Well, let’s be honest, there’s not many that get my vote at the moment.
Being relatively new to the area I haven’t had much cause to contact my MP really, but on the occasions that I have he has not exactly filled me with confidence, quelle surprise.
I first wrote to him asking him to support the anticipated debate on Police Pensions after the e-petition passed the 100,000 signature milestone. His response was some flaccid retort that had every indication of having its origins in the Theresa May Book of Things to Say. Being a politician, of course he didn’t answer any of my questions, just told me how good Theresa May was and how it was necessary to reform Police Pensions, for the good of all.
My next letter was to ask him to attend yesterday’s debate and support Keith Vaz’s motion on Police Pensions. His reply indicated that he had a long-standing couldn’t be arsed diary appointment and would not be attending. In my letter I pointed out to him that Section 2 of the Police Pensions Act should be honoured by government, and not change the legislation to suit, and that any changes to the Police Pension Scheme should only apply to new recruits and not existing members. Unsurprisingly not a single comment on those two important issues.
But fear not readers, a new era is dawning, retiredandangry has now realised how naive and stupid he is and will take immediate steps to rectify this situation.
I will be the first to admit that I didn’t pay much attention in my history lessons at school, neither the subject nor the teacher enthralled me, but I seem to remember being told that we lived in what they called a Democracy. I thought I’d understood what that word meant but over time I bacame less confident so I looked it up in the Oxford Dictionary;
noun (plural democracies)
a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives: a system of parliamentary democracy
[count noun] a state governed under a system of democracy: a multiparty democracy
control of an organization or group by the majority of its members: the intended extension of industrial democracy
the practice or principles of social equality: demands for greater democracy
Now I know that the whole population can’t govern, that’s why we elect MPs isn’t it? They are meant to represent US aren’t they? Not represent their own self-obsessed, think-tank inspired, profiteering ideals.
You work for us Dave, we pay your salary (and your expenses). So either I or the government have got the wrong idea of what a democracy is. No wonder I’ve lost interest in voting for any of this lot.
My third and most recent letter to the Member for DeadBadgerShire was in relation to Coastguard Station Closures and I asked him one question, and one question only “There has been much mention in the press recently concerning the closure of certain Coastguard Stations.
Could you please tell me if you are FOR or AGAINST these closures?”
That was it, my letter in its totality. I have to admit that it invoked a much more comprehensive response than the question invited. Much more comprehensive in fact than his response to my letter about Police pensions. What it didn’t contain of course was an actual answer to the question that I asked him, just a whole load of s***e about how antiquated the Coastguard set-up is and why they need national networking to improve their functionality. I do hope he doesn’t think about it for too long or he might get the idea that a national Police Force is a good idea. Mind you that would make the procurement gravy train an easier ride.
In his response he includes the ‘fact’ that Coastguard services have changed little in the last 40 years. That sounds very similar to this government’s claim that the Police service is the last un-reformed public service to me.
He then goes on to tell me that the current system suffers from a fundamental lack of resilience and an inability to spread workloads across it. I’ve read this letter 4 or 5 times now, and I’m still not clear what he’s telling me apart from they must be modernised.
He says that the Coastguard Service has changed little over the last 40 years, the truth of that statement is that pay and conditions have changed little over that time frame with only minor inflation adjustments. They use modern technology and techniques which were unheard of 10 years ago!
In February this year the Coastguard SOS blog included an article about the potential/planned closure of the Liverpool Coastguard Station. Liverpool CG Stn is responsible, amongst other places, for the coastline around Blackpool, one of the most popular yet dangerous stretches of coast in the UK. Tourists stream to Blackpool in their thousands, for a bit of Candy Floss, Chips with Curry Sauce or Gravy, a Kiss Me Quick hat and to play on the sands.
To finish today’s blog off I’m going to nick a bit of that website;
There has been an approximate 1 or 2 drowning(s) in the sea each year on the Fylde coast, the most significant tragedy was on 5th January, 1983, when a visitor drowned after going into the sea to rescue his dog. In an attempt to save the man, three Police Officers also drowned. This disaster resulted in stricter guidelines for all Police Officers called to any coastal incident, and highlighted the need for properly equipped specialist rescue teams to be on the scene in the shortest of possible times. There is also a worrying trend of people coming to the coast to take their own lives; three known in recent years, according to the Coroner.
We are an island with great seaside towns and fantastic, varied coastline that millions of people enjoy each year. Can we afford to close 50% of the Coastguard Regional Rescue Centres? There are many ways to make our shores safer; accidents do happen and it is immoral to reduce the chances of survival, for what is a very small cost-saving in closing Coastguard stations and their vital local knowledge.
The real impact here is on the families and communities affected by tragic deaths of this kind.
Closures put all 999 services at risk because the loss of local knowledge will mean more are deployed to find casualties. … if police get there first .. they maybe tempted to effect rescue. Also the council set up a public protection committee but have failed to keep it focused and cannot give any statistics on local coastal incidents or drowning. They have been challenged publicly with FOI request but they remain unconcerned about local coastal safety.
Her Majesty’s Coastguard Service apparently costs £35 million to operate = £1.16 per taxpayer per year. To close 50% of the Coastguard Stations would attract an estimated saving of £4.6 million = 15 pence per taxpayer per year.
I’m a UK Taxpayer and I vote to pay my 15 pence, are you listening Dave?