Wednesday 3 September 2014

Tory Britain: Polly Toynbee visits Cameron's constituency

This comes from Polly Toynbee's article in yesterday's Guardian

"I just visited his Witney constituency – a safer seat is hard to find. Yet when you lift the yellow Cotswold paving stones, even there you find the depredations of his government biting deeply. The local housing association can’t find smaller properties for its 252 residents hit by the bedroom tax: 47% are in arrears. The local domestic violence service is losing its helpline and 40% of its funds, though Cameron publicly promised to “get a grip” on the issue. I spoke to a Ukip council candidate who has been hit by the bedroom tax: he has a spare room now his invalid wife has died.

The Witney food bank is crammed in a tiny garage on the edge of town, because nowhere in this rich town, not even a church, will house it, yet demand is high. Julie, who runs it, cried when a man came in with four bags of food in repayment for feeding him, now the Department for Work and Pensions had finally sent his money. Cameron visited once, but brought nothing, says Duncan Enright, councillor and Labour candidate here, a man who devotes himself selflessly to local campaigns in this deep blue zone. He found a man and his son sleeping locally in a tent for weeks recently. Wages are low, he says, and housing impossible.

Even here, in this rustic idyll, there are people struggling and Tory voters can see it too, with day-centre charges soaring and service cuts growing. But the Tory party is swimming out to sea on a tide of Euromania, in the grip of a nihilist ideology. Only disconnect from Europe and all will be well – that doesn’t sound likely to connect with most voters’ lives."