“We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.“ – President Obama Innaugaration Speech Jan 20 2013
Dear Mr Miliband
I’m writing this letter as a Labour Party member who is completely frustrated with the lack of opposition to Her Majesty’s Government that has been shown by Her Majesty’s Opposition. We have seen over the last two years a greater attack on those who are not born into privilege nor raised in prosperity than has occurred at any time since The Norman Conquest. Not since The Regency have we seen such a gap between those who have and those who have not.
First they took away Legal Aid for those who believe they have been wronged by the State, then they de-funded in the name of essential cuts any other avenue those people could take in the search for reasonable legal advice, in particular, Citizens Advice. How loudly was this opposed? I didn’t hear it.
Next they launched an attack on the pensions of public workers including those who keep our streets safe, the Police and those who take care of us when we end up in hospital, our Nurses. Was this opposed? No, you supported that.
Next they decided to take Child Benefit from those with hard work, family support and perhaps University education has allowed to rise above the working classes. They could’ve set the bar higher or ensured that it was implemented fairly meaning that a couple earning a joint income of £89,000 would lose the same as an individual earning £60,000 but they didn’t and you didn’t oppose it either did you?
Then they launched an attack on the weakest in our society, the disabled, demonising them by calling them scroungers and having their puppet publications, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, the Express and the Sun run stories accusing them of all lazy skivers. They instructed the French IT company that Gordon Brown’s administration hire to find them all fit for work and despite the protestations of Mark Hobain, evidence shows that targets are being set and the result is people are dying. Where were you when this was finally debated? At lunch I suppose because you weren’t in Parliament.
They now decided that people on benefits should have their benefits capped, including Housing Benefit. They decided that they shouldn’t be allowed to receive more than £26,000 per year. Sounds fair, you must’ve thought so, you didn’t do anything to stop it. But it forgets one essential thing, benefit claimants don’t receive housing benefit, landlords do, particularly those private landlords charging exorbitant rents in London and the South East. The end result of this is an exodus of potential Labour voters poor people from London as councils such as Camden are forced to buy properties outside the capital to house these families whose children are now being taken away from their schools, their friends and the neighbourhoods they’ve grown up in. What are you doing about this? Not a lot really.
Their next attack was on all people who receive benefits, including Tax Credits, most of whom work for a meagre wage far below The Living Wage. They chose to reduce it’s increase from one in line with inflation to 1% while fuel and food rise in price at up to four times inflation. Finally you opposed something. Not very well but you opposed it.
Then they decided that they hadn’t taken enough from the poor, they decided that those who live in social housing and had the misfortune to have to claim benefits and had a spare room should have to pay for that too, they decided that people all around the country were living in vast mansions at the tax payer’s expense and those people would have to pay more. They would have to pay for their spare room, even if they had a son away fighting for the nation in Afghanistan or if a husband had to use it because his wife had to have a hospital bed through illness. Their only option to move, despite impracticality or availability of somewhere to move to. What did you do about this, well you disagreed with it but not a lot else.
Thinking that the poor weren’t poor enough yet, they decided they could pay some council tax too. They informed Councils that they will reduce the money they give them for council tax benefit by 10% with the claimants expected to find the rest. Of course it won’t be the Government asking people for this money, it will be the Councils themselves. People will invariably blame Council for this rise with the wealthiest councils and areas being least hit, these areas are invariably Conservative areas, the likelihood is that Labour would be hit at the ballot box in council elections. Have you done much to prevent this gerrymandering? Not really.
I have not mentioned the privatisation of our beloved and hard fought for NHS, what Nye Bevan would be saying to you now if he had the chance one can only speculate but I’m sure that you would feel his wrath.
Of late Mr Miliband I’ve heard about One Nation, I’ve heard about the “Squeezed Middle” and I keep hearing about 2015. My question is this, what about the poor, the disabled and the oppressed? What about 2013 and 2012 and 2011? You seem to be under the illusion that if we vote you in in 2015 all will be well? 2015 is TOO LATE Mr Miliband.
The time for the fightback is now, at the beginning of this letter is a quote from President Obama, the Democratic President who managed to defeat a Republican opponent widely tipped to win a landslide due to the state of the American economy, why is that? Simple, they believed in Obama more than they believed in Romney, are you getting the message yet?
Mr Miliband, you are a professional politician and I do not doubt that you are a decent, intelligent and passionate man but I feel that you have lost sight of who the Labour Movement was created to represent. I get the impression, and I doubt I’m alone, that you think your job is to win an election in 2015, It’s not. Your job Mr Miliband is in the name of your official title, The Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition. Your job is to OPPOSE the Government. Your job is to fight for the poor, the disabled, the oppressed. For job is to galvanise the people of this country to rise up against this Government peacefully and oppose this the most despotic and incompetent Government in modern times. I fear your failure to do this will result in the people of this country rising up to oppose this Government using non peaceful means. We’re both old enough to remember the Poll Tax riots that brought down Mrs Thatcher. Brixton. Handsworth, Chapeltown, Toxteth and Moss Side in 1981. The results will not be pretty.
The point Mr Miliband is that we cannot wait for 2015, we need help now, we need an end to the conciliatory tones your political advisers who have probably never seen the inside of a council house are proposing. We need to see an end to the surrender to Conservative party policy on Slavery Workfare that has been deemed illegal by The Court of Appeal. As the Government try to change the regulations in defiance of the court it should not be being opposed by a back bencher, it should be YOU Mr Miliband vehemently and passionately.
You capitulate too often to the Government because you appear so determined to show that you’re not a socialist or as the Americans would call you, a Liberal. I think you’ve missed the point of why the Trade Unions ensured that you defeated your brother David Miliband to the Labour Party Leadership. While I don’t espouse you becoming the stooge of The Trade Unions, I do want to see you stand up for the values of Social Justice.
Mr Miliband, each Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions I watch as you stand silent when David Cameron besmirches the record of Tony Blair’s government. He lies and twists the truth by suggesting that it was the Labour government that created the economic mess and not the bankers. Not one banker has been arrested for their criminal smash and grab of the British economy. Are we “All in it together”, well the bankers and the City seem to be behaving as if their wasn’t an economic crisis, they are unaffected and yet the wealth that they have gained at the expense of the taxpayer could pay for infrastructure projects, for 100,000 new affordable homes which would bring rents down, the housing benefit bill down, create jobs and stimulate the economy. It could change all our lives and yet they drink champagne and eat lobster as we drink tap water and eat horse meat. We are oppressed, vilified, besmirched, deprived of income, deprived of dignity and most importantly, deprived of leadership.
Yours sincerely, Paul Smyth, British Citizen