Thursday, 19 June 2014

Letter 135: The uncomfortable truth; Tories believe in free speech, unless you're Oxfam or the Trussell Trust




"Dear Dave,

Did Conor Burns get your blessing to refer this poster to the Charities Commission on the grounds that it was too political? Do the Conservatives expect charities to stop drawing attention to poverty and the causes behind it, simply because it embarrasses your government? Seriously, what's politics coming to - next we'll be hearing that someone at the DWP could turn ugly and threaten to close down the Trussell Trust over campaigning on food poverty. Now that really would be bullying behaviour, wouldn't it?

Yours, etc"

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Letter 134: Transparently, it's time for Dave's tax returns to be published


"Dear Dave,
In the name of transparency, please won't you publish your Tax Returns, so I won't have to sign this e-petition: epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65237 to encourage you to do so? Surely you've nothing to hide...
(After all, if we're all in it together, what's 50p between friends?)

With best wishes, etc"







Friday, 6 June 2014

Letter 133: Yes, the Coalition has increased growth, but in all the wrong areas.


"Dear Dave,
You probably don't want to hear this, but there seems to be real confusion over the speech you wrote for the Queen. Is it as you say, "the packed programme of a busy and radical government", or as the Leader of the Opposition claims, evidence "that you are presiding over a zombie parliament which has run out of ideas"? This morning I listened to Radio 4's Today programme, in the hope of some clarity. Pundits there described it as "Queen's Speech lite" suggesting that you're playing safe because there's so little that the Coalition Government can agree on having fallen out on so much already.
There is one thing both sides of the Coalition cling to, which is your claim that through commitment to austerity we can have growth. But in all honesty, growth could be problematic for you too. Back in April the Huffington Post highlighted a few awkward facts about your GDP growth figures. Employment is also troubling, as your boasts of job growth aren't what they seem. Though you insist that the best way out of poverty is work, since 2010 the number of people working zero hours contracts has increased to 1,000,000, three in four housing benefit claims are now made by people in work and the surge in self employment you so proudly announced recently masks the decrease in traditional employee jobs. It would seem that the growth you prize is to be found in the increase of working poor and children living in poverty. Maybe it's Ed who's right after all; those 11 Bills in your Queen's Speech don't begin to address the UK's problems at all.  

Yours, etc"

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Letter 132: Universal Credit woes swept under Election14 woes.


"Dear Dave, 
So your plans for the Coalition's final year in office were set out today in the Queen's Speech... Forgive me if I don't give it my full attention, something else is distracting me...
What's all this about bad news regarding Universal Credit that Iain Duncan Smith was accused of hiding whilst the local and European elections were taking place? There was a report published - described by The Independent as "damning " I believe, which showed that Mr Duncan Smith's project isn't going as well as he'd like us to think. Is it true that Downing Street released the Major Projects Authority report on the day of the local election results to minimise adverse publicity? Surely not, when you aspire to be the most transparent government. Ever. 
Has the MPA rated Universal Credit as "red" and does this signify that it is"unachievable within reasonable timescales and to a reasonable budget without urgent remedial action"? Lots of questions I know, but then UC will cost a fair whack to implement won't it? There was some suggestion that it would be £12,800,000,000 - over £10.000,000,000 more than the DWP said in 2010. Taxpayers have a right to know what's going on - after all, they're paying for his folly...

Yours with best wishes, etc"  

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Letter 131: Who let foxy old Farage in the hen house, Dave? Look in the mirror, Dave.



"Dear Dave,
Now voting is over, I hear that you're trying to shift the country's attention to growth. Unsurprising, considering the Coalition has lost 13 councils and 426 seats, whilst Labour's gained 5 councils and 339 seats. Like many, I was revolted by that pernicious UKIP election campaign. It was intentionally divisive and misleading - but it's not just UKIP that's played on people's fears, is it? I'm tempted to ask: do you ever wonder if the drip, drip, drip of ugly dog whistle politics (including that of your "go home vans") has backfired on you? Were I a Westminster politician, I'd be alarmed that turnout is so low. I'd also be shamed that the electorate's trust is diminished to such a degree that UKIP can grab so much media and voter attention despite it's vote falling from 23% to 17%. But who let the fox in the hen house? Dog whistle politics in the Westminster Bubble has helped build a platform for UKIP. Instead of saying that you "share their pain" on immigration, maybe it's time to cut the tough talk. Just admit that both the EU and immigrants contribute more than they could ever detract from the UK and elevate the quality of your political debate.

Yours, etc"



Friday, 18 April 2014

Letter 130: Parents are becoming enemies of promise now, Dave


"Dear Dave,
There seem to be alot of teachers in Brighton this Easter... It must be the annual NUT Conference. They're rather chipper - do you think they've heard that an increasing number of parents are enemies of promise now, having doubts about Michael Gove's education reforms?
What could be the cause of the growing opposition? The rise in the number of unqualified teachers in state-funded schools? Or maybe that families are being asked to provide contributions for basic materials normally covered by school budgets? Imagine - people struggling to put food on the table and now they have to equip the classroom with pens and paper too! Could it be that voters are angry Michael has approved plans to spend £45 million on a school for just 500 children. That's SIX times the average cost! Any you talked about learning to do more with less!
Public distrust points to your Education Minister's politicising of education and a lack of transparency, I think. Ask David Laws if you don't believe me - he's already said how "challenging and at times disruptive" the "permanent revolution" can be. By the way, why are struggling free schools being earmarked for special attention? Not a leak in the flagship, surely? If only there was a secret document that could explain it all...


Yours with best wishes, etc"




Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Letter 129: The Lord said "Suffer the little children" & lo, CameronJesus took him literally & caused foodbanks 2 proliferate

"Dear Dave
I am totally baffled by your logic (and I'm sure I'm not alone) Could you possibly explain the following? Recently you said,"The Bible tells us to bear one another's burdens" and that "Jesus invented the Big Society 2000 years ago; I just wanted to see more of it."

How can it be then that under your Government, there has been such a massive growth in the need for food parcels? It is beyond shameful Dave, that one million have been handed out in the UK to date. Not quite what Jesus meant by "suffer the little children", you know. Add to this the startling contrast of how you treat your own. Your support of Maria Miller, combined with Iain Duncan Smith's new plans for dealing with ordinary people claiming benefits they are not entitled to, suggests your Government will always have the rich (rather than the poor) with you.
Make no mistake, the huge increase in the need for food parcels and food banks is not a sign of increased civic responsibility, regardless of your insistence. It is a sign of the failure of your economic and social policies. You seem to be paying down the deficit on the backs of the poor - what would Jesus say? I doubt he'd think that passes the "smell test". Reflect on that over Easter as well as finding "time for our whole country to reflect on what Christianity brings to Britain". I'm also praying that you'll see Easter as an opportunity to honestly assess just what your moral mission and welfare reforms bring to the UK's most needy and vulnerable.
Yours, etc"