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Boris Johnson’s Government Has No Idea How Food Banks Work

The Conservatives’ attempt to fact-check Labour on food bank usage went entirely wrong

A U.K. food bank moves food donations for distribution Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

The Conservatives’ food bank “fact-check” is wrong

The general election debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson began with Caesar salad and ended in ignominy, as the Conservative Party speciously rebranded its Twitter account as a “fact-checking” service in an attempt to mislead the public. Worse, it got its fact-checks on one of the most shameful pillars of austerity — growing reliance on food banks — wildly wrong, according to the Independent.

The government claimed that Labour’s citation of 65 million meals given out over five years was false, because Trussell Trust figures for 2014–2019 cite 6.3 million parcels. It went as far as to say outright: “this is a tenth of what Labour are claiming.”

This is a failure of arithmetic, first: each parcel contains 10 meals’ worth of food, which would at least come up to 63 million meals, a figure that the Trussell Trust itself says only accounts for its food banks — around two-thirds of the U.K.’s total.

It is a failure of understanding and empathy: a failure to understand the mechanisms of food banks; a failure to understand the metrics by which people in poverty are forced to mete out and measure the food they need to survive. Falsifying objectivity with a social media rebrand is lamentable — getting facts about the reality for the most vulnerable drastically wrong is worse. [Independent]

And in other news...

  • It’s extremely cold in London, and one of the most effective means of warding off the freeze is slurping up a steaming, crystal-clear shoyu ramen; a laksa with a sunset hue; a bowl of tantanmen lurid with chilli oil. Three of London’s best noodle soups, indeed.
  • “TK and More,” where “TK” is a core product and “More” is a nebulous promise, could have such potential. Milk and More’s version? Milk and Beer. Strong. [Evening Standard]
  • Good tweet: