The right to food

by on 7th January 2017

The government in Scotland is considering enshrining 'a right to food in Scots law following a report by the Independent Working Group on Food Poverty earlier last year. 
“So Jah seh: Not one a my seed shall sit in the sidewalk and beg your bread.” So sang Bob Marley in 1974. That’s over 40 years ago and desperation in Babylon has only increased.  What the hell is wrong with us that we fight down people, losing our compassion in equal measure to gaining material wealth?  What profiteth it a man that he should gain the whole world and to lose his soul? (Mark 8:36.)  Scotland’s Enlightenment once again contrasting with England, which appears to be entering a new dark age of despotic greed and selfishness.  Do we not accept that food is a basic need more pressing than shelter?  Are we then to build homes for the starving?  There is real hunger and deprivation in this city of Peterborough, as shamefully there is in so many others.  Is it sensible to prosecute supermarkets and shop owners for selling ‘out of date’ food and yet also were they to give that food away (there being no monetary ‘consideration’ of contact to sell), sue them for damages in consequence of food poisoning?
We know that in this litigious society that ‘sell by’ dates err on the side of caution to reduce liability and that equally food despoiled (e.g. by rinsing with diesel) so that it will not be salvaged further reduces the chances of being sued.  As voters, do we not have the power to lobby for retailers to be compelled to deliver up such produce for distribution?  Food banks rely on individual generosity in a selfish world and the adequacy of stock is wanting.  Why not turn prospective waste into more effective consumption – and lastly, is it not apparent that money donated to charity can be lost in administration, whereas a person’s much more valuable time when used in direct labour of distribution is many times more effective? Give me each of you one hour of your time per week and we will build Blake’s Jerusalem here!
What could not be done with a population of 64 million?  That’s three billion, three hundred and twenty-eight million hours of work by this date next year.  What if each gave an hour of their earnings: say 31m people x £12.50/hr avérage….  See where I’m going with this?  That’s a vast resource!  And yet money is not a resource in a real sense; it is an excuse, it is payment for somebody else to do the job.  We can change the world – but only if WE take it into our hands to do so and not leave charge of that operation to others who will sit back and subcontract it to the less willing and the less capable.

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