HELEN BURTON: What a week in politics this has been!

Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001
Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001

What a week in politics! For those of us who have been opposing the Governments cuts there has been an astonishing development. With Ian Duncan Smith’s resignation all over the news, it was with shock (and frankly glee) that I learned the contents of his resignation letter.

When the man in charge of making the cuts is publicly stating that they are wrong you know you are fighting on the right side. Not that I had any doubt. Last week’s budget was the final straw for many Tory true believers, not just IDS. The governments’ position has been that cuts need to be made in social welfare and public services in order to save money and balance the countries’ books. That position has long been argued by people like me who see an alternative to austerity, and certainly don’t want to see the most vulnerable in our society targeted. In my opinion it has always been impossible for the government to morally defend the cuts to social welfare, but when they take money from the vulnerable and then give it to people who are already better off, it’s outrageous. It is this aspect of last weeks’ budget that seems to have turned the tide of opinion, and now even our MP Caroline Ansell has stated that she will not support plans to cut personal independence payments to disabled people. She says she feels that the burden of balancing the countries’ books is ‘disproportionately at the expense of a vulnerable section of our society’. I quite agree, but I think Caroline still needs to understand that the other cuts to social welfare are just as immoral. I would like to think that Caroline’s position is in response to listening to the people of Eastbourne, however the cynic in me can’t help wondering if she’s is not just reacting to the bad press she has received lately over the cuts. Either way though, I will support any MP that opposes cuts to social welfare.

I am involved with several local community projects so I work with people from all political backgrounds and am happy to do so. We can’t all have the same opinion and often need to find a middle ground that we can agree on. Although I don’t like Conservative party policies I have several Conservative friends and I also share the social media news feed from my own Conservative MP in Pevensey, Huw Merriman. Well I did. He’s blocked me on Twitter for commenting that I didn’t approve of him voting in favour of cuts to benefits for the disabled. I wasn’t rude or offensive, I merely told him what I thought. I’m really disappointed by Huw’s decision to block me, after all it’s our MPs job to listen to their constituents. I will write to him for an explanation but even with Carolines’ recent change of position I can’t help thinking that both MPs would benefit from listening more to the people that they represent.