Monday, 19 October 2015

The bishops denounced the government that fawned on China that bought the companies that cripple the people...

There’s something wonderful about news stories that tumble in on top of each other, reinforcing each other and occasionally producing some delicious ironies.

So we recently had 84 Anglican bishops denouncing the “increasingly inadequate” British government response to the current refugee crisis. As well as being a welcome reminder that, however widely they may be shared, the xenophobic views currently in vogue are deeply immoral, the Bishops’ message also further undermines repeated claims by Tory Ministers to endorse Christian values.

That came within days of some remarkable TV, when Michelle Dorrell, attending the recording of the BBC programme Question Time, launched a forceful attack on Tory Minister Amber Rudd.

I voted for Conservatives originally, cos I thought you were going to be the better chance for me and my children. You're about to cut tax credits after promising you wouldn’t. I work bloody hard for my money, to provide for my children to give them everything they've got - and you're going to take it away from me and them. I can hardly afford the rent I've got to pay, I can hardly afford the bills I've got to do, and you're going to take more from me. 

Shame on you!

Michelle Dorrell: denounced the betrayal by the Tories she trusted
It was a powerful denunciation of a betrayal Labour predicted before the General Election. What a sad indictment it is that the Tories were able to dupe people like Dorrell, saddling us with Conservative government for at least another four and a half years. Dorrell, it seems, has learned the lesson and decided to vote Labour next time; to those who haven’t, I’d merely pick up her closing words “Shame on you”, and repeat the old American saying: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

On top of that, we have the edifying sight of Conservative Ministers – first George Osborne visiting China, now David Cameron with China’s leaders here in Britain – fawning on the Chinese. It seems the Conservatives want to hitch the British economy to China’s, so that it can draw all the benefits from such an advantageous relationship. Cameron is famously lazy; perhaps he hasn’t got round to the reading the recent briefing papers warning him that China’s economy’s slowing down.

The obsequiousness towards China has an ironic quality. The Tories are deeply opposed to state ownership of industry – or at least, they are if the state is British, which is a little odd, since they tend to be on the nationalistic end of politics. They’re apparently more than happy to invite the Chinese state to take positions in some key industries in Britain, notably in the second high speed railway line and more questionably still, in the nuclear power industry.

They seem happy with French state industries, too, buying into the British economy.

It appears that it’s only the British state the Tories distrust which, considering they run it, may say a lot about them.

One part of the state they’re running particularly badly right now is the National Health Service. It’s facing a financial crisis of historic proportions. The latest horror story is that neonatal intensive care units are unable to provide adequate staff cover any more. Terribly vulnerable infants – babies, mind – are at risk of death thanks to government policies.

A lot of the deference to China flows through the Foreign Office. So it was instructive to read of the cleaners there who wrote directly to the Minister – Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond – to complain about the lamentable wages they’re paid.

The cleaners aren’t employed by the Foreign Office but by a subcontractor, Interserve. Hammond passed the letter on to them. The cleaners now face disciplinary action and several of them, including their spokesperson, redundancy.

Michelle Dorrell got it wrong when she voted Tory. Perhaps it’s time for a lot of people to wonder whether they got it right when they go along with Tory Trade Union bashing. It seems that if you need any kind of help, you need someone powerful in your corner: the Labour Party or a Union.

Because while they may fawn on foreigners with a lot of money, the Tories certainly don’t have the time or the inclination to look after the less fortunate at home.

Even though they like to call themselves Christians…

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