Thursday, 26 November 2015

Five Things We Can Learn from the Paris, Lebanon and South Africa attacks

The last few weeks have seen a very rightful outpouring of mourning and solidarity towards the victims of the horrendous attacks in Paris, Lebanon, and North Africa. Amazingly, the mourning has been mixed with a brave show of defiance, towards the terrorists, whose actions do not represent Islam, and only show cowardice and inhumanity. The days following the attacks saw leading Muslims condemning the attacks, citizens mourning the deaths, and the coming together of families and friends, that can only be described as acts of love and bravery, so often seen in difficult situations. It should come as no surprise that the terrorists do not want us to live in solidarity, any attempts to surrender our liberty to unaccountable authorities, or lose our common humanity by criminalising minorities or declaring war, will only bring the terrorists closer to victory. As such, it is important in these difficult times that we only strengthen our efforts to show solidarity with all those in the same or similar situations to us. This blog post will outline a few things that we can learn from the Paris attacks, and it is written with the hope that we can make the world a safer and better place for all to live in.  
1. We must bring an end to racism and bigotry
In light of such attacks, it is not uncommon to see the right using this to further their own rancid agendas, and demand that the borders be closed. The conservative stance on terrorism which dominates the media, tends to label terrorism as a failure of Islamic culture to modernise, ignoring the fact that the vast majority of Muslims have already modernised, and want to live in peace. In the UK, a petition has been already been started, calling for the indefinite closure of Britain’s borders until the incredibly vague time ‘when ISIS are defeated’. Furthermore, in France, having already made gains in local elections, the far right front national are likely to use the tragedies in France to try and gauge support for their racist and islamaphobic agenda. While such rhetoric is often associated with the right, left wing authors such as Slavoj Zizek, have made calls for the left to embrace its commitment to western values, and restore its faith in euro - centrism. The news that one of the Paris attackers may have come to Europe by exploiting the refugee routes is likely to send people into a ‘What do we do next’ frenzy. However, are we really going to turn our backs on the vast majority of people who desperately need our help, for the sake of preventing the unlikely event, that terrorists might try and get here? It is important now to show our solidarity with refugees more than ever.
If we are to understand the issue of terrorism at all, it is important to acknowledge the race of the people committing the atrocities, and the countries in which the attacks took place. While the people who carried out the Paris atrocities may have had support from within Syria, they were born and raised in and around France. A similar situation can be seen with the 7/7 bombings, when three of the four people who carried it out were British citizens. In light of this, it seems odd that nationalists or euro - centrists, would propose closing the borders to the rest of the world, as a feasible solution to terrorism. Rather, it seems that if we are to have any chance of getting rid of ISIS, then we should be doing the opposite, and showing compassion towards the victims of their barbaric regime. How is it possible to call for an end to terrorism, and then show complete and utter disrespect towards the victims of it?             
As previously highlighted, many examples of terrorism tend to be committed by people born and raised, in the country where the attack takes place. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the reason for terrorism, partly lies in the failure of British multicultural policy and French assimilationist policy, to bring people of different backgrounds together. To elaborate, British multicultural policy, despite rightfully accepting diversity, does so by placing different groups in different cultural categories separate from each other, and defining individual needs based on those categories. Contrary to this, French assimilationist policy has managed to avoid the cultural divide that comes with British policy, by treating everyone as citizens. Despite this, unable to lay out a common set of values, the French government has largely ignored the police brutality faced by first and second generation immigrants in France, and through their portrayal of Muslims in the media, have created hostility against what they regard as alien cultures. The consequence of British multiculturalist policy and French assimilationist policy, has resulted in growing hostility between different cultural groups, leading to far right attitudes in some groups, and extreme Islamic ideas in others. A perfect solution to this, would be to bring together the two different approaches and celebrating diversity while treating everyone as equal citizens. 
2. We must protect our freedoms
When faced with a terror attack that proposes a threat to our freedom, the immediate response from western governments, is often to ramp up security services to unprecedented levels. In France, lawmakers are preparing to extend the state of emergency, by giving police extra powers and restricting freedom for assembly for up to three months. Also, right wing politicians in France have argued for the introduction of internment camps, and permanent enhancement of police powers. Furthermore, In the UK the government intend to hire an extra 2,000 spies and are also pressing for the introduction of a Snoopers Charter. However, it does not require an idiot to see that similar measures following the Charlie Hebdo attacks failed to prevent the attacks in Paris.  For us to try and change our way of life, and surrender our freedoms, is exactly what the terrorists want us to do.
What governments fail to listen to, when faced with situations like the Paris atrocities, is that having a country at high alert at all times, could be completely counterproductive to the cause of eliminating terrorism. The UK governments Prevent strategy, argues that there are three causes   of radicalisation: A sense of injustice, a sense of isolation, and exposure to radical ideas. However, M15 have debunked most of the government’s claims with a report from them finding that ‘there is no single path to violent extremism’. Under the proposals, public institutions such as schools, security services and even hospitals, will have a duty ‘to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. In 2011, NHS services, such as the safeguarding of patients, suffered due to NHS staff being trained in how to spot potential terrorists. A nurses account of the training, said that she felt ‘utterly brainwashed’ by the end of it. Also, one of the main concerns of the scheme is education. As well as targeting university students, the scheme also targets lower levels of education, bizarrely requiring nursery staff to report toddlers, at risk of becoming terrorists. If this wasn’t enough to convince you that prevent is an absurd scheme, official sources say that, under the Prevent strategy, people are likely to become more separated from each other, with a former chief superintendent criticising Prevent for ‘putting Muslims in a separate box, when it comes to safeguarding vulnerable young people'. In addition to assuming that terrorism is such a problem that even toddlers and hospital patients are at risk of it, the Prevent strategy effectively turns everyday people into police.
It goes without saying that the main victims of things like the Prevent strategy will be Muslims. This blatantly ignores the evidence pointing to the fact that, far right terror attacks are a larger threat than those of Islamists. A third of Muslims now feel under greater suspicion, as a result of programmes like prevent. Despite the masses of evidence pointing towards the fact that the prevent scheme will not work, the government persists with its childish plans. The question now is, how ridiculously naïve would you have to be, not to realise that the current counter terrorism proposals are ideologically motivated and nothing to do with preventing extremism.
3. We must look for a peaceful solution to defeat ISIS
Since the overthrow of the Saddam regime In 2003, by The US led coalition, ISIS have been provided with the kind of stateless chaos, that allows groups such as them to thrive. There are now, 65 times more terror attacks worldwide than there were in 2002, when the war on terror was in its early years. Any attempts to defeat ISIS using more drone strikes or more boots on the ground, not only completely contradict the idea that the west is fighting for freedom and peace in the Middle East, but will only result in more terror attacks, and could potentially act as a key recruitment opportunity for terrorist groups.
Has anyone else noticed that horrific Middle East regimes seem to provide increasing profit opportunities for the war industry? Just as the west armed Saddam Hussain only to turn against him in 2003, they also supported the extremist factions in Syria, who would soon gain the weapons the US had armed the Syrian rebels with, and become ISIS. To any reasonable person, arming people, only for those arms to be turned against your own forces, seems like the most stupid thing ever, but why let logic get in the way when arms companies can make a quick buck or two from being as ridiculously corrupt as possible. Worldwide, three out of four weapons are made by one out of the four UN Security Council, states, plus Israel and Germany. To these corporations, the on-going ascension of ISIS is not a bad thing, as long as it helps to throw fuel on the fire of the arms race, developing across the Middle East. In addition to this, targeted destruction of infrastructure provides opportunity for oilfield contractor Halliburton, who can then make money rebuilding it     
Evidence shows that the US and the UK have been and are allied with regimes which could directly fund and support ISIS, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey. A Secret US government document, revealed on Wiki Leaks in 2009, states that ‘more needs to be done, since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for…terror groups’. Furthermore, the letter also makes clear that Kuwait is a key source of funds for militant groups, stating that the government is ‘less inclined to take action against Kuwait based financers and facilitators, plotting attacks outside of Kuwait’. Kuwait has also refused to ban the Islamic Heritage society, an organisation that provides aid to al – Qaida and other terror groups. In addition to this, The Kurdish forces in the Middle East are arguably the strongest force in the fight against ISIS. That may be why Turkey have ensured that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is listed by NATO as a terrorist organisation. By doing this they have been able to force an embargo on the Kurdish forces, and fight against them both directly, and by supplying ISIS. How the West can pretend to be defenders of liberty, then supply countries which directly support terrorist organisations is so utterly contradictory, that it shames me to write it.  The evidence, highlights an all too often ignored factor of the conflicts in the Middle East, that violence is often bankrolled by rich donors, whom world governments do very little to stop. 
In light of this, To defeat ISIS, in a way that does not involve causing unnecessary death to civilians or risking an escalation of the conflict, the most sensible option would appear to put pressure on countries supplying ISIS, severing any arms deals with them. Other strategies include allowing activists and charities to support the Kurdish forces through humanitarian aid, continuing to take direct action against arms companies and other companies that profit from war, and opening our borders to people in need of our help, so should ISIS  have any success, they only conquer a corpse of a country.
4. We need to focus on renewable energy
It may seem an odd point to make in this situation, but for a group that testifies to despise the west, ISIS sure do have a cosy relationship with oil and capitalism. Unlike most terrorist organisation’s it has integrated itself into the global market, surprisingly effectively. Not only to figures show that ISIS oil sales earn half a billion dollars per year, but also Oliver Tickell convincingly argues in his piece on the Paris attacks, that it was done in order to try and derail climate talks, as an effective agreement could have partly curtailed their oil revenues. Of course, the chances of a climate deal being struck are pretty low anyway. A lot of politicians have already been bought and sold to the oil business, so that they work in their interests. However, the real hope for the climate talks is that the public will pressurise politicians into making a deal that betters both the environment and ordinary peoples lives. With enough protest and direct action, we have the power to better our use of renewable energy. From Frack off to Blockadia, The Climate movement is constantly growing in potential, to the point that it could seriously help in defeating ISIS.
 Some may see the problems as unrelated, but the problems in the Middle East and the problems posed by climate change are somewhat linked. Indeed, Climate change may have had a part to play in the stating of the Syrian civil war, with a severe drought forcing farmers away from their crops and into suburban areas, just as the country was exploding with immigrants from the Iraq war. Indeed, Richard Seeger, a climate scientist at Colombia University, says that ‘the whole world needs to be planning for a drier future in that area, and there will be lots of global implications’.
I would personally worry for the sanity of anyone who says that they are not in the least bit worried by this.  This does not just affect global security, but also global survival. So what are the solutions? To me, the answer is simple, we need to implement and support green energy, public transport, waste reduction and energy efficiency. Furthermore, renewables help decentralize energy production, placing it back in the hands of the community, where it can be used to actually meet peoples needs, rather than the needs of energy companies. Some argue that the transition to renewable energy can only be done slowly, but if you think of the time it took Britain to switch to a war economy after World War Two, you realise it does not need to be a slow process. Overall, a renewables revolution would in fact cause arms and oil companies who have allowed ISIS to rise, to fall apart. Although our politicians, shout about destroying terrorism, they refuse to see how it is related to capitalism, and the global climate. Don’t let them pretend to care, while letting millions die. Stand up for the environment, you stand for a peaceful world!
5. Alternative media is more needed than ever
As a blogger myself, I applaud the work alternative media institutions, Such as Novara media do in raising awareness of issues, and while some left libertarians would disagree with me, I consider their work to be an important part of political activism.
Briefly coming back to the idea of Eurocentrism, the mass media tend to prioritise coverage based on what they see as being culturally closer to us as a nation. I am of course talking about the fact that when a suicide bomb killed forty three in Beirut on the same day as the Paris attacks, it got hardly any coverage. I do not mean to diminish the atrocity that was the Paris attacks, but this is indicative of a culture that views what happens in Europe as an attack on our freedom, and what happens in the Middle East as something which is normal or to be expected. The reason for this may be that it does not fit the mass Media’s narrative structure, with the British being viewed as the good guys, and anyone in the Middle East being viewed  as the Bad Guys. Personally, I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that it is only right to mourn and show solidarity, with the deaths of all those who die in all terror attacks.
Overall, while it may seem on the dawn of terror attacks, be they in Paris, Lebanon, South Africa or anywhere in the world, that there is no alternative other than mindless war and authoritarianism, the remarkable solidarity shown with all those affected by the attacks, shows that a peaceful alternative is possible.  Throughout this article, I have highlighted the main reasons why, in 2015, it is more important than ever to learn from the mistakes of the past, and go forward with the aim of bringing an end to all terror, be it at the hands of a powerful government, or a terrorist organisation.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The UK governments Horrendous Treatment of Disabled people

Twenty years ago, disabled people took to the streets of London to protest against unfair treatment of disabled people in the UK. During the protests, disabled people righteously took part in direct action, marking a very different view of disabled people, to what had been shown in the media. This led to the introduction of the disability discrimination act.

Despite such legislation, earlier this year saw the UN conduct an investigation into possible violations of the rights of disabled people by the UK government. Anyone who watches Prime Ministers Questions occasionally, might of heard David Cameron’s absolutely pathetic excuse for not letting people know about the way his government have been treating disabled people, that 'we would not want to disclose private medical information'. To treat people like garbage, and then pretend that he somehow cares, is so utterly repulsive that it made me scream while watching it. Unfortunately, we will not know the findings of the UN investigation report for another two years; however we can still make a fairly good analysis from the vast amount of testimonies and studies that already exist about the subject.

UN Investigation

This investigation marks the first time in history that a country has been investigated by the UN over human rights violations. An official statement from Campaign Group Disabled People against Cuts (DPAC) said that 'It is a historic event that would make most politicians recoil in shame'. DPAC sent a range of documents to the UN detailing the impact of a range of policies including the Fit for work schemes, the bedroom tax, benefit sanctions, and the abolition of the Independent Living Fund. When asked about the investigation in parliament, David Cameron replied that he would not want to release the findings of the report due to the fact that they may contain private medical information, Kind words indeed from a Prime Minister whose government, has inflicted some inhumane, hurt against disabled people.   
The UN has insisted on carrying out investigations in private, although hopefully findings will eventually be released.

Independent living fund

Earlier this year the Chancellor unveiled his annual budget, amidst the usual drivel about 'balancing the books', was the decision to transfer responsibility for the Independent Living Fund (ILF) to local councils, a decision which elicited cheers from, Head of the Department from work and Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith. The ILF is a benefit designed to enable disabled people to live and work in their communities, without the need to live in a care home. Campaigners warn that, due to recent cuts to council funding, these changes could potentially cut of support to more than 17,500 disabled people. This absolutely ridiculous decision was met with a spectacular show of direct action by DPAC, who made the decision to occupy the House of Commons lobby, with the intention of entering the main chamber. 

Considering the governments repetitious blabbering about how we need to get more people into work, it seems highly ironic that they would cancel a benefit, allowing a lot of people to work and contribute to society. Hopefully we will be seeing much more direct action to regain the independent living fund.

 Atos and the 'fit for work' scheme'

Perhaps one of the most indefensible actions carried out by the UK government against disabled people, is the work capability assessments, these are tests, originally introduced under new labor, designed and used by the department of work and pensions, to determine whether disabled welfare claimants are entitled to out of work sickness benefit. The government dresses the scheme up as something that helps disabled people into work, however the reality is that they are anything but a form of help.

Assessment was originally carried out by IT consultant company (yes that’s what they do) Atos. However, is now carried out by a company called Maximus. Since the scheme started, patients with serious conditions including brain damage and terminal cancer, have been found fit for work. Understandably this scheme has caused controversy among both people in the medical profession, and patients. In 2012, the British medical association voted that the work capability assessments should be removed and replaced with a system that ‘does not cause harm to the weakest in society’. Following on from this, the black triangle campaign, an anti-cuts activist group, has released a list of deaths that have occurred as a result of the work capability assessments, with stress over having their benefits cut being believed to be the cause of their death. In 2015, as a response to a freedom of information request, the DWP was forced to admit that in the time between December 2011 and February 2014, 2,380 disabled people died within the short time of being found fit for work.     

If the fact that people are dying isn’t evidence enough for the government that they should ditch these schemes, or face mass protest, then I don’t know what is. In light of the growing awareness on this situation, the DWP will simply brush the allegations aside as irrelevant, as they have been doing for a while. In my opinion, the families of all the people who have suffered under the work capability assessments should be in some way compensated, in the words of the black triangle campaign, may their deaths be avenged.

So how do the governments other plans effect disabled people?

Despite the horrific schemes already mentioned, which directly affect people with disabilities. The Tory’s savage cuts and welfare reforms also have an effect on people with disabilities.

1. Housing and welfare reform

The utterly ridiculous conservative policy of taxing council tenants, who happen to have a spare bedroom is nearly as ridiculous as taxing people for something they don’t know they own. Understandably, many disabled people need the extra room in the house to accommodate for their needs, thus adding to how poorly thought through the legislation is. As it stands, about two thirds of the tenets of the tenants of the Habinteg housing association, which specializes in accessible housing, that are affected by the bedroom tax suffer from a disability. This means that despite this government’s rhetoric about exempting disabled people from things like the bedroom tax, only a small number have been made exempt.
Ministers defending the tax, say that disabled people should apply for council funds to meet their housing needs, despite this, the conservatives know full well that widely differing policies between local councils means that some disabled people are likely to be refused the support. A report by the group muscular dystrophy UK found that families who managed to get a home, then struggled to access the disabled facilities grant, with families sometimes having to contribute £8,000 before they could access funds. Even if we charitably accept this ‘they should help themselves attitude’, that does not change the fact that, according to the report, 70% of disabled people were living in homes unsuitable for their needs anyway. I am sick and tired of seeing people with serious concerns being told by the government, that ‘sorry your needs are too expensive’ and perhaps more repulsively ‘your needs don’t help us with the deficit’. This is especially important, about disabled people, in that they have less ability to acquire alternatives when it all goes wrong. Such a crisis could be easily helped, through the building of cheap affordable housing, a simple suggestion that our country repeatedly fails to deliver. Disabled people require our help and legislation like the bedroom tax, and welfare reform only serves to stand in their way.

2. Work and public services.

Disabled people rely heavily on public services, and thus cuts have a large effect on them. Changes to the department for work and pensions, access to work scheme means that a range of physical adjustments are no longer provided by the government. Employers are now expected to pay for these, as according to the department they are not ‘reasonable’ enough adjustments to make. In addition to this, reductions in council budgets mean that services such as public transport, and care centers to be sliced or closed, charities such as the Shaw Trust, which attempt to provide safe passages into work, for disabled people, have had to phase out many of their programs and give redundancy notices to many staff. This is resulting in extra pressure being put on the NHS to provide services.


  So, overall the UK government’s treatment of disabled people is absolutely appalling in that:

-       It has caused the UN to investigate the government over alleged human rights violations

-       It discriminates against disabled people who want to live independently

-        It forces severely disabled people into work, resulting in deaths and losing the DWP the support of the medical community.

-       The horrendous welfare bill, largely discriminates against disabled people in all walks of life form workers to the unemployed.

With all this in mind it is worth asking, what is this government’s austerity program achieving, other than persecuting the most vulnerable people in society? This is not a new concern, 20 years ago disabled people were voicing their concern about this, and yet here we are in 2015 with the same problem. The very existence of groups like disabled people against cuts show the problems that the ideology of austerity have caused.  

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Camerons Hypocritical Letter

This week saw Oxford Mail, reveal a number of laugh inducing letters, between David Cameron and the conservative leader of Oxfordshire county council. In his letter, our prime minister completely seriously expressed his horror at the cuts to front line services in the constituency. It may be the case that these letters reveal that the prime minister just doesn’t know exactly how much damage his government has done, with its ideological austerity programme.


Cameron began his letter, by complaining that Oxfordshire council have made to many cuts to services people depend on to survive. He states that;

‘I was disappointed at the long list of suggestions floated in the briefing note to make significant cuts to frontline services from elderly day centres, to libraries to museums. This is in addition to the unwelcome and counter-productive proposals to close children centres across the county’

Yes, you read that paragraph right dear reader, our austerity loving, thatcherite prime minister, is moaning about cuts to essential public services. So, in the interests of fairness, let’s look at what this government has done to the services mentioned by our dear prime minister.

1. Elderly day care centres
One of Cameron’s complaints is about treatment of elderly people. These are certainly one of the main groups his party panders to for votes, so how have the conservatives treated elderly people during their five years in office.

In 2014 it was estimated that a third of women and a fifth of men over the age of 65 need support with simple tasks such as bathing and taking medicine. Despite this, last year a report by the Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation think tank found that, numerous cuts to local councils have forced councils to ration care services. The number of older people receiving ‘meals on wheels’ services dropped by over half, while services carried out in day centres themselves, were cut by a fifth. This means that, in addition to leaving thousands of elderly people without help, services to elderly people may be poorer. Furthermore, the group Care and Support Alliance, said of the social care eligibility regulations at the time that they were likely to exclude thousands of people receiving care services, including autistic people and people with disabilities such as brain injury.

How David Cameron can appeal to elderly people to vote for them and them treat them with utter disrespect is disgusting. Help for these people is desperately needed, especially considering our aging population. If our government care about things such as day care centres, they should turn words into action

2. Libraries and museums
I have always been of the opinion that education is of vital importance if we are to improve society, while our education needs to be vastly improved to foster greater democracy and creativity; I have a distinct feeling that this is not what David Cameron means when he says he wants to protect frontline education.

Throughout most of the time they were in power from 2010 to 2015 the man representing the educational system was Michael Gove. During his time as education secretary, Gove presided over a mass privatisation of our education system, by giving away over 3,000 schools for free, to unaccountable private ‘charities’, resulting in mass teacher dissatisfaction and strikes. Furthermore, the number of high school students taking creative subjects since 2010, has declined by 13 per cent, and there has been an 11 per cent drop in the number of specialist teachers.
Since the conservatives got back into power in 2015, giving Michael Gove the job of justice secretary, Nicky Morgan has taken up the task of dismantling the education system. Under Morgan’s proposals children will have to endure the entirely counterproductive testing system even more throughout their time in school, rather than devoting their time to creativity and curiosity, children will have to start testing as young as four. The education secretary’s proposals for getting children learning, lie in giving out free library vouchers in schools, certainly a very soft bit of legislation, but I suppose it makes the Tory’s look human. What Nicky has not mentioned however, is that since the conservatives first got into the power the number of library branches still open has fallen by about 8 per cent, this means that under her proposals, children will be given vouchers for libraries that don’t exist. Anyone who cares about the next generation should realise that what the conservatives are proposing is not education, its obsessive gambling on the future of students’ and teachers.

3. Children centres
The Sure Start children centre programme, was one of the flagship policies of new labour and, to be fair, is probably one of their better ideas. However, although some conservatives insist they aim to use the programme, children’s centres have recently come under significant pressure, from the government.

A survey in 2014, found that 1.05 families were using children’s centres at the time. Despite this, in their 2014 conference speeches all party leaders including the conservatives, failed to mention what they would do to maintain children’s centres throughout the country. The charity 4children said in 2014, of cuts to children’s centres that, ‘the 3.36 billion, spent over the last three years is around 830 million pound, less than it would have been’. It should come as no surprise from this that cuts to things like children’s centres, will significantly worsen the lives of children of families across the country. Furthermore, in July an article in the financial times found that funding for children’s centres has been cut by 28 per cent in just there years. While I am no fan of new labour and a lot more needs to be done to implement security for families, than soft legislation. However for the conservatives to say they care about the good policies of previous governments, and then to slash away at them, like children trying to bully each other is absolutely ridiculous.
Council cuts and the reply.
As previously highlighted, the hypocrisy prevalent in David Cameron complaining about cuts to council services is immense. Despite this, Dave does offer some solutions. This point should leave the reader thinking, that the prime minister does not know exactly what his government is doing to the country. He states that;
‘I would have hoped that, Oxfordshire would instead be following the best practice of conservative councils throughout the country in making back office savings’

Now, labelling cuts to back offices, as the best practice of Conservative councils, doesn’t say a lot for them as institutions. However, aside from this, there are numerous problems with this statement. As the leader of Oxfordshire council tells Cameron, they have slashed ‘40 per cent’ of its senior staff, and have had ‘below inflation pay rises’. Another claim by Cameron that the leader of oxford council exposes as wrong is that there has only been a ‘slight fall’ in government grants. On the contrary, the council leader points out; there has been a drop in funding in government grants of ‘72 million pounds, or 37 per cent’. It has managed to do this despite having to deal with new responsibilities, and while the population of people needing social care has soared.

Last year, the National Audit Office issued warnings about the sort of ignorance expressed in Cameron’s letter, making clear that, throughout the conservatives there has been a 37 per cent, reduction in government funding to local authorities. They very rightly argue that, ‘we do not think it is a contradiction to the government policy of localism to assess whether the department have enough information to make good decisions about the level of funding to local authorities’. While I do not wish to see Britain become a meritocratic society, is it to unreasonable to ask for a government that at the very least understands economics enough to take advise, and know the impact that their cuts have. The fact that this exchange between Cameron and the leader of Oxford Council needed to happen is an embarrassment.

So here are some of the things we have learnt from camerons letter;

- He seems to be blissfully unaware of the impact that his own government is having on the frontline services that people depend on to survive.

- He is completely ignorant of the effect that cuts to councils have on funding

- He is unscathed by advice from the National Audit office, when they warn that never ending cuts may not be the best thing for the country.

Overall, If one thing can be learnt from Cameron’s utterly hypocritical letter is that people of positions of power within society are sometimes no more worthy to make decisions than other members of society. Whether Cameron will learn from the exchange is highly doubtful, austerity is too much in his interests, for him to turn around and admit he is wrong, and not until some sort of change happens in society, will he look down and notice the destruction he has caused.

Anyone who knows anything about politics should be reading this letter thinking 'do we really want this man running the country'. Lets add it to the list of things to embarrass the conservatives with in 2020!