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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 April 2014

Hungry Britain: Fight for jobs and a living wage for all

Mitie cleaning workers striking for decent pay on 21 January 2014, photo Neil Cafferky

Mitie cleaning workers striking for decent pay on 21 January 2014, photo Neil Cafferky   (Click to enlarge)

Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest, east London

One million people are now being fed by food banks. In an effort to cut across the horror and sympathy this figure generated, government sources have denounced the author, Trussell Trust charity, as '"misleading and emotionally manipulative".

The Mail on Sunday went further, sending an undercover reporter to a Nottingham food bank to prove that he could get three days free food without having his story checked out. In reality he reported that he was 'asked a series of questions'.

And as @KennyDownSouth tweeted: "No, no Daily Mail. The scandal isn't that food bank volunteers didn't check your cretin's ID. The scandal is that food banks exist at all."

The so-called upstanding Christian ethics of the Mail on Sunday in Easter Week attempted to portray one million people as scamming the system, asking us to believe that even though many have secret stashes of tinned sausage and beans at home they'd rather rip off the local food bank and artificially inflate the food bank figures.

In response to this poor excuse for genuine investigative journalism, 38,000 was donated in a matter of hours - heart-warming evidence of human solidarity.

Capitalist failure

It's not surprising that the Con-Dems and the big business-owned press attack food banks. They are a physical manifestation of the failure and inability of capitalism to solve the most basic human needs.

In the sixth largest economy on the planet people are going hungry because of soaring rent and bills, austerity measures, wage cuts and unemployment.

The economy is supposedly in recovery, sales of luxury goods are booming. Whole streets in Chelsea are bought up by oligarchs and sit in darkness as empty investment holdings.

There are more than enough resources to enable all the people of this island and the planet to have warmth, shelter and food - but we don't all have these things.

The logic of capitalism is that, as Oxfam revealed, Britain's five richest families are worth more than the poorest 20%. This is Con-Dem 'all in it together' Britain.

Labour is also implementing the cuts agenda, contributing to the extension of the food bank queues. Labour MPs might run marathons in the name of eliminating hunger but Labour-led councils are slashing benefits, jobs and services just as much as their Tory and Lib Dems counterparts.

The Labour leadership has endorsed the expansion of food banks by committing to Tory spending cuts if it forms the next government.

We need an alternative. Councillors have a choice not to make cuts - but all the establishment parties are making us pay for the bankers' crisis.

On 22 May I will be one of the over 550 trade unionists, socialists and anti-cuts activists offering a no-cuts alternative.

Candidates for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition will offer hope that we can fight for a future where food banks are utterly redundant - not a growth industry.

Help us build that struggle. See www.tusc.org.uk

All of us standing for TUSC in May will make one pledge above all else: We will not raise our hands and vote for cuts to jobs, services or benefits.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 23 April 2014:


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Hungry Britain: Fight for jobs and a living wage for all

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