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Letters / Call it what it is: poverty

I find it wryly amusing to now read of councillors’ concerns over what is conveniently called ‘child poverty’.

For every child in poverty, there are siblings, parents and carers suffering the same poverty. Of course, by putting conditions on their concerns, by creating diversions, we are being asked to conveniently ignore the vast swathes of adults enduring privation and austerity.

These councillors are the very same councillors who have consistently and enthusiastically voted for Tory/Lib Dem austerity policies.  Whether in the council chamber or in the ballot box, they have sanctioned eleven years of Cameron and Clegg cuts in our public spending.   A fairly accurate figure comes in about £15 billion in cuts.

In the council chamber there appears to be a mistaken and tragic belief that spending cuts have little or nothing to do with having voted for the Tories/Lib Dems. Borne out of a complete lack of understanding, which has become a complete and utter misunderstanding, we are being assured that our council spending is ‘unsustainable’.

Curiously enough, buying SLAP for the overpriced £19 million didn’t seem to figure in ‘unsustainability’.   Nor did ploughing money into the Orion project, et al, figure.

And how we weep tears over the existence of child poverty.  Fuel poverty is another deviation.  It is poverty, pure and simple.   If children go to school hungry and people cannot afford to heat their houses, you can describe it any way you want – it is poverty.

By voting for the Lib Dems and their Tory friends, what on earth did my councillor friends think they were voting for?

In 2010, it was forgivable to vote for the Lib Dems, given their tentative opposition to the invasion of Iraq and their promise to abolish tuition fees in England.  However, after five years of austerity and vicious cuts to our social services, the rules of the game had definitely changed.

As long as we are told and believe that there is only one neo-liberal approach to our finances (I read now that the Charitable Trust is thinking of adopting the quite absurd ‘unsustainable’ mantra) – like the theory of the Big Lie adopted tragically in Weimar Germany – the current mainstream attitude will sadly prevail.

I would invite all interested parties to at least read something on economic theory.  Therein would be found, if nothing else, alternatives to our current backward thought.

There is far more to economics than Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek … or perhaps, me thinks, there is a local election on the horizon.

Ian Scott
Councillor for the Shetland Central ward