Anniversary quotes

Two quotes: one published a year ago and the other 175 years ago.

14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty. Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials. The widely respected Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts a 7% rise in child poverty between 2015 and 2022, and various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40%. For almost one in every two children to be poor in twenty-first century Britain is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one.

(Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom, by Professor Philip Alston, London, 16 November 2018)

Two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets. The rich and the poor.

(Benjamin Disraeli Sybil, or The Two Nations 1845)


Two quotes – one a decade after the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 formalised the misery of workhouses: the ‘most sustained attempt to impose ideological dogma, in defiance of the evidence of human need’ (to quote EP Thompson[1]) and the other a decade after the introduction of (to quote Theresia Degener[2]) the ‘human catastrophe’ of austerity economics.


[1]    E P Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, Penguin, 1991, p295.
[2] Professor Theresia Degener, former Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Professor of Law and Disability Studies (Protestant University of Applied Sciences, RWL, Germany).