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Frank Hovis

Nobody's Poor These Days - Alan Sugar

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Alan Sugar branded out of touch after claiming people aren't poor these days if they have a microwave and a TV
  • Also said people in the North aren't really poor as they have mobile phones
  • Claimed people should go back 60 years to see 'what poor is really like'
  • Comments riled social media users who labelled Lord Sugar an 'idiot'
  • The Apprentice star's net worth was estimated at £900million last year

And a good comment:

Jwatkinson, Saintfield, United Kingdom, 1 hour ago

Sick to death listening about the poor. I used to have a shop in a council estate people came in with just enough money to buy potatoes and another veg. However there was hardly a house without a sky dish (in those days hardly anyone in a private housing area had satellite tv), the vast majority were smokers and they spent an obscene amount of money on their children at Christmas. It's not that they are poor it is the fact they spend their money (my money) on non essential things.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3259335/Alan-Sugar-branded-touch-claiming-people-aren-t-poor-days-microwave-TV.html

Whether you agree with him or not depends upon whether your definition of poverty is absolute or relative (Polly Toynbee type thinking).

Frank Skinner (Man in a Suit tour) made a related point in that in the 60s (and before) you could tell a really poor person by their clothes and that they were very thin - they didn't have enough to eat.

Now everybody who wants to has enough (or too much) to eat, is properly clothed, and has a roof over their heads. So new definitions are brought in such as "fuel poverty".

And it comes back to what Alan Sugar is saying: nobody is really poor these days. Which is an achievement.

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Certainly seems a generational thing. My dad, whose been a bit socialist through most of his life, though now has views that are generally conservative (i guess like most men in their 60s) gets riled up about the tax credits thing....whenever some whiny type comes on the radio to berate tax credit reductions, he'll erupt into a 'when i was short of money, I damn well got a second job' type rant.

I think it is an achievement in one sense, but certain things like housing are inexcusable. We should never regress in quality of life, although in housing, thats exactly whats been happening for the last 20 years. I think education quality has also regressed, but thats less visible as the full cost isnt seen.

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I'm not poor but I have bought an electric blanket for Mrs JTB to put on the sofa so we won't need to put the heating on this winter.

Thinking about it, I spend like a conventional pauper. Our outgoings (with a few exceptions that distinguish us from paupers of yore (like school fees)) are far below the benefits cap. We ride bikes mainly rather than drive our (unpauperlike) car. We shop at Aldi for *ingredients* rather than factory prepared snacks. Our lifestyle has barely changed since we were students.

I have no idea why we live like this and have avoided the costly life-style inflation to which most of our peers seem to have succumbed. It's possibly because I did once have a genuine patch of real skintness[1] in my life. But I wouldn't have it any other way - I've come to hate waste and I see most spending as wasteful.

[1] I was homeless/sofa-surfing, unemployed, and utterly penniless. Probably, if I'd pitched up at a Job Centre (or wherever the font of all benefits is) they'd have chucked wonga at me (JSA plus shared accom would have seemed like endless bounty at the time). Thankfully, I didn't.

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Mr Sugar should try a bit of poverty! It's not that good! :unsure:

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There was a big conversation at work way back in the 90s about how much you pay for a casual shirt (we had to make our own entertainment then!).

It was pretty much inversely proportional to wealth. What had started it was the receptionist saying she'd bought her son a shirt for £50. Few of the senior people would even pay £20 and one only paid single figures.

This was pre-Primark so a £10 shirt was hard to find.

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There was a big conversation at work way back in the 90s about how much you pay for a casual shirt (we had to make our own entertainment then!).

It was pretty much inversely proportional to wealth. What had started it was the receptionist saying she'd bought her son a shirt for £50. Few of the senior people would even pay £20 and one only paid single figures.

This was pre-Primark so a £10 shirt was hard to find.

I can't be bothered with shirts!! I just paint over me nipples! :blink:

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Jwatkinson, Saintfield, United Kingdom, 1 hour ago

Sick to death listening about the poor. I used to have a shop in a council estate people came in with just enough money to buy potatoes and another veg. However there was hardly a house without a sky dish (in those days hardly anyone in a private housing area had satellite tv), the vast majority were smokers and they spent an obscene amount of money on their children at Christmas. It's not that they are poor it is the fact they spend their money (my money) on non essential things.

They never got the name of Dole dish for nothing

Would agree with that post

I grew up with a lot of kids from a council estate most were lucky to have more than one change of clothes then

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I just found out I paid a bartab of £190 yesterday.

That's poor. I shall be snacking on roadkill and weeds for the next week to make up for it.

I do sort of agree with sugars comments - although he is a complete **** who has made his money off good timing and luck and poor actual business ideas.

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Joanna lumley said the same on the last leg. That people should go to these countries in the third world to see what poverty actually is.

Roof, shoes, food, entertained. Not poverty.

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Its quite hard to dislike Sugar more than I do but I suppose Trump comes to mind as someone I despise more.

I like him for his role in the British computer boom. After Sinclair and Acorn ran out of steam then Amstrad picked up the baton and we continued to lead the world in personal computing for the next few years.

And he plays his role in the apprentice well.

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I like him for his role in the British computer boom. After Sinclair and Acorn ran out of steam then Amstrad picked up the baton and we continued to lead the world in personal computing for the next few years.

And he plays his role in the apprentice well.

Guessing you never tried to network computers using Amstrad kit.

I would NEVER go back to those days (and many nights!)

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Conversely, nobody was rich in the past.

Go back 60 years and people who thought they were rich weren't even remotely rich by today's standards. A yacht, a big house, a couple of expensive international holidays a year, a million in the bank. Pah! That's nothing. Sugar's worth £900 million. CHICKEN FEED! Today you need at least a few billion to even get a look in. 20, 30, 40 billion? Now THAT'S really rich. Yeah, Poor isn't what it used to be but Rich isn't either. Society has become obscenely unequal and social mobility, which once benefited entrepreneurs like Sugar, has slowed to a crawl.

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Yield on your investments. Because interest rates are so low, you need to own a few billion just to get 0.001% yield to pay for your Lidl grocery bill.

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Surely, it's all relative for the expectations of the day? And that generally those expectations should rise over time? Especially with all of those lovely increases in productivity and improvements in technology since the 1970s.

As a kid, my family could be regarded as poor for much of my growing up during 70s/80s i.e. always wearing clothes from charity shop what would be repaired until they fell apart/were out grown, 20 year old portable b/w telly as sole source of entertainment, scavenging firewood so we wouldn't have to buy coal etc. But my Dad would often regal us with tales of extreme poverty in the east End in post-war London which made our life sound quite comfortable - at least we mostly had enough to eat, enough wood for the fire and warm clothing during the winter. Go back even further to Victorian times, and no doubt post war east End would seem relatively luxurious - at least they no longer had work houses.

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....nobody is poor when they have each other.....more that share, the more there is to go around. ;)

stop being so holy and join the Church of Pin! the more we share the more we have!

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Joanna lumley said the same on the last leg. That people should go to these countries in the third world to see what poverty actually is.

Roof, shoes, food, entertained. Not poverty.

The thing that gets me is that the left typically regard themselves as 'world citizens' and want a world without borders. At the same time, they berate the '1%' for being so rich...the 1% it follows they must be part of given they view things in a global perspective.

They should be consistent. Either lobby for higher living standards here and accept the rest of the world needs to make their own way, or else accept far lower wages and living standards here to have greater global equality. Cant have both.

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Mr Sugar should try a bit of poverty! It's not that good! :unsure:

Alan Sugar came from a genuinely poor background - I'm sure he has experienced poverty first hand and is qualified to give his opinion that the current definition of poverty is quite affluent compared to what he had in the 60s.

I quite like AS as he is an innovator who didn't have the safety net of family wealth - unlike most of the famous innovators in UK culture, who had serious backing and could afford to fail stupidly a few times. (although, arguably, at the start he did have the safety net of poverty - in that he could take the risk and it wouldn't ruin him if it failed).

I haven't watched The Apprentice, but I can imagine that he comes across as a complete knob in that - TV specialises in that sort of thing. Of course, he probably is a knob in real life too - but you don't build an international business from scratch by being a really nice guy.

although he is a complete **** who has made his money off good timing and luck and poor actual business ideas.

The original Amstrad (hifi) was fantastic marketing with awful products - IIRC he picked up on the 'mugs eyeful' meme, and made huge hifi that looked impressive, but that was mainly empty inside. But it was what the punters wanted and he delivered.

The early Amstrad computer products were fantastic - amazing quantity for the price, and fairly well made. At one point in time he pretty much had the UK computer market stitched up.

It might all be good luck and timing - but much of business is identifying opportunities and running with them. I'd be pleased to have 1/10th of the success he's had.

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The fact that even poor people can afford mobiles and TV should be seen as a good thing. Electronic communication and entertainment are cheap and can brighten up the day of even some of the poorest in society so that they don't have to feel completely miserable, hopeless and desperate 24/7.

There's a lot less violence around now than there was in the 1950s-1970s. I'd guess that the easy availability of electronic communication and entertainment to even the poorest has a lot to do with that.

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