Food bank pho­tos ploy shows Tories’ con­tempt for poor

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BRIAN READE

WHEN this Gov­ern­ment was found guilty of hold­ing us in con­tempt, all I could think of was “what took so long, m’lud”?

For years they have viewed the peo­ple who don’t vote for them with the kind of de­tached cold­ness you see in a shark’s eyes as it swoops on a school of sar­dines.

They’ve had their col­lars felt for hold­ing back le­gal ad­vice about Brexit, but con­tempt-wise they’ve got a charge sheet as long as the ban­quet­ing ta­ble in Mrs Rees-Mogg’s an­ces­tral pile.

Just look at some im­ages from the past week alone. The laugh­ter on the front benches when Jeremy Cor­byn lamented a lost decade for wages.

The self-sat­is­fied gobs on ex-Brexit sec­re­taries David Davis and Do­minic Raab, as they re­ceived The Spec­ta­tor’s Cab­i­net Res­ig­na­tion of The Year Award for be­ing the in­com­pe­tent cow­ards who helped land us in this grave con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis.

And the shame­less ploy that as­sumed we have the mem­ory of a de­cap­i­tated gnat: The SHAME­LESS Tory photo op co-or­di­nated dis­patch­ing of MPs to food bank drop-off points to make them look the mod­els of com­pas­sion, when they voted for the ben­e­fit caps, the bed­room tax, the sanc­tions, the in­ca­pac­ity cuts and de­layed pay­ments that force peo­ple to beg for char­ity to stave off hunger.

The con­tempt shown by these poverty porn pho­toops is stag­ger­ing, even by mod­ern Tory stan­dards. It’s like Stalin vis­it­ing one of his gu­lags and hand­ing out as­pirins to the skele­tal, dy­ing wretches while giv­ing thumbs-up to the cam­eras.

Four Scot­tish Tory MPs posted iden­ti­cal tweets af­ter their vis­its, prov­ing it was part of a cen­tral of­fice script to make them look like cham­pi­ons of the dis­pos­sessed when they’re par­tau­thors of this mod­ern tragedy.

Raab tweeted a pic­ture of him­self smil­ing with vol­un­teers, and the words: “Thank you to Tesco in Mole­sey and the Trus­sell Trust for part­ner­ing to en­cour­age cus­tomers to

gen­er­ously pro­vide a food col­lec­tions for fam­i­lies in our com­mu­nity, who are strug­gling at this time of year.”

Yet he re­cently told the BBC he didn’t be­lieve peo­ple used food banks be­cause of poverty but due to an oc­ca­sional “cash­flow prob­lem”.

Funny how those problems have grown strato­spher­i­cally un­der the Tories, isn’t it?

When Labour were in power in 2009/10, the Trus­sell Trust (whom the Mirror is fundrais­ing for this Christ­mas) handed out 41,000 food packs.

To­day that fig­ure is 1.4 mil­lion and ris­ing rapidly with the roll­out of Uni­ver­sal Credit which is driv­ing strug­gling fam­i­lies off the cliff. The ar­ro­gance is mind-blow­ing. These photo-ops are ef­fec­tively say­ing that, like pen­sioner cof­fee morn­ings or pri­mary school con­certs, food banks are nor­mal as­pects of a healthy com­mu­nity.

Which con­trasts starkly with the se­nior UN in­ves­ti­ga­tor who called the scale of their use here “the sort of ac­tiv­ity you might ex­pect for a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter or health epi­demic”.

Ja­cob Rees-Mogg has de­scribed food banks as a “rather up­lift­ing” sign of a com­pas­sion­ate coun­try.

I’d say his party’s smil­ing ac­cep­tance of them is the most damn­ing sign yet of the con­tempt they’ve al­ways held for those who aren’t rich or strong enough to sur­vive with­out help.

‘‘ It’s like Stalin vis­it­ing a gu­lag and giv­ing a thumbs up to the cam­eras

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