Posts Tagged ‘Soup Kitchens’

Sturgeon’s Not Responsible for Kids Queuing for Soup: The Tories Are

January 27, 2023

That Preston Journalist, whose real name, I am assured by the great people who comment here, is Ashley Kaminski, put up a genuinely heart-breaking video last night. People had been queuing outside a soup kitchen in Glasgow. Among the adults were ten children, including a babe in arms. Kaminski thought that this was terrible, as he should. He’s an avowed opponent of Nicola Sturgeon and all her works, dubbing her ‘McKrankie’ after her supposed resemblance to one half of a double act back in the 1980s. From the tone of his piece, he clearly wanted to blame her, but couldn’t quite. It was wrong, he said, whoever was responsible.

Okay, I don’t know what powers the devolved Scots parliament has, especially regarding welfare policies. I am sure that many Scots voted SNP, not because they wanted independence, but simply because they wanted a proper welfare state, something that wasn’t being offered by Jim Murphy’s Scottish Labour party. But this scandalous situation has been around far longer than the SNP’s administration, and it afflicts communities right across Britain. In Scotland there was a parliamentary inquiry into food banks a few years ago. One of those speaking before the committee was a volunteer, who described the intensely dispiriting deprivation and poverty he saw as he did his job. And I can remember putting up a 19th-early 20th century poem about children queuing outside a food kitchen. It’s disgusting that Britain has returned to such levels of poverty.

But Krankie isn’t responsible. The Tories are. They’ve insisted on wages so low working families can’t make ends meet, and cut welfare payments again and again, all with mantra of encouraging ‘welfare scroungers’ to look for work, making work pay and all the other nonsense. They’ve also introduced benefit sanction after benefit sanction, all with the same intention. It also helps to fiddle the unemployment statistics, as if they’re off the DHSS’ books, they aren’t counted as unemployed.

It’s possible that Sturgeon’s policies aren’t helping the situation north of the border. But the ultimate blame lies with the Tories, and it started when Ruth Davidson, the head of the Conservatives up there, was in power. And Sturgeon definitely isn’t responsible for it down south in England and Wales.

The Tories are. It started under Cameron.

They’re starving children.

Get them out!

Poem from A Hundred Years Ago on Children at a London Soup Kitchen

July 21, 2013

I found this poem, Children in Front of a London Soup Kitchen, by Ernst Stadler, in Peter Vansittart’s Voices: 1870-1914 (New York: Franklin Watts 1985). I thought I’d post it here, because the growth of child poverty in the UK and foodbanks has meant that it’s coming back.

I saw children, a long line of them, arranged in pairs, stand in front
of the building where the poor are fed.
They waited, untalkative, weary, for their turn at the nightly
They were dirty and in rags, squeezed up against housefront and
Little girls around pale babies cupped hands that were failing.

Hungry,, intimidated they stood among lamps being lighted,
Many with delicate faces by marks and dark bruises blighted.
Their clothing smelled of basements, ill-lit rooms, of scolding and
Their bodies were scarred by deprivation and premature drudgery.

They waited: soon the others would be through, they’d be
admitted to the hall,
Served with bread and begetables, the soup in tin cups and all,
Oh, and then they’d grow sleepy and their twisted limbs would be
And night and good sleep would bring them to rocking-horses, to
soldiers, the rooms of marvellous dolls’ houses open wide.

We haven’t quite reached that level of poverty and degradation yet, mercifully. But it’s always a possibility.