I'm afraid that this campaign and poster, "Britain Isn't Eating", confuses me greatly.
In a striking billboard advert that says ‘Britain Isn’t Eating’, the charity Church Action on Poverty uses the famous image from the Conservatives’ 1979 election poster, ‘Labour Isn’t Working’. The highly political charity poster features the same long line of people used to illustrate dole queues under Jim Callaghan’s ailing government, but this time places them outside a food bank.
OK, more people are using food banks than before. And what, pray, is wrong with that?
For the launch of the Britain Isn’t Eating campaign, Church Action on Poverty said on its website: ‘The explosion in food poverty and the use of food banks is a national disgrace. It undermines the UK’s commitment to ensuring all its citizens have access to food – one of the most basic human rights.’
Umm, but, aren't food banks providing food to people? Aren't people thereby being provided with one of the most basic human rights, access to food?
I'm perfectly willing to agree that in a country, by historical or global standards, as rich as the UK is today that we can make sure that all have access to a basic and nutritious diet. The thing is, I'm very confused by the people who are part of the system providing this, those food banks, insisting that their own existence proves that this isn't being done. For there's absolutely nothing at all that insists that such provision should be met by government. Or benefits, or pay, wages, jobs or anything else of that type. The insistence is that food should be available and that it is available through the charity of our fellow citizens is not some scandal that blots our society. Quite the contrary, it is a wonderful signifier that we do indeed still care for our fellow man.
Something that at this time of the year is a rather appropriate thing to be reminded of perhaps?
It claims ‘the single most common reason for people to need food aid is that their benefits have been changed, delayed or stopped’.
Government is incompetent and we the citizenry step into the breach. This is somehow a bad thing?