East Lothian Courier – 09 July 2021


Behind the faux bonhomie and jocularity with Boris Johnson there lies a vicious streak. After all he was once accused by the TV interviewer Eddie Mair of being a “Nasty piece of work.” Those traits were certainly in evidence last week where his jocularity over the football was a veneer for repressive and vindictive legislation, as well as benefit changes which’ll impoverish many.

For amidst all the Wembley hullabaloo the Tory Government announced that the £20 per week uplift to universal credit would be phased out. Now many and especially those connected to this Government have done well during the pandemic with contracts dispensed with little thought or scrutiny. But many more and especially the poor have suffered. That cut will cause severe hardship for many and will increase poverty and inequality.

Legislation in Parliament was to be no different. First up was the Police and Crime Bill which fortunately only applies to a very limited extent in Scotland. But its effect in England and Wales is to bring in authoritarian police powers that are not only unnecessary but’ll be counterproductive. The legislation on travelling people’s oppressive and discriminatory. They’re a challenged and sometimes challenging section of our society but require support not harassment.

That was then followed by proposals to require ID for voting. As commentators have said it’s a solution to a non-existent problem. I’ve been involved in politics since the 70s and have seen it on only a few occasions. But this proposed bill will limit access to voting for those from minority or poorer backgrounds. It is something that’s always been carried out in the southern states of America but’s alien to this country since the franchise was made available to all.

All that was topped off by proposals for refugees that are inhumane and may even be contrary to international law. In the world in which we live whether through war or climate change we need to help those who are desperate and suffering. Nobody willingly puts themselves and their children through the risks that people are forced to take. It’s a nasty Government indeed.