Over the last couple of years, but more so in recent weeks, I’ve found myself saying ‘breakfast’ when I mean to say Brexit. I’ve begun to think this is not some slip of the tongue, but a hardwired note to myself that breakfast is, actually more important. I could easily have survived the last 2 years without Brexit, but not having any breakfast is a much bigger problem, and there are many people struggling every day with food related issues, before you add in the yes, no and maybe chaos of Brexit. We know very little about the course of Brexit, but do we know that everyone is getting breakfast?
The Scottish Government are currently asking folks their views on food related legislation, with many campaigners (Food Train included) lending their voice to advocate for the right to food to be enshrined in Scot’s Law. Glossing over the fact that it’s scandalous that we need a law to make sure everyone has the right to food, as without food we face starvation and death, this got me thinking about what it really means to have rights when having the right to something doesn’t instantly mean you will get it. The consultation https://consult.gov.scot/food-and-drink/good-food-nation/ closes this week with campaigners saying this is a chance for Scotland to become a world leader in the food revolution, no disagreement from me there. Scotland produces amazing food and everyone in our nation should be able to eat well, automatically by the very nature of our wealth and resources and not because we’ve had to write it into law. But the need for food banks and other types of emergency food aid tell us instead of moving closer to being world leaders, we’re letting people down every day. Malnutrition is on the rise, schools are doing breakfast and tea as well as lunch in some areas, meals services for older people are on the decrease and lunch clubs are closing all around the country.
I’ve long held the view that food should be critical and central to every government policy, a sort of shopping list of good things we all need in relation to food that would be checked off when plans and decisions are being made, and maybe new legislation will make Scotland more joined up when it comes to food. But like Brexit, legislation and change takes a long time and it’s clear, for some people in Scotland, there isn’t time, they need help today, they need breakfast today and every day.