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  • Writer's pictureBeyond the Canvas

Empty plates in Southend (things are about to get very political)

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

I was researching a post that involved smog and plates (fear not, it's coming), when I came across photos of different plates. These are empty plates left by the people of Southend, a town in southeast England, in front of the local Tory HQ and Conservative Club as a sign of protest after their MP voted against feeding children most at risk of going hungry.

For those who do not live in the UK, earlier this week the Labour party's motion on providing 1.4m disadvantaged children with £15-a-week food vouchers during holidays was voted down. MPs rejected it by 322 votes to 261 with a government majority of 61.

22 year-old footballer Marcus Rashford, once one of those children, has been using his social media platform to campaign hard, already forcing the government to do a u-turn and extend the meal vouchers scheme through the summer. He has now launched a petition, signed by 850k people at the time of writing this, to persuade the government to reconsider their decision.

This is the United Kingdom in 2020. A country governed by corrupt and incompetent politicians who squander billions on dodgy contracts benefitting their peers and donors. A country where almost 4 million children live below the poverty line and cannot afford adequate nutrition. A country where reliance on food banks has surged by 73% in the last 5 years. A country where, in the midst of a global pandemic and recession like no other, Tory MPs choose to turn their back on the most vulnerable.

Anyway, plates. Empty plates. I thought that in all their simplicity and spontaneity they looked very poignant, a bit like a conceptual art installation made by people like you and me so our voice can be heard.

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