Sometimes important information drops off the news agenda because crafty operators do what they can to obscure it.
Sometimes there’s just so much going on that it is ignored.
In this case, with international controversy over an Iranian oil tanker and a British ambassador to the US, and domestic fuss over the pumped-up Labour anti-Semitism claims and the Tory leadership election, the latter seems possible (for a change).
But Philip Alston’s anger about the way the Tories have sidelined his report on the way their austerity policies (carried through at first with the complicity of the Liberal Democrats, let’s not forget), is well worth bringing back to public attention.
In his Independent article (link below) he writes [boldings mine]:
“In one of the world’s richest countries, I found 14 million people living in poverty, rising infant mortality rates, falling life expectancy for some groups, foodbanks springing up everywhere, rising homelessness, and overloaded and struggling schools and police services.
“Most of these problems are the direct result of government policies.
“The government’s response so far has consisted of three strategies. The first is denial. The report is “barely believable”, they say. In other words, it’s a load of rubbish. A pity then that a senior official of the Department of Work and Pensions subsequently told a House of Commons committee that the report was “factually correct”.
“The second strategy is distraction. Rather than acknowledge the extent of poverty, inequality, unaffordable housing, or hunger, the government pointed to a “UN report” that supposedly shows “the UK is one of the happiest places in the world to live”… Acknowledging that many people in the UK are happy and that employment levels are at a record high does not refute the fact that too many are facing severe hardship.
“Third, attack the messenger. The government claimed the report was insufficiently researched, “based on a tiny period of time spent here”. But it knows that my team and I spent months preparing for this visit, reviewing countless existing reports, making more than 100 advance consultations, and reviewing more than 300 submissions.
“If there is any good news, it is that these policies could still be reversed with huge savings in terms of economic and social trauma and much greater productivity in the future.
“All that is needed is a vision to make all Britons, not just the wealthy, better off, and to commit to minimum levels of social justice for all.”
That won’t happen under the Conservatives, but Labour’s policies are specifically geared to do exactly what Mr Alston suggests.
Perhaps that is the reason the trumped-up controversy over anti-Semitism has been hyped beyond credibility – to make Labour seem an inappropriate choice.
There is nothing new in this. It shows that, as usual, the political debate is between the easily-led and those who think for themselves.
I know where Vox Political readers stand in that debate, but it is certainly time we all turned to our friends and colleagues and said:
“I think for myself on this. What about you?”
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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