Saturday 21 December 2013


Tom Watson writes:

In this day and age no one should have to be cold, hungry or homeless at Christmas. Yet half a million fellow Britons are now relying on food banks to feed themselves and their children. Christmas is a time of forgiveness but I will never forgive those Tory MPs who thought it hilarious that people have ended up in fights over cheap food.

That’s right.

According to my colleague Fiona McTaggart, extra security guards have been hired by Tesco to deal with the fights when the fresh veg is discounted at the end of the day. When she raised it in the House yesterday, people were laughing. These Tories think it is funny.

This year I heard a child describe what it feels like to be hungry. She told of the sensation in her tummy when the hunger pains begin and the light-headed feeling that makes it hard to think. It’s hard to imagine being so poor that you can’t feed your children. It’s repellent and it offends our sense of decency.

And those scoffing Tories laugh.

There’s something very wrong with our country. When a banker makes a profit, the company is generally able to pinpoint the individual responsible with a reward bonus. Yet when a bank goes under, costing the taxpayer trillions and leaving a million young people without work, what happens? You can’t find anyone responsible. They've run to their hillside villas never to be seen again.

Nearly one in five of my constituents in work earn less than the living wage. And they work some of the longest hours of any other region in the country. They work hard but they don’t earn enough to pay their bills at the end of the month.

And these Tories think it’s funny that people fight for cheap food.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We could live in a country where success is based on ability not privilege. We could be a nation that values kindness and fair play. We could own the great assets of the state: the water that falls from the sky and the railways that our taxes have paid for.

We could live in a society that rewards entrepreneurs that make things rather than the speculators that move their assets around the City. Our people could think the energy and rail companies act in their interest again, rather than the personal interest of the fat cats that run them. They could trust their politicians and newspapers. They could be happy in the knowledge that their children will have a better start in life than they did.

What a Christmas present to Britain that would be.

You’ve got a snowman’s chance in hell of it happening with this mob in government. Do you think the MPs who laugh at the poor who fight for food will achieve any of this? Of course they won’t. They’re playing at politics, even when our children suffer hunger.

Have a good Christmas but never forgive these ignorant wretches who run our country. Save your sympathy for the homeless, the workless and those that are cold and hungry this Christmas.

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