Turn off the fridge, because it's empty anyway. Sell anything you can see lying around that you might get more than a quid for. Walk everywhere in the pouring rain, in your only pair of shoes, with a soaking wet and sobbing toddler trailing behind you. Drag that toddler into every pub and shop in unreasonable walking distance and ask them if they have any job vacancies. Try not to go red as the girl behind the counter appraises your tatty jumper and dirty jeans before telling you that they have no jobs available. "For you", you add in your head, and you drag that toddler home, still soaking, still unemployed, to not-quite dry out in your freezing cold flat.
Put two jumpers on that you'll wear all week, to keep washing to a minimum. You sit at home in your coat anyway, and nobody's there to notice. Drag yourself to the cooker to pour some tinned tomatoes over some cold pasta, and try not to hurl it across the room in frustration when your toddler tells you he doesn't want it. I want something else, Mummy. But there isn't anything else.You take your toddler around the streets in the pouring rain, then feed it a bowl of cold pasta, and…what? Get reported to Social Services?
No. Get feted by the CiF crowd and the TUC.
Michael Gove blames child poverty and hunger on reckless parenting – with no acknowledgement to the fact that many people using food banks are doing so because of benefit delays, sanctions, low income and unemployment. No acknowledgement that many people who use food banks are in work. What sort of a society do we live in where people who go out to work to support their families need emergency food handouts?What sort of society do we live in where others - me, for instance - are taxed to the hilt to support you and the child your casual hookup fathered on you one night?
By cutting welfare lifelines, the state is the abusive parent. By casting around to blame anyone else, by ignoring the cold hard face of true poverty in the UK, it is the state that is feckless. By refusing to tackle poverty at its root, it is the government that is being neglectful.Ahhh, the familiar old socialist refrain! It takes a village (and a shedload of everyone else's taxes) to raise a child, eh?
But until they change housing benefit to monthly payments in line with people's rent and mortgage payments, until they commit to a living wage legislation that is not age discriminatory, until they reinstate the crisis loan, revoke the bedroom tax – we need to carry on talking about it.You carry on talking, love, if you like. And the rest of us will keep on saying 'No! No more! The money's run out!'...