Who would have thought in 2020, the 21st Century, kids in the UK, the 6th richest nation, would be going hungry? But, sadly, hunger amongst the poorest kids in our country is a depressing fact.
Kids in the UK, in England at least, are on two weeks break, though that may vary from region to region. Kids who are in the upper echelons of English society will not be starving. However, due to many reasons, children are not being fed properly. This is like something from Dickensian times, as the Children's Commissioner, Anne Longfield noted, it is like something from Oliver Twist. She has decried the government for not voting to extend the 'Free School Meals' service.
The government voted against extending this service because they said it would encourage dependency. Bernard Jenkin a Tory MP told Sky on the 'Sophy Ridge Show' that the government would have to think again. Mr Jenkin was not present in parliament when the vote was going down. However, had he been present, he said he would have voted with the government to end the free school meals service. Mr Jenkin explained that the government has already given councils millions to feed hungry children. Another Conservative MP, but this time, a minister inside the Tory cabinet, Northern Ireland Secretary, Brandon Lewis agreed with Mr Jenkin's statement.
However, Bernard Jenkin went on to say that if the free school meals came back for another vote, he may vote to keep the free school meal. Many Tory MPs are breaking ranks with the government, because they know, how bad this looks. They are also saying the government should think again, but so far, Boris hunkered down in No 10, is resisting all calls to re-introduce the free school meals scheme.
Labour for its part, who brought the vote before parliament originally, said it will try again to get the free school meals scheme re-introduced. The only way this can be done is if enough Conservative MPs side with Labour and other parties, to get enough votes against the government to secure a victory. The Conservatives have an 80 seat majority, so Labour would need rebel Tories and all other opposition parties on board to beat the government in a vote to re-instate the free school meals scheme.
We have all seen, the wonderful work footballer Marcus Rashford has done, in feeding hungry kids. Rushford was awarded an MBE for his work of helping and highlighting this awful blight on our nation. The footballer is now up for a 'Pride of Britain' Award for his charity work. Mr Rashford wrote to Boris in September, about the plight of hungry kids, but, it seems Boris completely ignored the letter. It is understandable why many would say, Marcus Rashford, as a well-paid sportsman, is in a position to highlight, the suffering of the poor. Had it have been anyone else not in a privileged position like Rashford, their efforts would have gone largely ignored. But, let's step back here, Rashford by his own account, came from a poor background where his mum struggled to put food on the table. As the footballer himself said, he knows what it was like to go hungry and live on benefits/low wages, when he was a kid. Many might also, say, "Has Rashford, donated any of his own money to help"? Well, that is not known, however, thanks to Rashford, £20 million was raised for the charity 'Fareshare' which deals with the problem of hungry children, amongst others. Rashford also helps out in foodbanks when not plying his trade as a Premiership football player. Many Tories know that Rashford is making an embarrassing example of the government and they don't like it. It is possible, that when Rashford's footballing days are behind him, he may seek political office himself or work in the charity industry.
Boris must know, in his heart of hearts, that all those voters that lent him their vote during last years general election are turning against him. They voted for Boris, in some ideal world where Britain would be 'great again' once we are out of the EU. The UK could be great again (whatever your definition of greatness is), but, Brexit, for many now (including Brexiteers) is not the issue. Boris promised to level the north of England up and the midlands, in a thank you for voters getting him a landslide majority. However, phrases and soundbites are easy to do, it is the action that is required in this broken nation, thanks largely to Tory, measures of austerity and cutbacks. Now on top of this, we have had COVID, where the government went into lockdown too late and came out too early. At first with the furlough scheme and help for businesses, the self-employed, etc, the government was generous. Then, it largely withdrew or lowered its help, but has been forced again to increase help to the above because of pressure.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester or to some the 'King of the North' has resisted the government trying to force Manchester in Tier 3 (though it is now). Andy Burnham has nothing against the policy of people complying with the government guidelines to keep themselves and others safe against COVID. His argument was that the package of measures to ensure businesses, self-employed people and workers were kept viable was not enough financially. Burnham said the government talks about levelling up the poorest part of the country. It's more like the government wants to level down the most deprived areas of England.
Unfortunately, for all those in England complaining about the Tories, meaning the people who voted for them, they are only reaping what they sowed. Hopefully, come next May in 2021 and in the next general election of 2024 (knowing what voters know now, who voted for Boris) they will give this inhuman, vile government the kicking it deserves.