We can’t blame Tories for food banks

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On reflection, Scottish Secretary David Mundell should probably just be grateful that the boorish mob bellowing abuse at him outside a Dumfries food bank were marginally less abusive than the aggressive Nationalist yobs who routinely followed Jim Murphy around during the referendum and general election campaigns.

The rest of us, meanwhile, should now be asking quite what these ill-informed protestors will be targeting next.

Are they, for example, similarly enraged by charity shops, the Big Issue, day centres, night shelters, refuges and every charitable organisation one could list?

This may have escaped their attention but food banks have been set up throughout the Western world (regardless of countries’ GDP) and are simply a clever charitable innovation that gets food, toiletries, etc to people who are in a 
financial mess, whether this is their own fault or not.

Their volunteer staff need make no moral judgments (as it’s not taxpayers’ cash they’re handing over) and are able to respond to changed circumstances and chaotic lives much faster and more effectively than any government or council ever could.

Food banks are nothing for us to be ashamed of and 
unless we’ve become happy to start running other people’s lives for them or to just keep handing over more and more benefits money (without asking too many 
awkward questions) then food banks are – like every other successful charity – here to stay.

Keith Gilmour

Netherton Gate

Glasgow

It is standard practice for the Trussell Trust to invite the local MP to open a new food bank but David Mundell was abused by an SNP mob as if such banks are all the fault of the Tories.

In fact, food banks were first established in the United States in the 1960s as “community projects” for manufacturers, distributors and retailers with excess food that they could not sell.

The idea caught on in France and Italy in the 1980s but was almost unknown in the UK until the financial crisis overwhelmed Gordon Brown’s Labour government in 2008. The number of European food banks has increased rapidly, even in Germany, a country that has weathered the crisis well and has not needed to implement severe austerity measures.

Researchers say around one third of users have issues with the benefits system but most are just disorganised and others the continuing victims of the mass closure of mental institutions.

Suggestions that the SNP government give its current underspend to the food banks caused cybernat hysterics but the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested the same to Westminster.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

The latest display of naked hatred of non-Nationalist politicians in Scotland took place recently when David Mundell MP was surrounded by a gesturing and screaming mob when opening a food bank in his own constituency. This came close to equalling the outrageous scenes when Jim Murphy tried to speak during the referendum debate. Those taking part in this kind of clearly synchronised and planned “protesting” should be ashamed.

Any thinking person in Scotland, of whatever political persuasion, should look on these displays with horror and abhorrence.

The SNP leadership, with its iron grip on the party, could end these disgraceful scenes at a stroke. It does the image of Scotland or the Nationalist cause no good at all.

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg

Edinburgh