It’s immoral to have food banks in one of the world’s richest countries: “These ‘genetically poor’ folk are returning food because they cannot afford to heat it up”


Powered by article titled “It’s immoral to have food banks in one of the world’s richest countries” was written by Suzanne Moore, for The Guardian on Wednesday 16th October 2013 20.00 Europe/London

Things have only got better. If you don’t feel that, then you are probably some kind of communist who hates this country and turns up at one of the booming enterprises known as “food banks” for fun. Because it is a damn sight easier than trekking to the deli. I called 2012 “the year of the food bank”. This week the Trussell Trust said that three times as many people are now using them, with reports that the choice between heating and eating is even more bleak.

Nonetheless, everything is working out fine, with rising numbers in employment, according to David Cameron. George Osborne said that the use of food banks has increased simply because more people have found out about them from jobcentres. So this is a strange model: supply creates demand. The demand must have magicked itself into being and not arisen, as those who run the food banks suggest, from benefit problems or the three-day emergency food vouchers that doctors and social workers now issue. Do hungry children exist? Teachers say so. Parents say so, though they may go without to give kids toast for tea.

In the bizarre exchanges that constitute our politics, it is clear that the focus on “standards of living” has traction, largely because of the cognitive dissonance between what we are told we are experiencing and how it feels. Maybe I am being overly romantic, but there was a time when those in government at least affected to know how “ordinary people” lived. Now they don’t even pretend to know the price of milk, never mind the financial knife-edge that many live on, where the lateness of one overdue payment can drive people into despair.

If the recovery is underway – the new mantra – how come people have less money in their pockets? How come youth employment is refusing to budge, and a generation moves seamlessly into “the long-term unemployed”? Pay has stagnated, prices have gone up. To have avoided a fall in standards, one has to be either wealthy or asset-rich. This means owning property in London, as do most of the media/political class, me included.

Nonetheless, my standard of living is certainly affected by the distress all around: by the numbers of mentally ill people wandering the streets; by what happens in my child’s school; by seeing friends and family pushed out of hospital long before they are able to care for themselves. Austerity meant we quickly forgot the happiness index, but we must still comprehend that a decent standard of living comes from understanding rather than undermining mutual dependencies.

This is what underlies the ongoing argument over care for the elderly: cash versus care does not compute because care as a commodity has a different kind of value. Its value links the public to the private, stubbornly resisting easy marketisation; thus it is undersold. But having undersold the Royal Mail, it appears that the coalitions fail to understand markets at all. Earlier this week in this paper, shadow cabinet minister Stewart Wood correctly identified the “complete intellectual confusion” at the heart of the Cameron-Osborne project concerning the relationship between government and the market. Even the most pro-market folk realise reforms are necessary and in the public interest.

Globally, the pulling away of a super-rich class is deeply disturbing. Still, we are invited to celebrate the fact that Angela Ahrendts was able to “de-chav” Burberry and sell the brand in China and so can go to Apple on probably double her current £17m package. To exist with this ludicrous inequality, a twisted logic comes into play: a logic that makes those at the bottom accountable in ways those at the top never are. No one should be surprised at the thesis on education and genetics written by Dominic Cummings (Gove’s former special adviser). If those born to rule feel themselves to be born cleverer and richer than average, then those at the bottom are not just materially poorer but start off with poor genetic material. If this is so, what can government do about it and why should it even try?

Nonetheless, the endless rhetoric about getting people back to work where there is none keeps reproducing itself. So the jobless, the poor and uncared for must account every day for the awful reality of their own worklessness, or bad parenting, or general inadequacy. The entrepreneurial fantasy plays out on talent shows but becomes ever more impossible in a housing bubble. That even the middle classes don’t have a spare quarter of a million pounds to house their offspring is reported as a news story.

Politicians snipe over graphs of disposable income. Economic doublethink befuddles all parties. In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith described doublethink as the ability to simultaneously hold two contradictory opinions, but a key aspect is also being able to repudiate morality while laying claim to it. This surely is where the debate about standards of living must start: the immorality of food banks in one of the world’s richest countries. Our standards of everything – mine and yours – are lowered by their existence. A society that tolerates this, a governnment that refuses to acknowledge why, is neither “big” nor clever. For, actually, the chancers or whoever these genetically poor folk are who use their services, are returning some food because they cannot afford to heat it up. This is no standard. This is not living. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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11 thoughts on “It’s immoral to have food banks in one of the world’s richest countries: “These ‘genetically poor’ folk are returning food because they cannot afford to heat it up”

  1. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    Disabled people are a 10th class citizen in a 3rd world country the uk. A simple fact!! No Human Rights whatsoever !!

  2. Sarah says:

    Britain is still the seventh or eighth biggest economy in the world. For a country of less than 60 million we punch way above our weight economically. Yet apparently we cannot afford to feed children, house people, educate people, help the disabled have a decent life or keep older people warm in winter. I’m proud to be British but by god I’m ashamed of this government.

    1. Annos says:

      “I’m proud to be British”

      The biggest warmongers the world has ever known, although the British may have been overtaken by the USA by now ?.

  3. kasbah says:

    This is what I suspected the gold-plated muggers were thinking. The ultimate (Nazi style) “logic” that if you like what you have but know what you have is due to causing pain and suffering then claim that your good fortune has a genetic basis.

    There is NO, let me repeat ad nauseum, NO basis in science whatsoever for a belief that “poor genes” are what cause social ills. This completely bogus theory is simply a convenience for those over-padded over-heated over-carpeted over-fed selfish bastards to smugly comfort themselves with, to avoid the horrendous guilt they would otherwide feel.

    A lack of acknowledgement or a ruthless disregard for less fortunate citizens is so obviously what creates huge disparities between those with and those without that I can hardly bear to write it down! Research backs this up.

    This “genetics” type of idea is that of eugenics, Social Darwinism, call it what you will, it ignited WW2 courtesy of Hitler. This idea, for that is all it is, led to the calculated murder of 250,000 disabled people before and during WW2, 6 million Jews, countless gay people, Gypsies, on and on the insanity went. Sterilisation of thousands accross Europe carried on in some countries, into the 1970s before being stopped due to a GREATER understanding of biology and society.

  4. jeffrey davies says:

    least you forget that tt charity who runs these foods banks gets 18000 thousand per use of those who asks it for help to run theirs then charging 8or900 per yr for its name above the door yet more money making by this trust jeff3

  5. Ian says:

    Food banks obviously are needed,but at the same time lets the goverment shirk its duties to us the public,goverment has long since forgotten that they are there to look after the needs of the people who asked them to do this.and I hate to say it,but I can only see a civil war to regain what was,is,our welfare.

  6. Colin Leybourne says:

    The United Kingdom is one of the richest countries in the world, but under this new and evil government ran by David Cameron we apparently cannot afford to feed ourselves and our children and rely on food banks to keep many of us from starving, we have difficulty in housing and educating people and in helping the disabled have a decent life or keep older people warm in winter.

    From a list of 181 of the poorest and richest countries in the world for 2013, the UK is placed 23rd.
    So how the hell can we have so many people being made homeless and depending on food banks to survive? Even the disabled are now being made homeless as this government strips them of their benefits leaving them without money and a shelter, forcing them to become beggars on the streets to survive.

    What has happened to this government who used to help the poor that now sees the unemployed and the disabled people as worthless scroungers.

    Everyone has the right to live a decent life whether they are employed or unemployed, just because they are unemployed due to not being able to find a job or are too disabled to work isn’t a reason to strip them of their benefits and throw them on to the streets like garbage.

    Whether your disabled or not, we are all human beings with feelings and a heart and soul that sometimes in our lives we need support from those more fortunate to get by in life and its our government that should help its own people.

    Please give us our life back, that’s all we ask.

  7. Humanity2012 says:

    Whilst Flash Rich Bastards can Waste Money on Expensive Watches Designer Clothes and all the other Trappings of
    Materialism it is Not Surprising why there is so much Poverty
    in the Land because the Wealth of the Land is in the Hands of
    so Few

    Individualism and I Am All Right Jack Mentality This Country is
    Infested when what is Needed is All For One and One For All

  8. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    All steaming from taking away any Human Rights for disabled people. `They are not even fit to have Human Rights.` Even a dog has more Human Rights. Yes the truth hurts, some people who might be abled bodied & ain`t got a clue in a contradictory no class system that we have today.

  9. Annos says:

    “A week ago in Gordon Gecko Moved To London, I wrote about the UK government’s various blindingly bright ideas for its economy, like for instance “a new fiscal mandate that will require further welfare cuts to build an overall budget surplus by the end of the next parliament”, with the 2013-14 budget deficit of £120 billion to fall to £43 billion in 2017-18. The money saved through the £77 billion in welfare cuts to the poor will be used to hand money to the corporate world to achieve the myopic pipedream of “100,000 more companies exporting and a doubling of our exports to £1 trillion by 2020″, the latter being an exact copy of Obama’s earlier goal for US exports, an equally unrealistic piece of cheap political yada yada.”

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