Sunday, 9 September 2012

An unacceptable state of affairs

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached a defining moment in British politics.

Actually, let me revise that opening sentence; we reached the point some time ago, but we didn't notice it. Petty political posturing has now got more place in our politics than trying to do good. Ignoring the facts is acceptable so long as it's covered by a political attack.

If anyone hasn't seen the Observer article by Nick Cohen, I'd advise them to head over to the Guardian website and read it. For those pressed for time, Save The Children has launched an appeal to raise £500,000 for needy children in Britain, and has found itself under attack from Conservatives and their supporting newspapers.

It's the first time the charity has launched such an appeal in living memory, and it's asking only to raise the money for the essentials - 'a hot meal, blankets, a warm bed'. That they even have to launch such an appeal raises serious questions about the way this country is going. But to then attack the campaign as obscene on grounds that the chief executive of Save The Children has left-wing political links goes beyond the pale.

At the very least, the government should be conducting a serious investigation into the decline in living standards. We have people visiting an ever-growing number of food banks (and not just the unemployed - with wages frozen and benefits for working families cut, more and more employed families can't afford to feed themselves), a state of affairs associated more with post-Wall Street Crash America and the Great Depression than twenty-first century Britain. Child poverty - cut by almost a million under the last Labour government - is increasing exponentially. In Yorkshire, one in three children has gone hungry in recent months. And all Conservative MPs do is sneer and make political attacks, when they should be using the power they have to do something.

This government doesn't care about the people of this country. The rank and file of the nation could be dying in the streets and all the people in charge would care about would be lining their own pockets and facilitating the fraudulent funding of their pet projects.

I'm going to write to my MP. I don't expect a response (not least because he spends more time in court working as a defence barrister in serious sexual cases than in Westminster), but I'll be writing all the same, to both his Westminster office and his chambers in Leeds. I hope I won't be alone.

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