This is just an observation – which agrees with what some commentators have pointed out below the various newspaper articles on the subject.
Firstly, I sat here today, and when looking at the headlines about food banks, and I started reading the recent study published by the Fabian Society, I realised that I’d never get over the shock of the realisation that food distribution to the poor was not only occurring within our society. but was growing like never before, like some kind of 3rd world underclass within a first world society, similar to what you see in places like Brazil.
Prior to food banks appearing, people suffered; I suffered personally. Now it might just mean that your benefit payment was late – usually the ‘giro is in the post’ situation, or later when the DWP paid benefits direct, there might have been a technical problem that was soon resolved. Yes, over the years I’ve gone without food or electricity for a time, but I always knew that the DWP would sort the problem out soon, that next week I would have enough money for a meal.
That’s all changed. I was thinking last night, that if my Grandparents came back now, they’d shake their heads in despair at people and children going hungry and cold; they would wonder what was the point of winning the war, if British citizens ended up being starved by their own government? When I think about it, I still have a pit in my stomach at the thought of such suffering.
As is oft said, even criminals get 3 square meals a day, which must mean that the unemployed and disabled are classed as below the criminal community. Makes sense really, I mean successful criminals, apparently, add growth to our economy (another fact glibly released that should mortify anyone). We’re just ‘useless eaters’ and add nothing to our economy, only the fact that we spend most of our benefits rather than save, which actually means that we do add something.
The Fabian report says that the government should phase out food banks by 2020; I thought to myself: ‘ARE THEY MAD?!’. Fair enough, food banks shouldn’t exist in a wealthy country, and the publication points that out in so many words. They want everyone to have food security, and the government should obviously act to make sure of that, but being that they’re cutting the benefits again of the unemployed, disabled, and poor employed, that ain’t going to happen. I honestly don’t know why these think-tank organisations go to the expense of writing these reports, because they state the obvious; wouldn’t the cost of such research be better spent by them donating the money to the poor? I shake my head as I’m writing dear reader.
That report is here: http://foodandpoverty.org.uk/publication-hungry-for-change/
Anyway, back to the news of the last couple of days. The articles I was reading this morning – and felt very uncomfortable about – were these in the Guardian newspaper:
Like others, I thought to myself that it’s hard enough facing the discriminating attitude at the Job Centres, let alone the same people offering ‘advice; within a food bank. It mentioned that they would help with job searching, but if they can’t find millions of jobs for people via the Job Centres and Work Programmes (BECAUSE THERE AREN’T MILLIONS OF JOBS IN THE ECONOMY), how on earth do they expect it to be any different just because the DWP are placing staff in food banks?!
To me it smacks of an underhanded way of putting pressure on even more people who are already stressed out. For people with mental health problems for example, they may well stop attending food banks if they feel they’ll have to face additional intrusion into their already troubled lives.
I visited a food bank last year – not to use it – but to drop a few things off and talk the people running the food bank. They offered me a drink first, thinking that I was coming to use the food bank. I asked them if they ever ran out of food, and they said quite often, especially around Christmas; they had to turn away hungry families, which was obviously very distressing. There were a lot of helpers there, and it looked as if it wasn’t just a food bank, more like a sanctuary where people were able to discuss their problems, and also obtain practical help. The caring atmosphere amongst such kind people must be of great comfort to those who are not only desperate for food, but who also are humiliated at having to do something that they feel really amounts to begging, which makes the experience far worse.
If the DWP put their staff in food banks across the country, I hope that they will fully insure those persons. Many who attend food banks will be in a desperate frame of mind, and after all of the bullying and abuse that they are regularly exposed to in any contact they have with the DWP, they are unlikely to tolerate an imposition within their last sanctuary, the food bank. Consequently, They may well in fact consider those DWP officers an imminent threat to the well being of themselves and their families; an unbalanced and starved mind can prove to be very volatile thing: the DWP may literally become the enemies within the gates.