A letter a day to number 10. No 1,521
Saturday 13 August 2016.
Dear Mrs May,
Figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that there were 746 hospital admissions and 391 deaths from malnutrition in 2015, a rise of 27% from 9 years ago.
The response from the Department for Work and Pensions? “We now have record numbers of people in work and wages rising faster than inflation. But we need to go further, which is why we’ve committed to increase the National Living Wage (not true), we’re taking the lowest paid out of income tax (yet still pay the highest, around 30% of income, in indirect taxation) and our welfare reforms are ensuring it always pays to be in work.”
Not a single word of regret that nearly 400 people starved to death last year in the world’s 6th richest country and an admission that your welfare reforms are so punitive that work always pays (it still doesn’t) no matter how precarious, insecure or low paid that work is. We used to have a social safety net but since 2010 you Tories have cut the ropes.
The food supply in Britain is incredible and awe inspiring, shifting food and stock on a daily, even hourly, basis. From the largest supermarkets to the smallest rural shops, Britain’s roads are full of huge trucks down to small vans and even car boots, 24 hours a day in an endless supply chain keeping shelves filled with goods from across the globe. You’d think it would be a logistical nightmare, but it runs almost invisibly (taken for granted) minute by minute, day by day, all manner of plain and exotic foods in plentiful supply in a land of plenty.
There’s only one problem, food is only good if you can eat it. It’s of no use to anyone if it’s languishing on shelves in shops or finds it way to landfill sites, as half the food in Britain does. If you can’t grub for pennies, you don’t eat, no tokens, no food. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so deadly serious. We all live on this luscious ball of goodness with everything we need to sustain life as a free gift of the universe. Yes, really, I am not making it up, but we have this insane system imposed upon us that you can’t plant a single carrot without either owning or renting the land or having someone’s permission. A share of the Earth’s bounty isn’t a right, you have to earn it and the DWP has introduced forced labour just so that we know our place.
You might think that feeding the starving would be a government priority, rather like the nations health before Lansley and then Hunt got their hands on it, but it isn’t, the priority is profit. The entire Earth has been stolen from us: like the British Empire, stick a flag in it and it’s owned by a rapacious select few hell bent of stealing the world’s wealth from ordinary people. If we don’t like it we’re treated to violence and arrest, compliments of the state. The Irish potato famine was English state controlled genocide in a land of plenty, people were shot for trying to stop the food from being stolen from Ireland by the British gentry.
No one, but no one, should be dying of malnutrition in Britain today, that they are is a matter of wilful and deliberate neglect by the state in which arms are a greater priority than feeding the starving. You’ll steal our money to replace Trident, but you won’t feed the poor.