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Food banks, plastic bags and Vikings

It’s Sunday again and the weather doesn’t look too good. I try to have a day out on a Sunday taking photographs, but the weather often lets me down. I thought about heading in the direction of West Bromwich to photograph buildings again. I could have another go at getting the whole of The Public on to one photo.

They have another open exhibition to celebrate their existence and their achievements. Exhibits have to be quite small about 7 inches wide. I was described as being ‘humble’ not long ago. I’ve never thought of myself as ‘humble’ so it stuck in my mind. We don’t like to show off much in the Black Country, but I suspect the people in charge at The Public aren’t Black Country, hence the sign outside bragging that they have had a million visitors. That means each visitor cost us about 80 quid.

Plastic bags

At the Lib Dem conference, Nick Clegg announced a 5p charge for plastic bags in supermarkets. He hopes all the 5p charges will go to charity. Hopes? Can’t they be a little more definite about what will happen to the money? Can’t they set up a charity for fallen checkout girls or something? There must be lots of checkout girls from troubled families who need help.

Marks & Spencer has charged for its plastic carrier bags since May 2008, donating the profits to environmental charities and education projects, but still gives out smaller bags.

A spokesman said: “The 5p charge has helped us reduce carrier bag use by 75% in our food halls. That’s over two billion fewer bags since its introduction in 2008 and over £6m has gone to good causes as a result.”

It’s a bit early on a Sunday morning for me to be doing maths, but doesn’t 2 billion at 5p come to 100 million pounds; not 6 million pounds? Those nice middle class shoppers at Marks and Sparks donate 100 million pounds to fallen checkout girls and someone nicks most of it… I find it incredible that they use 400 million plastic bags a year anyway. Can’t they have stronger bags and put a few items into each one?

I’ve got a new shopping bag to take to the supermarket. It’s really big, I can get loads of stuff in it. I wheel it to the car in a trolley and put it in the back, then when I get home nearly injure myself carrying it in the house. I’ll try not to put anything heavy in it in future…

Food Banks

Michael Gove, the education secretary thinks food banks users are too uneducated to manage their own finances. “They are not best able to manage their finances,” he explained. Mr Gove said that the government would provide both financial aid and support to help them make better decisions. They’re probably wasting money on plastic bags at Marks and Sparks. I still can’t believe that their customers buy 400 million plastic bags a year, let alone pay 5p each for them. That money could fill a few food banks up couldn’t it?


I watched Casualty on BBC1 last night.  In case you haven’t watched it, it’s about nice middle class doctors helping food bank users who live in council flats and stab each other when they aren’t setting themselves on fire. I can’t really decide whether the nurses and paramedics shop at Marks and pay for plastic bags or not. Two of the student nurses live next door to one of those uncouth working class, food banks types. One of them civilised him a little last night by popping around for half a cup of sugar. He knows he’s under surveillance now…


According to a government report many of these problems are passed down from one generation to another. This got me thinking. Maybe all these food bank users who can’t manage their finances and have too many kids are descended from Vikings. Has any one checked whether they have blonde hair? A lot of Norse people had blonde hair or red hair. The Vikings were fairly primitive, they raped and pillaged a lot. I think Boris Johnson, could be descended from a Viking, he’s a blonde…


We have a huge statue of a 8 legged Viking horse outside Wednesbury. I have no idea why. The Vikings were the enemy of the Anglo Saxons, we didn’t like them. We Anglo Saxons are far more civilised, we don’t pillage let alone rape… I think that statue is another unsolved mystery of the Black Country, just like the Public in West Bromwich; we don’t know why that’s there either…

C’est la Vie, as we say in Wednesbury…

Please share your thoughts in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter.

2,000 million at 5p each? That can’t be right…

4 responses

  1. Oh … I’m glad I read this. Off to Wales tomorrow who already charge for bags. Must remember to always have a carrier in my pocket.

    Mean … me?

    16, September 2013 at 12:20 pm

    • Hi Nick,

      Be careful at the checkout or they’ll charge you or it. I had a Aldi extra strong carrier in my trolley at the checkout and they asked if I’d paid for it. You need a jumbo sized shopping bag like me. I think they deliver bricks in them sometimes from builder’s yards… 🙂

      16, September 2013 at 1:52 pm

  2. Pingback: Its only money | Mike10613's Blog

  3. Pingback: Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? | Mike10613's Blog

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