The Wilted Rose

Charting Labour meltdown 2007-2010

Why I am fuming

I’m from Northern Ireland and have recently returned. I’ve also been a Conservative activist in England.  I’ve pushed  a lot of leaflets and knocked on many doors, and even spent an enjoyable few days in Crewe recently. 

I was annoyed, therefore, to read Iain Dale:

Peter Robinson’s leadership of the DUP has certainly got off to an inauspicious start. The phrase ‘no surrender’ is one which can never be applied to them again. Robinson cravely surrendered to a Gordon Brown bribe. We don’t know what they asked for and we don’t know what they got. But it must have been big.

Gordon Brown may be pleased to have won the vote on 42 days, but he couldn’t have done it without the DUP. The duplicitous b******s kept reassuring the Conservatives they wouldn’t cave in, but they were not to be trusted in the end.

There are many people who will view this result as a weakening of Brown’s personal position rather than a strengthening of it. Whether that is true or not, we are about to find out.

Dan Hannan is none too impressed by the way the DUP have sold their votes.

The DUP didn’t surrender to Sinn Fein and they did not surrender to Brown.  The BBC reports that: ‘DUP MP William McCrea tells Sky News says “hand on heart” that his party voted “on principle” and in the national interest.’  Reverend McCrea (for he is a Free Presbyterian Minister) is unlike many other politicians – he does not lie and he is, as always, being totally honest in what he says. 

And from Dan Hannan MEP we have:

So, the Government wins by nine votes because nine DUP MPs vote for them. We can now be interned for 42 days without being accused of anything. In return, the Unionists have won £200 million for their over-subsidised quango province, in which all the politicians are in power all the time.

There has always been a grasping side to Ulster politicians (as against Ulster people, of both traditions, who are perhaps the most generous and hospitable in the world). Do you know what the opening words of the Covenant were? Go on, have a guess. Being true and loyal subjects of the Crown? Wishing to uphold religious liberty? Nope. The very first line was “BEING CONVINCED in our consciences that Home Rule would be disastrous to the material well-being of Ulster…”

Now, as then it’s all about the moolah. The liberty which ought to be the birthright of every Briton, including every Ulsterman, is bartered for subsidies. Habeas corpus is abandoned for water rates — and perhaps, who knows, the odd knighthood. And don’t give me the “if you’ve nothing to hide you’ve nothing to fear” routine. That’s simply untrue. Barely a day passes without a report of an innocent citizen whose life has been ruined by the bungling of some state agency.

How sad to see Ulster Unionism which, at its best, is as noble, high-minded and patriotic tradition as you’ll find anywhere in the country, reduced by its leaders to this squalid tussling over cash.

To have my country called an “over-subsidised quango province” by a Member of the European Parliament is pretty galling. I expect more of this talk from various other bloggers who, on reflection, will regret their hasty blogging.  But if you’re going to insult the DUP MPs, don’t insult the most loyal subjects of the Queen while you’re at it. 

However, I was heartened to read Matt Sinclair’s post:

Now it’s the DUP who are getting it. I think we should be more careful. If they have decided this on the basis of a bribe then that is a bit shoddy. The dead hand of the state is already weighing more than heavily enough in Northern Ireland. A little more subsidy isn’t worth deciding such an important issue over. However, the £200 million is currently nothing more than rumour and coincidence. Fiscal decisions relevant to Northern Ireland are made all the time and siding with the Government now would be a questionable strategy for a rent-seeker. It is hardly necessary to contruct a conspiracy theory to explain why they voted for this measure. They’ve been on the front lines in an earlier War on Terror, at huge personal risk, for a very long time.

If those insulting them and putting their support for 42 days detention without trial down to venality are wrong they risk p***ing off some good members of the conservative coalition to little end.

I’ve calmed down since then and have changed the title of this post.  But I’m still angry with some of the things that have been said.

11 June, 2008 Posted by | politics | , | 6 Comments

Pensioner poverty – a national scandal

In 1997 Labour said it would eradicate child poverty. It set some targets and has failed to make significant progress on this matter.

But what is more galling, in this New Labour world, is the way that older people are treated, neglected and ignored by the Government.  At least children have rights to education, and other services … what rights to older people have in this country? (unless they have been prudent – yes, that former Brownian word – enough to save for ‘a rainy day’).

As Help the Aged remind us, ageism and age discrimination is still prevalent in this country – for example, on the NHS, if you are “too old”, you can be refused treatment, and granted a death sentence (even though Capital Punishment was abolished); that is, if they don’t do you in with morphine first.  Social care is being cut back by many councils as a result of the Brownian mess that is the public finances. The Help the Aged video is sadly true:

But what is a national scandal is the increase in pensioner poverty, a direct result of this Government’s policies.  Barbara Willis-Brown, writing in the Stirrer, highlights how:

Here in Birmingham, we have too many pensioners living in isolation; struggling to survive on a limited income, with prices rocketing around them.

Their cars have gone, so transport and mobility are key issues; many live in fear, locking themselves away as soon as daylight fades; they cannot afford to socialise (cost, transports, perception, fear); rising costs of social care & diminishing services add pressures to the already hard-pressed.

At a time in life when they need the most help, they find there is precious little available.

Traditionally, there has long been a history of voluntary sector community support, organising trips, outings, hospital visits, befrienders etc.

Yet, due to withdrawal of funding, (Olympics 2012 springs to mind) local support groups have been hammered, as projects simply close down. So, the biggest losers continue to be the elderly – who are also the least able to cope.

As a matter of utmost urgency the government must consider the impact of all these rises on the older population.

The choice between eating and heating the home has been highlighted by Channel 4’s Dispatches already and this holocaust on older people was discussed on this blog. The Government’s inaction on the matter of pension poverty is not only immoral, but also politically inept.  Since the highest turnout at General Elections is amongst over 60s, older people will have their revenge on this despicable Government.

11 June, 2008 Posted by | betrayal, Gordon Brown, Labour Party, older people, politics, poverty, shame | | 1 Comment