Saturday, 25 June 2011

Letter 25: MONEY talks

Ah, those heroic single mothers, feckless, fecund single parents and runaway dads who should feel the full force of shame as we all glare at them over the fence. So reassuring that we can think of Dave manfully holding down a job and looking after his children - lovely to see that one rolled out for distraction on Father's Day. How simple life is when people can be labelled.

But hey, The Coalition need to shrink the state and are worried about negative reaction of the voters... Here's a plan: distract, divide and rule! By constantly referring to (inaccurate) stereotyping of one of the more disadvantaged groups in society and lumping them all together unattractively for others who are feeling the pinch to have a pop at, it is possible to change the benefit system, impose ideological change under the guise of financial necessity, sit back and let things take care of themselves. Before you know it (ie in time for the next election) those scroungers and workshy wasters will get out of bed, pull their socks up, pick up any one of those secure and well paid jobs the public sector has provided thereby becoming self reliant, responsible and someone else's problem. Job done, pats all round, off to the Headmaster for a merit. The Treasury books will be balanced, the feckless will see it always pays to work, our country will be saved from a fate worse than Greece and Tories will bask in the glow of applause from the grateful voters. Only it's not that simple....

Monday, 13 June 2011

Letter 24: Still not listening to his aides, Dave's insults at PMQs cause him injury.

Watching PMQs is a bit of a curate's egg, so it was interesting to look at it through the eyes of my eldest daughter, who voted for the first time last year. She was underwhelmed by the performance on both sides. 
As it happens, so was Rowan Williams...  Judging by the reaction to his criticism of Coalition policies and reforms by in particular the Conservative Cabinet members and some of the more right leaning media, the Archbishop seems to have touched a nerve. Well done Rowan - I'm inclined to agree with Victoria Coren on this one - keep it up!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Letter 23: How the Coalition will limit access to the "National Health Service of the legal system

A deep injustice is to be unveiled this month: the Government plans to reduce the legal aid budget by £350m and according to Des Hudson, Chief Executive of the Law Society of England and Wales, the cuts will leave half a million people without proper representation, often struggling to deal inadequately with legal issues alone .
Yet there is a fully costed and practical alternative which would preserve the rights to legal aid for those who need it most.  It does seem as if the Coalition has made some extremely cynical calculations by choosing such financial 'efficiencies' - but at what cost? Des Hudson nailed it when he said: "In our view, leaving fellow citizens to fight their own cause on their own, by denying them proper professional advice represents a gross injustice. It is inconsistent with a civilised society, which has always prided itself on living under the rule of law - and access to justice - and legal representation. The rule of law means little without true access to law. As currently conceived, the cuts will mean that the poorest and most vulnerable members of society may be unable to assert their rights under the law." 
Shame on us all if we sit by and allow it to happen.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Letter 22: Is Dave's Flagship Policy Seaworthy?

Ah, this Big Society mission, so hard for Dave to let go of. Could it be it's the only thing that stands between him and his conscience? Matt Baker went up in my estimation a while back when he put to Dave the question that we'll all be asking as cuts kick in. Right now, my concern and frustration is that though economic clouds gather, thunder rumbles, crew jump ship and wiser heads point to possible hazards, Dave keeps trying to sell us something we already have. It feels like a con and always has done. Back in February  The Independent printed an interesting article on the failure to launch BS(2). Now at it's FOURTH relaunch, the scheme still appears to be a fig leaf for ideological spending cuts intended to shrink the state. But small state will not produce Big Society; it will cause deep distress for the most vulnerable people in our community and that's why we want nothing to do with it, however many times Dave S-L-O-W-L-Y spell's it out or re-wraps it.