Saturday, February 9, 2013

Letter to a Lib Dem MP (not by me)

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Here's a letter from a friend of mine to his local Lib Dem MP.

I am sharing it with his permission. It illustrates the depth of feeling across much of the country about what is going on and how the Lib Dems have facilitated it.


How could you let this happen?
·       Millions of people now long term unemployed.
·       Millions more in poorly paid part-time jobs.
·       Local and national public services broken up, people who relied on them left abandoned.
·       Public services sold-off to make profits for shareholders of multi national companies who don’t pay UK tax.
·       Education standards  deemed  unsatisfactory by Ofsted in expensively sponsored Academies and Free schools
·       Education ministers prioritising, power, profit and politics before pupil performance.
·       Deteriorating health and welfare of millions of children.
·       Parents unable to afford healthy food or to buy fuel to heat their homes.
·       The poor and vulnerable scapegoated, all benefit claimants demonized as work-shy, scrounger.
·       The average citizen is only three pay cheques away from destitution.
·       As many people living in poverty who have work than those who are out of work.
·       A generation of school and college leavers unable to find employment, their career aspirations ruined.
·       Thirty percent of children born into poverty will stay there all their lives.
·       Talented well-qualified people without paid employment resulting in devastating personal traumas and deeply damaging losses for British Industry.
·       Near decimation of the cultural, emotional and physical infrastructure of society through swingeing cuts to the Arts, youth provision and the highways.
·       An unprecedented level of personal insecurity, anxiety and civil unrest.
·       People on housing benefit being forced to move house or pay more rent for their empty bedrooms even when there are no smaller properties available.
·       Millions wasted by careless, cavalier ministers incapable of (for example):
           > managing the new rail franchise bidding process.
           > legislating fair changes to the Child Benefit system,
           > ensuring healthy school and community sporting facilities available following the Olympics

The UK’s economic and social crisis has become worse during the last 3 years; the future is considerably bleaker than when the Coalition took office. It is worse and bleaker because of your government’s arrogance, ignorance and incompetence.

Your austerity policies were designed less to get the country working again, more to discipline the powerless, to discredit and dismantle public services. to ensure the wealthy stay in-charge and to divert public attention from greedy, bonus-addicted bankers.

Your government has been responsible for encouraging unprecedented divisive splits in British society:

The wealthy against the poor
High achievers against the less able
Able bodied against the disabled
Young people against adults
Middle classes against pensioners
Straight against gay
Private sector against public sector
British citizens against foreigners
Lawmakers against the police
South against North

The Coalition didn’t invent the divisions but it has cynically and deliberately widened the gaps. Sadly both history and common sense tell us that ‘divide and misrule’ of this magnitude is a reliable recipe for the breakdown of law and order.

Your government’s handling of a very serious social and economic crisis has been potentially disastrous. It is hard to see how a once prosperous, tolerant country should have been destroyed by an inept bunch of aspiring grandees and selfish multi millionaires. 

It's one thing to be ruled by a group of people who have no understanding, sympathy or empathy with ordinary working people it is a far worse situation when this powerful remnant of a faded aristocracy is incapable of governing, don’t know how to do it, and are economically, socially and politically illiterate.

One doesn’t have to be a financial genius to see that your brutal austerity package is seriously flawed. Academics, school children and ordinary people in the community who read and understand history alerted you 3 years ago. If you put people put out of work the country will receive less tax revenue this results in increased claims on social security benefits. People without work are more prone to illness and stress. This increases pressure on the NHS. The result is an economic spiral into deeper recession which will be mirrored by a spiral into social unrest and anarchy.

Your Government’s response to the recession is deeply offensive. 

1. Blame the last government, loudly and often
2. Cut benefits to the less well off and disabled
3. Label everyone who doesn’t have a job as a lazy scrounger.
4. Sell-off the NHS
5. Proclaim that all child poverty in UK is the result of parental drug addiction

It has cruelly mis-represented the county’s problems as the fault of the opposition, the powerless, the disabled and the unemployed.

We are not daft! We don’t believe you. Can you not see how these silly policies and pronouncements insult our intelligence?

However the biggest disappointment of this crisis is that people like you - honourable, once well respected, politicians and public servants - have been seduced into supporting and facilitating the policies of an undemocratic right wing cabal.

Why did you let this happen and what are going to do to avoid the inevitable slide into anarchy?

Yours sincerely

9 comments:

wombat said...

"It's one thing ... are economically, socially and politically illiterate."

Except that they know enough about how society works to divide it up and play the bits off against each other, and were politically astute enough to get elected.

"We are not daft!
We don’t believe you.


But we still support a system that selects and trains people like them and then we elect them. See also previous paragraph.

L.Long said...

the situation is unfortunate, but is nice to know that the rich conservative are making a real mess there as they are here. Its enough to make one believe in a conspiracy.

Tony Lloyd said...

The strength of feeling certainly comes through.

And I also tire of blaming the previous government for the deficit (I don't tire of blaming the previous government for two wars, complicity in torture, the erosion of civil liberties and nigh-on fraudulent PFI)

But this reads as an inaccurate, ill-thought out rant that blames the junior partner in a coalition government for all perceived ills whether the natural consequence of a recession (unemployment), states of affairs that have persisted for decades (the north south divide) or ills simply invented (eg. no public service has been "sold off" to a multi national that avoids paying UK tax).

Swap the words "EU" and "Brussels" for "Lib Dem" and "government" and it reads just like the rant of some UKIPer who latched onto the idea of Europe as a convenient scapegoat.

wombat said...

@Tony "...blaming the previous government for the deficit."

As well as tiring it is logically wrong.

The deficit is the shortfall between current spending and current taxation. The outstanding debt is substantially inherited. As the Office of Budget Responsibility and plenty of others have reminded Clegg et all.

(e.g. see Guardian
"How Nick Clegg got it Wrong on Debt"
)

Stephen Law said...

Yes some weird myths have been perpetrated very successfully by the Tories re debt. and the crisis all being Labour's fault.

Labour inherited from the Tories a debt of 42% of GDP. At the start of the global banking crises the debt had fallen to 35% - near 22% reduction, acc to this source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ramesh-patel/growth-cameron-austerity_b_2007552.html

also this:

http://www.newstatesman.com/economy/2011/08/interest-rates-debt-government

Tony Lloyd said...

Blaming the deficit on labour is not illogical.

One government inherits the tax and expenditure structures of the last and they cannot be radically changed in the short to medium term. The tax and expenditure structures inherited from the last government were set to suit “good times”. Now times are not good the expenditure goes up, the tax receipts go down and we have a deficit. In large part Labour policies caused the deficit. It’s a little silly blaming them though as no one was aware of the coming recession , no one objected at the time and we can be confident that everyone would have done much the same. It’s also pointless. We’re in a hole: the key point is how to get out, not who dug it.

One part of the deficit Labour can be blamed for is PFI. PFI hides government debt. Instead paying outright for new/rebuilt hospitals and schools, which would require borrowing the capital, the government pre-agree to rent the hospital/school . But they didn’t just agree to rent the hospitals/schools they also tied the public into 20-25 year contracts for the supply of nearly everything to the buildings. See all those pubs closing down? It’s not because pubs per se are unprofitable but the freeholders tie the tenants in for everything: beer, wine, soft drinks. And they set the prices of all those ancillary things to make themselves as much profit as possible. The same with PFI: if you want to see a policy that directly profits mutli-nationals at the direct expense of public services then look no further.

wombat said...

What I really meant was that the current govt is always by definition responsible for the deficit (even though practically as you point out they may have inherited many problems).

I take the point about the difficulty of changing spending due to certain prior commitments and it is certainly not illogical to blame their predecessors for making such commitments. I suppose perhaps if these commitments are so large and onerous then it may even be mathematically impossible not to run a deficit. Is this actually the case?

Tony Lloyd said...

I don't suppose it's mathematically impossible. There must be enough non-contracted for expenditure to remove the deficit. But it's bad enough when they slightly reduce expenditure, if they cut benefits/NHS/pensions enough to remove the deficit we might actually get the "slide into anarchy" the letter writer fears.

Mind you, if they legalised, controlled and taxed drugs the deficit would be gone practically overnight. None of them the balls to do that though.

JonB said...

Was this a letter, or a catalogue of ill-informed cliches guaranteed to get a round of applause during Question Time?




Bankers! Booo!




Cuts! Booo!




Unemployment! Booo!



Tiresome and childish. Characterising all MPs as pantomime villains who can't wait to ruin the lives of their country, or who are bumbling idiots, presumably backed by a bumbling civil service.

It's cheap and easy to just complain about everything that the government (boooo!) does. I'd like to see the author pick any one of his buzzwords, formulate an argument of exactly how the government have ruined everything, and provide a viable alternative course, preferably with an evidence based justification. It would certainly be more helpful.