Common people

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Let me tell you a story about an awful thing that happened to me. We were shopping in Aldi a few weeks ago and got to the aisle where they sell their awesome yoghurts when – DISASTER – they weren’t there. This happened the week after and the week after that. My wife and I had to accept that our after-dinner treats were discontinued and we wouldn’t see their likes again.

What? Whaddya mean that’s a shite story? We pure LOVED these yoghurts, man. You cannae get them anywhere now. It’s a sad situation.

We didn’t always shop in Aldi. A few years ago, I earned good money and we had a lot of disposable income. It didn’t matter where we shopped. Sainsbury’s, M&S, you name it, we paid it. Did I need new shoes? HELLO SMASHING NEW LOAFERS. Hey, it’s Saturday, let’s go crazy and spend a fortune on a lavishly opulent dinner. Oh look, wine. I think I’ll buy that. And that one. And that one. And tha…. you get the idea.

But then a terrible thing happened to us. It caused us to rack up an enormous amount of debt. But I don’t regret it and I’ll bet that every single one of you out there would agree with us. And then it got worse. I was forced out of my job. A person who I thought I could rely on, instead of being compassionate and caring, became the devil in disguise. Things became so bad, I had no choice but to find other employment. I thought this would be no problem. I am highly-skilled and thoroughly professional. This will be a breeze.

Naw.

I literally called every place in Scotland in my profession. I applied for jobs in Newcastle, London and even Jersey. No dice. Eventually, a job became available but it meant that my salary became half of what it used to be. I took the job, I have always said I would do anything it takes to make sure my kids had a decent standard of life.

But it was a living hell. Our lives changed. We had to tighten out belts, adjust our way of life. We couldn’t get the things we used to or live the way we did before. It was hard but we got there. We’re now on the right track. I have a better job and am getting close to the kind of salary I had before.

And it’s now at this point that you should hate me. And if you don’t, how can you not?

Why?

I am a king.

Why?

Because every time I am hungry, I simply go to the kitchen and get some food. It’s there, every day and every week. Yes, the cupboards may be more bare than they used to but I always have something to eat.

Listen to me, whining away about how I can’t afford to make a lamb roast on a Sunday.

Hear me complain that things are that tight, I can’t afford a weekend away with my friends.

Oh please give me some sympathy, I can’t afford my Scotland ticket anymore.

Who the fuck am I to complain? Me, in my nice house that is always well-heated with food in the cupboards. What the bloody hell do I have to moan about?

I can feed my children, unlike the 30,000 kids who’s parents can’t afford food for them.

I have nice clothes, unlike the 400,000 adults who don’t have essential clothing at this time of year.

My house is nice and warm, unlike the 200,000 children who live in damp homes or the 30% of people who can’t afford to heat where they live.

I don’t have to borrow money like 1 in 5 adults have had to simply to make ends meet.

I am an absolute king, a prince of the people. I am lucky, so very, very lucky.

The policies of this government have created the need for food banks. These millionaire men and women, completely oblivious to the needs of the poorest in this country, have ensured that families will suffer nothing but misery, poverty, cold and hunger this Christmas. While people weep at what little they have, these bastards, these absolute bastards, will be planning which lavish gift to swap and mull over how extravagant their Christmas dinner will be.

Something has to change.

But until it does, food banks are vital. With so many people relying on handouts, it is absolutely essential that those who can afford to give, actually do. It is vital that we continue to support these lifelines and make sure that people are not choosing between food or heat this winter.

Maybe one day we’ll look back in absolute horror at this particular period, but until then, let’s give all we can to make life a better place for those less fortunate than us. We’re all an illness or an accident away from relying on handouts ourselves.

How would you want to be treated in that situation?

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