Public Exclusion may lead to “First They Came”

Disenfranchisement of public play into politicians plans

There is a very serious problem with the public feeling disenfranchised by politicians and disillusioned by the political process whether it is locally as we have seen by the lack of a real budget consultation by the Conservative controlled Councils or nationally as we see from the failed economic policies of the coalition Government.

The serious problem is that through not only a disingenuous but in fact in my view dishonest approach to consultation a number of very serious welfare reform cuts impacting on the already stretched pensioners and vulnerable will go through this year with more swingeing cuts to come next year.

We have already seen an increase in homeless applications, and an increased use of Bed and Breakfast accommodation for families which in the 21st Century is something we should as a society be ashamed of as is the increased medical problems associated with stress because of the financial strain families face as employment and their homes come under threat.

The problem of not being given the opportunity to be involved and more importantly listened too plays into the hands of the politicians who actually benefit by the exclusion of the public from the process by allowing them to do whatever they chose without challenge.

I have on many occasions heard it expressed as “there is no need to worry because the public have short memories and will have forgotten by the time of the next election”.

It is the attitude of those who are arrogant and believe that the electorate are fools.

Of course it is the role of opposition to hold the administration to account and challenge the high-handed arrogant approach we are experiencing from the current Conservative Council Leaders a role that Labour are taking very seriously.

Just after WW2 Pastor Martin Niemoller wrote the poem published below which is self-explanatory as a warning of what happens if people turn away from the political process and let politicians rule without challenge.

This will be the future if people don't speak up

It is a poem that resonates with people at all levels and applies not only to the groups set out but can easily be applied to other groups of people, for example substituting communists, socialists, trade unions and Jews for the vulnerable elderly, the unemployed youth, the disabled and the minorities.

I would argue that the demonization of public sector workers like teachers, police and nurses, the welfare reforms that attack the elderly and most vulnerable in society is the equivalent to “they came for” and that it brings with it a  very serious threat to the democratic process.

In local terms if the people of Northampton don’t get involved and allow themselves to be excluded by politicians who seem hell-bent on handing Northampton to the County Council then it may well end up being “and there was no one left to speak up for me” which is why people should consider joining with those of us who do speak up and make sure your voice is heard.

First They Came – Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me