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.