D'ye see why we get puzzled about food banks?


We've the news today that it's just appalling that a supermarket that runs a collection scheme for food banks should actually indicate, in its stores, which foods might be suitable for purchase to a food bank.

The Co-op has faced criticism on social media after a customer tweeted a picture of an own-brand grocery display touted as 'ideal for the food bank'.

Dan Paris, a Scottish National Party activist, shared his picture of the promotion and remarked: 'It's easy to get used to these things but a shop advertising tinned food as "ideal for the food bank" has floored me.'

It led to a furious response from Twitter users who accused Co-op's charitable appeal as a scheme for 'pushing stuff customers won't buy just to make a profit,' as one put it.

Umm, what?

In response, Mr Paris explained he is himself a supporter of food banks.

He tweeted: 'I'm sure this was done this with good intentions but I found it genuinely upsetting that food poverty has been normalised to this extent.

'Nobody should be asked to buy food for the poor when they're doing their weekly shop. That's what the welfare state is for.'

We wouldn't normally say this, that people should look to La Toynbee for actual information on anything but she did, on the same day, point out this:

As the Church of England report revealed, the most common reason for using food banks is benefit delay and “sanctions”.

The reason that we don't want food banks to be a part of the welfare state is because they're a reaction to the incompetence and or malevolence of the welfare state. It's also worth reminding ourselves that the Trussell Trust says about itself that it started to take an interest in the issue back in 2000. when it was horrified to find out that there were people with no actual food in the house because of incompetence in the paying of benefits. This isn't a new problem. and it's not even entirely a problem with the simply incompetence of the State organs. Any system that tries to deal with tens of millions of tax and or benefit accounts simultaneously will screw up from time to time. And the sheer numbers just mean that at any one time some tens of thousands of people at least will be getting screwed. Which is rather why it seems like a very good idea to be using an entirely different system, operating in an entirely different manner, to be dealing with that problem.

All of which is entirely beside the basic moral point at issue here. What the heck's wrong with private charity? Why does the solution only become sanctified when it is washed through the Holy Church of the taxing offices?