I’m a sport scientist (in training) and there is a vogue in health & exercise circles at the moment to voluntarily go without food for the supposed health benefits it brings. It is called ‘fasting’ and there are arguments about which routine you should follow; whether it is the 5:2 (eat for five days, fast for two), 1:1 (eat one day, fast the next) or 8:16 (where you eat all your daily calories within an eight hour window and fast for the remainder of the day and night). Books are written and bought, seminars presented and paid for and health ‘gurus’ make careers (and fortunes) out of telling relatively wealthy people, who have more money (and food) than sense, how to eat less so that they might live longer, healthier lives.
Meanwhile, in this wealthy UK of ours, people are really starving. Not starving themselves voluntarily for the good of their health, but being starved by our Westminster Government’s welfare rules which ‘sanction’ their benefits (which means cutting them off for varying lengths of time) which means they cannot afford to buy food or heat their homes. And this happens without warning too. Imagine how you would feel if your employer refused to pay you one month and you couldn’t feed your family. I know, I know, you would rely on your overdraft or credit card and build up arrears with your electricity supplier but it would all sort it out in the end, wouldn’t it? But what if it didn’t and your employer didn’t pay you the next month either, despite you turning up for work every day? How long would any of us last in those circumstances before we needed to visit a foodbank? How long before your bank foreclosed on your mortgage or your landlord evicted you for non-payment of rent? And what if the reason you weren’t paid for a whole week or month was because you were five minutes late to work one morning or your supervisor (not even your boss, just your line manager one rung up the ladder) thought you were being ‘cheeky’ or failing to fill in all your forms correctly?
Some argue that it is the fault of the unemployed for being work-shy or feckless or unwilling to engage with society by getting a job and while I am sure there are some people who fit that description, there is not a single person under the age of 16 that this can apply to. So why are an increasing number of CHILDREN starving and living in abject poverty because of some sin their parent(s) may or may not have committed against the welfare state? It makes me furious that, in this wealthy nation of ours, people are literally starving. And if you don’t agree, there really is nothing good I can say about you.
Do you imagine the poorest in our society ‘enjoy’ the health benefits due to involuntary fasting? I am sure it plays no small part in the decreasing life expectancy ‘enjoyed’ by many throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK. What was it I saw on Twitter last night? If you are a man living in a part of Lanarkshire and you want to increase your average life expectancy, you should move to North Korea. Stop and think about that for a second. North Korea has to be one of the worst failed states in history yet it has an average life expectancy higher than places in Scotland, a part of one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on earth. How anyone can think we are Better Together™ is quite, quite beyond me. The only conclusion I can come to is that anyone who does think this does so on the basis of ‘I’m all right Jack, so fuck you’.
And remember, you ain’t seen nuth’n yet: only 40% of the proposed ‘austerity measures’ promised by the Conservatives and Labour have been implemented so far. Not that they have helped the government save any money: The Tories are incompetent as well as cruel.
So this why I am voting Yes in September.
If you can watch that without a tear in your eye, you are made of sterner stuff than I am, or a completely heartless barsteward. Thanks to Wings Over Scotland for the heads up.
I want to put the likes of Julie Webster of the Greater Maryhill Foodbank out of business for good. And she is not alone. There are hundreds of other foodbank workers who I want to see out of a ‘job’ just as soon as we can close their noxious establishments. So vote Yes this September and force these hard working, compassionate people who think far too much about the injustices done to others to find a new job. Go on, make all the ‘Julie Websters’ redundant. You know you want to.
One way you could help to achieve this is to sponsor rider Mark Coburn to help raise money for setting up several Yes campaign shops with any excess money going to Greater Maryhill Foodbank.
Or of that is too political for you, you could find your nearest foodbank and donate cash or food (or toilet paper, nappies, etc. etc.) directly to them. Google is your friend and you will be amazed and appalled how many will be in your area wherever you live.
“I never thought I would need charity” – I bet you don’t either, eh?
Dennis Curran of Loaves & Fishes at Holyrood
FMQ September 2012
FMQ February 2014
It’s not just Glasgow you know, the people in the rural areas are starving too
BBC Panorama (the BBC is still good for some things)