An open letter to David Cameron from a proud northern lass

Dear David,

I understand that you are having a little bit of a problem connecting with voters in the north of England as a post by Oliver O’Hanlon suggested. Well, as a proud lass from Leeds, I’m here to offer a few words of advice. For a start northerners like ‘proper folk’ – folk who are polite, humble, straight forward, respectful, honest and transparent, the type of people who don’t take themselves too seriously no matter what their background or wealth. Compassionate, trusting, generous, thrifty, treating others how they like to be treated themselves, our northern towns and cities are full of those who work hard, earn a living, pay their taxes and look after their families. This is what makes them tick. All they expect in return is a fair deal from those with the responsibility and power to improve their lives and the communities they live in.

You know that the Conservative Party has a problem. They are detached from the real world, they present themselves as detached, and they sound like they are detached. Their words sound vacuous, their speeches hackneyed, their ideas uninspiring. The wealthy may well be attracted to them with the promise of tax cuts and other financial incentives, but what right now would attract the rest of us to vote for your party?

Your confernece slogan was ‘a party for hardworking people’. You’re damn right that people are having to work hard. Real term wage cuts, increased tuition fees, cuts to education allowances, higher and higher energy and food  prices, people working for longer, paying into their pensions and getting less for it. This is the reality for most people right now regardless of where they live. I don’t associate this with fairness. And more importantly people will remember all this when they are next at the ballot box. So please stop patronising people.

We have been left with a coalition government, and that means compromise, compromise and more compromise when it comes to having a clear and coherent idea of policy direction and delivery. In the battle for political power it is sad that the Liberal Democrats have lost their identity, that Labour are lacklustre and scrabbling round for ideas to score the odd point at Prime Minister’s Questions – some might say they lost their way years ago – and you are in grave danger of cementing your party’s identity once again as the ‘nasty party’.

For many people the expenses scandal exposed the sheer gluttony of many MPs. They now see clearly that politicians’ seemingly genuine motivations for entering Parliament are short-lived and disappear when the trappings of power take hold and towing the party line is the only way to career progression. Northern folk don’t fancy people who appear to be in it for themselves. Where are the front-benchers who have experience of a ‘proper job’? Why are MPs allowed to take second, third and even fourth jobs, normally in highly remuneartated  board-level positions? Rarely do we see any of them with a second job at the heart of the public services they manage and profess to hold dear. Where are the state-educated representatives? Why are there so many white men in Parliament when women and those from ethnic backgrounds have so much to offer our society? Not much feels right just now about our political system, do deeply has it been damaged by scandal after scandal.

The solution is a simple one really: talk sense, show assertiveness and direction, don’t be frightened to upset bankers and other vested interests if our demoralised youth can benefit, understand the community you serve and let people enjoy the fruits of a true democracy. If this doesn’t happen the I predict a new movement will fill ever developing political voids that may well have severe consequences for us all. If you would like to discuss this further please get in touch.

Yours sincerely

Phillipa

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