The Trussell Trust’s latest campaign is a grubby little spectacle

Dominic Raab at Tesco Food Bank

On the 30th of November, I was confronted by a Tweet by the execrable Dominic Raab beaming his excruciating shit-eating grin at a Tesco photoshoot supporting their efforts to encourage donations to food banks.

‘That guy’s got some nerve’, I thought. How can a Conservative MP, whose government is responsible for the very conditions that have lead to the increased use of food banks in the first place, have the gall to stand there as if he is doing anything meaningful to alleviate the problem of food poverty?

Not a few moments later, I encountered another Conservative MP, this time at a Tesco somewhere in Scotland, doing exactly the same thing.

It turns out that these two clowns were not the only show ponies being trotted out, in what appeared to be a choreographed strategy.

And while the libellous harridan, Claire Perry did not Tweet about her support for food banks, there exists a photo of her rapturous glee about being cast as the ‘good guy’.

Politicians of every stripe were also roped in, I suppose to give the impression of political balance. [If I have missed any, please Follow and DM me on Twitter]

Now, I shop at Tesco myself, so I feel invested in finding out the reasons why they – a company that receives over a third of my income each fortnight – is giving the creators of the hostile environment that has fomented the need for food banks at all, a platform that gives these duplicitous cretins the veneer of giving a shit about food poverty.

I felt compelled to craft a Tweet of my own.

Although I did not get a response from Tesco, my Tweet was considerably more successful than many of the MPs that supported the campaign.

A night passes, and I am drawn to The Trussell Trust’s involvement in this series of grubby spectacles. Perhaps I’ll get a response from them, I thought.

Not many minutes later, I did indeed get a response.

I read the linked blog post with interest, and was pleased to see the following quote:

We know what things will anchor people against those tides and reduce the need for foodbanks.

It went on to list four specific points that highlighted these efforts, one of which identified their work as being:

the vanguard of organisations speaking out against Universal Credit, with our research and experience of the failings of this new benefit discussed at all levels of Government

All very encouraging and warmly welcome. But then we get to the underlying point that I tried to put across in my Tweet to Tesco; that allowing MPs whose direct actions have literally been the cause of the suffering they are campaigning against.

Charity law means we can’t be party political – but even if it didn’t, we think it’s important to talk to politicians of all parties. Poverty is an issue that needs action on all sides. If we want to create long-lasting change so people are protected from needing a foodbank in the future, we need everyone – irrespective of political opinion – to get behind the change that’s needed.

As they have noted, a charity being apolitical isn’t just a good thing, it is a legal requirement, but is this ostensibly worthy campaign actually doing more harm than good?

I don’t wish to belabour the point, but I feel it really needs hammering home. I don’t care if the campaigns are well intended, or that encouraging duplicitous and hypocritical MPs to ‘get behind the change that’s needed’ is a policy that you feel is effective.

The fact of the matter is, it gives those duplicitous and hypocritical MPs that have wilfully inflicted a hateful and structured policy of harm and suffering against the poor, a cover for their actions, which, if this is the extent of their support, they will very likely continue to vote against the interests of  groups like The Trussell Trust and FareShare, and most importantly, against those that are – and will come to be – actual victims of their amoral, inhumane and ultimately sadistic policies.

Clearly, another tack is necessary.

If, as The Trussell Trust claims, they “know what things will anchor people against those [causes of food poverty] and reduce the need for foodbanks”, why not give photoshoots only to those that commit publicly to the enactment of those policies in their line of duty as politicians? The Trussell Trust still gets to claim their apolitical status, because they are lobbying all parties equally.

Seriously! What fucking use is giving these life-sucking vampires the air of publicity, if they only go on to carry out their deliberate and counter-productive hostility in Parliament? What effective purpose does it serve, beyond what I have highlighted as the normalisation of food poverty? 

This is your doing, Trussell Trust et al, and if you are as serious as the British public would wish you to be about countering harmful policy in this area, you would be better advised to ensure that everyone you allow to highlight your campaigns, are actively engaged in making the ultimate goals of that campaign a reality. Because as things stand at the moment, the optics are this: you’re giving rapists the opportunity to stand outside rape crisis centres, to tell the world how valuable they are as individuals.

As I said, truly frightening.