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Sunday, January 06, 2013


say it like you mean it
i’ve got a mate who likes to debate; he’ll say things for effect. he likes to provoke. when you call him on a previous statement he’ll brush it off as banter. suddenly they are not his true views, only problem is it soon becomes hard to know what is true and what is just a bit of debating bluster.
social media has made this a widespread problem as people rush to tweet, blog, post their first thing that comes to mind. little or no consideration is given to what they say or even what they mean.  in part this has been encouraged by the, often, narrowcasting of the internet. however the ability to copy and repost information means that the old adage of ‘count to 10’ should be adhered to, if not amended to ‘count to 100’.
this is especially true if you are a tory councillor who is trying to argue that those suffering poverty in the uk are an ‘insult’ to those who die of starvation in the third world. furthermore, for this councillor, food banks just allow those who can’t (or won’t) budget to get food while they buy more fags or booze.
“the fact some give food to food banks merely enable people who can’t budget, or don’t want to, to have more money to spend on alcohol, cigarettes etc.’ so said chris steward, a conservative councillor for york.

he was quickly condemned by many including chris mould of the trussell trust. mr. mould points out that with things such as heating costs rising by 65% in the last five years and food costs rising by 35% it is unwise to claim that those on low income were using their money unwisely.

mr. steward is not alone among conservatives; edwina currie on the stephen nolan 5live radio show also doubted the existence of fuel poverty and was doubtful of any who contacted the show to say they had to make a choice between heat and food.
as mr. steward is a stockbroker and ms. currie is an author and celebrity talking head they probably don’t have to worry too much about the price of food or heat, and because they don’t have any trouble making ends meet they can’t see why anyone else does.
a funny brand of compassionate conservatism.

as with all things like this mr. steward later ‘regretted’ his remarks, which, of course, did not reflect his true views.
the question is if they were not his views to start with why on earth did he write them down? could it be that he wanted to say what he thought his tory constituency wanted to hear (feckless shirkers being the current tory narrative), knowing that although he didn’t believe what he was saying it would play very well with the tory faithful? or is it that actually he does believe what he said but has been shocked by the outrage it has caused and is now backpedalling: a coward with no courage of his convictions.
maybe he is just a big mouth who speaks before thinking.
he either looks to be a shifty politician or just a bit stupid.

however as he is singing to the current tory tune of ‘bash the poor’ he is just another reprehensible conservative who has little in common with those he represents. he has done his bit to maintain the myth of feckless wasters who are living high on the hog on benefits.
plus he has done the internet thing of ‘regretting’ and ‘apologising’, so all is well in his world. i am sure the poor and needy of york are happy for him.

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