The correct response is shame

(I do not intend for this blog to become nothing but political rants…but right now that’s what I’ve got…sorry).

When I was a kid, a very long time ago, one of the most exciting things that happened to me and my friends was the opening of a McDonalds in our small and boring town. Up to that point the Powers That Be had dictated that our home was too posh for that sort of thing and that had left the youth of the place with nowhere to go and little to do.

But market forces prevailed and we were ‘blessed’ with the golden arches. (It had actually been a little frustrating to see Maccy D’s opening up in post communist Russia when we still had to take a train or bus to get our dose of plastic food).

Now all we had to do was scrape together the price of a small cola or coffee and we had somewhere to sit, talk, laugh, argue, fall in teenage love and then fall back out of it again. Boys arm wrestled on the bolted down tables to impress girls and girls re-did their make up in the safe, warm bathrooms to impress the boys. But one of the most memorable additions to our lives, thanks to McDonalds, was Blow Pipe Sniper. The rules of Blow Pipe Sniper were never really confirmed, or even discussed, but it went like this:

  • When you buy your solitary cola or coffee grab more than one or two straws and plastic spoons.
  • Wait until it is time to once again tumble off into the night (this game was NOT to be played within the confines of McDonalds – none of us would ever risk being banned from our oasis).
  • Bite off tiny pieces of the plastic spoon.
  • Use the straw as a blow pipe to ping the plastic off your enemy/crush.
  • Extra points awarded for stealth and deniablity.
  • Be kids and have fun.

A simpler time indeed and I’m sure we were by no means the only people developing this game, but it allowed us time and space for exuberant play whilst still acting cool enough to have street cred, as young people should have.

This morning I read that Britain now has more food banks than McDonalds.

  • Branches of McDonalds – 1249
  • Branches of Starbucks – 995
  • Food Banks – 2030

I live in a developed nation that can afford a royal family, that has so far wasted billions of pounds trying to decide if it needs another high speed railway, had over £500 million ‘written off’ for an unworkable IT system in ONE government dept alone and has wasted billions on planes, ships and weaponry for our Armed Forces that will either never work or will be technologically out of date by the time they are delivered.

But we can’t afford to feed everyone. Bollocks to that. Shame on them and us for allowing this to happen. I donate to food banks, but I shouldn’t have to. I am willing to pay more tax to erase this issue, but I shouldn’t have to. I pay ENOUGH tax already to erase this issue…we all do…except for those who can afford accountants to find them loopholes and tax avoidance schemes – how do they get away with that exactly?

The waste and excess of those, who will never have to fear the humiliation of needing a food bank, is why I feel ashamed of the nation and the times I live in.

Let the games begin…

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