John Harris

Journalist & Author

Why modern Britain is crying out for good Tories | John Harris

Ending food banks and poverty wages can’t be done without the help of enlightened voices on the right

On the way out of Sainsbury’s yesterday, I stopped by the food bank collection box to put in the usual few quids’ worth of stuff – pasta and chocolate, this time – and noticed that it was more full than I had ever seen it. Sat in a rack nearby were copies of the weekly Frome Standard, with a big story headlined: “Rising numbers of families struggling to afford food”– the accompanying text referred to this week’s Feeding Britain report by MPs and church leaders, and described local people who had not just been given things to eat, but also “nappies, sanitary products and toiletries”.

The charity responsible – which, thanks to the progressive independents who seized power from the Lib Dems three years ago, is part-funded by our town council – said it was also “collecting toys and small gifts”, in preparation for Christmas.And, once again, the realisation hit home: that as the usual consumerist din reaches its peak, the seasonal zeitgeist includes a mounting sense of dread about the condition of the country – not just on the part of social activists and bleeding hearts but among the public. Because we are British, it is manifested in sighing dismay rather than seething anger, but it is there all the same.

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