An Open Letter to Oliver Letwin MP (Con)

Dear Mr Letwin,

I returned home from shopping this lunchtime to find a poor tree had died partly to fund an election “communication” from you , promoted on behalf of your campaign by a Mr Antony Stanley. My first thoughts were to return to sender with instructions on where one could shove it. However I have decided to respond in more detail.

Your election pamphlet was addressed to me here at the Vicarage. You see my wife is a vicar. In fact Mr Letwin you met my wife during the last election campaign. She was introduced to you in her capacity as a local Church minister in Charlton Down and you completely ignored her. Whatever merits or demerits your party may have I would never vote for someone so rude as to completely ignore and refuse to speak to someone in this way. Manners maketh the man and all that. (more…)

Happy #nondom Day

Every general election has certain days you know will be super important. Even now it only takes a word or two to evoke those memories – such as “Gemma’s Ear”. Today the Labour party gave us #nondom – a promise to stop the unfair system where some rich people can avoid paying tax in this country despite living here and earning money here. Whether this policy makes or loses money for the country seems less important to me than the issue of taxation in a fair and equal society. Labour’s pledge of removing non-dom tax status is a step towards a fairer society.

Why should Lord Rothermere – the owner of racist hate-rag The Daily Mail – spread his bile throughout the nation with his nasty paper, reap the financial rewards but not pay a fair amount of tax? It is unfair. It is that simple. I am not a Labour supporter. The two-faced Blair and his nasty war put an end to that. But for once a party is offering something that goes beyond an election bribe, but instead is about a principle. The principle of fairness is all too rare in today’s political climate. (more…)

Bishop David Walker on Poverty

I’ve read an excellent piece in today’s Guardian by Anglican bishop David Walker on the subject of the church’s recent head on collision with the Tories over poverty.

“Most of us would see service provision not just as an end in itself. It is equally the ground on which we stand to challenge and stimulate public sector provision, and our basis for offering a critique of dominant political narratives. Archbishop Desmond Tutu puts this latter in a typically telling phrase: “When you’ve fished enough people out of the river, it’s time to take a walk upstream and see who’s pushing them in.” And what seems to be casting people in ever increasing numbers into the waters is less a matter of specific policies and more about Britain’s scapegoat culture.”

You can read the article on the Guardian website. Obviously don’t read the comments underneath the article. Never read comments on newspaper websites.

Babyboomer Selfishness

Of the £160bn annual benefit budget nearly £75bn goes towards pensions. This in itself isn’t anything to complain about – many pensioners rely on these payments to live – but there plenty of others who do not need a penny of it. These wealthy pensioners tend to vote for a Tory party that is happy enough to keep giving the pension to them, in fact to keep raising the amount. Strangely, young families with just as much money have child benefit taken from them – perhaps they don’t vote for the right party.

Meanwhile tragically poor families are being robbed due the detestable bedroom tax and other squeezes on benefits. This disgusting bedroom tax policy could never have made a change to the way housing stock is used, there just aren’t the smaller houses for people to move into. The cold hard mathematical facts are against the policy – there really isn’t the housing stock. The government would have known this when drafting the policy – instead the bedroom tax is a deliberate ideological and financial attack on the poorest members of our society. The plan is to dismantle the state and to do so first one must attack those that rely on it. So the poor are demonised, the NHS and education systems vilified. Look at how much money we waste on these broken dreams, the Tories say, let us abolish them.

(more…)

How the Womb is Destroying the Economy

The Tory Party conference is never really a source of joy to right thinking people as it is often the source of stupidity, selfishness, racism disguised as immigration policy and general fuckwittedness. But they’ve outdone themselves this week – as have the business leaders present.

We live in a time where we are all being asked to tighten our belts. VAT is at 20 percent which is a huge burden on the lower paid and poor who it affects disproportionately. Sure Start centres are closing, as are libraries. Councils are cutting back on services. The armed forces are being decimated by a shortsighted and dangerous foreign policy. Our nation is being stripped bare in the name of the Tory deficit reduction plan.

Someone somewhere has really fucked up our nation and we’re now having to pay for it. But who is to blame? Well you’d think, given the policy ideas coming from the Tory conference, that workers are to blame. Yes the poor workers of this country are to blame for wanting things like access to legal redress, support when ill or pregnant, somewhere safe to work and a workplace free of discrimination. If only we could return to the days of toddlers working under spinning machines then the economy would grow and all would be well. And while we are it, can we cut the top rate of tax down a bit, some execs are down to the last three or four luxury cars.

(more…)

Votes for Children

Parents, I imagine that unless you’re loaded you aren’t exactly keen on the Coalition’s efforts so far. The massive real-world cuts in public spending – particularly on education and children’s services – certainly worry our family. Surestart has been crushed and the scandal of £9K per year university fees is hard to forget.

But why has this happened? Why has an electorate full of so many parents allowed a government to be formed that seems to be the enemy of young families? That’s down to the demographic issues and the make-up of the Tory party.

(more…)