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Thursday, 26 December 2013

The morning after the night before

Boxing Day !

Its December 26th, Boxing Day 2013. The wind seems to have died down and it is not raining at the moment. Hopefully you are all well this morning and not suffering too much from yesterdays celebrations. No doubt however, some people may be regretting that final slice of turkey in the sandwich before going to bed, or the "just one more" chocolate from the box of Quality Street, or even that "this is definitely my lot" glass of Scotch or vodka or what ever your favourite tipple may be. What ever your condition may be this morning, I do sincerely hope that you had a wonderful day and are having a great Christmas holiday.
Sadly, there are those in our society, who will not be of the same disposition as the majority of us as we nod gently over the breakfast table contemplating whether we do actually want that slice of toast and marmalade (rather that the usual scrambled egg, bacon, sausage and tomato and perhaps even a slice of fried bread), not because we cant chose it, but to put it simply we do not feel inclined to face it.
There are others however, who do not have the same problems of choice. In many households around the country this morning, breakfast may consist of a bowl of "Value" cornflakes with a little milk and perhaps sugar, with lunch and dinner following the same basic menus as the usual food choices throughout the previous months and for the foreseeable future. Yesterday may have been a bit special but today marks the return to the normality so familiar to many.
There are also many thousand who's Christmas has been ruined by floods, weather related power cuts, travel delays, and other associated trauma's widely reported in the media and on television over this Christmas holiday and it is right that we should spare a thought for these people also. However, it is to those who on a daily, monthly or even yearly basis are faced with hardship. The sick, the disabled, the unemployed and those even in work  forced into claiming benefits because of low wages. These are ordinary people who, usually through no fault of their own, have been marginalised and in many cases abandoned by successive governments.
Many benefit claimants, more than 30,000 people in fact, did not receive their benefits on Christmas Eve after a Government error, thus scuppering any budgeted expenditure for their Christmas outlay. Added to this comes the news that the number of people reliant on the Foodbank charities over this Christmas period, has more than tripled in the 12 months since last Christmas. No matter what Iain Duncan Smith may say about "scaremongering" or any of the other ConDem coalition politicians may say in their mutterings demeaning foodbanks, and demonising the people reliant on the Trussell trust and other such charities, the fact remains that the food banks provide the only barrier between hundreds of thousands of people and complete destitution. It is to the eternal shame of numerous politicians across the political spectrum, that this situation is allowed to continue. We too should accept a share of responsibility for allowing them to continually shirk any liability for such a scandal to continue, a scandal which is reminiscent of Victorian Britain with the work houses and the Poor laws.
As the year of our civilisation 2013 draws to a close, it is already predicted that  close to 1million people will be reliant on food bank charities before the end of 2014. When, in December of 2012 I predicted a figure of  200,000 people regularly visiting foodbanks in this country, I was wrong. By the end of this month, December 2013, it is close to 700,000.
There is no indication or prospect of any reduction in these scandalous figure anytime soon, in fact this situation will become worse over the next 12 months.
Please enjoy the rest of this festive season, but please do not loose sight of the other side of the coin.