For some years, I have found it impossible to watch BBC’s Question Time. Actually, come to think about it, I’ve not been a regular viewer since Sir Robin Day was the host (one for the teenagers, there). But I keep seeing clips and reports and it reminds me why I should stay away.
This morning, I read some quotes from Tory peer Nicky Morgan about parliament’s decision to not ensure children won’t go hungry this winter. This is roughly speaking what she said: ‘If Labour’s Angela Rayner hadn’t referred to Tory MPs as scum, MPs might have agreed to it.’ I am still trying to take this in.
What Morgan has literally said is that her former colleagues in the House of Commons were so angry at being called a bad name, they decided to take out revenge on hungry children. ‘If you call me scum, children will starve.’ Just imagine thinking like that?
I just find the whole thing so sordid. For example, Tory millionaire minister Nadhim Zahawi, an Iraqi migrant by the way, voted against feeding hungry children, yet once claimed many thousands of pounds in parliamentary expenses to keep his horse warm. Or prime minister Dominic Cummings who has managed to dodge £50,000 in Council Tax in respect of his second home in Durham? How many hungry mouths might that have fed? Sorry for going all loony left but this feels like class war.
I have nodded to my own past on on this blog and whilst I didn’t go hungry myself, my mum did, to make sure I didn’t. There were literally no social security benefits back in those days and the predecessor to Child Benefit, Family Allowance, only applied if you had more than one child. My mum just had me and there was nothing for single parent families. My mum’s pea soup would often be made to last three, sometimes four, days if she couldn’t get any offcuts from the butcher so on the basis of that, I was always an unlucky week away from not eating, something that mercifully never happened, at least not to me. But 50 years on, it’s happening again.
There are people who find it hard to believe that in this day and age children aren’t eating, or if they are, it’s scraps, but please take my word on this one, many still do. Yes, some children live in chaotic and dysfunctional families but many more live surrounded by love. But love alone does not put bread on the table.
One Tory MP said that he was against the state providing free meals because he didn’t want to ‘nationalise children’. Another said parents would much rather make a modest contribution to pay for a school meal than accept a meal for their children funded by the state. The first part is not worth the effort of replying, the second slightly more so because of course parents would far rather have the resources to feed their own children, but this is all about those who don’t.
Every time this country sinks so low, I imagine it can’t sink lower, but it always does. And rather than launch an attack on poverty, Boris Johnson’s dungheap of a government launches an attack on the poor. Angela Rayner was being generous calling these people scum.