Odd Culture

Desperate Times

posted by Chris Valentine

Each week a new horror story surfaces about the desperate situations people find themselves in due to this recession. The latest scandal to hit the UK comes from leaked footage of a House of Commons debate. The focus of the debate was increased security measure being out in place in supermarkets at the end of the day. Large stores and chains, in particular Tesco, slash prices on perishable food products such as fruit and vegetables, freshly baked breads and pastries and meat produce. While these measures are greatly appreciated by cash strapped population many leave their shopping until the end of the day in order to benefit from these discount deals. However, shoppers are that desperate for the discounts that they are physically fighting over them. This has happened in so many shops on numerous occasions that managers have hired extra security for the store during the time when the items are discounted.

This is a true sign of people facing real hardship, and one labour MP was so concerned by the actions in her local supermarket that she addressed other MP’s in a bid to recognise the severity of food poverty in the UK. The result was an unexpected one: conservative MP’s, the current ruling party, laughed at the actions of their clearly starving populace. In response to a hungry nation on the brink of a major starvation crisis, the elite ruling class mocked their hardships. Shop workers have also reported customers grabbing items from them as soon as they are discounted, and being assaulted by impatient customers.

Although, should we really be surprised by the reaction of pampered government officials? This week in Spain it was revealed that a family living below the poverty line resulted to eating expired fish. A man and wife, and their teenage daughter all died of food poisoning, while the youngest girl of 13 lies in a critical condition in hospital. The man is reported to have taken the free food from charity, not knowing how old the fish was. Will it take a family eating expired food and dying for the UK government to take the food issue seriously? After all, over half a million people in the UK are now reliant on charity and food banks to survive. This is no longer the exception to the rule, but similar to patterns emerging all over Europe, with an emphasis on Spain, Italy and Greece.

This all comes as the government rolls out a campaign to help combat fuel poverty this winter. Despite rising numbers of death due to the cold, the oil and gas sectors remain unregulated and prices inflate unnaturally during winter. The majority of the population cannot afford to heat their homes, nor can they afford food. Pictures of hot water bottles are plastered around towns and cities alongside the slogan “Save a Life this winter”. This seems a fairly ineffectual solution to a wide spread problem, and perhaps the initiative should be funded by the government, or straight from the pockets of members of parliament. After all, it was this week a senior member of the House of Lords was seen clocking in to work for 20 minutes, earning him 300 pounds. This seems like a lot of hot water bottles and discounted apples and carrots. Those living below the bread line find the poverty line being lowered every week in order to fund the elaborate lifestyles of the politicians who claim they are trying to save them.

Meanwhile, the European Union has issued reports that Europe has come out the recession and we are headed toward a boom.

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