house of common
house of common's subsidised canteen


I lived in the Midlands during the 1984\5 Miners’ Strike. We used to hold our Labour ward meetings at Atherstone Miners’ Welfare Club. This was a large building, with a decent sized function room used for dances and a full-size snooker table.

Sadly, the club has long since been demolished, along with the pits of Baddesley Ensor and Birch Coppice that gave so much employment to local people. Thanks to the callousness of the Tory Government, many lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

The same of course is true in Grimsby. At one stage we had no less than 5000 deep sea trawlermen, with wage packets that helped boost local firms and services. All now gone, though the memories remain.

And now we’ve Covid. Unemployment has already started to rise once more, with forecasters predicting that 4 million could be forced to sign on in the near future. Individuals with steady jobs, earning good salaries to support their families, now face an uncertain future.

Which brings us to the Commons vote to reject the extension of Free School Meals to holiday times. For it’s not as if people wanted to rely on welfare. Rather it is a prime example of unforeseen circumstances washing away their livelihoods, as did pit closures and the sudden demise of our fishing industry.

So, I’m not surprised that the Government have been accused of callousness. Let’s not forget that our MPs have a salary in excess of £80, 000, plus of course generous expenses. They don’t have to face the problem of balancing a family budget week after week, deciding which necessity should take priority.

Oh, and do you honestly believe that Ms Nici would have voted against her own Tory party had she been at Westminster doing the job she’s paid for? Martin Vickers didn’t and faced with a crowded Commons I suspect she’d have fallen in line.

Still, what does it say about the Tories when a millionaire footballer has more of a heart?


Tim Mickleburgh.

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