One of the more difficult things to fathom about a certain strain of thinking is the antipathy to private charity:
In fact, you may be astonished to learn the extent of children’s rights to which we, as a nation, are signatory. Under article 26 of the UN convention on the rights of the child, children have a “right to benefit from social security”. According to article 27, they have “a right to a standard of living adequate to their physical, social and mental development”.
There is scope for argument within those terms but, by any measure, an adequate standard of living includes the right not to be hungry. So the fact that more than 300,000 children are using food banks – supplied, bear in mind, not by a state agency but by a charity, Trussell Trust – puts the UK squarely outside its UNCRC obligations.
By what appalling misfortune has that hunger been allowed to fester and left to non-state agencies to deal with?
A detailed answer to that would come from the Trussell Trust itself. Which points out that 83% of food banks have reported that benefit sanctions have led to more people being referred for emergency food. Private charity is here compensating for the incompetence or malevolence of that state and its agencies.
A more general answer would be that what is this insistence that rights, whatever they are, must be supplied by the state? The right to a family life does not mean that David Cameron has to find me a comely wife does it? The right to free speech does not mean that Ed Miliboy must purchase me a newspaper. In fact, we don't care in the slightest who provides whatever it is that enables a right to be enjoyed: only that that right can indeed be enjoyed. And so it should be with food.
It's simply astonishing that people are regarding food banks as some bad idea. They are instead a glorious example of the way in which us humans are sociable, societal, beings who really will go out of our way to help our fellow. What the heck is wrong with Burke's little platoons anyway, why this insistence that what people will happily do unprompted must be replaced by bureaucrats?