School holiday food poverty

The thing is, I just don’t believe them.

Austerity is often compared to a household budget by the economically illiterate: akin to belt-tightening in the short term, or even dieting for a planned holiday. But both analogies suggest an end in sight: growing up in poverty has no end goal, it’s simply ceaseless misery for children and adults alike. Going hungry affects children’s education, life chances, and even physical development: that alone should be an impetus to stamp it outin a purportedly developed country.

But hunger is greater than that, and will have a huge long-term effect on a generation. Poverty is psychological violence, and it is being inflicted on children on a mass scale, and will be forged in the memory of millions of citizens. Growing up poor robs people of their childhoods, damages confidence and self-worth, and has an irreparable effect on families. Teachers have told me of six-year-old children fainting in classrooms from hunger, and being forced to provide breakfast and even supper clubs because parents are hit by sanctions, the bedroom tax, and exorbitant rents.

I’ve no doubt there are instances of all of the above. There are parents who murder their own children too. But that’s also extremely uncommon, as these stories of actual starvation are, I’m sure. But more hunger than there was 20 years ago? 50? Simply do not believe them.

Quite apart fro anything else those food banks alleviate hunger, they’re not evidence of it going unalleviated, are they?

39 thoughts on “School holiday food poverty”

  1. In my day job I’ve seen several hundred claims affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ – can’t recall any with children under 10. Social landlords are quite good at matching properties to family sizes for young families. It’s the families with grown up children who leave home who are getting hit, or grown up kids who inherit secure tenancies from deceased relatives. They can make their own choices and often choose to pay the extra.

  2. Also, it’s noticeable on school holiday trains home that the smell of fried chicken or McDonald’s is absent. All the bloody schoolkids seem to live on that!

  3. When I was growing Macdonalds was a treat (I had such low standards back then….). These days it would appear that Macdonalds are school rations.

  4. As a kid in the 1950s I was always hungry; kids are always hungry. I don’t believed it robbed me of my childhood, damaged my confidence or self-worth, or had an irreparable effect on me. True I was as skinny as a whippet, but I could run like the wind.

  5. It looks as though it has been a while since Dawn Foster knew what it was like to go hungry.

    Meanwhile, and quite anecdotally, I’ve come across instances of lefties being sanctimonious hypocritical cunts.

  6. @Bernie G.

    In a miracle of modern society, the twin evils of starvation and obesity are sweeping primary schools (or whatever the fuck they call primary schools these days).

    A far cry from my 1960s childhood.

  7. The last couple of times that I took some stuff to my local food bank it amazed me to notice that a considerable proportion of its “clients” had a fag hanging out of a corner of their mouth and were chatting on iphones or their equivalents. Add to that the number who turned up by car or taxi…

    I’m afraid that I no longer buy into the “austerity” schtik. If kids are going hungry to school it’s because of shit parenting, not the evil torees.

  8. Feral kids won’t have the energy to cause trouble in the neighbourhood, leading to lower crime rates. This must be stopped why exactly?

  9. It’s another crisis of capitalism, I tell you. Only a matter of time before these starving kids turn to cannibalism and devour their fat friends.

  10. I have yet to see any sallow-faced, pinched-cheek children with staring eyes and protruding ribs. So ‘fainting from hunger’ sounds unlikely.

    And since when was an anecdote considered ‘data’?

  11. Poverty doesn’t take away people’s dignity.

    The Jarrow march comes to mind.

    Peasants down the ages have been poor but most have managed to maintain their dignity.

  12. ” it amazed me to notice that a considerable proportion of its “clients” had a fag hanging out of a corner of their mouth”

    Doesn’t surprise me. If you provide free food, people will quickly cotton on that ever free tin of baked beans they pick up means another 4 ciggies can be bought.

    I don’t have any objection to the existence of food banks – there will always be cases where people fall through the cracks for a period and need direct support.

    But to take demand for free stuff as any real evidence of underlying shortage is naive or disingenuously (and yes, I know that you are supposedly ‘qualified’ to use a food bank, but the bleeding hearts will generally give them out for any old sob story)

  13. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Poverty doesn’t take away people’s dignity.”

    Indeed. Visit it always amazed me when visiting poor areas in China, India, Philippines etc and seeing kids turning out or slums in pristine school uniforms that their parents wash and iron every night.

    The biggest poverty problem we have is poverty of aspiration followed closely by ambition.

  14. “the twin evils of starvation and obesity”

    Tell me about it.
    One of the girls here, I know. Got herself into money problems & there’s not much in the way of a safety net. The larder was bare.
    The 8 y/o was “fainting with hunger”. FFS! The daughter’s almost spherical. I’ve had her here. She gets in the pool the pool gets out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her not eating. Yes, I can imagine not having a McDonalds clutched in her chubby little fist could provoke some sort of shock reaction.

  15. We have had instances of kids who come to school without having breakfast. Not many, maybe 2 or 3 out of 420.

    Nothing to do with poverty, plenty to do with shit parents.

  16. Salamander – a burger a month is a treat. One (or more) every day is a bad diet.

    As served up in McDonalds or Burger King, the problem is not a lack of nutritional value, but a surplus. It’s all there: protein, carbohydrates, fats, dietary fibre, vitamins (tomato etc). You probably don’t need to eat much more in a day. Also, no Eastern European horsemeat like certain supermarket burgers …

    The real problem, as always, is poor parenting.

  17. Exorbitant rents are not caused by austerity they were pretty high before 2010. The problem is not enough homes and giving peoples home where they don’t to live. There are plenty of people on benefits in London, if they were given housing in e.g. Durham etc where there are much cheaper places to rent, London prices would tumble.
    Although 1 in 4 Mps are landlords so it will not be a popular idea with them.

  18. BiND

    Yes, I’ve seen similar things in India and China. I remember seeing peasant women in Rajasthan collecting dung in spotless, brightly coloured saris, which are washed daily.

    I once visited (uninvited) a rural school in southern India. The pupils were sitting on a hard earth floor. Every one of them was spotlessly clean, hair brushed and combed. Bright-eyed and eager to learn, they were also very polite. One boy said, ‘Please, tell us about London, kind sir.’

    The comparison with UK state schools and pupils was marked. The welfare state has created an underclass devoid of self-respect.

  19. Anon–that’s all very nice but I see no reason that the inhabitants of Durham–or anywhere else– should have to put up with London’s poverty being bussed in. Some will be poor but honest but many will be dodgy and many out and out scum.

    You can fucking keep them. Or ship them back to their point of origin. Thus leaving plenty of space and a number of available jobs for the feckless natives who remain.

    As for food poverty I’ll repost the one from the 25th last:

    “If this country were full of starving people the streets would be rife with thin, skeletal people with gaunt, haggard faces and desperate eyes which had looked into–in Hesiod’s words– “hunger’s livid face of woe”.

    Instead the streets are full of fat fuckers ranging from mildly overweight up to grotesquely obese. With the exception of anorexia sufferers and elderly victims of the NHS no one in this country starves to death .”

  20. Eating an occasional Burger King cheeseburger is pleasant enough–better than McD’s.

    And McDonalds Breakfasts–Sausage and Hotcakes with (artificial) maple syrup/ butter/pepper are very nice–once in a while. Their Big Breakfast–sausage meat patty, scrambled egg, hash brown and the “English” muffin was also nice but they don’t serve that any more. Such a repast was always far superior to the God-Awful breakfasts served in London tourist hotels.

  21. If children aren’t being fed, they should be removed from the home. Child abuse should not be rewarded by the state.

    Government should spend money on orphanages, not welfare.

  22. Theophrastus:“The comparison with UK state schools and pupils was marked. The welfare state has created an underclass devoid of self-respect.”

    +1000

  23. Just to add a bit more anecdata, a young relative of mine teaches at a school for boys who have been excluded from everywhere else.

    One of the things the school does is start early and sit all the boys down for breakfast in small groups, which helps them learn to socialise and gives them the calories to stay alert and behave during the day.

    He’s told me some terrible tales about these lads’ home lives but they are all tales of neglect due to fecklessness, stupidity and – more than any other factor – utter selfishness.

  24. > If children aren’t being fed, they should be removed from the home.

    Orphanages are bloody expensive to run. And isn’t there a nationwide shortage of foster carers?

    Besides, given the chance, how many of us would palm the kids off to free foster care for a fortnight while we nip off to Barbados for a sunny child-free holiday?

  25. Just noticed this:

    ‘Dawn Foster writes on politics, social affairs and economics’

    From earlier links posted by Tim:

    Poppy Noor…. She writes about class, politics, inequality and education’

    Abi Wilkinson is a freelance journalist based in London writing about politics, inequality, gender, popular culture

    If we’re drafting bills of attainder or drawing up lists of candidates for a Socialist tax, anyone of this ilk writing in the Guardian would have to be on it.

    One observation, given how all these ladies appear to be shouldn’t they be able to write coherently?

  26. “Orphanages are bloody expensive to run. And isn’t there a nationwide shortage of foster carers?”

    Two different subjects.

    Anywho, the U.S. has spent $6,000,000,000,000 on welfare. Orphanages would be cheaper. By orders of magnitude.

  27. @Andrew M, July 28, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    And isn’t there a nationwide shortage of foster carers?

    Alleged shortage. Plenty of applicants. However, if you support UKIP or Conservatives, are a practicing Christian, don’t support gay marriage etc you’re rejected.

  28. What the fuck is this, Ecks?

    And McDonalds Breakfasts–Sausage and Hotcakes with (artificial) maple syrup/ butter/pepper are very nice–once in a while. Their Big Breakfast–sausage meat patty, scrambled egg, hash brown and the “English” muffin was also nice but they don’t serve that any more.

    You’ll be on Bake Off soon.

  29. Why would deadbeat parents ever consider parting with their kids?

    They only brought their babies into the world to get a council flat, plus all the welfare benefits attendant on their status as destitute unemployable parents. Infants are the key to the welfare system. Young singletons don’t get near a set of house keys, they need a hostage.

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