing.
          Whilst you and I get up every day, do some work and pay some tax to help keep them in their lifestyle choice.
          In any of your preferred socialist countries they would not be allowed to do that.
          I am fed up with the State allowing this to continue.
          And Baz, according to several recent polls, the majority of people in this country agree.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 5, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            I agree. Woman have a cushy life looking after three children and pushing the hoover around a bit whilst watching daytime TV. As you say doing nothing, and for many there is not even a husband to look after. Tracking down these absent fathers at the local pub or bookies should be one of first steps to be taken and the money collected paid to the government. This would find out how much of it is as you say a ‘lifestyle choice’ and we could also use it to find out how many use becoming a tramp as a career option. Ram it.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            Not a reply that really has anything to do with my post.
            You are talking about a single parent family with 3 children.
            I was talking about young people who refuse college or training and turn down employment offers and then still expect state to give them benefits for ever.
            Its a horrible life being trapped on benefits which leads to depression, bad health, addictions and a low life expectancy.
            Not something any caring nanny state should be encouraging.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 6, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

            Cutting their benefits is going to help this? No it is not and not what the benefit cuts are about. To do this would require investment into schemes that train leading to jobs that pay money, real wages and in some cases paying for childcare. Stacking shelves for free is not a career opportunity, nor is an ‘apprenticeship’ or an ‘internship’ paying no money sweeping up at a hairdressers. Until the government, any government gets real on this it will be like the bedroom tax with few smaller properties just another attack on the bottom of society. These young people do find work in such things a petty crime and low level drug dealing leading to a situation of doing this even if they have a job.
            Work or starve and work till you drop is not tolerated by the youth of today as they do not get the chance to do this and rightly or wrongly they have expectations that get fulfilled in other ways. Children as a career for example as they have no other, but you think by cutting benefits they will have less as they will be to poor? No.Like in the theirs world they have more. Ram it.

  21. matthu
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Bit OT, but well done to Lord Heseltine for accomplishing everything Ken Clarke and David Cameron couldn’t complete.

    He brands Ukip supporters as ‘racist’ and then rejects a challenge for a TV debate over the racism row from Ukip’s Amjad Bashir.

    No doubt he imagines this will entice waverers back to CP?

    Lots of reaction from Ukip’s Amjad Bashir in The Express:

  22. Mark
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I’d far rather that politicians understood the fair price for a MWh of electricity, a railway line, a house, a hospital, a school, an aircraft carrier and aircraft to fly from it…

  23. Credible
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    “It does not mean ,however, that a good MP cannot grasp what it is like to have to live on a smaller income. ”
    Actually, yes it does. Real understanding is grasped by experience. I don’t think many of our current MPs have experienced poverty.
    John, I notice you’ve assumed the word ‘good’ in conjunction with MP.

    Reply Clearly a bad MP does not understand or empathise with enough of his or her constituents and is too influenced in judging cases by his or her own views and experience. Low and high incomes are often a factor of age, not a permanent condition. I was on a low income as a student and remember well trying to budget for food and accommodation when all I had was a grant income from the Council. However, I could still understand what it is like to live on a low income even if I had not done that myself as a young man – just as a man can represent women and vice versa without having experienced the feelings and viewpoints of the opposite sex. As a younger man I have thought myself into the position of retired people when representing them, though I have never been retired myself.

  24. alastair harris
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    actually it is difficult to know the price of a loaf of bread, or a 2 litre carton of milk – supermarkets move the prices of these items up and down all the time, and there are a variety of types of both, with widely differing prices. Can’t imagine that how well versed politicians are in these matters will have much influence on the way people vote for them.

  25. formula57
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    What evil is this – “I buy four crusty rolls in a pack in my local Co-op “?

    For shame! Will you not join me in boycotting the Co-op until it stands behind its bank? Meanwhile bonuses to top Co-op executives whilst its bank’s creditors get bailed-in!

    Reply We live in an imperfect world! They are the nearest to my house.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Is there a more expensive supermarket than the CO-OP or as it is called near me Rainbow CO-Op? Even more expensive than the local shop in my street. As an MP no doubt it all just get banged on the expenses anyway John?

      Reply Of course not. I shop for food with taxed income like everyone else.

  26. Duyfken
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    My concern is not the price of bread but that fact you shop at your local Co-op. Yes, I’m being frivolous but I’ve avoided my local Co op, the only supermarket in my small town, and venture further afield for my supplies. The cooperative movement has much to recommend it as a viable and respectable form of enterprise but the “Co-op” is just too big for its boots inter alia making hubristic and expensive incursions into the financial world. Worst of all are its political activities and behind-the-scenes affiliation with the Labour Party. An organisation which supports Ed Balls should not receive my support.

    Reply I shop at various food stores in the constituency, but the Co-op is the closest to my home by a mile or two so I often do the pop in shopping there for bread and milk.

  27. Bazman
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    The pointy is that they do not know the price of everyday living and never have done, so without this knowledge how do they know what desperation and minimum living standards in this country are? Is there a minimum living standard? Anyone care to argue there is not? thought not. Hardship is not having only three holidays a year or driving a Ford instead of a Bentley. The same could be said of many of the commentators on that site who are for cutting anything they believe they do not use or affects them in some way as mean minded simple right wing Daily Mail readers who believe Miliband stories as well as all the UFO and Nazi gold ones.
    Read The Sport instead and ram it.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 3, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      Are you claiming that Labour and Liberal Democrat MP’s are all in touch and have come up the good old hard way Baz?
      Another of your delusions.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        All three of them have had private elite educations and privileged backgrounds this is my point. Government by public schoolboys.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 4, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          And so you vote for……?

          • Bazman
            Posted October 5, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

            Not swivel eyed fruitcakes or knobheads who are really just rightwingers who’s main policies are racism and if not at first certainly later attacks on the working poor.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 5, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

            Well I’m surprised Baz.
            I was always thinking you would be a big supporter of the Labour Party.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 5, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink


          You somehow think that public school boys don’t buy bread and milk?

          You are such a class warrior fantasist.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

            You will laughably be telling me next that they visit petrol stations, answer their own phones and run their own baths.

  28. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Surely you know that food price inflation has been running at 5%, higher than general price inflation. Energy price inflation has been greater still, due not to a market that doesn’t work, but to the decision of politicians to foist expensive energy on the energy companies.

    If you want to have a transparent energy market, how about requiring each energy company to publish a little table summarising their domestic rates. Each row of the table would consist of:
    – Name of tariff
    – Quarterly standing charge
    – Tariff per unit consumed
    – % discount for direct debit payment
    – % discount for dual fuel supply
    – % discount for direct debit payment and dual fuel supply


    • Bazman
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Err! They do!

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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