204. The morality of free school meals

I had a conversation yesterday about the morality of denying poor children free school meals during half term with an indignant, rather beautiful, interlocutor. Her fury was directed at the immorality of such decision by the UK Conservative government and those who support them. But this, more than a moral question, is a perception question. The great majority of those denying school meals don’t want children to starve. The problem is that they have bought into a narrative in which parents can indeed afford to feed their children and, by receiving free school meals, will be able to divert money to other uses, fags, drink, gambling, etc. Framed this way, the decision is no longer immoral. Sadly, the assumption is far off the mark. Many poor households don’t make those indulgences. Some others may prioritise them over children’s nurture. When you imagine, or believe, an alternative narrative from the comfort of your own home, you risk making horrifying decisions with the best intentions 

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