A Tory Nurse in Defence of Food Banks
30 May 2017 • short / politics / election / lists

The ensuing General Election on June 8th is one of the most important for a generation, as us Brits get to decide in which party’s pocket the Brexit shrapnel settles. It is for this reason that I am writing, in reaction to some of the unfair criticism Theresa May has been receiving in the press. I thought it was incumbent upon me, a nurse of fifteen years, to explain the many complex reasons I am using food banks — something the BBC journalist Andrew Marr seems unable to understand.

1. Hygiene

As a nurse, I wash my hands between forty and fifty times per day. And on my long twelve-hour weekend shifts, that number could be as high as seventy, or eighty. If I were to touch the apples or the peppers or the swedes on display at the supermarket, it wouldn’t be so bad — if anything, they might even be cleaner once I had. But imagine Charis, just spluttering in from the dog-track, fingering the fruit as if she knew what to do with it. It’s a blood orange Charis, not a scratchcard. That’s why I use food banks. Because the food is always non-perishable, and it comes in tins. You always know that you are the first person to touch it; and if not, the brine will wash any grubby traces away.

2. Noise

As a nurse, I spend all day listening to the groans of the sickly; the roar of burgeoning waiting rooms; screamed complaints by the spouses of those bleeding out in the corridors. After saying goodbyes, injecting the morphine, and listening to the decelerating beeps of the life-support machine, the last thing I need is the inane beeps of a till-operator, scanning *beep* through *beep* my *beep* Peach *beep* Melba *beep*. That’s why I use food banks. I can rock up and collect my box without having to hear Gary Barlow’s solo stuff over the tannoy, or the bagging area robot-lady getting above her station.

3. Community

When I go to my food bank, it means I can bypass the local community completely.

4. Tory Cuts

As a nurse, I am expected to lift bedridden patients who, due to their injuries, are often unable to move themselves. I am advised not to try if I am uncomfortable — if the injuries are of such severity that more help is needed, or if the patient is of a large stature. On busy days, I rarely get the luxury to wait for the help of unburdened members of staff, and so these shifts are particularly exhausting. It is on hard days like this that I can’t wait to get over to my food bank to pick up the delicious meat they have on sale: chuck, ribs, brisket, sirloin, shank, tenderloin — they have any cut you could ask for, but what really keeps me and hundreds of other nurses like me coming back to the food banks are the lovely, juicy Tory cuts. The Best of British for the best of Britain.