On Easter Monday, the Sun ran a full page non-story attacking the Trussell Trust for tenuous and supposed hypocrisy. Was there any mention of the fact that thousands of parents are going hungry to feed their children in the UK this Easter holiday? No. For me, this is the real story - or at least it should be. So why are certain sections of the media so determined to undermine anyone who speaks out about the reality of hunger and poverty in the UK? Last Easter, the Mail on Sunday ran an undercover investigation at foodbanks, trying to attack them, and those who need them. It notoriously backfired. This year it was the Sun.
It seems to me, and others who gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee, that a system in which claimants are 'presumed guilty' unless they prove otherwise goes against 'natural, or administrative, justice'. This is a reflection of the destructive narrative that has built up around benefit claimants.
The APPG on food poverty and hunger's seminal report goes beyond anything that's been done before on the problem of hunger in Britain. This powerful cross-party document validates what the voluntary sector has been saying for a long time about the distressing reality of hunger in the UK, and it turns the spotlight on the specific problems that need addressing.
This year's Budget has to create some movement in a positive direction for the many millions of people for whom the past six years have been cumulatively, increasingly difficult. Many people attending foodbanks have jobs. Too often those jobs are insecure, with uncertain hours. Poor people need better base pay, more employment security, more full time rather than part time work.
After months of organising, meetings, prayer, and listening to grassroots groups, bishops and charities I have finally begun my forty day fast. For the next forty days - Ash Wednesday until Palm Sunday - I'm going to eat no food. I'll have a glass of fruit juice each morning and the water left over from steamed vegetables in the evening; and keep hydrated of course.
The debate about foodbanks exposes the dark secret at the heart of this government: they just don't care. Asked about the growth of foodbanks, David Cameron always gives the same reply: that demand for foodbanks went up tenfold under Labour. He is implying that things are no worse now than before the election. The facts, however, tell a different story. One of the reasons the extraordinary Trussell Trust has proved so irksome to government is that it keeps meticulous statistics. And it refuses to suppress them.
One mention of food banks and we are all supposed to break out the Andrex tissues, wipe away our tears of sympathy and empty our cupboards into the nearest food bank donation box. Unsurprisingly, my eyes are as dry as they were at my mother-in-law's funeral. Gove says food bank users have themselves to blame for being "unable to manage their finances". I agree.