I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.
What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society.
Below, I have copied a letter from the DPAC Steering Group to Jonathan Reynolds MP – the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. It refers to comments from Reynolds relating to welfare payments.
It is deeply troubling that so early in to the Keir Starmer regime, our social democratic party seems to be reversing at full pelt back to the dark days of Blair.
I am still a member of the Labour Party because of the work being done by Mark Drakeford in Wales, and it is sad to see the party in Westminster drifting back towards the centre-right. The fact that this is happening at a time when the Conservative Party are making such a hash of the Coronavirus crisis, is agonising.
It will be extremely interesting to see how Jonathan Reynolds replies to the letter below. Only a complete backtrack will suffice in this case, or my membership of the party will be in serious doubt.
I wish I could only be a member of Welsh Labour. I will remain a member of the party while Mark Drakeford is First Minister. He has earned my loyalty. It will be interesting to see which way Starmer steers his ship in the next few weeks and months.
Regarding your statement that “Welfare should reflect ‘what you put in’ to tackle public mistrust”
In a comment to the Morning Star, our spokesperson described your comments as “Toxic idiocy”.
Toxic, because, as (too few) wise and responsible senior politicians are well aware, we live in a dangerously fractured, highly unequal society.
They are aware that making statements that will only increase those fault lines and set social group against social group (“them and us”) is highly irresponsible, can only lead to further social division and stoke hate, which at worst can lead to hate crime against “them”, and that includes disabled people.
As you have seem so keen to demonstrate, you are neither a wise nor responsible politician
Idiotic, because you only need to spend a moment considering the implications of your statement to see that it is palpably idiotic.
If you take your statement to its conclusions in terms of policy, these are the outcomes that you get:
1) Higher Rate Taxpayers should have higher benefit entitlements
2) Women, who, as is well established, not only earn less (“the Gender Pay Gap”), but through their caring responsibilities both for children and family members save the government many millions of pounds. In simplistic terms therefore they pay less tax, so should have lower benefit entitlements.
3) BAME people, who earn less (“the BAME Pay Gap”), and therefore pay less tax, should have lower benefit entitlements
4) Young adults who have had less time to accrue tax payments, and therefore should have even lower benefit entitlements than they do already
5) Disabled people who face huge barriers in terms of discrimination and lack of access, who have great difficulty in accessing any work at all (“the Disability Employment Gap”) , and therefore pay much less tax, should receive much lower benefit entitlements
6) Disabled People who, due to their impairments, do not have the capacity for paid work ( however much they want to work, they simply can’t), and who pay very little tax should receive no benefit entitlements
Please would you confirm that the 6 statements above are the logical results of your statement to the House of Commons, and could you please let us know if you intend them to become Labour Policy
If you do not intend for these to be Labour’s benefit policies, could you please tell us, why you made that statement, and please tell us, precisely what your policies will be in the light of your comments
We have long been used to toxic and dangerously idiotic statements from the Tory Party, and have lowered our expectations accordingly. Now it seems we need to lower our expectations of Labour.
You should be under no illusion that this will also lower our intentions to engage positively with the Labour Party, and will certainly lower disabled peoples’ motivation to vote for Labour at election time.
As is our normal practice, we are publishing our letter to you on our website, and will publish your response to us (or state that there has been no response on our site) in order to give you a public right of reply.
The DPAC Steering Group