Marcus Rashford is showing Boris what real leadership looks like
At a time of division, Rashford is an example to all of us
On Monday morning, Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford announced the launch of a task force with the aim of ending child food poverty in the United Kingdom.
It is just the latest example of an exemplary young man going above and beyond to help people, and in doing so showing those in power what it really means to lead.
In June of this year, while football was on a coronavirus-enforced hiatus and schools remained closed, Rashford took it upon himself to lead the charge in lobbying the government to extend the free school meals scheme.
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) September 1, 2020
He raised millions of pounds with the help of charities and the Co-op, and expressly reached out to the government urging them to prolong the scheme beyond what would ordinarily have been the end of the school year.
The government had initially planned to allow a scheme which provided free meals for hungry children to expire. Had it not been for Rashford's campaign, there's every chance nothing would have been done about it. The scheme would have ended, and millions of young kids would have gone hungry.
Instead, he pushed the Conservative government who, after his initial request was rejected, relented under public pressure.
This is what is so impressive about Rashford. At just 22 years old, he recognises his position, as well as the platform and influence it affords him.
Unlike many in more powerful positions, he feels compelled to use that platform to help those less fortunate than himself. The relentlessness with which he has taken on these challenges has allowed him to transcend football and become a leader in British society.
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) June 16, 2020
Rashford possesses everything we should want in a leader, and is in scant supply in the halls of Westminster in 2020: selflessness, conviction and empathy.
He understands the plight of the most vulnerable in our society, having himself experienced the uncertainty of not knowing where your next meal is coming from, and wants no child to ever experience that pain ever again.
At a time when he could easily and justifiably be using his platform to further his own profile and wealth, he is instead using it to shine a light on the areas in which we must improve as a society and, as a result, hold power to account.
His new initiative, the Child Food Poverty Task Force, is yet another example of this.
In a country in which the government's primary focus should be caring for its most vulnerable, ending child food poverty would be foremost on the agenda.
Instead it would seem that stoking the fires of culture wars are the priority.
Why focus on millions of children living in poverty when there's such pressing concerns as what music BBC Proms is playing, and whether left-wing comedy is too "woke"?
Marcus Rashford has no time for that. He simply wants to help those in need.
He has already helped millions of people living in difficult situations, and will no doubt help millions more. At a time when the country is more divided than it has been for decades, he is proving to us that there is another option.
You can choose the road of division and suspicion, or you can choose one of hope and empathy. He is showing the way. As a nation, it is in all our best interests to follow his lead.