LettersYoutellusyourthoughtsonTVleaders’ debates, Sir Nicholas Winterton’s views on class and the taboo of mental health in politics mental health in politics
Letter of themonth wins aTotalPoliticsGuide tothe2010GeneralElection take up the issue of the TV
Inclusive TV debates It’s good to see Total Politics take up the issue of the TV debates with a dialogue between Tim Montgomerie and AdamBoulton. However from the SNP perspective, it’s not a case of whether there should be debates but that the SNP should receive fair coverage in any UK-wide debate. It’s unacceptable to us that UKbroadcasters exclude the party that forms the government of Scotland. For these debates to be relevant they must reflect the democratic reality of Scotland and political diversity across the UK. That must include SNP involvement in all debates broadcast in Scotland.
As polls show, the election in Scotland will be a two-horse race between the SNP and Labour. So the broadcasters have got to meet their public service obligations to audiences across the UK. To propose debates which fail to do so shows an extraordinarily highhanded attitude and depressingly metropolitan mindset, which is whywe are now reviewing our support for the licence fee. Angus Robertson MP SNP Westminster group leader
Living in another era... and class After reading the comments made by Sir Nicholas Winterton regarding first class train travel, I cannot wait until the day he retires. His attitude sums up the public perception of how arrogant and out of touch the majority of MPs are with the voting public. To claim that people who travel in second class are “different” and that he deserves to travel first class is incredible. Whodoes he think made him anMPand gave him the privileges he has acquired over the years – the second class travellers! As a junior doctor who is also class is incredible. Whodoes he think made him anMPand gave him the privileges he has acquired over the years – the second class travellers! As a junior doctor who is also disabled, I have travelled on Cardiff to London trains during rush hour on several occasions. It is uncomfortable and it is difficult to work or concentrate. Finding a seat is hard andwith a congenital deformity, standing is dangerous for me.However, I put upwith it and so domanyothers. I for onewould rather sit or stand in second class and socialise with the “commonman” than be in first class forced to hear verbose loudmouths discussing the stock exchange or the latest business news. The concept of privacy leaves most of themonce themobile rings. In addition, whyshould I travel first class? I amstill ahumanbeing, the sameasaplumberorparent. Just because I can afford it, doesn’t meanI have to travel with the upper realms.
I also ask Sir Nicholas if, when he travels first class he pays the difference in ticket price out of his own pocket or is it another of his rights to have this paid by the voters who are stuck in the cattle shed of standard class? Dr David Gwynfor Samuel Merthyr Tydfil
Turning point for social justice AsBenDuckworthandIainDale highlight (TP Feb), ‘social justice’ has becomeapopular political term. While, it is welcome to hear our politicians speak of social justice, I hope that together wecanreverse the inverse care law. In particular, wemustreduce the high levels of unemployment in our poorer
4 | Total Politics | April 2010
communities, which are contributing to crime, poormental health and substance misuse. This is key during a recession whenthosewhohavenever been close to work are in danger of being left at the back of the queue for support. The cost-benefit of investing in these groups is clear andTurning Point wants any future government to give providers the right incentives to support them.Weare also calling for generational services which target the children of benefits claimants with meaningful activity, work experience andanynecessary support services. Without suchmeasures, the political rhetoric is unlikely to becomeareality. Lord Victor Adebowale CBE Chief executive, Turning Point
Gender poll Although menandwomenmight come from different planets where relationship counselling is concerned, weall come from the samevillage as regards social attitudes. Differences
Total Politics is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a pair
Total Politics giving one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the hit play Enronat the Noël Coward Theatre.
Winning tickets are valid Monday to Thursday performances until 30 April. Subject to availability.
How to Enter Simply email your caption to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address before 05/04/2010. Entries submitted after the closing date will not count.
Last month’s winner “Rehearsals continue for the Krankies reunion tour” Eileen Petrie
A pair of tickets for the musical Hairare on their way to you.