Not Mid Morning Matters

JD in the Morning, off air…

Tag: austerity

Rotherham proves we are all to blame.

Telford, Derby, Oxford, Rochdale and now Rotherham with revelations and courtcases of underage girls abused and raped by men. Shocking. Or is it?

In the last two years we have been faced by the realities of child abuse and our collective failures to recognise it, confront it or deal with it. We are all to blame for Savile, Hall, Harris and the young girls and boys who have been abused, raped and abandoned by society in Telford, Derby, Oxford, Rochdale and Rotherham. These are just the towns and cities we know about. There are others. So why are we all to blame? Simply we created the culture that made it impossible for the victims to come forward and be believed.

The scale of Rotherham exposes the failure of social services, the police, local government, central government, socialism, political correctness, a conservative elite, the media and so-called policy of ‘social mobility’. It would be simple to put all this down to race and a few ‘incompetent’ social workers and their managers. That would make us all feel better.

The media narrative implies that Asian men are to blame, that it’s their culture, it’s their fault. So arrest them, convict them, send them home ‘back to their own country’ will be the clarion call of the Right. If we do this and fire a few social workers, force more to quit, plaster the faces of those in charge on TV and in the papers, stick a microphone to their mouth and a camera in their face, ask ‘why’ and ‘how’ for a couple of days this will help too. Then lets hold an enquiry where questions will be asked. Then a report can be published complete with a commitment that this must never happen again. Reporters will be live outside the Town Hall. And NOTHING will change unless you will it to change.

First off let’s be clear about one very important issue. If you think Rotherham or any of the locations so far is just about race you are an idiot. None of the cases or those yet to come out are just about race. We don’t get off the hook that easy.

The story of child abuse in Rotherham and other towns is about those who are at the very base of our society. The abuse victims are those who have, yet again, be failed by those who claim they were there to protect them and look after them. The victims have been abused by those who felt they had the power to do it and get way with it. Those who did the abusing used all the power they could to claim power over their victims bodies and playing any race card was just a part of that.

So what of Social Services, the council and the police? Well, despite their ‘do good’ intentions and, in some cases election promises, they have all failed to do anything to protect the children in their care properly. When the victims of abuse come forward to try to tell those in authority what is being done to them, they were not believed. The culture created by government and political correctness meant and still means that thousands of underaged girls who were being raped knew they would not be believed. The perpetrators knew this too. This culture HAS to change as a priority. The victim’s allegation must trump the accused presumed innocence.

Rotherham is nothing special. It’s just another example of our collective failure to face up to and deal with the abuse of children. Rotherham has proved one thing though; the media’s obsessions with getting a scalp to make us all feel better. The whole council, the MP and entire police force could have all quit along with the PCC Shaun Wright and still over 1400 girls have been failed. The entire Rotherham elite could have been sacked and over 1400 girls have been abused. These girls will never have the life they should have had. So what if Shaun Wright quits? Over a one thousand girls have been raped in one council borough. This hardly seems a result for the victims that BBC and others were so keen to report. Those who were responsible need to be held to account and not allowed to slip away by being sacked or resigning.

The reality is that our political classes has and continues to appeal to the middle, telling it that everything is being done to protect and enhance the lives of those who are ‘less fortunate then you’, yet they have spectacularly failed the very people they claim they are championing. Child abuse proves this.

From Tony Blair to Rotherham’s former Labour MP Dennis MacShane to now EX-Labour Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright to every social worker and every council tax payer in the borough pf Rotherham, you are all to blame. You are all to blame as we are all to blame for Savile, Hall, Harris and strange ‘Uncle Fred’ who you wouldn’t leave your own children alone with but ‘what can you do?’. If we don’t actually report what we see and feel thus forcing those in authority to do something about it and hold them to account until they do, the abuse of children in care or in family homes will not stop. Rotherham is just another town and another failure in our collective inability to face and deal with child abuse. There are many more towns and cities like Rotherham.

Child abuse is too important to be left to the council, the government, the police or the media. It is down to you and me to stop it.

Child abuse is not about race, class, celebrity, family, politics, social services failures or the media congratulating it’s self for exposing it and reporting on it. Child abuse is about you and me protecting those who can’t protect themselves from those who want to do harm to them. Nothing is more important than protecting a young life from abuse. If you suspect anything you must report it and make sure they follow it up, no matter how trivial, no matter the consequences.

I will, and I have in the last month.

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Cut the efficiency crap.

All local councils and unitary authorities are about half way through their cuts, austerity programmes or whatever you choose to call them. Bristol City Council have implemented just shy of a 150m of cuts by slashing grants to service providers and charities, cutting services and making efficiency savings. There will be more to come. Bath and North East Somerset have cut, so have North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Have you noticed the cuts so far? Have you? Really? Probably not as the cuts so far have mostly been ‘efficiency savings’, changing what councils do and how they do it so the cuts actually doesn’t bother you. They should.
You will soon begin to actually feel the Council cuts too, and there will be little you can do about it. Or can you?
Take BANES. One of their cuts, proposed last year, was to close public toilets. ‘No’ said the residents, one of whom ended up sleeping in one the toilets slated for closure in centre of Bath. The Council decided to not go ahead with the cut. In Bristol, the council have 19 members of their Parks, Crematorium and Cemetery tending these council grounds and gardens. They were late in recruiting them, maybe as a result of wage saving or a wage bill cut. On my radio programme we heard that Bristol City Council were not looking after these parks, that cemeteries were over grown and one widow told me she fell into an over grown grave trying while trying visit her husbands grave because the grass was so tall. Two weeks later these cemeteries have now been tended, of sorts, and the grass has been strimed. Why? Simply because pressure was brought to bare on Bristol City Council.
Is this the answer? Shout on local radio and council will do it? Maybe, but it is a little more complicated than that.
The liberal democracy argument is that you vote for your councillor (or Mayor), the one with the most votes gets in, they act in the interests of all the electorate and then, in due time, you vote for them again (or not) depending on how they have done. The reality of our actual relationship with our council is that they don’t really effect most of us beyond paying out council tax and them collecting our rubbish and filling in the pot holes on the roads we drive.  It all seems very simple. But it isn’t.
Local Government effects you more than you realise and to not get involved, to just do your recycling and drive repeatedly over a pothole riddled road without reporting it is NOT good enough. You need to get involved. The money you pay every year is enough for a good family holiday or a better pension when you retire.  You need to hold your councillor and your council to account. If you don’t the leaders of each council or the elected Mayor of Bristol will end up being responsible for managing the waste management contract and adult social care and they will be unable to do anything for you or your neighbours. They will do what they have to do and not what you want them to do, with your money.
So what has happened to your money so far? Here is a clue. Most of the cuts so far have been achieved through ‘efficiency savings’. Bristol achieved 50m through ‘efficiency savings’. Why was any council allowed to ever be inefficient with your money. Every penny you pay should go towards what you want it to, for the benefit of you and your neighbours. Any council inefficiency is not acceptable. It’s your money, it’s your vote and between you voting it is your right to hold your councillor and council to account.
To put this another way, would you give someone you know a £150 a month, every month and not ask questions about what they were doing with it? It is your democratic right to make sure that your council do what you want or, at the very least, you know what they are doing even if you don’t like it. Never again should we allow any council to say they are making ‘efficiency savings’, and if they do you must ask why. And then ask why again.

You are going to have pay more tax.

In the west, Bath and North East Somerset have revealed that they are looking to cut spending on early years provision by £2.3 million over the next two years. Bristol City Council is now facing further budget cuts of £90 million on top of what they have already have cut. Central Government will also have to cut more public services and welfare if the country is ever likely to pay back the debt. All rather bleak isn’t it?

Does it have to be like this? Could you pay more?

There are a number of painful realities we all need to face here. If you or the country borrow money then you have to pay it back. The only way to do that is by using the money you earn to do it. If you don’t earn enough you either prioritize your income so you pay what you’ve borrowed back or you have to earn more money to do it. The reality is hard and, for many, very difficult but there is no other way, other than to extend the length of time you pay the debt back. This will always cost you more money.

There are those who think public services are a right and public money grows on trees. There answer is to tax the wealthy more to pay for it. The trotting out of ‘tax the bankers bonuses more’ is a very popular solution offered to the public spending shortfall. That, like the idea of the Big Society, is utter tosh.

If you want an NHS that does what you want and when you want it you have to pay for it. If you want trains with seat you can sit on, at times you want to go then you have to pay for it. If you want local services, real and proper care for your elderly relatives or loved ones, decent schools or the rubbish collected on time then you have to pay for it. And there are only two ways. Either you pay more tax, buy it yourself or you give more to charity. We all have to pay more or give more. It’s worth remembering that less than 100 years ago charity provided health care, education, social mobility and social care before central government decided it could do it better.

HMRC have released some figures that don’t sit well with the silly cries of bankers paying more tax on their bonuses or with the premise of the big society filling in the gap. Out of almost 30 million people now working just 703,000 people will earn at least £100,000 or more this year through wages, bonuses, self-employed income, dividends, rents and interest. Of those, 320,000 will make at least £150,000 and 287,000 of these will pay the 45p top rate. This IS loads more than the 236,000 that paid the 50p tax rate in 2010-11.

This may surprise you too. Just 18,000 people will earn over £1m, which is up on the 13,000 in the previous two years and it was 10,000 in 2010.

But this is the killer number to the argument that rich need to pay more income tax than you. The 6,000 people on £2m or more will pay more in income tax (£13.2bn) than you and the 12.5m other taxpayers who earn under £20,000 a year. They are coughing up less with cumulative £11.5bn.

Simply, the top 1 per cent of UK earners have 13.7 per cent of all income but they pay a record 29.8 per cent of all income tax. In 2004-05, the top 1 per cent paid 21.4 per cent of all income tax. So who is taxed more and paying more? It is certainly not the 2 million more who will pay no tax at all in the next year compare to last year.

One last thing; these top earners are most likely to buy the services they need and are paying tax to the government for those who can’t. So should these top pay more tax? Your answer to that is most likely to be yes, but then you should pay more tax too if you want the things that are being cut. Or maybe we should hand it all over to charities to provide as it use to be.

One last thing. £35 billion in tax goes uncollected every year.

Painful, isn’t it.

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