This new free school meals climbdown shows organising matters.

Popular opinion was wielded against the govt, they took a big hit in the polls, and they’ve bowed to pressure. An 80 seat majority doesn’t stop organising pressure.

There’s been a £170 million grant investment into providing food for those kids who’ll miss free school meals and the like over Christmas. Just like that, life prospects for 1.7 million kids improve overnight; that’s the power of organising and popular pressure, and that’s a glimmer of what could be done with a govt in power with the right set of values and priorities.

We have a callous and heartless govt which panders to the nastiest corners of the far right and banished what little liberalism remained in its ranks, but they aren’t competent or organised. They lost this battle because they’ll not effective political operators or governors, just effective campaigners.

Yes, there’s so much more to be done. Yes, this is a sticking plaster of a sticking plaster. Yes, the govt is just being opportunistic and looking at polls, they don’t actually care. None of this takes away from the fact kids that would go hungry now won’t, and parents stressing about getting food on the table over Christmas can sleep a little easier.

It isn’t a panacea, and it doesn’t even go far enough to be a sticking plaster worthy of the name. But it shows the govt bows to public pressure, and all credit goes to Marcus Rashford for making himself into the voice of a generation, for using his platform for public good, and for showing himself to be the antithesis of everything that this government has ever stood for.

This was a massive and foreseeable own goal for the govt, and let’s celebrate that we’ve turned it around. Justice was done. Keep up the fight.



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Toby Lipatti-Mesme

Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.