The Obcenity of Food Banks

 

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Voluntary worker in Maryhill’s ‘Nutritional Dispensing Clinic’

Food banks, the result of ‘existential’ terrorism.

What does walking inside one feel like for the first time?

In a classic inanity only a politician can coin, an MP suggests food banks are a sign of a ‘caring society’. Presumably, he conceived that slogan when enjoying afternoon tea at London’s Hotel Café Royal, or lunch at the Dorchester. “Britain is doing well,” avers chancellor George Osborne without an inkling he is aware of the brutal irony.

As a youngster my guardian lived through two world wars and was certain man’s inveterate capacity for aggression would lead to a third. (She was wrong only in the number of wars greater than the Second World War.) Prepared for the worst she still had a few books of food coupons in a top drawer in case life regressed. She could remember the first appearance of bananas in Rankin’s the greengrocer and the stir they caused when word went around.

What my guardian would make of today’s food banks is another matter. What she might have thought of a secretary of state opening a food bank with a hearty smile and a glib speech doesn’t bear scrutiny.

Had she lived to this age she most certainly would be shocked at the sight of food ‘banks’ in the high street, let alone the plethora of charity shops. She and thousands of others had fought for equality and watched the result of blood sacrifice and heroism gradually form itself into a peace that brought a greater range and choice of everything, but above all nourishing food imported from around the world.

The good old days

When a street urchin in shorts I don’t recall much food on the table. Meal content was meagre, potatoes with everything. Exotic items, such as the oriental persimmon, were unknown, polenta possibly an Italian name for a girl. A pineapple was an awesome  luxury and very expensive. If you saw a pineapple in a grocery window you stood in wonder. Salads were a treat, lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes if in season the only ingredients. I ate lots of homemade soup, from broth to oxtail, Campbell’s Tomato in between.

There was a wine and spirits merchant in the district for wealthy folks and those who knew their ales and stouts, visited for a bottle of sherry if you were celebrating something, or with a few shillings saved for a Babycham for my tea-total guardian, a drink she only ever took to when feeling risqué and frisky. Everything else was fiendishly expensive. For birthdays ice-cream came in cardboard packed squares, frozen fraud, 60% of it air, 10% water. The ‘cream’ element might well have failed the Trade Description’s Act.

School meals were cheap if basic fare, and milk a third of a pint free for play-time, break-time if you attended a private school. When food at home was short – there was never any excess, or a fridge to raid – I was sent on a long walk to the plangent furrowed fields of East Lothian to steal turnips or carrots from the acre’s edge, a cabbage or two difficult to hide under a skimpy jacket.

Free food without getting collared by the local Bobby included brambles from hedgerows, wild raspberries, and mushrooms chosen very carefully. On day of days a visit to Burton’s factory secured a bag of broken biscuits swept from the floor under the conveyor belt.

School dinner left-overs

A feast arrived in the shape of my guardian’s elder sister, Winnie, to collect food she had gathered, but not from hedgerows. She was a school dinner lady.

Twice a month she brought home large Kilner jars full of mince, or custard, left-overs from the servings of Edinburgh’s needy children. The heavy storage jars sealed with a rubber gasket and metal hoop were placed gingerly in canvas bags and slung over either shoulder, food for at least three days, good days.

Alas, or perhaps luckily, no fried chips were served when I was at school only mashed or boiled potatoes. There were few if any fat children.

I went hungry many a day but never starved.

Then things got better, a lot better, until food stores were more numerous than buses, stores on every corner and mart selling over twenty kinds of tinned beans, and thirty types of breakfast cereal. Life was full of plenty. That was then, this is now.

Last year a supervisor in a food bank in Glasgow told the tale of watching a slim, poorly dressed woman hovering around soup and bean shelves. Hesitant, she lifted one can up at a time to inspect it, turning it over in her hands, only to replace it back on the shelf. Was she checking the ingredients? Then she found one with a pull tab. She opened it instantly, and using her fingers as a spoon, scooped handfuls of baked beans straight to her mouth.

Which century are we in?

Here we are in the 21st century, surrounded by people of unaccountable wealth, and we are opening food banks as if tie and sock shops. People are starving.

What bourgeois, sensitive to the stigma of charity, named them a ‘bank’? Bank is a word meant to conjure a place of reassuring wealth, a safe place to keep your money. A food bank exists because the poor have no money.

As society grows more and more decadent, the masses poorer and poorer, words are corrupted to mean the opposite. They are used to confuse so that a majority, 55%, solemnly vote against their country’s interests. Banks stole our nation’s wealth. They caused the poverty we endure now. Food ‘banks’ are one step away from soup kitchens.

Did the people who voted No to Scotland’s progress realise they were voting for empty shops to become food banks proliferating their ‘better together’ union? Do they understand Westminster’s political manipulators are engaged in a terrifying ideological shift of government responsibility onto failing charities,  another example of repressive neo-liberal inequality on the march?

If they did they are complicit in making the poor suffer.

Free food from food banks, restricted to a certain amount per week, is not ‘something for nothing’. It is a token reward given for surviving poverty a few days more. Meanwhile the rich as Croesus get on with the job of unfettered greed and envy.

Decadence is everywhere.

It is J. K. Rowling-Init paying seven tree surgeons and a cherry picker driver a week’s fees to have her castle ramparts of a hedge trimmed, in addition to the hire of traffic lights and cones. Rich others buy cars costing over a hundred thousand pounds and think nothing of losing a quarter of the value driving it out of the showroom. Designer jeans from Harvey Nicks will pay for a pauper’s burial, and a three-course meal and wine at a decent restaurant can remove £100, plus tip, from your wallet.

Sixty per cent of the British public are doing badly, and they range from those enduring abject poverty to those accorded the dubious status of hard-up middle-class. Something like twenty per cent are doing rather well by working for the three per cent that own the nation’s greatest wealth.

Squandering our wealth

Western governments squander trillions on perpetual war for perpetual peace.

This week Scotland’s unelected Secretary of State, David Mundell, opened a new food bank in Dumfries. One has existed there quietly feeding the poor for years, the new is part of private enterprise, the Trussell Trust, an English import.

The Trust is a quasi-government sponsored private company, registered as a charity. It’s chairman, Christopher Mould, holds down the following executive paid positions: a partner at the Shaftesbury Partnership which launches social reform ventures tackling disadvantage in communities and creating opportunity. Non-executive Chairman of Franchising Works Ltd and of the Foundation for Social Change and Inclusion (Bulgaria). Chief Executive of two NHS Trusts; Chief Executive of Police Training for England and Wales, (merged eight organisations to form a new Non-Departmental Public Body accountable to the Home Secretary); Chairman of Healthwork UK, the first Health Care National Training Organisation (licensed by the Department for Education and Employment) – led its formation and was its first Chairman.

Charity, a capitalist industry

The Trust prides itself on its Christian principles. It “works with people regardless of religious belief or non-belief”. Hallelujah! I believe! Following the Band Aid howler, ‘Don’t They Know It’s Christmas,’ broadcast to starving non-Christians the world over, Trussell sees fit to preach Christian ethics to starving Jew, Muslim, and agnostic in the same way American evangelists forced starving poor to read from the Bible before getting a bowl of soup and a hunk of bread:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25.35.36.

Someone in the Trust thought it a fine public relations exercise to invite a disrespected member of Her Majesty’s infestation to preside over the opening ceremony. But instead of speaking to admiring crowds Mundell was chased out the back door by angry citizens shouting “Shame on you!” In a third world country he would have been lynched.

“Every town should have one,” opines Scotland’s sweetie wife, David Mundell, of food banks as if a drinking well, to which the obvious reply is, no bloody town should need one, you fucking imbecile!

Food banks are an obscenity in a modern society. End of.

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36 Responses to The Obcenity of Food Banks

  1. CameronB Brodie says:

    Due to a variety of unforeseen circumstances, I have spent at least a couple of years as a homeless person, if not closer to three or four, over the years. Thankfully I never had to depend on food-banks or soup-kitchens, as I was always fortunate enough to been able to juggle some form of part-time or casual work. It must be absolutely soul destroying, though, to be so powerless and vulnerable.

    It was hard enough almost thirty years back, trying to make a start in life with limited resources at hand. I can’t imagine what the future promises for unborn generations. I doubt it will include much opportunity for social mobility. A sure sign the UK plc is not conducive to the public’s well-being.

    I grew up a bit later than yourself so experienced a bit more choice. However, I also know spuds with everything. Boiled or mashed. 🙂

    I enjoyed that, thanks.

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    Thank you, Cameron. 🙂

  3. jdman says:

    The Rich person may walk by a food store and look with some vague curiosity at such a thing knowing somewhere deep in the back of their minds that they will NEVER need to visit such a place, the ordinary working man/woman will walk on by on the other side of the road avoiding looking straight at the place that within a few weeks of sickness or unemployment will be both their salvation and damnation trying to forget for the meantime its even there but silently dropping a parcel here and there knowing it could be a deposit for later withdrawals, I feel writing this a prickle of shame knowing I’m one of those who walk on by staring fixedly into the opposite shop window trying hard to avoid looking straight at the place.
    I sometimes wonder what I would do without my conscience if I didn’t have her.

  4. donald says:

    I will try to be brief but it wont be easy . Food is Vital and nourishes us , Banks are parasitical and eat us alive. To put those two words together makes me physically sick .
    Starvation/malnutrition is the oldest weapon. It should be Illegal for any one man to own more than a few acres . It should be mandatory in any community that common land be made available to grow communities healthy food . With all the advances in hydro/aquaponics there is absolutely no excuse for private food banks . If JK Rowling Really cared about injustice she would tear down the fences and allow people to grow food on her vast estate and provide funds to enable it .
    But that aint gonna happen. The queen isnt going to allow the peasantry on to Bal immoral to pick blackberries or hunt rabbit. Bitch.

    No , its business as usual . Let them eat tinned junk food laced with chemicals that degrade their immune system . I am sick of watching ‘non profits’ siphon large salaries in to the back pockets of rich men’s wives under the guise of ‘good works’ . Not content with robbing the people ,they then steal the moral high ground because they already own everything else.
    The churches don’t help either . They empower poverty with minimum gestures. The churches are massive land/share owners . Their portfolios are staggering . But what trickles down to the people who put them there is barely a dribble .

    My grandfather once said ‘Don’t go looking for genuine Christians in Church ,you will never find one.’
    My other grandfather , a Bona fide Robin Hood ,adopted the more pragmatic, what I call ‘f*** ’em’ approach. He took his gun , shot pheasant on the other side of the fence and took what fell out of the heavens as gods bounty ! He had dirt on the Major , so he knew how to play them at their own game. Excuse pun. In the end ,the major got so fed up that he bought a brace to Gran every year as a peace gesture .
    Right up until the end of their lives though they kept a veggie patch ,chickens and any wild game that wandered in range .

    People need to get together , pool their resources and demand the right to forage , grow and supply themselves with the bounty of their birth right. Don’t wait for the politicians to get proactive , you’ll starve before they do anything useful.

  5. Paul Garbett says:

    Excellent piece and thank you – some parts were so evocative I am sure we must be of similar vintage. I can’t disagree that food banks have no place in a modern society but I do wonder at people like Mundell, presumably not completely stupid, provoking reaction by turning up and making insensitive comments. Is it deliberate? Designed to elicit a response? A sort of live trolling?

  6. diabloandco says:

    Yep! A belter Grouse – I was lucky enough to have a granddad who shot and purloined hare, rabbit and pheasant, as you say everything served with home grown boiled spuds.
    I was incensed by the crap in the Herald from those below the line who thought foodbanks a sign of a caring society and nothing of which to be ashamed.

  7. Grouse Beater says:

    Mundell, an official troll – I like that.
    And welcome. Please feel able to comment regularly and to pass to friends essay material you enjoy.

  8. hektorsmum says:

    Came from a family who never starved but never were wealthy. Still the same today, not particularly rich but never starve, born 1947 my Birth Mum died of TB, one of those diseases of poverty we were hoping to see the back of but somehow I think it will be back.

    I know we have a food bank in Dunfermline I have contributed to it and I have to say reluctantly, because they collect in Tesco and it would appear they want you to purchase everything in Tesco something I seldom do for our needs. I consider this to be something we should not have, but then I do not think we should have people sleeping on the streets but we do.

    If foodbanks are a sign of a caring society, sorry I disagree, this is something like the philanthropist who gives his tithe to charity knowing he has lots more in the bank. Makes the giver feel good and never a thought to the those who have to receive it.

    What ever happened to this society, my Parent’s generation suffered from the Depression, World War, after the War there was a feeling that things had to change, well thanks to the greedy it has gone right back.

  9. Steve says:

    Food is a right. It has to be or you die. Without food what is life for you? This Government has taken food from the most vulnerable. That is what they mean by sanctioning. Stopping your welfare benefits on a whim. The reality is no food. This is treatment which could fit into a grand Nazi plan, getting rid of the poor by starving them to death. Many have died, while the Government hides the fact.

    What does a situation like this say about one of the richest nations in the world? Neo-liberal policies, where money comes before life, is a dangerous policy to adopt. Foodbanks are this nation’s shame. The politicians who caused the explosion of foodbanks should be ashamed, but more than that. The people who voted for the politicians should be ashamed because they are the real neo liberals who care not about those who have needs because they are rich and they want to protect their own money.

    They will never starve, at least not of food, but they do suffer a lack of moral compass and low morals.

  10. donald says:

    That’s a really good point Paul . You can see Mundell has grown fat on the proceeds of corruption ,that’s for sure. When he is not trolling the media for cheep hits , he is probably trolling the back streets for rough trade . Eurgh . He looks creepy, arrogant and bloated . You know what TORY stands for ? Totally out of reach of you. Unless your a poor starving rent boy . Not that I would accuse any MP of being anything less than honorable in all his dealings.

  11. David Mundell’s comments on opening the foodbank in Dumfries astonished me as he stated that he did not accept that his party’s policies were responsible for the need for such support – the three main reasons for foodbanks were ‘ sanctions, delays in benefit payments and low incomes’. (Herald, 25th July).

    How can a government minister refuse to accept his government’s role in reducing people’s income through allowing 0 hour contracts and reductions in tax credits, reducing the amount of staff available to process benefit claims and the introduction of sanctions for non-compliant behaviour of people on benefits, which incidentally are a right which any wealthy country should be paying to people in time of their need, not something being used to make people feel they have to beg and jump through hoops to obtain.

  12. Grouse Beater says:

    Good points, Jeanette. (And welcome.)

  13. CameronB Brodie says:

    Was there a specific problem … (See my answer below, Cameron)

  14. Grouse Beater says:

    Hi Cameron
    If you sent post send again. WordPress unstable early this morning – altered my header image too! Am trying to find out why some pics and posts have disappeared.

  15. donald says:

    Well its like this Jeanette (excellent points made by the way ). Once they have destroyed any last vestige of hope ,opportunity or enough income to pay for rent and food they can accuse you of lack of initiative hoping that when you riot for change they can crack down and accuse you of domestic terrorism. Cameron gets to be the darling of the middle class for getting tough on ungrateful welfare spongers , then suggests a new wave of immigrants will take up the slack for you . Its your classic bait and switch, provocation for legislation wedge politics . The only mouth full you will ever get from politicians is empty promises.

    Once the Scots have been made redundant in the place of their birth , the tory/labour coalition can initiate a new era of clearances . This time using a cocktail of drugs ,wi fi behavioral modification and the new corporate prison system where they will get your labour for pennies . Just like America.

    Meanwhile electronic voting in the house of commons will make the true allegiances of the elected no longer accountable and you wont have a clue where your member stands.
    Welcome to the United Kingdom Plc . A limited liability company registered in the non domicile City of London , vassal and charter member of Vatican Inc International .
    Because putting you last is their first priority.

  16. donald says:

    Hey Cameron , I got your last input which was great by the way . Loved your UK plc quip so much I stole it . Cheers.

  17. CameronB Brodie says:

    Cheers. It was highly authoritative and well researched material from several ‘impeccable’ sources, giving an account of the influence that the eugenics ideology/faith has had on public policy formation and implementation. I’ll wait and see if WordPress sort things out, if you don’t mind. I’d have to do the searches again as my security is way tight. Nae cookies or history after end of session. 😉

  18. CameronB Brodie says:

    Thanks donald and your welcome.

  19. donald says:

    I think you may be falling foul of the new filters being put in place to stop freedom of information sharing Cameron . Burning books is so last century. Its the new fascism for a new century . Oh , and by the way , little known factoid , the Swiss are the most inbred population on the planet after the Austrians in a neck and neck race to the finish. Its an inevitable consequence of isolated mountain village life. Sad but true . Greed often correlates to inbreeding . Just ask any blue blood.
    Trust me , I know from extensive experience with these types .
    The really crazy part is that they then think they are purer and better than everyone else and initiate eugenics programs ! Go figure .

  20. CameronB Brodie says:

    Gulp. I’ll wait ’till later before trying again.

    Technology has provided a barrier between humans and the environment (the most powerful evolutionary determinant, IMO), thereby enabling human endeavour to achieve food surpluses and for an emerging society to develop culture (shared values and knowledge and traditions). Some think this is why evolution appears to have reach a peak with homo sapiens (current model), potentially threatening an extinction of our species as the human ability to survive radical environment change is lost as a genetic memory. However, there are still pockets of difference that some think is evidence that our evolution continues – e.g. high Himalayan peoples exhibiting denser blood vessel structures in their lips, than those originating from saner altitudes. This is thought to enable more efficient oxygen capture than lowlanders are capable of, hence no altitude sickness. I think this is remarkable given the high Himala were populated relative late on in human history, I think.

    I wish we had a more transparent and accountable information environment. Ach well, Better Together. 😦

    btw, all I can remember were the specific documents and my recommendation to have a spare pare of keks handy. Just out of interest, what did I say about UKOK plc., if you don’t mind?

  21. Grouse Beater says:

    “Ach well, Better Together.” 🙂

  22. donald says:

    I was trained at an early age to always seek out the subtext in people’s lives and motivation . Its both a blessing and a curse . Highland games were created , like the Native American Pow wows , as a ceasefire ,where rival clans/tribes put aside their differences so that young people could meet , fall in love and avoid in breeding . The native Americans are very scrupulous about avoiding marrying cousins ,even sixth eighth cousins . Smart people.
    Nature always seeks as much genetic diversity as possible to keep the gene pool evolving .
    Having lived in rural communities most of my life I have seen what happens when the farmer marries his first cousin instead of that pretty girl he met at the county fair . Sure he may end up doubling his land holding , but at what cost ? Better go to church and pray for healthy issue Billy Bob.
    The end result of this madness is a world where the inbred 0.01% own more than fifty percent of the worlds wealth . Inbred Plc ,parent company to UK plc and its subsidiaries , a globex initiative for total domination . Coming to a sovereign nation near you . Thanks Big Brother ,we knew we could count on you to do whats in your own best interests.

    Interesting factoid . Research indicates the Cherokee may be descended from Nordic stock. Talk about going west my son. I met a Cherokee woman at Nordstrom’s (American dept store ) once with my wife . She was the most drop dead beautiful young lady I have ever seen . The Native Americans have a lot in common with the Scots . They have been screwed over for so long they don’t have any precious illusions. Down to earth and real . My kind of people .

  23. CameronB Brodie says:

    I’ve not timed this deliberately to give you nightmares. Honest, I just lost track of time. Hope you ‘enjoy’.

    http://www.princeton.edu/~tleonard/papers/retrospectives.pdf

    sorry, I’ve lost the case study of 20th century Swiss eugenic social policy and the control of sexuality.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/new-eugenics-and-the-rise-of-the-global-scientific-dictatorship/20028

  24. Grouse Beater says:

    Ta, Cameron. Not found reason for site ‘attack’ this morning but have reinstated missing pics, and traded Edinburgh Crags for more interesting picture of Castle rock.

  25. donald says:

    I have read through most of the global research essay Cameron . It all makes sense to me but its a hard read . Whenever I am confronted with these issues I feel compelled to think of solutions to them and voice them . No matter how clever the Elite like to think they are , destroying the biosphere in the name of absolute power is the most insane ,illogical and psychotic mind set you can possibly imagine .
    Last rat standing ?
    All around me now I see, hear and feel the increasing fear and anger as the world economy continues to crumble . Trust is non existent now . None of my business suppliers are trustworthy anymore . All are getting desperate .Cutting corners ,over billing , sending restocked instead of new and hoping I dont notice it ! Neighbors, previously civil, are glancing darkly .
    Well informed friends and family warned me many years ago that this time would come . I hoped they were wrong but now Orwell’s nightmare vision is here . Only the courage to see it for what it is and refuse to bow can save humanity .
    So my wife and I try to live what we believe to be a just life . My wife works with the disadvantaged and its hard on her knowing the terrible things these people have suffered .
    I befriended a young man many years back now ,who worked at a mental institution , a rather famous/notorious one at that . The queen Mothers sisters were inmates there . The place was full of autistic aristocrats , scrap heaped as a result of the chronic abuse/inbreeding they suffered. And this is what they call ‘respectability’ ?
    Russian Roulette with DNA more like .

    We have reached a cross roads . Scotland’s perils are the whole worlds perils now . The inmates are running the mad house . Fat ,conceited power hungry psychopaths . I feel guilty about bringing a child in to such a world .

  26. CameronB Brodie says:

    I was not presenting the above as evidence of grandiose conspiracy, though I do agree with much of what you suggest. Economic wealth has become concentrated to an unsustainable level, and the underlying philosophies driving this process, are abhorrent anti-human, IMO.

    I started questioning the world presented to me as reality, following the 1979 referendum. As an eleven year old, I thought Scotland had just been denied it’s will, all be it in the conceptual framework of a child’s mind. Believe it or not, but I can’t remember my parents being vocally pro-independence. They had grown up in Lochee tenements and had followed a fairly traditional path for their generation, Labour + disillusionment = SNP. They were still on their journey in 1979, so it must of been a child’s morality that smelt a rat.

    So I kind of started scratching and picking at a young age. I’m not claiming to have been driven to become a Yes evangelist buy this event, rather, that Scotland’s constitutional status has somehow subconsciously influenced the direction I would follow. I’m certainly no fatalist but it’s funny how things work out.

    Looking forward, as I think we all must, I’m afraid I see a rather dark and depressing future for humanity as currently constituted. That’s no reason to help the bastards though, so I just do my bit and try my best.

    Life’s a beach and all you can do is surf the waves and try not to kick sand. That’s my philosophy. 🙂

  27. donald says:

    I hear that Cameron . Conspiracy theories seem to be carefully crafted to confuse and exaggerate what is really just a simple fact . Some people are just plain greedy . That’s all .
    Most of us are happy to have a few good friends and loved ones . To share the simple pleasures of eating , laughing , discovering new things . I chose to ride the wave and make the most of this life by traveling and working around the world . I made my life an adventure basically. That is my philosophy .
    I never liked bullies at school . But trying to defend the weak got me in trouble then . Still does now . More so .Greed is fear and cowardice and its become a rampant disease .
    Fearful people tend to gang up in to fear driven clique’s . Fundamentalist religions , cults , masonic lodges , all sorts of weird stuff like that .
    I know there is a better way and I have done my best to live it . You don’t get rich and drive land rovers but you do sleep well at night .

    Before the Puritans got a strong foothold and clamped down on it , many american settlers went Native , realizing that living in harmony with nature they only had to hunt and forage two or three days a week to live an idyllic life free of religious guilt and shame . Of course the Puritans clamped down on that. Called it witchcraft and such nonsense . Evil always points to the innocent to cover its own exit from the scene of the crime.

    Its the same today. Mother Nature is the enemy, Money is god and the school yard bullies joined the local Mafia ,govt, etc.
    The strange thing is some people are just born that way . They are just bad to the bone from birth.

    Now the money god is withdrawing his favor and the people are panicking as the fear of abandonment sets in . With no resources of their own to call on they really are helpless because community spirit has been replaced by class conscious cliques . The natives understood the beauty of tribal/clan spirit . The fearful just lash out like rabid cornered dogs. Because they are cornered . That is no accident . Fear leads to chaos , chaos leads to violence and violence drives the greedy on the biggest wave to the fattest beach front property.

    Im just hoping they wipe out .

  28. CameronB Brodie says:

    You don’t know how tempted I’ve been to introduce a surf track here, Grouse. 🙂

  29. CameronB Brodie says:

    donald
    Nice but dim here. The penny has just dropped that my quip about the UK plc was in my first comment, not the one that disappeared. Sorry for any confusion. 😉

  30. Justin Fayre says:

    OMG Grouse Beater I am so sorry.

    I’ve become accustomed to nodding my head in total agreement with your comments on other Internationalist sites that, for some reason, I clean forgot that you had your own Blog.
    Mea Culpa.

    With other blogs, whilst I agree with everything said, and laugh at the satire, the overwhelming feeling I end up with is fatigue – a weariness caused by the realisation that we’re up against cynical, Machiavellian, experts and a brainwashed population that has adapted to survive.

    Why is your Blog in general and this piece in particular so different?

    Good question.

    I can only say that the genuine anger shown feels different and by god it’s infectious and inspiring. Well Done

  31. Grouse Beater says:

    Well, that’s an endorsement if ever there was one. I try to write honestly the only reward enjoyment of writing itself. 🙂

  32. YESGUY says:

    A bit late with the comments this time GB.

    Read through this a few times over the last couple of days and my heart burst with memories of the “good ole days”. Tatties with everything, walls ice cream blocks and school dinners where most of us got our only hot meal a day.

    I’m in my 50’s and grew up in the tenements of Craigmiller. 7 kids and mum and mostly missing dad in a three beroom flat. My family was one of the smaller ones too. Always hungry but never starving. TB, Scabies, Scarlet fever, etc., you had to be tough to survive.

    Disease and suffering were the norm. My mother washed clothes, ironed and did odd chores to make ends meet and made sure we “survived”.

    We were lucky to move outside the town when I was 11-ish and the wonders of the goosegogs and berries where to become known to me. Never seen anything like that around Craigmiller then.

    We grew up strong and healthy and went on to give my mum some comforts back when we got work and that was a rare thing too. She came through a war and suffered untill we grew up and helped out. So many mothers like that then and now. Sugar funnily enough, rationed during the war never got lifted for decades afterwards, was never part of our diet. Tea, coffee, cereal etc None of my family take sugar with.

    It was the best and worste times and I canny help feeling sad that they were great times even though life was tough. Everyone pulled together. We need the return of that now.

    Foodbanks though – they symbolise everything wrong about this Union. Hungry children sanctioned because their mum missed a bus for an appointment. Or any reason as long as it gets them out the door… someone else problem.

    Aye we had bugger all as youngsters GB, but we were fed and there were no foodbanks then.

  33. Grouse Beater says:

    Nice post. You alight on a significant aspect of human existence in hard times – there’s always a saintly woman in the story keeping everything together.

  34. donald says:

    Im in my fifties too and just beginning to notice the effects of aging . Eyesight’s not what it was , bit stiff in the mornings especially in winter. So we are re jigging to keep pace with the changes .
    I bought an old tractor to work the soil,cut the grass and haul firewood . I figure soon I will get a rototiller so we can grow potato’s/beets in serious quantities .
    Potato’s are a life saver . literally. Mum used to buy them bulk by the sack to keep us fed . Big freezer chest to buy meat in bulk cheap too . Retail food is a rip off but then we all know how big farm, corp food has rigged that racket.

    We do the same . I go to wholesalers and buy flour by the sack , much cheaper .Two Pizza’s for three dollars instead of fifteen at least for one from the shop. Home made pasta , so much tastier than that shit in the packets .
    Mum and Dad had to work long unsocial hours to keep a roof over our heads so we ran Ferrel as kids . Fixed our own bikes , made our own toys , ate wild berries and acted on initiative . It was the best training for the real world . Dad had all sorts of kit in the garage we could play with like old toy steam engines ,motorbikes etc. Magic. He could never find his tools when he needed them but he knew we were using them and im sure he was glad of that .
    Pulling together in hard times is the secret to survival . It turns boys in to men and girls in to real women .

    Dont let the bastards grind you down . Get smart, get proactive , get together on YOUR TERMS and beat them at their own game. The internet can give you all the info and contacts you need to join forces and win . Use it . I dont regret any of the hardships I endured in my youth . Sleeping in a van for months between jobs , fixing stuff on the fly without getting gouged by dodgy mechanics .
    Yes , it was all good . My GF was well impressed one time when her car exhaust muffler came loose and I fixed it with a coat hanger . Happy days , love and laughs , life on the edge with no security blanket except raw cunning and audacity . Life how it should be .

    Not speaking to you directly yesman so much as in general to all of us who are challenged by these hard times and need ,like you say to pull together . Amen to that .

  35. YESGUY says:

    This is a post that gets the memories ticking over.

    Really enjoyed this GB. And the commenters too. We all shared in these experiences as youngsters and probably thought that these times were gone… but they are coming back with a vengence.

    More please GB.

    I know your a busy man with building a house and all. But your blog is a cracking read and you have the knack of saying how everyone else feels.

    Donald .. we all learned how to fix anything broken then. Nowadays you bin it and get a new one. I remeber fixing all my mates bikes and i had a knack at fixing broken telly’s. Made me popular with everyone. And we would do these tasks for free. A simple thank you. Nowadays they want paid for everything eh ?

    Great post as i said. Reminds us where we came from. So sad that we thought the end of these days and things would be better for the next generation. Sadly this lot will be worse than us.

    Still theres always hope. As you say Donald ” don’t let them grind you down” which they do but a wee read reminds us we are not alone.

    Big thanks to all.

  36. Grouse Beater says:

    You have the knack of saying how everyone else feels. “

    That’s always been my assumption; that by simply writing openly and honestly you express what others might find hard to put into words but are experiencing the same thing.

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