Thanks heavens for Andrew Marr and his questions.
Yesterday he pointed out to Theresa May that some nurses were now so poor that they were going to foodbanks.
May bristled at this, as she does at any evidence that contradicts her ironed-sheets view of the world. “There are complex reasons why people go to foodbanks,” she snapped.
The pained look on her face suggested she’d known all along that it had been a mistake to indulge this man’s impertinence. How dare he ask her such questions? Didn’t he know that she was the Queen – on, hang on, that wasn’t quite right. Almost the Queen. They’ll be telling her to meet some real people next, instead of mixing with those awfully nice Tories she has hired to trail around the country after her in an adoring huddle of blue niceness. And here this man was suggesting she might be a Blue meanie.
Mrs Maybe looked uncomfortable when Marr mention foodbanks, as well she might. And her answer was a typical dodge. The reasons people do to foodbanks aren’t complex at all but the absolute opposite; they are shamefully simple. Nobody wants to go to a foodbank to survive, but they go because they don’t earn enough or because they don’t receive enough in benefits. Or maybe they go because someone blew a hole in their life and they’d sink without what they can take home from the foodbank.
No, what’s complex is Mrs Maybe’s ambivalence when it comes to answering questions about foodbanks. The existence of foodbanks shames her – as it should shame us all. Foodbanks are a disgrace – or, rather, the need for foodbanks is a disgrace.
How can a wealthy country leave people to struggle by on charity handouts? Without the help provided by foodbanks, often run by the church, some people wouldn’t get by at all.
You sense that those ‘Jams’– the “just about managing” people Mrs Maybe likes to talk about – are somehow a notch or two above those who need foodbanks. They are more fitting to be helped than people who have been careless enough to slip that far down. The “just about managing” are more like one of us than the “not managing at all”.
Anyway, good on Andrew Marr. Awkward questions are what we need to hear right now.