Doesn't know his onions

Owen Jones treats us to another tirade, this time on the iniquity of the existence of food banks. Us adults take a rather different view. We’re simply overjoyed that such as the Trussell Trust exists even if we rather bemoan the reason why it and those food banks do. The reason being, of course, that government is incompetent. Yea, even only partially competent at the task of handing out free money.

But, you know, try telling the kids of today that, eh?

And yet Britain is a nation in which hundreds of thousands of people cannot afford to eat. Last year, 1.3m food parcels were given to an estimated 666,000 people by the Trussell Trust alone. In areas where the disastrous universal credit scheme has been rolled out in full, food bank usage has jumped by four times as much, or an average 52% increase. Here is a damning indictment not just of a Tory government that has waged a ceaseless war against the welfare state, but also of the entire social order.

It’s not because of a war against the welfare state even as it is because of the welfare state. Further, the need for food banks is nothing new, it’s just that we now have food banks to fill that need.

But the existence of food banks to satisfy hunger in a society so abundant with wealth – albeit concentrated in the bank accounts, property portfolios and dividends of a few – should shame us all. Food banks should not exist – not a single one – in an economically developed nation seven decades after the construction of a welfare state. There is a danger that food banks have become normalised, regarded as a desperately sad but inevitable feature of the country’s social landscape.

The existence of the need for food banks is regrettable, their existence is a joy to behold. For the hungry are being fed which is rather what we want to be happening, isn’t it?

For there’s one thing we all need to know about food banks. The largest reason for referral is the government itself getting the benefits it is supposed to be paying wrong. Yup, that’s right, it’s not because benefits are too low, not even because of sanctions on benefits that were being paid, it’s simple incompetence. Those scrotes we employ, with our money, are incapable of giving the right amount of our money to the chavs we’ve decided it should go to.

Given that this is so we’d really very much like the hungry to be fed while the scrotes extract digits from fundaments – if that will ever happen. We’re thus delighted that food banks exist because as private sector organisations they’re rather more efficient than the scrotes employed in the bureaucracy, aren’t they? You know, given the evidence that they’re able to get food to people who desire it?

There is a greater importance to this of course. Owen Jones looks at the cock up of the handing out free money stuff perpetrated by government and decides that he’d like all housing, all schooling, all investment, the entire planning of the economy, to be handled by the proven incompetents. Adults have the occasional problem with this logic but, you know, teenagers, eh?

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  1. Snowdon has something today about government planning to increase the prices of so-called junk food to avoid obesity. Is a country where poor people get fat from eating ‘bad’ stuff really in need of food banks? Who will make sure those self-same food banks don’t give away anything tasty or on the banned list?

      • But what is the net cost of people being fat? Other than some of the atrocities that I, unfortunately, have seared into my eyeballs I can’t think of any. Fat people eat themselves into an early grave so spare us the expensive of old age pensions and care; and, before they die, they generally have things that aren’t all that expensive to treat (knee replacements if they are still capable of waddling around the place, warfarin to let their cholesterol filled blood circulate).

        As with smoking it would be interesting to see a full, net cost, analysis of eating yourself into an early grave versus not doing so.

        • We discussed here a month ago that smokers on average reduce the drain on the “public health” budget, as they remove themselves from circulation long before their maintenance would get really costly, as you claim fatties do too.

          Any time “public health” gadflies get real power, surprise! they discover that health is not a commodity we can administer from the capital, but something that depends on individual choices. Which they now feel free to dictate.

          It is my unscientific observation that most of the prime parking spaces we have commandeered and gifted to the “infirm” are used by the merely undisciplined.

  2. Food has a cost, so it is not remarkable that “hundreds of thousands of people cannot afford to eat.” It is remarkable that anyone thinks you should be able to afford to eat, whether or not you do work, either as a hunter/gatherer, as a stockboy or ditch-digger, or something.

    Despite this, even those who “cannot afford to eat” do eat, thanks both to both government and private programs. And it is hardly a problem that the Tories wage “a ceaseless war against the welfare state” (though the war might cease if the welfare state retreated to a position of not dominating public choices). It is especially not a problem given that food banks make government food aid unnecessary, and sometimes even insist that recipients get their lives in order.

  3. In fairness to the front line staff it’s the scrotes that designed and implemented the system that are more to blame than them, Mr Brown and his cackhanded changes is still an issue. It was a system with failure built in from the start.
    Hard to believe that they wanted a system where the amount to be paid to someone was an estimate because it was too complex and/or not logically capable of calculating the correct amount and were then surprised when people were paid the wrong amounts

  4. @jgh
    Quite. Can remember back at the time of the miners’ strike. North London cappuccino socialists assembling food parcels for the heroic miners. Tins of spaghetti & beans. Cheap biscuits. Corned beef & tinned tuna. All the cheapest of the cheap. Couldn’t resist asking “Do you eat this shit? You ever been poor? Do you realise that this is all your miners’ families are eating because that’s all they can afford? And you’re sending them more of it. Why don’t you send them what you eat?”