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March against this Government!

March 25, 2011

It is with great pleasure that I have followed the prime minister David Cameron as he vainly attempts to explain and revive his election slogan of the ‘Big Society’. Charities are supposed to be playing a key role in the ‘Big Society’ despite  having their funding cut.

Jack Profumo

John Major & Jack Profumo, Toynbee Hall 2003

One of the most well known charities in the East End is Toynbee Hall. They were supported by the late Jack Profumo who is described on the Toynbee website as ‘their longest serving volunteer’. Jack at one stage was apparently the toilet cleaner; I never saw him doing that but I suppose it looked good on the CV. In reality his job was to be grand and invite other grandees to donate to his charity. His contacts with the Conservative Party enabled him to pull in big name Tories to pontificate about social issues at lectures attended by the great and the good.  I attended a few of these events and thought that the vast majority of the audiences were comprised of what I would describe as East End poverty tourists. Their lives, social experience, wealth and class removed them completely from the lives of real East Enders. Nevertheless I’m sure they considered themselves experts on the East End after attending a lecture by Michael Portillo with a complimentary glass of wine and finger buffet.

Ian Duncan Smith at Toynbee Hall

Ian Duncan Smith at Toynbee Hall, 2006

Ian Duncan Smith recently joined the Prime Minister at Toynbee Hall to launch plans for welfare reform. What they both have in common is a life characterised by privilege and wealth far removed from the life experience of the vast majority of the population. The majority of the Cabinet went to public schools and are millionaires. They are an out if touch elite who use their positions in government to protect privilege.

Pensioners at Toynbee Hall

Pensioners at Toynbee Hall

Tories are always at their most gruesome when they try to convince the public they have big hearts when in reality they are trying to screw most of us in order to protect big business, bankers and an assortment of unaccountable secretive interest groups. In reality Cameron is paying lip service to the role that charities can play, while starving them of the resources they need. The voluntary sector is struggling under the weight of public sector budget cuts, the withdrawal of grants and the increase in VAT. The government is privatising Community Service and excluding public and voluntary sectors from the bidding process.

Tories at a Tory Conference, early 1990's

Tories at a Tory Conference, early 1990's

Cameron’s attempt to re-launch his ‘Big Society’ is nothing but a smokescreen for privatisation and allowing public services to be taken over and run down. Some people are disappointed and surprised at the role the Liberal Party has played in enabling this to happen. I’ve always found that if you scratch a Liberal you will find a Tory underneath; having experienced 8 years of a Liberal Council in Tower Hamlets in the 1980’s the antics of Clegg and Co don’t come as a surprise.

Protesting against the sale of Council Housing, 1980's

Protesting against the sale of Council Housing in Tower Hamlets, 1980's

Bill Turner, the protester above was critical of a Liberal Council’s privatisation of Council housing.

Protester against cuts in adult education, 2010

Protester against cuts in adult education, 2010

The Liberals pledged to support students in their fight against tuition fees. Once they were in power they ditched the policy. The annual cost of tuition fees has now gone up to as much as £9,000 – pricing many students out of higher education.

River Thames, 2004

River Thames, 2004

Tower Hamlets Liberals even flirted with the idea of saving money by placing homeless families on a ship on the river Thames. The ‘Big Society’ is a big con sponsored by a coalition government which is doing huge damage to both the public and voluntary sectors whilst protecting the interests of big business.

Tomorrow, thousands of people will join the TUC march in London, to tell the government that savage spending cuts are unnecessary and unfair. The  public service cuts will hit the most vulnerable the hardest.

There is an alternative

  • fair taxation – tax the rich not the poor
  • investment in our local communities, health and education
  • a more equal and just society
  • anything else you can think of to get rid of the ConDems
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