In those immortal words… “I DON’T BELIEVE IT!” Judging by the public outcry over the three men being prosecuted by the CPS for ‘stealing’ food thrown away by Iceland, I’m not the only one in Victor Meldrew mode. It doesn’t often happen, but I’m almost at a loss for words… ALMOST!
When will people learn that waste is just not acceptable? And this is waste on so many fronts. Let’s start with Malcolm Walker and his merry band at good old Iceland. Iceland, in case you’ve forgotten, was part of a TV documentary last year which, they hoped, would brighten their tarnished reputation. HAH!
To be fair, Iceland didn’t bring the prosecution, but it is clearly guilty of the heinous crime of wasting perfectly good food when countless people are starving. Let’s hope they’ve got a good PR company at the ready to dig them out of this hole.
Will self-confessed cowboy Malcolm see the light and take the opportunity to do the right thing by putting their unsold food to good use instead of chucking it away. During WW2, it was a crime punishable with a prison sentence to waste food. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learnt there.
On TV, Mr Iceland was happy to profess his love for his customers who “pay for my car, my house, my holidays.” Well how about this for an idea Malc. How about we start to prosecute companies for throwing away perfectly good edible food and we’ll foot the bill for a leisurely break on the Isle of Wight. I’ve heard Parkhurst is lovely at this time of year.
There is no excuse for this sort of waste. The mechanisms are in place to distribute unsold food to people in need. Plenty of other food retailers are working with organisations like FoodShare. Why not Iceland? Or are they too busy starring in TV shows and singing their happy-clappy songs to care? If you’re reading this Mr Walker, why not just pick up the phone and give FoodShare a call? Here – I’ll make it easy for you. The number’s 0845 003 0718.
And what about the Crown Prosecution Service? It’s people like us who are paying their wages too. While proper criminals go unpunished, they’re sitting pretty in their ivory towers wasting your money and mine, prosecuting people whose only crime is going hungry and not having enough money to live on.
Do you know how much we pay each year to keep the CPS running? I do! UK taxpayers coughed up £591 million to keep their 8000 or so employees in work in the year from 2011 to 2012. And if you look at the CPS’ financial review, you’ll see they are congratulating themselves on saving money. HAH!
Then there’s the police. Let’s not forget the time and resources they wasted keeping these obviously hardened criminals under lock and key for 19 hours. Is that all they’ve got to do with their time? Or are charges like this a good way of putting a little gloss on their crime clear-up rate? While we’re on the subject, did we put our hand in our pockets again to fund a Legal Aid solicitor for these poor men?
According to the CPS, there was “significant public interest in prosecuting these three individuals”. So much public interest that the Guardian website alone had well over a thousand comments in protest.
Our whole world is running out of resources. We don’t have enough food. People are dying of starvation. Here in the UK, 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year. That’s what’s criminal. Not hungry people being forced to raid bins to survive.
Maybe the CPS should prosecute all the people responsible for wasting food, time, public money and resources. I, for one, would be happy to sit in the front row with my knitting and watch the heads roll.