Seeing the title of this piece, readers can be forgiven if their immediate reaction is that I am just being ridiculously naive.
Politicians and lying go together like a horse and carriage, fish and chips, Batman and Robin, Theresa May and Brexit cluster fuck. Surely everybody knows that!
When David Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010, he did so on the back of a whole series of manifesto lies and what prompted me to begin ‘A letter a Day to Number 10’ was the need to expose the truth of what the Tories were doing to Britain. Not least amongst all the destructive policies that the Tories unleashed was that we the people were forced to rescue the (too big to fail) banks and as a consequence were punished by the Tories with austerity. One of George Osborne’s most used expressions was that we, the bread and butter people of Britain, had to pay down the debt.
In his 2015 summer budget speech, Osborne said, “So those who oppose any savings to Tax Credits will have to explain how on earth they propose to eliminate the deficit, let alone run a surplus and pay down debt.” He very specifically laid the responsibility for eliminating the deficit and paying down the debt on low income families, who, as we all know, had gambled away and crashed the global economy.
You couldn’t make it up, but George Osborne did.
Year on year the lies kept coming until Theresa May became Prime Minister at which point the lies became much more sinister and cynical, she promised the Earth and gave us hell, not least to the survivors of the Grenfell Tower catastrophe to whom she promised, “Residents of Grenfell Tower will be rehoused at the earliest possible opportunity, within three weeks at the latest.” They are still waiting six months later.
Poor, sick and disabled people are being brutally punished under Universal Credit (UC) and despite calls to pause or scrap the rollout of UC, the government are having none of it, claiming the system is working.
But something else has risen up and grown since 2010. Those familiar with my letters, are probably also aware of the incredible artwork of Stew Art’s postcards to David Cameron, the biting humour of Katy Anchant’s letters to her unwitting paramour, Dave, her ‘little pink flip-flop’, and the postcards of Linda Strickler. There were also the beautifully illustrated ‘Dear Dave and Nick’ letters of Bern O’Donoghue.
Also rising and now dominating the political landscape, we have Vox Political, Skwawkbox, The Canary, Another Angry Voice, Pride’s Purge, The Poor Side of Life, Dorset Eye, SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites), Evolve Politics, Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC), Samuel Miller (a tireless campaigner for social justice), Taxpayers Against Poverty (TAP), Rachael @Rachael_Swindon on Twitter, Sue Jones – Politics and Insights, Welfare Weekly and many others who have slipped my mind. There are also individual campaigners like Paula Peters and protector groups against fracking and ecocide, amongst many others.
What we all have in common is speaking the truth to power and exposing the lies, deceit and corruption of the Tories and holding government to account and demanding justice.
In 2010, David Cameron promised, “Greater transparency across Government is at the heart of our shared commitment to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account.” He lied.
It should not be down to us as individuals or for organisations to dedicate our precious time to exposing government corruption and lies, that is a travesty of justice. We need much more stringent powers to hold government to account, not a bung happy free for all amongst over privileged career politicians who think and behave as if they are above the law and sneer at court judgements and, of course, the many and diverse ordinary people who make up this once functioning nation.
Is truth in politics really such an outlandish thing to demand from our supposed representatives in government? Are they not just glorified (mostly in their own sight) managers of the nations laws, finances, social services, infrastructure and our international interests? The Queen calls them ‘her government’, if so, why isn’t she paying for them and not us and why isn’t she demanding that they do their damned jobs with honesty, integrity and due diligence and if they don’t, and they aren’t, why is she not kicking their worthless hides out onto the streets or putting them behind bars?
In 21st century Britain can we not do better than a bunch of lying, corrupt, self serving criminals in the, so called, mother of all parliaments?
Truth in politics should be the very least of our demands and expectations.
It is time for a new, honest, accountable, politics, it is time for Labour headed by Jeremy Corbyn and a manifesto for the many, not the few. The challenges he faces are immense, from a corrupt right wing media, a dirty opposition, opposition within the Labour party, a country in Tory induced chaos, corporate self interest and greed, to name the more obvious ones, but above all he must be true to the people in an institution steeped in historic elitism and privilege and the insidious corrupting influences of wealth and power. Personally, I think Jeremy Corbyn, the team of people around him and we, are ready, and most especially those whose lives are most at risk every day under the Tories.
I am 66 years old, first generation NHS, and I never imagined that I’d see the country, and the world, so betrayed by corruption, self interest and greed or such a rise in informed opposition to it. It is very much time for change. Decency, honesty and integrity are, and always have been, powerful, and the politics of our time demands them for the present and for any kind of humane, sustainable, future. The generation that survived WWII built a Britain fit for all and we can do it again.
KOG. 02 January 2018