Tory chaos over the EU referendum and the ‘Project Fear’ smoke screen

08_march_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,365

Tuesday 08 March 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

As the head of the DWP Iain Duncan Smith is not someone who should be accusing others of ‘Project Fear’. The entire social disaster that is now the DWP under his mismanagement is the single most feared and despised entity in the UK. Iain Duncan Smith has a mind like the fetid miasma that lurks over the surface of a swamp in which nothing good exists or ever emerges.

As we’ve come to expect from your party, all that has emerged in the referendum debate so far is chaos, whether in or out, the case needs to be made for positive outcomes, but there’s nothing quite like highlighting the negatives to create confusion. It is either deliberate or down to incompetence, it hardly matters which, the result is the same.

Some things, however, are clear. As Jeremy Hunt continues to unravel our NHS, its fate, should we remain in Europe, is something everyone should be concerned about. Refusing to exclude the NHS from TTIP means that privatisation would be a done deal and, to borrow Harry Leslie Smith’s words, we need to hold your feet to the fire on this.

At 93, Harry well remembers Britain’s private health care prior to the founding of the NHS in 1948 and the appalling suffering of the poor. The shadow of a past remembered by few is hanging over our NHS and people would do well to pay more attention to what Harry Leslie Smith has to say. The private sector has always played a vital role in the NHS on the supply side, from paper clips to CT scanners, but provision should remain publicly owned and publicly funded and not farmed out to the likes of Virgin, Serco and others. It’s an issue worthy of a referendum, instead privatisation is being undertaken by deceit at an ever increasing rate.

Of course, as in the US, one of the biggest hot potatoes in town is immigration. Interesting that the America of today was founded on immigration, and in the UK the NHS was staffed in large part by nurses eagerly sought from abroad without whom the entire project would have failed, as was London Transport, yet with scant gratitude from the UK. One of the reasons I do not write about immigration is that it isn’t about immigration, it’s about xenophobia, something you are only too happy to stoke, particularly around benefits. Feeding prejudice is great for anecdotal mutterings about immigrants taking jobs whilst ironically draining benefits, but the impact of immigration is nothing like the strident cries of xenophobic intolerance would have us believe. Immigration is a overall a net gain to the UK economy but that has no place in the debate. There is little point attempting to debate an issue that will be decided on prejudice and the entire referendum debate could go the same way if people listen to your party.

What matters today is, as Harry points out, poverty and that’s an issue about which we need to keep politicians, “feet to the fire and make them suffer a bit. The politicians need to stop down from their ivory towers and look around at what’s happening in this country. They need to listen to the people for a change.” In or out of Europe, poverty is the greatest issue facing this country (or at least side by side with our NHS) driven, not least, by the draconian policies of Iain Duncan Smith and the DWP. We do need to get our act together over Europe, but that should not distract us from the war on the poor at home.

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