It was too easy for politicians to initially dismiss the absence of food of an appropriate quality in the lunch packs that have been distributed to parents during the Lockdown in lieu of free school meals.
Excuses such as ‘this is the best that the contractors can do on a budget of £30 per child in these circumstances’ are not the words of people who care for others and about the impact of the responsibilities they have.
Such arguments underline just how out of touch the political classes are, in one sense with the experiences of the life that so many people lead. In the other, how private contractors who have been commissioned to provide a service to the public are wilfully stripping the value out of everything that they provide, doing so because their master is profit rather than the welfare and benefit of the people for which their services and products have been employed.
The horrific truth is that the Free School Meals story is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to questions over how and why services to the public are provided as they are.
Child Food Poverty is an issue that uncomfortably sits in just a small part of the spectrum of issues stretching from poor service provision and our negative experience of the public sector at one end to the tragedies like Grenfell that exist at the other.
And it doesn’t end there.
The institutional malaise which enables this ‘let’s take whatever we can or add more because we can’ culture stretches out across the commercial sector too.
This rot is a feature that is now an intrinsic part of supply chains and the provision of all the services and products that we buy, particularly when we cannot see what hands have handled the products being used or that we buy before they reached us.
It is because greed has been allowed to inflate prices and reduce content of the products and services that we buy, that the real rise in the cost of living goes up exponentially. Meanwhile our politicians’ thumb through the statistics they rely on – rather than the genuine experience of life they should, and use them as the basis to deny what is really going on for the people they were elected and trusted to represent.
COVID-19 is no excuse. Lockdowns and Social Distancing are just another example of mismanagement and mishandling by people elected to represent the public who should simply know, behave and represent others much better than they do or have ever really intended to.
The people elected to govern us do not understand the realities of life.
The ruling Conservative Party today governs on the premise that unemployment is the same thing as poverty.
This goes a good way to explaining the very questionable financial strategy that has underpinned the Chancellors decision to use public money to keep people furloughed in jobs that Boris Johnson’s Lockdown has long since ensured no longer exist.
Sadly, and very regrettably, the work that Marcus Rashford and his supporters are doing and the outcome from the influence that they are having is but a very small drop within an ocean of problems that normal people are facing each and every day. Any fix or isolated change in legislation that comes as a result will be no better than a temporary fix because politicians do not understand and do not want to understand the consequences and impact of what they do.
People need food for themselves and their children. They need it now and for as long as they cannot put food on plates at each and every mealtime.
This situation simply shouldn’t exist. Footballers and Food Banks should never have to intervene to support not only those on benefits, but people who have jobs but find that food is a luxury that they simply cannot afford.
There is a tragic irony in Free School Meals contractors skimming every penny they think they can off the top of food parcels because they thought nobody will notice or care. It demonstrates the very same mentality that exists across all forms of business and public service which has grown exponentially with the switch to business being undertaken online.
Excess profiteering and outright greed is making life avoidably challenging even for the middle classes and self-sufficiency and financial independence is a basic human right that the poorest members of society simply cannot afford.
The people who sit at the fat, bloated end of the money system and the perverse pyramid structure that supports it do not need anywhere near the money or material wealth that they already possess in order to have very good standards of living and materially-rich lives.
The cash and property hoarding that they continue with at pace is causing mayhem for everyone else at the levels of that pyramid below them, making the money that does still exist at the bottom rapidly lose value whilst they can only continue to gain.
Until government stops what those either controlling money or manipulating it are doing by reintroducing appropriate financial regulation, morality and ethics into the money and financial system to stop profligate profiteering and plundering of everything that these greedy people touch, the basic or humane standard of living that most people would be happy and content with – that excludes the need for debt, borrowing or seeking the support from charities or others, will simply be a standard of living that is too expensive for increasing numbers of normal working people to afford.
Every person who works in a full-time job should be able to provide themselves and those they are responsible for with a home, power and warmth, communication, clothing, transport and entertainment, along with everything necessary that would allow anyone to function and contribute to positively to society in a fully independent and self-sufficient way.
Those who require support from the state because they are unemployed or unable to work should receive support equal to the same with the only caveat being that appropriate steps and conditions should be applied to ensure that nobody can enjoy that basic standard of living as a preferred or indefinite choice.
This outcome or solution is one that should be realistic. Yet it is not, simply because the way the value of goods, services and property are today being mismanaged deliberately for profit and prices have been pushed up and inflated to levels which far exceed their real value and to the point where basic and personal independence or financial sustainability is something that too many have no way to afford.
The political class – that’s all Political Parties that currently control Westminster – are themselves a significant part of the problem, simply because they function to pursue and represent their own ideas and ways of thinking. It is an approach that does not understand or accommodate the life experience of others and is set up to further interests only that align with their own.