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.
As a youngster my guardian lived through two world wars and was certain man’s inveterate capacity for aggression would lead to a third. 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 got around.
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 expensive. Salads were a treat, lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes if in season the only ingredients. I ate lots of homemade soup, from broth to oxtail, often provided by the Campbell’s Soup company.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
Sixty per cent of the British public are doing badly. 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.
Trussel Trust and the industry
Here’s an example: The Trussell Trust runs many food banks, a quasi-government sponsored private company, registered as a charity. It’s chairman, Christopher Mould, holds down a number of paid positions, partnerships, non-executive positions including Chief Executive of two NHS Trusts.
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..
When England’s chief placeman in Scotland, David Mundell, opened a food bank in his area he was chased out the back door by angry citizens shouting “Shame on you!”
Food banks are an obscenity in a modern society. End of.