The email has evidence hyperlinked throughout in a bid to spare me the standardised Tory bullshit avalanche in response:
Dear Charlie Elphicke, Priti Patel and Conor Burns,
I write to complain about your extremely authoritarian and oppressive treatment of the charity Oxfam.
First of all, I must point out that it is impossible to discuss poverty without reference to its root cause and that invariably involves reference to government policies. I am particularly disgusted by the way you have diverted attention away from the real issue raised – the rise of cases of absolute poverty.
Oxfam are not alone in their concern about the rise of absolute poverty. Medical experts recently wrote an open letter to David Cameron condemning the rise in food poverty under this government, stating that families “are not earning enough money to meet their most basic nutritional needs” and that “the welfare system is increasingly failing to provide a robust line of defence against hunger.”
Many charities have said that the UK government has violated the Human Right to food. Article 11(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognises the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing. The UK has signed and ratified, and in so doing is legally bound by the ICESCR, in particular, the human right to adequate food.
According to the Just Fair Consortium report, welfare reforms, benefit delays and the cost of living crisis have pushed an unprecedented number of people into a state of hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity in the UK. New research by Oxfam has revealed the extent of poverty amongst British children, with poor families taking drastic measures to survive.
What kind of government is concerned only about stifling critical discussion of its policies and not at all about the plight of the citizens it is meant to serve? This is a government that attempts to discredit and invalidate the accounts of people’s experience of the suffering that is directly caused by this government. By blaming the victims and by trying to smear and dismiss anyone that champions the rights of vulnerable citizens.
Priti Patel said: “With this Tweet they have shown their true colours and are now nothing more than a mouthpiece for left wing propaganda.”
When did concern for poverty and the welfare of citizens become the sole concern of “the left wing”? I think that casually spiteful and dismissive admission of indifference tells us all we need to know about the current government’s priorities. And no amount of right wing propaganda will hide the fact that poverty and inequality rise under every Tory government.
Mr Burns has written to the Charities Commission requesting an investigation into the “overtly political attack” on “the policies of the current Government.” However, he failed to mention this government’s overtly and cowardly economic attack on the most vulnerable citizens. I believe Oxfam has behaved responsibly, honourably, and with good conscience. It is the Tory-led government that have behaved disgracefully. We have a government that provides disproportionate and growing returns to the already wealthy, whilst imposing austerity cuts on the very poorest people. That is very clearly evidenced in their policies, the aims of which are clear when we examine who is carrying the burden of austerity. It is largely the poorest social groups and especially disabled people.
How can the government possibly claim Oxfam’s observations are “biased” when inequality is so fundamental to their own ideology, and when social inequalities and poverty are extended and perpetuated by all of their policies. The Tories have no right to be indignant about research findings regarding the poverty they have caused, and to complain about the genuine concern Oxfam expressed about those politically damning findings, when those findings are so patently true. I don’t believe that Oxfam have shown “bias” at all. I do believe that punitive Conservative policies are based on traditional class-based Tory prejudices, however.
The truth is the truth, whether conservative MPs like it or not. Tory “facts” are both constructed and seen through a lens of pre-conceptions and ideology. Oxfam and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation choose to study poverty. Cynical Tories, such as Iain Duncan Smith simply change the definition of it. But changing the narrative can never edit people’s experience of grinding poverty and their consequent suffering. Or disguise the causes.
So where is your concern for those vulnerable and increasingly impoverished citizens – the ones you are meant to serve? You didn’t even entertain the idea that there’s a problem, choosing instead to dismiss a respectable charity as “lefties”. Have you any idea how utterly callous, irrelevant AND ludicrous that comment was?
Or how obviously oppressive your actions are for reporting a charity for merely carrying out awareness-raising campaign work?
And before you spin me the poppycock line about inequality being ‘lower’ under this government, I already know about the methodological problems with the measurement method you purposely use, so spare me: https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/camerons-gini-and-the-hidden-hierarchy-of-worth/
Ms S Jones, MA (Hons)