Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Letter 124: Well hug a husky! Conservative Party the "Workers' party"? Don't tell their donors...

"Dear Dave,
Hurrah! The Conservative Party has decided to reposition itself as the "Workers' party"! Does that mean we'll see an end to charging employees for taking their employer to tribunal? No? How about those cosy Leaders Group donors dinners, surely they'll stop? Is it true that, in the last 18 months alone, 72 members of the Group have managed to dine privately with you and/or other senior Ministers? I've read that includes a dozen hedge fund managers and five bankers. Eew, hard to explain away. Will those suppers be curtailed now yours is the Party of the People? No? Do tell me it's because you've had an epiphany and we'll be seeing you on a tour of the country, visiting areas of social deprivation, shouting from the roof tops that you're now spearheading the campaign for the Living Wage with said donors dosh as the startup money. Wrong again? Darn it...
So... is the Conservative Party is the Worker's Party? Not when Tory donors have been given NHS contracts worth £1.5 billion under your health reforms, no.

Ok people, move on please. Nothing to see here, just a weak election idea spinning itself into the ground...

Yours etc"

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Letter 123: Less bashing the Bishop Dave, face up to the disgrace of Foodbank proliferation

"Dear Dave
Having watched you bash the Bishops last week over their concern for the most vulnerable in society, I was heartened to see on your Twitter timeline a Conservative survey to find out what voters are really worried about. After all, no one likes a politician who wears blinkers, or who remains deliberately out of touch do theyI must say though, your survey is quite disappointing. It's worryingly narrow and the language is rather loaded. Take Question 1, where "Welfare (making work pay)" is an option. What does that actually mean? If you really wanted to make work pay, you'd stop subsidising employers by topping up wages with with working benefits.You'd insist on a Living Wage and you'd also challenge all the fibs and myths about benefits, unemployment and the working poor instead of perpetuating them. But I digress. 
BRITAIN ISN'T EATING <-- This is what I'm worried about right now and it isn't on your survey. I worry about all the consequences, intended or otherwise that Nick and yourself seem able to talk away (of Welfare reform). Things like the news that one in 6 GPs has been asked to refer a patient to a food bank in the last year, or that 1000s of HIV patients are going hungry as benefit cuts hit. Or that rickets, a disease associated with Victorian poverty is on the increase. I've hear that you think your Welfare changes give people hope. The reality is as the Churches say: THOUSANDS ARE GOING HUNGRY BECAUSE OF BENEFIT CHANGES. Join their call for urgent action: You need to check out what Rachel Reeves has said about your reforms. She could help you design your next survey, so it's not quite so blinkered, too.
With best wishes, etc"

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Letter 122: The Coalition's in a Pickle on Defra cuts and floods

"Dear Dave and Nick,

Gosh, what a Pickle! Last week Somerset, today the Thames Valley. Listening to Eric on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday, I couldn't help wondering if your Minister's keenness to use UK flooding as a political football might result in an own goal. Sure enough, Lord Smith's robust response to Eric's finger pointing led us right back to your Chancellor's decisions to make cut backs: 

"When I hear someone criticising the expertise and the professionalism of my staff in the Environment Agency who know more about flood risk management - a hundred times more about flood risk management than any politician ever does - I'm afraid that I'm not going to sit idly by. The Environment Agency is bound by the rules that are laid down by Government. So when someone says that they followed the advice of the Environment Agency, what they were actually doing was following the Treasury rules which are laid down which say how much we can spend and how much we can't spend on any individual flood defence scheme."

And it struck me; water levels, child poverty, homelessness, food bank dependency, all rising under your Coalition government, all impacted very badly by austerity measures. Now you're living with the impact of cutting DEFRA's budget, surely you see that you're also storing up Big trouble for Society with your other cost cutting, short-term policies?

Yours, etc"

For further advice:

(Thanks to @THemingford for his help)