In 2021, the Trussel Trust handed out over two and a half million food parcels to families in the United Kingdom. This number doesn't even include the hundreds of local food banks that have become so essential for parts of the country. Hard to believe that our Prime Minister was saying the other day that we had the fastest growing economy in the world. How can a country that has so many riches fail to feed millions of its citizens?
For a government that has been in power for 12 years, food bank use has gone from 83,000 parcels in 2010 to the huge figure it has now. It's heartbreaking to hear of such sad stories of families struggling in the UK now. Charities have been set up to help families get beds and sleepwear for children, to buy shoes and treats for those worse off. The sad fact though is that most of these families are working. The money they get from their low pay jobs isn't enough to stop poverty in the UK.
You could say that this conservative main success in the last twelve years is the stellar increase in food poverty. Now we have the energy crisis I hate to think what use of food banks will be in the next year. Already there's horror stories of older people riding warm buses all day and night to help keep themselves warm. What did our beloved PM say? He falsely claimed he was the one who'd introduced free travel for OAP's. A caring man indeed.
We're told every day that the government is doing all it can to help people, yet it's not nearly enough. We're told there is no money to help, yet there is money for new nuclear weapons. We're told that everyone is in the same boat, yet we have a government made up of millionaires. It's not that there isn't the money, it's a political decision to not help. They would rather keep wages low to help fat cat business owners make vast profits.
I've spent the last few days watching the first series of For All Mankind. Yeah, I know it's been out for ages, I was kind of slow jumping on it, as usual. I thought it was an excellent story, a different take on the reality that America was first on the moon. Well-acted and stunning filmography made it a compelling watch. Alternative history done really well.
I've always liked the 'What if' type of story. For someone who loves history, it makes you think what could have been if an event hadn't or had happened. What would the world look like now if we'd have persuaded Hitler to not attack Poland? What if JFK had only been wounded in Dallas? What if Hilary Clinton had won the 2016 election? Would the world be a better place?
I've read many alt-history novels. Voyage by Stephen Baxter, is another novel that deals with 'what if' and NASA. Well written and thoughtful, it paints a different world on top of the one we live in. Like For All Mankind, it's set in the era of the race for the moon. This time it postulates what would have happened if JFK were not killed, but continued the manned space program to Mars.
Writing alt-history can be frustrating, yet rewarding. It needs a lot of research to make it work successfully. It also needs a great vision. Little things might change, that impact on another event. Like the butterfly effect, it spreads so each action causes another. If we'd have stopped Hitler at the beginning, would Europe still be the same? Would the Nazi party still be in power, not just in Germany but across the world? It's an intriguing question.
My own attempts have been underwhelming. I won't stop thinking up 'what ifs' though, even though they may stay confined to my head.
After what seems like a lifetime of having huge swings between depression and ecstasy, my life seems to have settled down into something of a stable pattern. In fact, the last year been good. At times I think too good and as usual I worry about the trough which will eventually come.
I don't think that life can ever be smooth sailing. Anxiety is always there, lurking at the back of my mind. People may see that I'm mostly calm, yet I'm constantly worried that my life will once again fall apart. It's always a worry, at least to me, that I'll manage to destroy this life I've got.
Two years ago when I nearly died from a heart attack, I vowed I must change my life. I must start to live for the now and not worry about the future. Yet it's harder to do than I thought. As I say the last year has been the happiest I've been for some time. That's why I'm increasingly worried. You see I know from experience that following every high is a trough.
I know this time I'll probably survive it when its hit. My circle is incredibly supportive and I know will stand by me, yet it's always there lurking in the background, like an unwelcome guest at a wedding. Soon it'll make its presence known and all hell will break loose. In the past, this 'guest' has made my life a misery. That's why I worry. There's the cause of my anxiety. My own mind.
I don't think I'll every conquer the demons which live rent free in my head. Yet I have to live with them there. I guess it's like living with covid. We have to do it, but we take precautions to ensure it doesn't raise its ugly head. I think today I'm better equipped to do that.