Lack of empathy for poor people continues | Letters

Photo of Lack of empathy for poor people continues | Letters

The Jarrow march didn’t achieve much, says Judith Martin, while Eddie Dougall says Tory MPs should try living on benefits for a year, and Alison Rooks points out that if they do, they’ll have to borrow to pay their mortgage interest

There is a painting by Thomas Cantrell Dugdale in the Geffrye Museum in Hackney: The Arrival of the Jarrow Marchers in London, Viewed From an Interior (1930s show economic disaster needs a radical response, 23 October). A woman in evening dress leans over the back of a sofa to look out on to an elegant street at the black-clad crowd below, while the man on the sofa can’t even be bothered to turn his head.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the Jarrow march accomplished almost nothing – like the Occupy protesters 75 years later. Parliament received the marchers’ petition but declined to debate it. It took rearmament for the second world war to provide any meaningful relief for Jarrow, and then it was short lived, over even before the coming of Thatcher. Alan Price’s stirring Jarrow Song was written in 1974.

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#iain duncan smith
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