Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ignorance isn't bliss

As I've said round these parts fairly recently, I'm not much of a fan of George Monbiot - someone whose views broadly tally with mine but who regularly articulates his points in the sort of shriekingly hysterical fashion that makes you almost wish you were on the opposing side. But credit where it's due - he's done the nation a huge favour by publicising (via the Guardian) the leaked correspondence between David Cameron and Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth. He's quite right to have been incredulous at how slow the mainstream press have been to picking the story up from the Oxford Mail, even allowing for those that endorse the austerity agenda.

Thanks to Monbiot and (subsequently) others, you're probably now well aware of the content of the letters - but if not, here's a summary. Cameron, in his capacity as an MP representing an Oxfordshire constituency, wrote to Hudspeth to complain about savage cuts to services that have been forced upon the council by a drastic reduction in government funding approved by Cameron, in his capacity as prime minister. Hudspeth responded in suitable fashion, pointing out the extent of the cuts his council has had to bear, undermining Cameron's arguments and challenging his figures. If he weren't a Tory councillor, you'd imagine he might have been rather more forthright and indignant at the prime minister's extraordinary hypocrisy and (perhaps wilful) blindness and ignorance.

As Monbiot points out, what is perhaps most worrying is that Oxfordshire is "among the wealthiest counties in England" - if Cameron thinks its population has been hit hard by cuts to council services, then he clearly has no conception of how the cuts are affecting the services in more deprived places, such as Newcastle, where they're most needed. As I suggested yesterday, it's almost as if the Tories have an ideological agenda and, tucked up in their Whitehall cocoon, haven't given any consideration as to the actual consequences of their actions.

(Thanks to Siobhan for the link.)

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