A letter a day to number 10. No 1,399
Monday 11 April 2016.
Dear Mr Cameron,
No word of your resignation yet, I notice. But then it is Sunday as I write, the day when ordinary people work, like junior doctors, nurses and all those who make our 24 hour NHS possible, supermarket staff and carers, to name but a few. There is a vast army of ordinary people working this minute and every minute keeping our infrastructure going, unseen and unsung, yet without whom the country would grind to a halt. It is 2:13pm as I type and I’ve just had a look online, if I wanted to get to London to protest today the next train is at 3:17pm and on my arrival at Paddington, the choice would be mine whether to take a taxi or the underground to Westminster or enjoy a leisurely 2.8 mile stroll fortified with a bottle of water and perhaps a sandwich purchased at a vendor somewhere along the way.
The hurly-burly bustle of life continues seven days a week, Britain’s gigantic infrastructure seamlessly (with the occasional, soon dealt with, hiccup) rolls on, a giant interconnected beast.
I tried to discover how much it costs to run Britain’s infrastructure for a day. Perhaps it is a measure of how much it is taken for granted that I could not find any figures, although I did discover that London gets 24 times more spent on infrastructure per resident than the entire north-east of England. Here’s a thought, I reckon it’s a safe bet that London also has many times more wealthy freeloading tax dodgers than the north-east of England and quite likely in just the City of London.
Understandably tax avoidance and evasion is on my mind, but more than that is living in a country which is, by and large, run by the wealthy for the wealthy. It’s a rigged game and during your time as prime minister you have gone to extraordinary lengths to rig it further, from cutting legal aid and workers rights, to privatising our NHS and stripping our system of social security. It was ever thus.
The abolition of slavery is considered a milestone in British history, a triumph for humanity. Less well documented is the compensation given to slave owners, 40% of total government expenditure for 1834, between £16 billion and £17 billion in today’s money, the largest tax heist in British history until the recent bank bailout. For the slaves, those whose lives had been torn apart and, for vast numbers, brutally destroyed, not a brass farthing was forthcoming. Even after their supposed liberation, ex-slaves were still treated as subhuman and of no regard.
Called on to apologise for Britain’s role in slavery you fatuously said to Jamaica’s parliament, “I do hope that, as friends who have gone through so much together since those darkest of times, we can move on from this painful legacy and continue to build for the future”, apparently to head shakes from the audience. Those are the same kind of weasel words as you and Osborne saying, ‘We’re all in this together’. No, we are not, we never were and it’s unlikely we ever will be. You are responsible for an unforgivable war on the poor and your departure from office, at the very least, is long overdue.