Letter to the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser: 19/10/15 (Published 21/10/15)
I was almost sympathetic to the plight of Airdrie and Shotts Conservative and Unionist candidate Eric Holford which he detailed in a letter last week. Having travelled to England to attend the Tory conference he was allegedly subjected to some name calling by protestors. Perhaps he would prefer it if we were to follow his example and only issue insults by keyboard on social media, where he brands supporters of independence as “Nicola’s Clowns”. Perhaps he should ask himself what has motivated these people to travel from far and wide to vent their anger in person. It could be that the media acts as a filter and that they feel their message is not getting through to the government. I agree with him that it is unlikely that these protestors will make him change his mind about the present Tory UK government’s changes to the benefits system or ‘cuts’ as the rest of the country would call them. As I said previously, I was almost sympathetic to Mr Holford, until he stated that he held up Ian Duncan Smith as a hero. Mr Duncan Smith is to welfare reform what King Herod was to babysitting; more psychotic than heroic in my opinion.
Mr Duncan Smith has overseen a system where around 90 people a month die shortly after being classed as fit to work. Mr Holford would have us believe that by somehow removing the benefits from disabled people they will magically find jobs which will give them money and self respect. Instead they are being left with no jobs and no benefits either. Fantastic institutions such as Remploy, which employed disabled people and people with learning difficulties who would often have found major difficulty in obtaining mainstream employment, have been closed down and their employees thrown on the scrapheap. Is this the policy of a heroic individual? To me it’s anything but.
The Conservative and Unionist Party have recently been making a lot of noise about how they are the only party still firmly supporting the union, and this will be a major selling point of theirs in the 2016 Holyrood elections. But to vote for Mr Holford or his party solely on the basis that they wave the union flag is a grave mistake. Tory poster girl Ruth Davidson says that she wants to scrap free prescriptions. Mr Holfords personal views on the NHS are available on social media. I get the impression he supports a freeze on NHS funding so as to create a real terms cut to funding, for has clearly said that the NHS should be subject to austerity until Britain’s debts are paid. He also stated that the more we spend on the NHS, the more peoples lives are extended, and the more survivors there are the more those people cost to care for. There is a real danger that Mr Holford could be an MSP next year, and with views like that people must seriously consider if he or his party are fit to be anywhere near government. If you have any concerns about you or your family’s long term health and wellbeing, you should bear that in mind before voting Tory. And if after that you do vote Tory, when the cuts come, and they will, please don’t complain. It’s what you signed up for.