I need to stop picking up the Evening Standard. Both so I can crack on with the siege of Leningrad (and then write about it!) and because I keep on reading rubbish that winds me up. Today’s highlight being this article. There’s so much wrong in this article it’s difficult to know where to begin. How about the desire to outlaw soup runs because they attract homeless? Maybe the solution is to have more soup runs if it’s creating such a huge distortion in the number of homeless people. Sounds like a pretty vital service if it’s attracting 150 people to the area each night. As the article also points out the soup run can also help prevent “anti-social behaviour” (Not sure what they mean by this.. is it just sleeping in the street?) since it will prevent some crime.
Secondly the idea that we should stop soup runs because Daniel Astaire, cabinet member for society, families and adult services thinks that “Soup runs have no place in the 21st century.” Well yeah, I’d agree. In a rich affluent society we’d have probably moved beyond people not even having a roof. Going to fund more schemes to help take the homeless off the street then? Definitely not.. but giving a kicking to charities which are trying to make a difference! Go right ahead: it’s all big society, isn’t it?
Speaking of good kickings perhaps Jeremy Swain would support the Clockwork Orange-style brutalisation of homeless people? It would probably encourage them to get off the street afterall unlike soup runs! I don’t want to get too angry at Jeremy Swain though since I’m both an arm chair pundit and he is apparently chief executive of Thames Reach which helps homeless “people to find decent homes, build supportive relationships and lead fulfilling lives” which is sterling work (and much more than I’ve ever done to help homeless people 😦 ). But honestly does a cup of warm soup served outside in the cold in March really do that much damage? Obviously we should focus on helping people help themselves but I don’t think the solution to this is banning soup runs. Instead a better solution might be to use soup runs as a vehicle to help reach people and offer services they might not otherwise seek. People working in a soup run also offer a chance for supportive relationships to be built up and one that can be used to offer more proactive help.