Dear Boris Johnson,
Your recent speeches have pushed me to write this open letter. Whilst seeing an unfortunate glimpse into the real values you hold, I at least applaud that you have spoken outside the generic defensive rhetoric used by most politicians to alleviate any PR disasters. Now at least we can talk honestly and openly about how out of touch, self-crediting and delusional your ideas are.
You tell us not to bash the bankers. You tell us not to criticise the rich. You tell us that the super-rich are experiencing the discrimination and treatment of a minority.
You seem so encouraged to defend them. Strange, I did not see you defending the unemployed who continue to be demonised as ‘scroungers’ by our government and the media – their problem being that they are a product of your beloved capitalist boom and bust system – intrinsic to the economic inequality you say we need. I have seen these people take the blame for anger felt by our public during the economic hardship. Blame they did not and still do not deserve. Blame that was purposely diverted through some of the most damaging and divisive rhetoric, begun and repeated by your fellow colleagues.
I have seen the unemployed punished by the policies of your party for problems they did not create and that you cannot solve. I have seen them demeaned by the culture of fear your party has instilled, whilst trying to survive the poverty they are living in. All while those responsible for this recession, yes the super rich, the bankers (or victims as you would call them) go unpunished. Instead, they are paid outlandish bonuses and able to garner more wealth. I have seen George Osborne and David Cameron defend those bonuses in court. But no defence has been offered by your party to the people who have suffered much harsher attacks on their lives, their treatment, their worth.
Neither did I see you defend the sick and disabled after disability hate crime rose this year. Following the romance of last year’s Olympics and Paralympics, the disabled have faced a torrent of abuse and humiliation through the failings of ATOS, through fit-to-work tests, through the news agenda framing these people as undeserving frauds. I have met disabled people who have experienced attacks as a result of media vilification, but I did not hear you defend these people.
Yet here you are, insisting the rich should be celebrated and not criticised. They earned it right? Their IQ is high? Tell me, how high does your IQ have to be to govern the slowest recovery in a century? How high does your IQ have to be to consult with special advisers on the public payroll for every move and speech you make? How high does your IQ have to be to fiddle crime figures to what you need them to be, in some instances counting rape as a no crime? How high does your IQ have to be create a completely fraudulent election campaign and then delete it from the Internet after your pledges are all broken? How high does your IQ have to be to have a politician as a father?
It seems to me you may have IQ mixed up with privilege. Would that not explain the nepotism that made it easier for you to get into politics? A route many others have gained from? Would it not explain the private education background of so many politicians? Would it also not explain how people survive the months of free work as interns into sought after and influential jobs such as media? The career paths into this work are beaten tracks from the privilege you were born into. And the protective fence is sharp with policy to keep the less well off struggling enough to keep out. Look at education. Instead of creating a strong, innovative and sturdy state education system, your party divides it. It throws constant hurdles and changes that are impossible to keep up with. Nevermind trying to improve it. Look at the bedroom tax. 96% of people affected have nowhere to move to and if they cannot afford to pay they will be stuck in arrears and poverty cycles forced onto them as they have no other choice. Your position is one Warren Buffet described; “There’s class warfare alright, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
So divisive. How fitting that you gave your most recent speech at the Margaret Thatcher lecture. A woman responsible, not just for the merger that hailed the start of politics and media as bedfellows, but a champion of the divide and rule culture you continue with today. You are the evolved homage. A product of thirty years of manipulation, moral panic and PR, that allows you to think that the public is now so stupid as to believe it is the rich who are the victims in this charade. I think the lecture got to your head a bit.
This is why I cannot agree with your dismissive idea that some are just too stupid to get on in life. As your government and the ones before it, pave policy and culture so opportunities are always given to the ones who cut the silouhette of your upbringing. Right now, the welfare cuts, the bedroom tax and workfare programmes are forcing some half a million people to turn to foodbanks. If a child from one of these homes goes to school hungry, and is unable to concentrate because their family cannot afford food, are they too stupid to get on in life? Or have they had their opportunities made more difficult by a government that sees fit to take from the worst off before they would ever fairly tax the wealthy? A government that stacks the odds against them?
And once again, your IQ comparison is just another attempt to divide us. To make the ones you have chosen to leave behind and under-serve, seem undeserving. Your party’s mantra is based on ensuring we divide ourselves, and see the differences in each other as a reason for hate. Look after ourselves and only ourselves. You have all but driven out the notion of how the whole is often greater than the sum of it’s parts.
We need the people who are good at IQ tests, but we also need the people who have other talents; science, sport, manual labour, problem solving, teaching, health, care. We need all these and more to create a working society. We need the working population to help the old. Breakfasts at school not only provide food but also equal social experiences for children. Knowing your neighbours helps with childcare and the sharing of equipment and tools, as well as security. These are all things your mantra attempts to pull us from, so we instead fear and envy our neighbours, pit our children against each other and isolate the generations. But people are waking up, Boris.
“Greed is a valuable spur to economic activity,” you say.
The world’s richest 1% own 46% of the world’s wealth. Most economic activity is created by those with little money, having to buy things they need, yet much of the wealth is hoarded by the few super-rich. Is this the valuable spur you mean?
Greed has become a quest which is congratulated even when you impoverish your workers and behave unethically at the expense of people’s lives. Attitudes like this in the pursuit of anything else would see imprisonment and shaming and some serious mental illness questions.
Maybe you should ask the thousands of people in the UK in in-work poverty if greed is an economic spur. These are people who work hard each day and still can’t escape poverty. They work for large companies that refuse to pay them a living wage because of profit and greed. How valuable.
Ask the 24,000+ elderly that are expected to die this Winter in cold homes because you and your party will not stand up to the greed of energy companies, whether they feel this valuable economic spur. Tell this to all the millions of exploited workers around the world. Let me know how you get on.
You tell us not to bash the bankers. You tell us not to criticise the rich. You tell us that the super-rich are experiencing the discrimination and treatment of a minority. I say maybe the super rich being a minority is the problem.
Perhaps the rich would feel more a part of society if you restrained from building the millionaire’s playground on our capital. Affordability at 80% shows just how in touch you are, and who you don’t want in the city. You are not worried about social mobility. You are only worried for the millionaires in whose pocket you reside.
But I know why you have been making these speeches recently. It’s because something is erring. People are waking up to the culture of exploitation and corruption you defend. A global uprising took place on November 5th in over 400 locations worldwide against the wealth gap and austerity. Before and after, people up and down the country have been protesting for months against austerity, the bedroom tax, legal aid cuts, banking corruption, welfare reforms, workfare schemes and more. And people are noticing the absence of these voices in media. They are noticing the manipulation that has complimented politics all these years. And they are waking up.
People are uniting and mobilising, and that’s harmful to the privileged few, who have worked so hard to divide communities. So in some desperate hope to keep the status quo, Cameron tells us ‘profit is not a dirty word’. You tell us the super rich are victimised. Like a bumbling Gordon Gekko you tell us ‘Greed is Good’. But instead of invoking the funny and entertaining reaction that usually covers the true shape of your politics, this time the public felt the awkward and disturbing elitism you prescribe.
Kam Sandhu – @KamBass