Home > Equality, Ethics, National Politics, Poverty, Principles, Restoring Democracy > Poverty and hunger will not be addressed in the UK until politics is the means to solve our problems rather being accepted as the end

Poverty and hunger will not be addressed in the UK until politics is the means to solve our problems rather being accepted as the end

Balancing news input has become an unwitting challenge for a great many, simply because of how polarised and partisan the mainstream media has become. Whether it be to champion the right, the left or to further the destructive and forceful narrative of wokeness, there is very little that really encapsulates all or does a good job of sitting in between.

The environment that a world of echo chambers creates wouldn’t be quite as problematic in terms of societal problem solving and the legacy that it bequeaths if it were not for the seemingly population-wide absence today of critical thinking skills. The troubling truth is that we are navigating a phase of our history where real life problems are elevated or suffer scorn within the public view, depending on where the story was broken and the following assumption that the readership will be voting one way or another depending on who’s who.

Over the weekend, I read the article written by Jack Monroe in The Observer / The Guardian ‘Were pricing the poor out of food’ (which I cannot link at the time of writing as it appears to have disappeared). Beyond the timeline and list of things that Jack has arguably achieved by drawing attention to the realities of what it costs to eat when you are either temporarily or long-term poor, it was striking just how obvious that for the past decade, a failure to gain real traction in the fight against food poverty in the UK is in no small part because it is a subject championed only by the left.

That this Conservative Government has been out of touch with the uncomfortable realities that people right across the UK face is a given. Not because the Tories are consciously cruel. But because in the minds of the people who write their policies – who are unlikely to have had a free school meal, hand-me-down clothes or even experienced the joys of playing outside in a housing estate street – they genuinely believe that poverty and unemployment are one and the same thing – and the wannabe yes-men that follow them do not have the integrity to question what they are told.

This reality is borne out in the news even now. Public figures such as Chancellor Rishi Sunak champion the number of new jobs created and the number of people back at work, whilst forgetting to mention that the non-jobs that have been created pay the absolute minimum. That the ‘work’ is in all likelihood part-time or similar. Worst of all, that in many cases securing a ‘job’ just creates a minefield for those who were beguiled into signing up as self-employed only to find that overtly reasonable pay also includes all of their expenses and that the real hourly rate is a lot less than anyone can or should be expected to afford.

It’s a brutal reality that the people leading this Country are in a shocking state of denial about the circumstances and experiences of the poor. Their lack of appreciation is bolstered by the self-righteousness they fool themselves with as their head hits the pillow each night, hiding behind measures such as the minimum or living wage; all the time believing that this is as far as the legislative powers of the legislators need to extend in order to make life affordable for all.

At this point, it might be easy to read this Blog as a left-leaning. Labour and all of the left-wing pretenders such as the Liberal Democrats talk a good story about poverty and hunger and the unfolding cost of living crisis too. But their words – and actions – when their time in power has allowed, also shower them with something a lot less shiny than glory and that leaves behind a very redolent cloud.

The solutions the left offer, based on money and levelling down, don’t actually solve or even begin to address many of the wider issues that their own impractical and ideological approach to policy making have created. And this issue today has never been more relevant as we collectively stare into an abyss of what could genuinely become a financial Armageddon where throwing money at all of these problems will not be something that even a new Labour-led government elected in the coming months or years could now afford to do.

The problems which leave people unable to afford the food to feed their children – even if they starve themselves are massively complex in nature.

The cold, hard reality is that giving people more benefits or throwing money at charities such as the Trussell Trust – which really shouldn’t have to exist in 21st Century UK, is no better than coming up with creative schemes and misleading headlines that suggest everything is alright if you are ‘officially’ classified as having a job.

Wilful blindness on the part of our entire political class has contributed to a situation where politics is no longer the means to solve societal problems. Politics is now the end in itself.

The evidence that any good politician needs as the basis to start building the list of questions, the arguments and the recognition of how many areas of public policy are actually involved just to begin the process of dealing with these problems is there for all to see.

Hiding ominously in plain sight is the truth that no one with a public voice speaks and no one with the public gaze upon them will dare open their eyes to see.

We need politicians to be dealing with the questions that arise when people earning the basic wage that they have championed can only afford to live if the public purse continues to subsidise them.

How did this happen?

Why is it continuing?

Who is responsible?

How much do people need to earn to be able to support themselves without help?

When production is now arguably more efficient than it has ever been, why is any food on a supermarket shelf a luxury that one person earning a full-time wage cannot afford?

The truth is that the politicians we have would not like any of the answers to just these few questions and many, many more. That’s why they don’t listen. Its why they don’t look. Its whey they look for quick fixes and highly disingenuous soundbites that are there only to mislead and to hoodwink the very people that they should be helping into thinking that it is a problem of their own making.

Yet the reality is that the people who should and could be dealing with these problems are not.

These are problems that we have elected people to deal with. People who have taken our votes and our trust that they fulfil their responsibilities to us and always put them before their own.

They are there to find and deliver the solutions to the difficulties in life that we cannot do so ourselves – such as making sure that we all have the basics that we need available.

Instead, we have the wrong politicians. Politicians who are in politics for politics sake. And because they are completely unsuited to what they do, we have a situation where the fat and bloated are getting richer and richer, whilst everyone else has less and less whilst even having their status devalued as those in power play games with what it means to be poor.

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