I apologise for drawing your attention to food banks again. Actually hold the front page, I don’t because gradually we are slipping towards them becoming part of the social neighbourhood. Yesterday someone on Better Together’s twitter feed claimed that their existence is nothing more than a sign of social cohesiveness, This is the kind of glib statement I would expect from someone who supported the Big Society. Remember that? Cameron doesn’t talk about it much these days as he is too busy demonising the poor and those who need the most support. This kind of attitude is one I would expect from those who have not had the need to use a food bank.
Think back though when did you first become aware of food banks in the UK? We have always been aware of soup kitchens feeding those who were truly destitute but food banks have not always been there. Perhaps because of the coverage they get on the media with images of sychophantic politicians urging us to donate .a few groceries to those who need them we feel they are part of the woodwork and have always been here the reality is that they are a fairly new social phenomena. In 2004 The Trussell Trust only ran TWO in the whole of the UK, today they run 1000s with more opening every week. Today everyone knows what a food bank is despite them being in existence for less that a decade in this country.
The truth is food banks are the creation of a broken support system in America and Canada where the poor have to depend on food stamps to survive and there is very little support for those not in work. Many politicians from most political parties including labour and the tories would like to see such a system here. Ian Duncan Smith is on the record this week saying that the welfare budget must be cut to save the economy never mentioning the damage inflicted by the bankers. So slowly, insidiously, we are fed the lie that food banks have always been here and are essential. . It reminds me of Winston Smith the main character of Orwell’s 1984 whose job it was in the ministry of truth to rewrite history. It is nothing but doublespeak.
My hope for an Independent Scotland is not just food banks could not be part of the landscape as some hint at but that they WILL not be part of the landscape. Like most other people I want to see an end to child poverty, We have 38 days remaining of the referendum campaign. We all need something to fight for and for me it is about equality and an end to the road towards a return to the poorhouse laws the UK seems intent on creating. Let’s stop demonising the poor for just being unlucky. We will not be deserting people in rUK to a life under Tory/UKIP rule but a demonstration of how to create a better society. That is something worth fighting for.. 38 days and then the real work begins of creating a kinder fairer society for us all. Let’s make it happen for all of us.
Great blog. The universal thing about depression is that it causes you to retreat to miss appointments. Any mental health professional will tell you this. Also my concern what if they recommend shock therapy?
Originally posted on It's not the despair:
You can tell three things about whoever thought it might be a good idea to take away benefits for unemployed people who refuse therapy for depression.
First, they have never been unemployed. Second, they have never been depressed. Third, they have never been unemployed and depressed.
Since I have, I’m here to tell you: it doesn’t work that way. Unemployment makes you depressed, even if you weren’t depressed. Unemployment makes depression worse, if you’re prone to it. Unemployment and depression is a dark spiral in which your diminishing self worth is constantly attacked by the evidence around you of your failure. Failure to work, failure to stop being depressed. Failure all round.
Another reason I can tell whichever person scribbled this fag packet proposal down has never been through depression is that you can’t just get therapy. You get put onto a waiting list. Depending on your postcode…
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Originally posted on A Thousand Flowers:
Fans of satirical political fiction may be familiar with the blog of “Councillor Terry Kelly.” It’s an incredible effort, as these things go – constant musings about the “laugharendum”, jokes about wee Eck and his tartanshirts, over enthusiastic use of inverted commas in “inappropriate situations“ etc. etc.
Whenever I read it, I get the stench of stale bevvie and sweaty rage which I’d always assumed whoever the author was wished to convey. I sometimes felt a bit guilty about how far it went in roasting the angry, tribal patriarchs of local government, yet their essence is so well captured in the mass of varying fonts, Arthur Scargill tributes and constant insinuation that Scotland is drifting towards fascist dictatorship with Alex Salmond (BOO!) at the helm.
My feelings of guilt/amusement were rather diminished this week when it was pointed out to me that Councillor Kelly is not the creation of…
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Originally posted on Gordon Darroch's Unreal Domain:
It’s just over a month now since Magteld went away. Thirty-eight days that have gone by in such a haze that I often suspect time has gone haywire. The house that the boys and I moved in to nine weeks ago is already packed with history: the two weeks we spent going back and forth to the hospice, the two weeks we lived here as a family and celebrated Euan’s birthday, and the last five weeks, when we’ve had to cope with the shock and aftermath of Magteld’s abrupt departure.
I say ‘went away’ in the absence of any more suitable words. She died, obviously, but that fails to cover the impact of her loss. The day she died, when the boys and I stood by her hospital bed and watched her take her last breaths, seems etched in history, already distant, like a picture in a school textbook. The…
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I was fortunate to get a ticket for BBC Scotland’s Big Debate. It was really interesting especially as BBC Scotland managed to get a Scottish Tory on the panel. As another audience member wryly put it, they are rarer than pandas in these parts. Especially now Annabel has got herself a cosy wee seat in the house of Lords… The questions were interesting about Iraq, Should Campbell Gunn be sacked and one on foodbanks. The politicians managed to waffle their way about how terrible they are etc. Mr Johnstone’s contribution was interesting though. He used Ian Duncan Smith’s arguments that no cuts were being made and then showed his true colours. He lived in Stonehaven he said where there was plenty of work, It had taken him two hours and twenty minutes to drive from Stonehaven to Paisley. I think he was going for the traditional Norman Tebbit approach,. Get on your bike and find work. Out of curiosity I decided to find out how much it would cost to travel by rail for a return from Glasgow Queen Street Station to Stonehaven and found out it would set you back £35. For a Monday to Friday commute that would cost £175. I know there would be a season ticket available but how much would you have to earn to afford to work? It actually reminded me of a documentary I watched about low paid workers in America who were bussed over 100 miles a day to their jobs as wage slaves and their commute meant they didn’t see their families.
Of course Alex Johnstone doesn’t have to worry about this. As a member of the Scottish parliament he is entitled to expenses and a second home to prevent a long commute. In 2012 the Glasgow Herald reported that he had received £60,000 for the now discredited Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance. As the old saying goes, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I accept that those who represent us should receive travelling expenses but please do not compare your employment to that of workers who may not have a car and would struggle to make a 140 mile commute each day for low wages. Would he welcome the bussing of the poor to service the needs of the better off and big business? For me another Scotland is possible with people working but having quality of time with their families and friends. Where jobs exist where people want to live and can afford too. Let’s make it so. Indy Ref!!