East Lothian Courier – 18 May 2023


The big political issue at Westminster was the arrest of demonstrators at the Coronation Events in London. Now, I literally headed for the hills with my dog as whilst I respected the Queen the time has now come for a Republic. London resembled Ruritania with its flags and buntings. No expense seemed spared, but meanwhile hunger and homelessness increase.

Stopping any physical disruption of the procession was legitimate. But people must have the right to demonstrate peacefully. There must have been ways to have allowed that without recourse to authoritarianism.

Recently I met with Debt Justice who campaign for fairness and even the right off of debt. They told me that they’d sprung from the global debt justice movement bringing back memories of marches many years ago now that called for fairness for the developing world. Sadly, despite the efforts and support of millions, including rock stars and other celebrities, the situation has only worsened.

The organisation continues though to campaign for the fairness that’s needed between the Global north and south but has also expanded into addressing debt in this country. For just as the situation is unmanageable for many poorer, and especially African countries, where debts owed to western nations or banks are simply unable to be paid off, on a smaller scale and closer to home, many are also simply unable to meet all their bills.

Debt Justice advised me that according to their research 9.6 million people in the UK are “over-burdened” with debt. A euphemism meaning that they simply can’t meet all their outgoings and are having to delay, defer or whatever and which often means further borrowings, or going cold or hungry.

That’s a staggering figure and it will only have increased as incomes fall, costs rise, and now yet another rise in mortgage rates pushes up monthly outgoings for so many. Action needs taken to freeze some costs to mitigate the pain and for wages to be able to meet the cost of living. More importantly, as with developing countries so it must be with many households and debt must simply be written off.