He’s still out there, listening. He’s going all around the country, quietly showing up and asking the people of Britain to speak and to have their voice heard.
Philip Alston is the United Nations’ special investigator on poverty. He’s on a two-week tour taking in some of the poverty hotspots across all the home nations. It’s not exactly a TripAdvisor jaunt.
It is remarkable and shameful that the United Nations has looked at this country and decided that rising levels of poverty merit deeper investigation. The fifth richest economy in the world.
“I think the UK is at a crossroads, partly because of Brexit and partly because of the comments made by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor in terms of austerity [being over],” said Alston. “My hope is that there is a real possibility for a dialogue about future policy direction.”
Alston is set to file an interim report on his findings any day. A much fuller report will follow later.
What is especially galling is that while this is happening out there in the real world, among foodbanks and growing problems caused by Universal Credit rollout and in the midst of climbing child poverty levels and an uncompromising squeeze on local government funding that is hollowing out communities, the elected representatives are jockeying for jobs, not speaking for those without.