My blood pressure had the misfortune of catching Channel 4's "The Politics Slot" this evening. A Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Labour, Toby Perkins, attempted to show how good the government had been for his local area, Chesterfield.
I could only bring my anger levels back under control by writing him a stern email:
I happened to catch your broadcast on Channel 4 just now. I wanted
you to know how profoundly depressing I found it. In the space of
barely two minutes you managed to highlight so much that is wrong with
our current government.
* Somehow you think it is admirable to state that unemployment is
never a price worth paying. You would have more credibility if you
accepted that there are tradeoffs in public policy. If the
alternatives are worse, as they tragically sometimes can be, then even
something as unpalatable as increasing unemployment can be the lesser
of two evils. You patronise your audience by pretending otherwise.
* Your claim that the Labour government paid for the community project
you showed was deeply unpleasant. The Labour government did not pay
for it; the current and future taxpayers of this country paid for it.
If you're going to claim credit for this project, at least be honest:
the government's primary act was to take money away from individuals
who would have been free to spend it as they chose so that you could
spend it as you chose. There is nothing particularly admirable about
I respect those who seek to make a positive impact on their
communities and I wish you good luck in your efforts to make a
difference to Chesterfield. But I'm sure you'll understand that, on
the basis of your broadcast, I can't yet wish you success in your
I feel better now. But I can't help thinking I should have written it in green ink.
[UPDATE 2008-12-04 Toby was good enough to respond to this email, and with some humour. See the comments section]