Sunday, 12 January 2014

Send an Important Letter to your MP for the 2015 Election

I sent this letter to my constituent MP in the light of the 2015 election, bearing in mind that mainstream parties will be looking to their manifesto around about now. So rather than wait for them to come up with the normal rubbish, and expect the constituencies at large to suddenly become active a few weeks before the vote, I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to scrutinise their MP on issues that will have a greater impact than a penny on a pint of beer.

My MP (Waltham Forest, London) is a Labour MP. You are more than welcome to use all or some of my letter to your MP but do it in an open letter so your fellow constituents can see it too. My MP is also in a 'safe seat' but that may not be the case if he chooses not to represent the people's wishes.

I would be very interested to see if you get responses back, so you are welcome to place a comment below with a link. We the people need our MPs to represent US and they have not done a great job of it for decades.

The Labour party who, if nothing new occurs, will most likely win the 2015 general election are not crowning themselves in glory. They promise to put a freeze on utility bills (pointless) and say they will scrap the bedroom tax (fair enough) but there are huge issues out there that they and no one else is talking about that must be addressed. The country is asleep and the mainstream media is trying desperately not to disturb our ignorance. But I am having none of that.

So here it is then. Information and issues are widely discussed among many politically active groups and tends to reflect a left of current centre perspective; which is not surprising as the UK government under David Cameron is slipping further and further to the right.

Dear (MP name),

New elections will be coming in 2015 when you will be standing in the safe seat of Waltham Forest, an electoral condition created by the first past the post system that sits uncomfortably with me. However, while the issues with the democratic system we vote by, in how they favour the incumbency of career politicians and party dogma, must be changed in the long term, it is to the short term general election that I wish to ask you about. So in no particular order:

1. Labour introduced ATOS and the limited work capability assessment. No matter how the Tory party have been vilified by the short-memoried, the process was instigated by your party. Given that so many thousands of people have died within six weeks of being told that they were fit for work, what will you commit to doing and is the Labour party in agreement?

2. Labour relaxed the financial market that allowed the banking industry to gamble recklessly with investments and offer loans and products with imprudence. After the US sub prime mortgage debacle headed the beginning of the global debt crisis, Labour bailed out so-called too big to fail banks with tax payers money. Since then, the tax payer has paid for the crisis that the banks created and yet no criminal charges were brought against those earning fortunes to be responsible and no bank has been charged to pay back the money they lost.

Given that the crisis is nowhere near over, and Prime Minister Cameron has agreed, along with other European countries, to enact a law that 'bails in' the ordinary bank investor (thats us) should another banking crisis (an absolute certainty) happen in the future:

a) do you believe that it is right that the tax payer continues to pay for the banks mess?
b) do you believe that when the next crash threatens the central banks that the tax payer should pay for that as well?
c) do you believe that those responsible for managing our banks should be accountable for performance?
d) do you believe that the bonus system, which encourages inappropriate and reckless transactions should continue to support this behaviour?
e) do you believe that the high street bank and the investment bank should be separated?
f) do you believe that subsequent necessity for quantitative easing, designed only to improve the liquidity of banks, should be paid for by the tax payer?

Does the Labour Party agree with your view?

3. Labour introduced Public Finance Initiatives (PFI) in hospitals and other public buildings that has come with an enormous price tag. Hospitals have been under the threat of closure and reduced services as hospitals struggle to pay extortionate rents and maintenance contracts. The initial reason for PFI was clearly to build hospitals with private money rather than government money.

Do you now think this is a good idea?

While on the subject of selling off the family silver, utility companies that were sold out of national hands now charge extraordinary amounts. Labour's proposal to 'freeze prices' is merely tinkering around the edges of a much bigger problem. Utility companies, looking for ways to make as much money as possible, have no focus on renewable energy, especially if the profit margin is lower for them. The ongoing mess is further complicated by an agreement to allow a French company, EDF to commission a Chinese funded nuclear power station, to which the government of the day agrees to pay double the cost of today's prices; all this in spite of the so-little-publicised Fukushima disaster that is still on the brink of becoming the worst global man-made disaster in history. With this in mind:

a) do you believe that utility companies (gas, electricity, water, and also consider the rail services) should become not-for-profit companies, thereby concentrating the company to commit to customers first rather than share holders?
b) do you believe that fossil fuel profit making companies are the best place to develop and promote cheaper renewable energy?
c) do you believe that another nuclear power plant demonstrates the current government's commitment to renewable energy and do you support it?

Does the Labour Party agree with your view?

4. On the subject of fossil fuel, there is an execrable advancement towards the notion of shale gas extraction, hydraulic fracturing - otherwise known as fracking. Reports from people who have neither invested in fracking, nor have a vested interest in fracking, nor have been paid by a fracking company, demonstrate clearly that the process leaves dangerous chemicals that can either surface (methane) or contaminate water tables. Countries like the USA and Australia show us what the government and the mainstream media do not want us to see or know about.

a) given the overwhelming opposition to it, are you in favour of abolishing fracking?

Does the Labour Party agree with your view?

5. Labour says it plans to scrap the bedroom tax. Are you in support of this?

6. The Trans Atlantic Trade Deal, something not widely publicised in the main stream media and certainly not widely shared with the public, proposes that corporations can sue governments for future loss of earnings. This would allow predatory companies like Monsanto and Syngenta to push genetically modified food into the European market even if we don't want it. As I understand it, six of the 29 chapters of the agreement concern trade; the rest deal with corporate protectionism and rights that no corporation should have over a sovereign nation. This is an agreement that would have worse consequences for the country than the PFI scandal.

a) are you in favour of the Trans Atlantic Trade Deal?

Does the Labour Party Agree with your view?

7. It has been clear throughout my investigation into everything that is going on in the world that the main stream media, including the BBC (a private company with share holders) are not showing us. A caption on social media shows a BBC news presenter saying 'this is what we want you to believe'.

There is very little reporting about the Fukushima disaster. There is precious little reporting about global protests in over 38 countries (570 cities in one day) over the global austerity measures heaped upon us by a corrupt and terminal debt based economy. ANY government in support of this type of economy must count its days as the system sinks. Then there is the law to allow bail-ins should a central bank be in trouble and  how 23 countries, including the UK, have set up swap lines with China (Bank of China owned by Rothschild) to bypass the US Dollar (still Rothschild) in the very likely event of the US dollar collapsing, possibly as early as 2014. Surely there should be an objective news outlet that is free to tell us what we should really know. Instead we are being kept very much in the dark and fed on some unpleasant stuff that apparently the livestock industry gives to the food we then for buy nutrition. 

But in the meantime, it is clear that freedom of the press is not present in either newspapers or TV so long as large corporations dictate what is shared. This is not news, it is a corruption and in my opinion should be labelled as something other than the news. The only real news at the moment comes from small pockets on the fringes of the media.

a) do you believe that the main stream media tells unbiased news?
b) do yo believe that the main stream media tells us news that their corporate owners would rather we didn't know?
c) do you believe that the BBC should be declared for the private company it is and the TV licence scrapped?

Does the Labour Party agree with your view?

8. Amazon, Starbucks, tax havens, phantom corporations, who owns Serco? Tax avoidance is an international problem that must be solved internationally. In the meantime, large corporations that trade in this country should pay tax by their trade. Our tax laws are complicated but the experts, HMRC have persistently put forward recommendations that would close a great many tax loopholes but because a conflict of interest exists between government working against corporations, the injustice is allowed to continue and we, the tax payer, get hammered for the shortfalls. It is unacceptable and every single government for decades have had opportunities to deal with it. Instead you tinker around with 10p and 45p tax rates, stick a penny on petrol and hike up duty on booze and cigarettes, which leaves a person on the average income no better off year on year.

a) do you believe that all tax avoidance loopholes should be closed within the life time of one parliament?
b) do you believe that recommendations by the HMRC, the experts, should be implemented in full?
c) do you believe that any corporation trading in the UK should pay UK tax rather than be allowed to declare tax in Ireland, for example?

Does the Labour Party agree with your view?

9. Corporate lobbying appears to get more influence over government policy than the electorate who voted the government in. The gagging law, which I know you opposed, was originally intended to kerb corporate influence. Yet it appears that corporations are getting even more influence as every other politically interested groups are sidelined and silenced.

ALL parties are guilty of this act of perfidy. If the political parties want the vote of the people it must be on the understanding that the candidate represents the people first - not the corporations, big business and overseas investors.

a) are you in favour of abolishing corporate lobbying, where the interest is clearly in favour of the corporation or its shareholders and to the detriment of the electorate?
b) are you in favour of allowing lobbying where the interest is clearly in favour of the electorate?

Does the Labour Party agree with your view?

10. I went to the 'Compass' think tank (my first venture) to observe what their members thought about how we should change and reform our systems and was appalled by the banality of the questions being asked and the way that many people cosseted their favoured subject matter. No one was bold enough to ask about how the economic structure should be reformed to favour small and medium sized businesses, creating the right conditions for local business to flourish, how to reform the Westminster system to weed out corruption and abuse, conflict of interest, cronyism and short term political thinking. No one was questioning (probably because they did not know) about these dangerous US trade agreements (designed totally to shoring up the dollar and dragging us down with them), or the dangers of genetically modified rubbish in our food, or the dire need for bank reform, or the gross abuse of statistics from the unemployment count (inaccurate) to the CPI / RPI fiasco, to the monumental misrepresentation of our welfare state, how the 'war on  anything' increases the problem (we should have a war on wealth), the abolition of poverty and the ever increasing scramble by local councils and government departments to claw every last penny out of the people who have it least.

And it is my guess that the manifesto of all three major parties will tinker around the edges of the real issues and there is a very real reason why so many people are disenfranchised with the political system. I think the country would applaud any chancellor who stands up and says 'there's nothing to change' and sits down again. The issues are far bigger than a penny off a pint of beer.

What is the lowest amount a person can live on (see any benefit letter) and exactly how is it calculated and why is it not published?

Education should be free
Tax should be simplified
Genetically modified food should be banned permanently
Chemical trails should stop immediately.
Fracking should be banned and local councils / MPs should remove themselves if they have a vested interest in it or any other dubious project.
ATOS Limited Capability for Work is open to abuse and should be scrapped.
The Bedroom Tax should be scrapped.
Governments should serve the people and not business.
Local businesses (a business with only one outlet) should be able to borrow money from a bank like a local credit union at minimal interest.
Nuclear power should be scrapped. Fossil burning companies should come up with a 5-10 year plan to replace oil and gas or have the project awarded to someone with a better incentive to make it work.

The list goes on but from the ones I have mentioned here, the question I would ask you is, which of those mentioned in this letter is ever likely to see daylight in any main stream party manifesto? And if the main parties are not willing to tackle the issues that groups like anonymous, occupy, 38 degrees, Avaaz and many others are shouting at you until they are hoarse, is there not an incentive to create a candidate to stand against you rather than vote for you?

This is an open letter and I shall be asking all of your opponents at the general election the same questions. I shall also be encouraging people around the country to send this letter (modified if they wish) to their candidates. I would like the people of my constituency to know, as I am sure you would to, what you stand for and if the party you represent agrees with you - but placed against the standard of a manifesto expressed by the electorate. Everything I have mentioned here is expressed at a national level and in some cases worldwide.

As I am sure you can appreciate, there are issues here far bigger than any single candidate. It is also far bigger than any one constituent but it is down to individual constituents to realise that the difference they can make is far greater than just the power of their vote. We are no longer tied to choosing what main stream parties decide to offer. Many people are quite prepared to look elsewhere rather than expect to vote for 'bad' or 'worse still'. But in reality, the political people best equipped to represent the people are those with political ambitions. This is an opportunity for all those MPs who say they represent the people to stand up and prove that they do by creating a manifesto around the wishes of the people.

Yours sincerely,

Shane Ward

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