The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will launch a report in parliament this week which calls on the government to fund the growing network of foodbanks – many of which are run by churches. This is his toxic solution to the growing hunger crisis which has emerged after the string of vindictive and bungled welfare reforms implemented by Iain Duncan Smith.
It is shameful that so many people are now dependent on foodbanks just to be able to feed their children, but to enshrine this charity within the social security system would be a disaster. What poor people need is more money, not more foodbanks. This is just common sense. But you won’t hear calls for an end to vicious cuts to social security from the clowns behind Welby’s report.
One of the authors of the report is Frank Field. This vile piece of shit was asked to think the unthinkable on welfare reform back in 1997 before being sacked a year later for talking such incomprehensible drivel that even Tony Blair called his ideas “unfathomable”. Sadly this did not shut him up and he has been whinging from the sidelines ever since.
Shortly after the current government weren’t elected Field accepted a job with them as a Poverty Tsar, whatever the fuck that means. He also sits on the advisory board of the right-wing Centre for Social Justice who first proposed many of the coalition’s welfare reforms. In 2009 he said that the most important task for the dying Labour administration was “to build up a system of workfare” and called for stricter benefit sanctions. In 2011 he was still at it and demanded more sanctions on the Tory Work Programme to tackle “recidivist, workless claimants” who he claims are “barely able to read or write”.
Now the bastard has got what he wanted – with approaching one million benefit claims sanctioned in the last year – he wants to further undermine social security by entrenching emergency food supplies within the system. Field has gone on, and fucking on, for years about ending what he calls means tested welfare. This means benefit payments given to people because they have no money. Instead he has devised an elaborate semi-privatised insurance based model that no-one but him seems to understand. You can see why he is so pally with fellow messianic crank Iain Duncan Smith.
Field’s plans would mean an end to social security for vast swathes of the population who are unable to find work. He knows that to achieve this then something needs to be done to stop bodies piling up in the street. His vision no doubt is queues of the undeserving poor lining up at state run foodbanks to be handed out of date food thrown out by supermarkets. This will be suitable punishment for their fecklessness.
And he has found a useful fucking idiot in the Church of England to do his dirty work for him. A man whose incisive understanding of poverty was no doubt first gained in the torrid dormitories of Eton where he was educated. An Archbishop who has presided over a redundant church which has had nothing meaningful to say about the breath-taking greed of the rampant rich which is defining the modern era.
The sad truth is, that with some notable exceptions, the response from prominent Christians to Iain Duncan Smith’s relentless war on the poor has often been contemptible. When disabled campaigners gathered in the grounds of Westminster Abbey in outrage at the abolition of the Independent Living Fund, the reaction from the Dean of Westminster was to stand back whilst police violently assaulted, kettled and abused the protesters. The Salvation Army have been praised by the DWP for holding the ‘line on workfare’ when other more decent charities have pulled out in horror at the suffering caused by the sanctions which underpin the regime. Archbishop of York John Sentamu pretends to oppose workfare, but is still president of the YMCA, another government funded defender of forced work and benefit sanctions. Whilst those on the lowest incomes have seen their lives destroyed by this Goverment, the response from many of Jesus’ most important little helpers has been hypocrisy, cowardice and even naked profiteering.
It comes as no surprise that it should be the Mail of Sunday who have given space to Archbishop Welby to air his views. They must be pissing themselves. This is how the welfare state is lost. By the liberal arm of the establishment hijacking the argument away from us and presenting their watered down demands as the compassionate solution. Yet there is no compassion in the insecurity and desperation of people without enough money to feed themselves and forced to rely on the state for food parcels.
By all means support your local foodbank this Christmas. Kids can’t be left to go hungry because of a point of principle or long term political aim. We are not bastards like them. But state funded foodbanks as part of the social security system are a line that must not be crossed. Don’t buy into this fake fucking concern from zealots like Frank Field who helped to create the current situation. And let’s leave Welby to slink away back to doing what he does best. Like lying to small children that they will be tortured for eternity if they don’t pretend to love a non-existent man in the sky.
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