LettersDemonisedbankers,immigrationandmaiden speeches are among the issues tackled in your letters this month
Letter of the month wins a copy of Andrew Rawnsley’s TheEndoftheParty
Demonised bankers Angela Knight writes in defence of the banks (Do Politicians Understand the City? TP, June) as if there was no justification for public disgust with their behaviour during the banking crisis. She does not acknowledge, or own up to the fact, that the non-high street banking sector was actively engaged in fostering an unsustainable boom, whether or not they asked for UK government for a bail out. There is no recognition that it was OUR money they were speculating with, not ‘theirs’. She complains the banks are “demonised”. Yes, many are, and for good reasons.
The public does not want its money, or its pensions and savings put at risk by traders who have no public interest at heart but their own bonus schemes and performance targets.
She argues the banking sector has said it is sorry so let’s not talk it down. But the banks must not be allowed by special pleading to get away so easily. We urgently need a reformed, and an ethical, banking system in the UK. Is attracting overseas business more important than ethics, honesty, service and accountability? Hardly the new politics. Bob Colenutt Oxford
Maiden speech I made the near fatal mistake of ignoring the convention that the rules of the House are as the letter of the law and never to be transgressed (A House of Many Virgins, TP, June).
Having swiftly ascertained that all matters of interest occurred in close proximity to but away from the Ealing North constituency, I simply gave up and listed all those marvels that occurred with sight of the constituency boundary but outside the glorious close proximity to but away from the Ealing North constituency, I simply gave up and listed all those marvels that occurred with sight of the constituency boundary but outside the glorious wonderland that is Ealing North. I made no friends as a result of this honesty and learned that, whilst the House will hold a hypocrite close to its breast, it will cast out those who dare to utter the uncomfortable truth. Would I do it again? Of course! Stephen Pound Labour MP for Ealing North
Career politicians Byron Criddle’s article (TP, June) makes for interesting reading about the employment background of the new Parliament. It’s notable that such a high number – over 50 per cent – of Labour MPs are now drawn from backgrounds such as academia, social work, managerial positions in the public sector, trade unions, and, most notably, their own parties.
It’s also notable that few Labour MPs are former manual workers – only nine per cent – and it’s not hard to see why the party once of and for the working classes has transformed into the party of and for public sector workers and people who’ve never had a job outside politics and quasi-politics. It’s also notable that Tories draw less than half, but still a large number, of their MPs from business backgrounds, including banking – and want an enterprisedriven recovery from this recession.
On both counts, it goes to show that MPs’ previous occupations do mean something when it comes to policy. Matthew Barrett Blogs at WorkingClassTory.com
Making the top 50 I’m pleased to be featured in your Top 50 MPs to Watch (TP, June). This is indeed an interesting time to be involved in UK politics and I am very much looking forward to being part of an effective opposition that holds the coalition government to account.
This new government must not take the economic recovery which began under Labour for granted. Of course, tough decisions will be taken – but they must also be fair decisions. I intend to fight to prevent unfairness as this government undertakes its programme of cost-cutting measures.
I will stand up for public services, for jobs and for business. I look forward to working with Total Politics magazine as I pursue this agenda with my Labour colleagues. Anas Sarwar Labour MP for Glasgow Central
Total Politics is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the play Welcometo Thebes National Theatre, Southbank London. Winning tickets are valid for Monday to Friday evening performances until 6 August, subject to see the play Welcometo Thebes at the National Theatre, Southbank London. Winning tickets are valid for Monday to Friday evening performances until 6 August, subject to availability.
How to enter Simply email your caption to competition@totalpolitics. com with your name and address before 09/07/2010.
Entries submitted after the closing date will not count.
Last month’s winner “Sorry sir, we don’t take CVs here. Either apply online or ask at the customer service desk.” Rayman Bains
A pair of tickets to see Enron are on their way to you.
4 | Total Politics | July 2010 Immigration debate I was disappointed, but not surprised that in his ‘Letter of the month’ (TP, June), Mr Ellis, the director of policy and development of the Refugee Council, got away once again with recycling the myth that anyone, adult or child, is held against their will (or that of their guardian) in immigration detention centres.
As former Home Office minister, Admiral Lord West, confirmed to me in the House of Lords, all those currently receiving free board and lodging in those centres are free to leave at will. They are not, however, free to enter the United Kingdom until their claims to be entitled so to do have been investigated and found to be valid.
It is their choice, not a decision by the United Kingdom authorities that they continue to stay in those centres. Lord Tebbit House of Lords
Lib Dem surge I noted with interest Andrew Hawkins’ article (TP, June) about why the Lib Dem surge was not sustained through to election day.
As a Lib Dem activist I was concerned that much of the surge support was coming from demographics that were less likely to vote and wondered if the pollsters were factoring that in. As chairman of ComRes I am sure Mr Hawkins and his colleagues will be striving to do better to reflect these factors next time!
The TV debates were, however, not the whole story. The polls were already rising rapidly for the Lib Dems before the first TV debate. In a poll for which the fieldwork was almost all done in the two days before the first debate, the Lib Dems were on 26 per cent, seven points up from the 19 per cent base that Mr Hawkins referred to. Of course by the time this poll was reported, the first debate was over and the results became mixed up with the debate narrative. Mark Thompson Blogs at markreckons.blogspot.com
Two year triumph
As Total Politics celebrates its second birthday, Ben Duckworth explores new outlets for democracy
Send your letters by email to editor@ totalpolitics.com or by post to: Total Politics, Heal House, 375 Kennington Lane, London SE11 5QY. If you would like your letter printed, please limit it to 150 words.
Total Politics reserves the right to edit letters.
Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us... It’s two years since Total Politics launched from the basement next door to Lib Dem HQ. Now, in different offices, but with the same wish to offer an entertaining, enlightening guide to political life, I’m simply hoping that this second anniversary issue contains the mixture of eyecatching features and regulars that have allowed us to create our own niche in the magazine market. Some of the political party leaders have even sent us birthday wishes on p13 which is very nice of them.
assemblies – blossoming democratic institutions already teaching lessons to Westminster in coalition-forming – if they are given too much money by central government. UKIP and the DUP certainly don’t agree.
Did the hung election result mean the public want to see an end to tribal politics? There is evidence that people identify themselves less and less with one party, but there are some more complex trends at play, as Andrew Hawkins of ComRes explores on p8.
We’ve just had a general election and all of a sudden democracy is breaking out everywhere. We’ve had the election for the heads of the select committees – which sounds like a dull Westminster process story but is actually a welcome release for MPs to be independent figures. Alongside our cover interview with big, bad Alastair Campbell on p14, we also have the Labour leadership contest running until their conference at the end of September. Read Amber Elliott’s excellent article on p28 where she speaks to all five contenders and even gets a Labour MP comparing Ed Balls to Michael Jackson’s song about a pet rat. They meant it as a compliment. We also ask if devolved
Total Campaigns, beginning on p46, includes judgements on how the party election campaigns went, and also some very good advice for special advisers. We also host some very funny tips from former researcher Sadie Smith on how MPs can make their staff ’s lives easier on p62. Cameron and Clegg might dress the same but Julia Langdon on p24 looks back to reveal that not all prime ministers have loved the currently fashionable dark, two-button suit. If you want to swot up on British coalition governments and how they fare, then do look at Keith Simpson MP’s reading guide on p60. I think this second anniversary issue has quite a lot to offer. Hope you enjoy it.
Ed Balls to Michael Jackson’s song about a pet rat. They meant it as a compliment. We also ask if devolved quite a lot to offer. Hope you enjoy it.
Fact of the month Harold Wilson may have adopted the persona of a mackintosh-wearing, pipe-smoking man
Fact of the month Harold Wilson may have adopted the persona of a mackintosh-wearing, pipe-smoking man of the people in public, but away from the spotlight the former prime minister liked to smoke cigars. Prime ministerial style p24
of the people in public, but away from the spotlight the former prime minister liked to smoke cigars. Prime ministerial style p24
July 2010 | Total Politics | 5