Labour love food banks. If they didn’t exist, Labour would have to invent them*. Food banks prove that the Tories are evil, Dickensian monsters who run the country in much the same way as Mr Squeers ran his Yorkshire school. Meanwhile, Labour don’t have to actually do anything, simply by talking so much about food banks proves that Labour really, really care.
Without food banks to virtue signal over, Labour MPs would be rendered almost as mute as a Remainiac banned from scaremongering. If someone feels the need to signal to the world how nice and caring they are, then they probably aren’t. I expect Hitler liked to talk at length about his charity work and that time he and Eva nursed an injured hedgehog back to health.
The Left talk incessantly about how much they care, only pausing to talk about how much those who disagree with them don’t care. Food banks are just one weapon in Labour’s arsenal of slogans and empty platitudes, deployed to sell the lie that if you’re a nice, caring person you should vote Labour because only they will help the most vulnerable.
History tells us otherwise. You have to be pretty well off to afford the socialism Labour are selling. You won’t find any socialist country in history where the poorest have been better treated than the poorest in any capitalist country. Food banks would be welcome in Venezuela.
Despite what they may tell you, Leftists are not alone in wanting to live in a world where food banks aren’t needed. This is an imperfect world, and just as we may wish that there were no need for hospitals or care homes, we accept that they provide a necessary, valuable service when we need them.
If you find yourself referred to a food bank, it is because you are unable, for whatever reason, to afford to buy food. Leaving aside, for now, the whys and wherefores of how someone may find themselves in this position, the fact is that they do, so the question is who should provide the food that they need?
This is the point where Labour fall out of love with food banks. Perhaps it is the word “bank” that turns them off. Labour imply that it is undignified, humiliating, and a national disgrace for food banks to meet this need. However, it is not immediately clear how food banks are morally worse than Labour’s preferred solution, which is for the state and taxpayer to step in.
If I found myself in the position of having to rely on others to provide my food, I would much prefer that the food I receive were given voluntarily by those who can afford it than that it be paid for by the taxes of someone who may be struggling themselves.
Food banks work. They ensure people who may not otherwise have enough food get fed. They do so far more efficiently and cheaply than the state ever could, and without adding to the national debt. Food banks are a great example of charitable organisations, religious groups, businesses, communities and individuals working together to meet the needs of the less fortunate. The Left should love them.
But other than as a stick to beat the Tories, the Left can’t stand them. Hypocrisy runs through the Left like letters through a stick of rock; it’s laudable for those unable to afford food to be supported by the state, but an outrage for them to be supported by a food bank. I fail to see any moral distinction. Only the provider of support is different, and surely it is preferable to be supported by voluntary donations than compulsory taxation. Food banks operate as the welfare state was intended to – as a temporary safety net. The Left hate food banks because a need is being met by someone other than the state.
Listen next time a Leftist is calling for “something to be done about food banks” and, amongst the Tory-bashing and self-indulgent virtue signalling you will notice that the “something” is always a state handout of some kind. They don’t care if people are unable to afford to feed themselves so long as it is the state that steps in with the solution.
The Left can only conceive of three possible solutions to any given problem; the state must either tax it, regulate it, or throw money at it. The end result is the same; the original problem still exists, it’s just more expensive, and the state has expanded its powers.
If Labour really cared about the poor they would welcome food banks for meeting the immediate need and look instead at the other end of the equation. They would, for example, reverse their decades long policies on immigration and energy that continue to drive up housing costs, heating costs, transport costs, food costs…
The Left only care about the poor in so much as they can be used to score political points. They are a vehicle to advance Labour’s agenda, a human shield used to fend off criticism. Meanwhile, the Left actively pursue policies that create poverty, argue for an ever bigger state safety net, and then use that net to trap people in welfare dependency. Once dependent on welfare, you’re more likely to vote for those caring people with the red rosettes who want to spend more money on welfare.
Labour are outraged by food banks not because they are a failure, but because they work. They show that the state does not have to provide all the answers. Food banks prove that society can still look after its own, that welfare can exist without the state. That’s the Left’s real problem with food banks.
*Given that the use of food banks increased twenty-fold in the last five years of the last Labour government, some might argue that they did.