THOUGHTS 12 – SOME CHILDREN IN ENGLAND TODAY ARE HUNGRY

 

Mother and baby: love, compassion, kindness:  are these emotions considered relevant by England’s Conservative government?

I have spent a long time in the Third World and seen total, abject poverty.  But then – and this is a shocking thing to say – that was the Third World and such sights were not unexpected.  Those countries face enormous challenges in the modern world, and many of the amenities, commodities, values and lifestyles that we in the developed West take for granted are simply not available to millions of people towards the lower levels of the prevailing social hierarchies.  Seeing such hardship has had a lasting effect on me, it has really altered the way I look at the world in general, and I am grateful for that – albeit it is enlightenment bought at the price of witnessing the plight of others.

But when I returned to England in 1989, at the end of the Thatcher Years ( an earlier Conservative government), I had thought that I had left all of this dire poverty behind me – so that I was all the more shocked and saddened to see people begging and sleeping out on city streets here.

Because it is a simple fact that although the UK is a developed and wealthy Western nation, there are still large numbers of poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged people here – a fact that was further driven into me as I then worked for 20 years in Social Services Departments, collating and analysing service user data.  During this SSD work, I came into contact with the Free School Meals Service, which provides free school lunches for children from deprived social backgrounds.

And now, as well as lunches, many schools are providing breakfasts and other food for their children.  A friend of mine is a School Governor, and I have become involved in this crisis in a small way by donating funds to be used to help this school’s most needy families.  On asking what sorts of things the money would be used for, I was told that it would buy “luxuries” that these families could not usually afford – like biscuits and fresh fruit.  Well, what does one say?  This is the UK in 2020 and, to some, such really very basic items are luxuries???  I have to admit that all this has affected me deeply, and the more so since many families are now also being ravaged by both the covid pandemic and the consequent rising unemployment.


Father and baby: love, compassion, kindness: are these emotions considered relevant by England’s Conservative government?

The government in England has now voted – disgracefully voted, in my view –  not to provide needy children with Free School Meals over the imminent Half-Term Holiday – and this has prompted Marcus Rashford, a famous footballer from a deprived family background, to campaign to overturn this government vote – as he has affected these issues in the past and been awarded an MBE for doing so.  Even if the vote is overturned, that this Half-Term starts here tomorrow will mean that the U-turn, one of so many that this really incompetent English government has made, will not come in time for these children.  But of course the longer Christmas school holiday is rushing towards us, and it may well effect things then.

These events have prompted public uproar.  700,000 have signed a petition against the government’s decision, and 800,000 have signed another petition, to remove public subsidies on the cost of Members of Parliament’s food and drinks.  Many local councils, businesses, cafes and other food outlets have said they will provide free meals for children if the government fails to.  Over 2,000 top children’s doctors have signed an open letter to the government, condemning their policies.

If you would like to know more about these issues, here is Marcus Rashford’s twitter address; please have a look: @MarcusRashford .  And you can also of course simply dial marcus rashford into Google.

Thank you.

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About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

19 Responses to THOUGHTS 12 – SOME CHILDREN IN ENGLAND TODAY ARE HUNGRY

  1. Helen Cherry says:

    I don’t want to get started because injustice has been something I have railed against for my whole life and we live in a society where injustice is not only rife but positively thriving.
    The irony is not lost on me of Marcus Rashford being given an MBE, for his campaign to feed children over the Easter break, and then the government voting against the very thing they gave him an MBE for.
    We should all be angry – very, very angry. I did not vote for the Tories and Johnson is a man who wanted to be the Prime Minister without doing any of the work required of that role.
    He is a lazy con man plain and simple.
    I’ll be quiet as I can feel my blood pressure rising !!!

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, the more I look at things – and I DON’T want to let them get to me, take over my life and get me down – the more I see the injustice that is rife in England. VERY amused to see the news this morning, in which it was revealed that one of the royals – was it Prince William? – had caught covid in April, but the news was kept secret in case it should provoke national alarm/dismay!!! What planet are they on??? We live in a world eyebrow deep in bu****it!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that is so sad, why is it so hard to take care of the less fortunate ones. We have had free warm school meals as long as I can remember and they are so important. I have heard that on Mondays the days most meals are served as some families have not enough food during the weekends. Unfortunately there are also many teenagers that do not eat the meal at school, but instead go for fast food places.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      It is sad, and our government is simply a disgrace for not making the feeding of hungry children more of a priority. Also it is shocking that here are you and I, both living in developed Western nations, and yet still we have children’s food poverty on our doorsteps.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bluebrightly says:

    I hope the ruling is overturned – incompetent government is something we’re dealing with, too, of course. And speaking of social services, do you know that social work positions in England are, or at least were ten years ago, advertised over here? They were so desperate that they would pay Americans to come over to do those jobs. That tells you something. As far as providing meals to school children goes, it’s done on a much more localized basis here. I’ve seen some news about meals being handed out to families that are home-schooling their kids because most schools have not yet opened due to COVID. Hopefully, most school districts are doing that. But many people are still out of work and without help from the government because the “players” in DC can’t agree – it’s all political. One small glimmer of hope is that perhaps the pandemic will force so many reversals of fortune and changes in thinking that things will begin to change in the right direction – but change is slow, it seems. So slow.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      I have a feeling that the refusal is going to be overturned, but in a way that stops the government losing face, which is basically all they are concerned about. Astonished to hear re UK social jobs advertised in the States! All my best wishes, Lynn, for 3 Nov.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. brenda says:

    Has compassion and loving-kindness evaporated … leaving greed, hatred, and anger to divide us even more?

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Very well said, my friend. Compassion and loving kindness are still here, I think, as evidenced by the numbers offering free meals to kids since the Prime Minister’s astonishing (and very Conservative) decision to let them go hungry. But the other three factors that you mention are growing – what was that quote re Trump’s younger years, from one of his family I think? “Always too much and never enough”?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Stella says:

    Spot on. I can only add that in addition if you’re in the UK, consider donating to the Trussell Trust so that foodbanks can continue to help, even if it is the equivalent of putting a plaster on a gunshot wound.

    Like

  6. Arati says:

    Heart breaking and also hope as I hear of individuals stepping up to care for all these children. Thanks for posting. Needless to say the situation is similar here in the ‘us’. So much material wealth and lack of human kindness.

    Like

  7. Eloquently put sir.
    Interesting that he last 24 hours has prompted both of us to give a bit of blog space to the same subject. I had bit of an angry rant on my ‘Sad and Angry’ post from yesterday.
    I mentioned that contractors who are failing to deliver on the test and trace contracts are being paid anywhere up to £7,000 per day. The country has no confidence in the government and what example are they setting for the younger generation? They can find money to line the pockets of fat cats but not feed school children!!! I am so angry about the whole thing and it is sad and sickening. They have failed the country. People are dying because the government are heartless, hostile and incompetent. They continue to use meaningless language to sound like they care. The phrase that they must have had a memo about and which I haven’t heard the government say until recently is ‘Wrap our arms around..xxxx…xxxxx….’. It makes me sick to even hear them say it!
    I said to someone the other day that if you went to the first class of any management training they would mention an important part of managing is to lead and take people with you. The government have failed at the most basic of levels. They have alienated and insulted most of the country and my feeling is that people are now so confused and appalled by the governments actions and in-actions that they no longer trust them and confidence in anything they do or say is at an all time low. This has happened during one of the worst crisis to hit the UK (and the rest of the world) since the second world war. Without the confidence of the people they are meant to serve they will fail to recover the situation without thousands more people dying and thousands more people sinking into poverty and homelessness. The legacy of their handling of all of this will be a lost generation.
    Even worse is that there are rumours that Boris is intending to walk away from it all in the Spring next year! He has decided he wants more money that a PMs salary. If the rumours are true then he has nothing invested in getting things right. His post has always been seen as a vanity career move and perhaps that’s all it ever was. He has revealed nothing of his character other than that he is clueless and that Domonic C is pulling his strings. It’ll be us mopping up for decades to come, cleaning up the mess he made while he is out speaking on the ‘After dinner’ circuit.
    Right, I’ll quit there because as you may have noticed all of this makes me very angry and very sad.
    Sending best wishes
    Stay safe out there
    Mr C 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Meanderer says:

    Marcus Rashford MBE is an example to us all: an exemplar of care, compassion, politeness and dignity. I feel really moved by what he is doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Government. What can I say without cursing a blue streak!?
    Like here. Children in cages. Refusal to pass a stimulus bill. Intimidating voters.
    What the hell is happening?
    XXXATPXXX

    Liked by 2 people

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      I think the USA finds itself in a very hard place at the moment, and I’m sorry for that. Not having heard much in the news about them, I’m hoping that the wildfires are not the threat that they once were. However that still leaves Trump, racism and covid.

      Here in the “UK”, the response to covid by the four nations makes it clear that the “UK” is not united at all. Time and again, it seems to be that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are putting the wellbeing of their people first, while England cares more about money and business. Also, time and again, to me, the First Ministers of the other three countries simply leave the Prime Minister standing at the starting post when it comes to credibility and competence.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Some of the California fires are working towards full containment but Colorado just started up. It’s one big horrible mess.
        Covid is spiking again but trump still pushes opening up. He’s holding large massless rallies and chants lock this one up and that one up snd the crowds clap and cheer. His ‘cult’ is mesmerized by his lunacy. It’s frightening, really. He’s resorted to body doubles for his also feckless wife, because apparently she doesn’t want to be around him either. He’s pathetic and insane.
        Stay safe, my friend. I am trying to maintain some sanity. ❤️

        Liked by 2 people

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