If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I think I’d want to make sure that everyone in the world had access to clean water and sufficient food, so that we didn’t see people starving
The answer prompted disbelief on social media:
Considering May is the Prime Minister, her desired superpower is a power she already has. At least in the UK. But as others pointed out, she is actually advancing the opposite:
Theresa May in Vogue vs. Theresa May in government. pic.twitter.com/NmWfLn42yP
— Gary Dunion (@garydunion) March 20, 2017
Before becoming Prime Minister, May was a top Cabinet Minister in David Cameron’s administration. Yet the number of three-day food packages sent out by the Trussell Trust alone increased from 40,898 to 1,109,309 between 2010 and 2016. That’s an increase of 2612%.
But it’s worse than that. A report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hunger estimates that over half the emergency food issued comes from organisations independent from the Trussell Trust’s figures. This means the real numbers are much higher.
The government tries to downplay the connection between its policies and food bank use, saying that it’s “complex”. But, as common sense suggests, an Oxford University study confirms a “robust link” between the stripping down of the welfare state and food bank use.
And this agenda is continuing under May’s unelected premiership. Her Chancellor, Philip Hammond, recommitted to austerity in his budget speech [10:20]. And the worst of that austerity is coming through under May, with cuts of £51.4bn between 2015-2019.
The messaging behind May’s answer
The Prime Minister’s answer to the superpower question is cut from the same cloth as the government’s defence of its food bank record. Her answer is part of the narrative that seeks to blur the link between the actions of politicians and the real world. As freelance journalist Ellie Mae O’Hagan commented:
Politicians lamenting the state of the world is all part of them trying to convince us that inequality isn’t the product of their choices.
They want us to believe that polarised inequality is a natural world order. That hereditary, neoliberal capitalism is a natural process like photosynthesis. Some of them have probably convinced themselves.
In wistfully wishing to end hunger, May acts like she’s delivering a winning speech at a Miss Universe pageant. But she is not Miss Congeniality. She is the Prime Minister of the UK. The person facilitating hunger in one of the world’s richest countries.
– Check out the People’s Assembly Against Austerity
Featured image via screengrab
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.