Beggar thy neighbour politics

The saga of English children’s free holiday meals vote demonstrates so much of what is wrong with UK politics.

First we know that we have about 2.5million children in the UK in food insecurity and 4.2 million in relative poverty and almost three quarters of them are in working households. So this already indicates that government is providing a framework for jobs which pay insufficiently for life expenses. Get a job and work hard is just a slogan. A more useful one might be: make sure to be born with a large inheritance.

The failure to approve free school meals for the holidays was achieved with a large Tory majority, assisted by every single Welsh Conservative, and five out of six Scottish Conservatives (Ross abstained) all of whose own children are having free school meal vouchers during the holidays. The English couldn’t vote on that even if they wanted to – because it is devolved. The Welsh and the Scots voted for English children to go hungry… The unwritten Constitution is actually broken

Children are society’s future, so you might have thought that any self-respecting Parliament would be voting to make the future as good as they can. It is highly indicative that they didn’t. Even those who were inclined to suggest there was no money couldn’t say how, when the UK is (allegedly) borrowing enormous sums now and this extra expenditure would amount to no more than a rounding error, why it was impossible to provide free holiday meals during a pandemic.

No, these are people who actually do not wish all of our children well – they want fellow members of their own society to struggle with food bills. This is not love thy neighbour – it is beggar thy neighbour. Is that what they think they’re elected for?

That our own elected representatives consider that this is part of their proper function shows a deep and flawed sickness in our legislature. A legislature that is proud to thwart social progress, a legislature that considers society is too poor to afford extra care for its children. That is a legislature for a society that is by definition destroying itself.

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