Annunziata Rees-Mogg has kindly shared that potatoes are cheaper than oven chips. That’s food poverty sorted then

She should have a slot on ‘Lorraine’, telling the poor why they should grow orange trees instead of ever buying juice

Mark Steel
Thursday 30 July 2020 18:42
National Obesity Forum says sugar tax needed in junk food crackdown

Annunziata Rees-Mogg should have her own advice show on daytime TV, giving tips to the poor on how to survive.

She has a natural flair for it, as she showed this week, suggesting the poor should make their own chips. “Tesco 1kg potatoes = 83p, 950g own brand chips = £1.35,” she tweeted.

Her deep interest in fried potatoes will resonate with the poor. “It comes from the heart, she’s clearly one of us,” they’ll say.

She probably spends whole evenings discussing these issues with brother Jacob. “We simply have to calculate whether they should use disposable nappies,” she’ll remark, “or if it would be more cost-efficient to sell their child to a trafficking gang in Albania. Quick, Jacob, do the sums, they’re depending on us.”

When you’ve had to rely on squeezing the most out of every resource like the Rees-Moggs, you understand that frugal living is an art. Annunziata would give tips such as: “When you go to The Ivy for dinner, ask the waiter to place the leftovers in an Imperial Crystal doggy bag. Then, the following day, when chef is preparing luncheon, they’ll have the option of frying up the nez d’autruche sur un lit de pissenlits you couldn’t manage last night, with some lentils and baked beans. If you’re really up against it finance-wise, maybe you could lean across and ask to take home Kate Winslet’s pudding! There’s nothing like an Oscar winner’s discarded eucalyptus and custard to get you through a tricky financial patch.”

She should have a slot on Lorraine Kelly’s show, giving hints like: “One handy way to improve your diet when money is tight is to move somewhere where the food banks offer higher quality goods. If you’re relying on meagre benefits, buy a flat in Knightsbridge, where local residents throw out fresh partridge because they got it home and realised the colour clashed with the harpsichord.”

This is how to take millions of children out of poverty. Another week she’ll advise: “It’s time to consider converting one of the fields you currently use as a shooting range to crop-rotation farming in which you grow courgettes, star fruits and turnips, or better still plant a mango orchard. Mmmm juicy!”

But it wouldn’t just be about food. One week she’d say: “Why not save money on rent by letting out your Lake Geneva castle to a rock band such as U2? I know you were looking forward to your annual regatta with the Sultan of Brunei, but when times are tough we have to make sacrifices. It will make you stronger in the end!

“While we’re on the subject of castles, what’s stopping you from putting mattresses in one of yours, calling it a bouncy castle and renting it out to some peasant children in the village when it’s their birthday?”.

Every piece of advice would be carefully priced to show potential savings. For example: “Wine cellar = £845,637, buying a vineyard in Greece and paying local people willing to tread grapes all day as they’ve had their farm repossessed = £127,439 – another bargain!”

It’s easy to see where she picked up these survival skills. She says that after leaving school, instead of going to university, she tried various jobs such as investment banking and stockbroking. That shows her sense of spirit and hard graft. I’m sure she went to Pizza Hut first, but they said “I’m afraid we have no vacancies at the moment. Try Goldman Sachs next door, they’ve got a post going as an oil trader.”

Her father worked long hours in the print trade, as editor of The Times, and from there became a humble baron, so it’s not as if she enjoyed any privileges. He probably came home late some evenings after a long day, leaving her and her brother Jacob to fend for themselves, by screaming “NO, you stupid nanny, THIS is the cheapest way to make chips.”

And while any advice is welcome when you’re poor, it’s so helpful if it’s someone who understands your plight. If, for example, someone advises on Twitter that you should consider the other person’s perspective before rushing to make a judgement on their way of life, it would be reassuring to know the person sharing that thought was a commander of a unit of Isis. In the same way, it’s comforting to know Annunziata is looking out for people who need to save money on chips.

Keir Starmer accuses Boris Johnson of giving 'dodgy answers' on child poverty claim

Maybe a charity should send her to drought areas in Somalia, where she can wander around a village telling them they are idiots because they’ve put their well in the wrong place. Or she can call the women of the village together and say: “Now then, one of you should jolly well charge a Russian oligarch £160,000 for playing you at tennis. That should pay for a trip to Waitrose or two.”

She must be aware that one difficulty some people might face, when they’re buying Tesco own-brand chips rather than a sack of potatoes and making their own, is they’ve just got in from work, 10 hours after going out to work. So time is the problem, rather than an inability to understand that £1.35 is more than 83p.

That’s where Annunziata’s experience as a Brexit Party MEP will be so valuable. She can tell her viewers: “One simple way to save time is to convince the population the people making them poor are immigrants stealing our jobs and lowering our wages, until there’s such animosity that foreigners have to work for almost nothing and you can get them to do all your cleaning and strawberry-picking for you. Leaving YOU more time for making chips. Until next time, byeee.”

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