Sometimes I think the Tory party can sink no lower, but then you read statistics like these: 190 women forced to prove they were raped to receive child benefits, 70,000 missed out on disability payments worth up to £20,000 because of UK Government errors.
And last week we learned that the DWP have changed the rules to make it harder for MSPs to help vulnerable constituents. These are the people who need our help most, who have suffered under a system which is meant to support them. Now the DWP have barred MSPs – whose job it is to help these people – from talking to the DWP on benefits cases.
Be in no doubt, we still have a Nasty Party.
But it is not the rape clause, that forces women to choose between putting food on the table or re-living the trauma of rape, that is a source of a recent outcry for the Tories.
Nor even is it the revelation that the DWP have been systematically underpaying folk for years, with many losing out on an average of £5,000. People have been made destitute because a series of entirely avoidable “administrative errors” by an institution that embodies, at best, a culture of indifference and at worst is actively hostile. You would think, surely, this would be worthy of public condemnation?
No, the real scandal this summer, folks, is making tablet!
As ridiculous as this may sound, this was the source of outrage for a Tory spokesperson and the Herald.
In case you missed it, I shared a recipe for tablet on twitter because I had spent a lot time hand making a treat for care experienced young folk for their summer camp. This was jumped on by the herald and said Tory spokesperson, and portrayed as an SNP bad story; lambasting the “hypocrisy” of a Minister promoting sugary snacks.
If you are thinking this all sounds a bit far fetched to be true, unfortunately I can confirm this isn’t a plotline from ‘ the Thick of it’, this is politics in 2018.
What annoyed me most about this #tabletgate saga was not the attempt to turn a simple act of kindness and spin it into an SNP bad story – I’ve come to expect that now. No, what annoyed me most was the complete lack of context in the reporting.
So many of our children and young people who have been cared for by the state, tell me that what the system is lacking is love. So what better way to show love than a holiday treat? What better way to show love than taking time to make something by hand? What better way to encourage love in the care system than by modelling it? Occasional treats which make you feel loved are good for your health.
The real story is about love: love in the care system, precious memories evoked in recipes, and the love with which we cook and eat together. Funny they didn’t mention that in the Herald!
With all the attention #tabletgate gathered, at least we were able to highlight the work of the brilliant charity, Who Cares? Scotland and the fantastic youngsters taking part in their summer camp.
A simple act of kindness can go a long way. It is about time we all showed a bit more compassion and love towards each other.
I’m not holding my breath for the DWP and the Tory Party.
This is a fortnightly column by local MSP Maree Todd, SNP, all the other political parties with list MSPs for the Highlands and Islands have been offered the same column space.
Who Cares Scotland: Who Cares? Scotland is a national voluntary organisation, working with care experienced young people and care leavers across Scotland.