Open letter to James Morris MP from Halesowen and Rowley Regis Labour councillors

First published in Letters
Last updated

Dear James.

 

We note your support for the Halesowen food bank, as featured in the Halesowen News (Foodbank thanks to kind shoppers. Thursday 3rd, January 2013). Whilst we share your enthusiasm for volunteering and community action, surely you can't be unaware of the irony of your own personal position.

 

Your support for the policies of this Government is directly responsible for the current proliferation of food banks, set up to alleviate the economic desperation felt by local victims of the Coalition's divisive policies.

We hope that you continue to support the local community and voluntary organisations struggling to help the front line victims of the policies you promote. The best way to achieve this would be to reconsider your own whole- hearted backing for measures which are promoting inequality and inflicting poverty and misery on thousands of ordinary people. As you are no doubt aware, the current cabinet boasts over 20 ministers who are millionaires and many – including the Prime Minister – will directly benefit from the 5% income tax cut for the very wealthy that comes into effect in April.

We hope you agree that to retain a consistent ethical and logical position you should publicly condemn this colossal tax cut, brought in at the same time as many working people within your constituency struggle to cope with reductions to their Tax Credits and the regressive effects of a 20% VAT rate, which hits the poorest disproportionately harder.

You will further, of course, appreciate the redundancy of your own leader’s assertion that “We are all in it together”. It appears – once again – that some are more “in it” than others.

We would also appreciate your confirmation of whether you, like so many of your own colleagues and political sponsors, will be a personal beneficiary of this tax cut.

Yours sincerely.

Councillors Donella Russell, Hilary Bills, Ann Shackleton, John Tipper, Julie Webb, Sue Eaves, Barbara Price, Chris Tranter, Malcolm Bridges, Kerri Carmichael and Bob Price

Comments (5)

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9:53pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Cllr Ray Burston says...

"Your support for the policies of this Government is directly responsible for the current proliferation of food banks"?

Leaving aside the absurd literalism of this statement (did the country's food bank leaders really get together and agree that, because James Morris was supporting his government's policies, they'd all better go out and give away free food?), it would appear that rather than do their homework the authors of this letter have automatically presumed that it must all be the handiwork of these wicked Tories.

For the record, according to the Trussell Group (a Christian body that assists the work of the nation's food banks), the first food bank opened in 2000 – at a time when the British economy was booming. By 2007 – at the very the moment when Gordon Brown’s ‘boom’ was turning ignominiously to 'bust' - there were 22. By 2009, with economic conditions now the "worst in sixty years" (according to the then Labour Chancellor, Alistair Darling), there were 148. By the time the Coalition Government took power this had risen to 201; and today it stands at 293.

No one would dispute that recession has contributed to this increase; as has the ongoing fall-out from trying to claw the nation back out of debt (incidentally councillors, the bulk of which was run up by which party in government?). However, as often, the true picture is more complex. That the number of food banks has been rising during good times and bad highlights the fact that, as well as those organised by groups with no particular religious affiliation, many churches, having rediscovered their Saviour's admonitions about compassion and generosity towards those less fortunate than themselves, have thrown themselves in food banks in a big way. This is especially so amongst those evangelical churches with the fastest growing congregations that up until recently had no particularly involvement with social action campaigns in their communities. Food banks have thus become a more co-ordinated method of dispensing help to others that would previously have only been offered in an ad hoc fashion.

Otherwise, the silliness about our MP's tax affairs merely serves to further deflate an already punctured argument. I seem to recall similar attempts by the local Labour Party to accuse James Morris of elitism because he was educated at fee-paying Nottingham High School… until it was pointed out to them that one of his class mates was a certain Right Honourable Ed Balls MP!
"Your support for the policies of this Government is directly responsible for the current proliferation of food banks"? Leaving aside the absurd literalism of this statement (did the country's food bank leaders really get together and agree that, because James Morris was supporting his government's policies, they'd all better go out and give away free food?), it would appear that rather than do their homework the authors of this letter have automatically presumed that it must all be the handiwork of these wicked Tories. For the record, according to the Trussell Group (a Christian body that assists the work of the nation's food banks), the first food bank opened in 2000 – at a time when the British economy was booming. By 2007 – at the very the moment when Gordon Brown’s ‘boom’ was turning ignominiously to 'bust' - there were 22. By 2009, with economic conditions now the "worst in sixty years" (according to the then Labour Chancellor, Alistair Darling), there were 148. By the time the Coalition Government took power this had risen to 201; and today it stands at 293. No one would dispute that recession has contributed to this increase; as has the ongoing fall-out from trying to claw the nation back out of debt (incidentally councillors, the bulk of which was run up by which party in government?). However, as often, the true picture is more complex. That the number of food banks has been rising during good times and bad highlights the fact that, as well as those organised by groups with no particular religious affiliation, many churches, having rediscovered their Saviour's admonitions about compassion and generosity towards those less fortunate than themselves, have thrown themselves in food banks in a big way. This is especially so amongst those evangelical churches with the fastest growing congregations that up until recently had no particularly involvement with social action campaigns in their communities. Food banks have thus become a more co-ordinated method of dispensing help to others that would previously have only been offered in an ad hoc fashion. Otherwise, the silliness about our MP's tax affairs merely serves to further deflate an already punctured argument. I seem to recall similar attempts by the local Labour Party to accuse James Morris of elitism because he was educated at fee-paying Nottingham High School… until it was pointed out to them that one of his class mates was a certain Right Honourable Ed Balls MP! Cllr Ray Burston
  • Score: 0

10:00am Fri 1 Feb 13

satchman says...

Basically all three parties are a big farse. Each blaming the other for the countries problems, and neither having the answers to do the job correctly. This government is still spending money on interfering with other countries and taking military action it can't afford while it's own people are paying the price with cuts. We are in it together is a Joke!! The Mp's are in it together and enjoying the lavish life style that goes with it at the cost of the tax payers.

Honest politics is something we would like from the people who grovel for our votes once every four years ,then cast us all aside laughing at our stupidity for voting in the same clowns every time.

Take head Cllr Burston..One of the reasons you don't run Dudley council anymore is people are now turning again and are fed up with Tory strikes against the vulnerable,although I feel labour are not much better,they do at least try to provide for poorer people unlike some!!
Basically all three parties are a big farse. Each blaming the other for the countries problems, and neither having the answers to do the job correctly. This government is still spending money on interfering with other countries and taking military action it can't afford while it's own people are paying the price with cuts. We are in it together is a Joke!! The Mp's are in it together and enjoying the lavish life style that goes with it at the cost of the tax payers. Honest politics is something we would like from the people who grovel for our votes once every four years ,then cast us all aside laughing at our stupidity for voting in the same clowns every time. Take head Cllr Burston..One of the reasons you don't run Dudley council anymore is people are now turning again and are fed up with Tory strikes against the vulnerable,although I feel labour are not much better,they do at least try to provide for poorer people unlike some!! satchman
  • Score: 0

1:12pm Sat 2 Feb 13

The Mayor says...

Politicians have never been in it with us, no matter what party they are in. Remember the scandal over MPs expenses, now that the fuss has died down they're back to their old ways, telling us they are underpaid.
Councillors are no better of course, remember the 25% rise in expenses they voted themselves, in secret behind closed doors and their refusal to name those who voted for the rise? And whilst frontline services have been cut under both Tory & Labour regimes, nothing cut from the expenses pot.
Politicians have never been in it with us, no matter what party they are in. Remember the scandal over MPs expenses, now that the fuss has died down they're back to their old ways, telling us they are underpaid. Councillors are no better of course, remember the 25% rise in expenses they voted themselves, in secret behind closed doors and their refusal to name those who voted for the rise? And whilst frontline services have been cut under both Tory & Labour regimes, nothing cut from the expenses pot. The Mayor
  • Score: 0

1:38pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Sam Vimes says...

Perhaps these 11 councillors could provide some balance and let us know how many of the shadow cabinet are millionaires?
Perhaps these 11 councillors could provide some balance and let us know how many of the shadow cabinet are millionaires? Sam Vimes
  • Score: 0

11:46am Tue 5 Feb 13

Wiggyboom1981+1 says...

Cllr Burston. I could stand here and spout figures and facts that show you have not really got a grasp of the situation. I could stand here and agree with you and believe your rhetoric. However I have decided to just say NO. Much like cocaine and heroin you came in at a time when people grew disillusioned with labour and seemed to make people feel better give them a hig, however much like class A drugs you quickly turned into a nightmare ruining lives and destroying families. So I think a few people need to kick the habit of the Tory party and in particular the local Tory councillors who have destroyed enough lives and families to last a lifetime. You're an addicition and unfortunately for you the people seem to all be on a recovery programme. The Priory couldn't have done a better job if it tried. I look forward to your next post Cllr Burston.
Cllr Burston. I could stand here and spout figures and facts that show you have not really got a grasp of the situation. I could stand here and agree with you and believe your rhetoric. However I have decided to just say NO. Much like cocaine and heroin you came in at a time when people grew disillusioned with labour and seemed to make people feel better give them a hig, however much like class A drugs you quickly turned into a nightmare ruining lives and destroying families. So I think a few people need to kick the habit of the Tory party and in particular the local Tory councillors who have destroyed enough lives and families to last a lifetime. You're an addicition and unfortunately for you the people seem to all be on a recovery programme. The Priory couldn't have done a better job if it tried. I look forward to your next post Cllr Burston. Wiggyboom1981+1
  • Score: -2

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