Our new ‘Must Read’ section is dedicated to sharing the words of some of the top bloggers from within the emergency services, NHS and armed forces – both past and present.
The blogs are hand-picked by our team but do not necessarily represent the views of Emergency Services News.
Instead, they reflect the experiences of individuals who have first-hand experience of what they are writing about.
Today’s blog is written by John Sutherland who is a former Met Police Commander:
‘Politics is absolutely not my thing.
People are my thing.
I love them.
And the fact that I love them means I cannot stay silent about the catastrophic harm being done to this country by this government.
Look at the state of policing
In September 2018, the National Audit Office (NAO) published a report suggesting that:
- 44,000 police officers and staff had been lost in England & Wales since 2010.
- The Home Office “has no overarching strategy for policing”
And it wasn’t just the NAO. The following month, the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) suggested that Forces were “struggling to cope” with levels of demand and warned of “dire consequences” for public safety if policing was denied the additional funding it so desperately needed. HASC members accused the Home Office of a “complete failure of leadership” when it came to policing.
Look at the violent crime figures
Violent crime is rising. And children are dying on our streets.
Look at the state of the NHS
In March 2019, Dr Rachel Clarke posted a tweet suggesting that:
- The NHS is short of 42,000 nurses and 10,000 doctors
- UK hospitals have the lowest number of CT & MRI scanners in Europe
- The number of Mental Health Nurses has fallen by 6,000 since 2010
- The number of Community Nurses has halved since 2010
Look at the state of the Probation Service
A BBC News report published in March 2019 stated this:
“The system which sees private firms monitor criminals serving community sentences is “irredeemably flawed”, the chief inspector of probation has said… After immersing herself in the world of probation for three years, Dame Glenys Stacey has reached the damning conclusion that privatising offender management has failed.”
Look at the state of the Prison Service
A Guardian report, published in July 2018, stated this:
“Prisoners in England and Wales are enduring some of the most disturbing conditions ever seen as violence and self-harm rockets due to stretched resources and staff shortages, the chief prisons inspector has said. Peter Clarke said the level of assaults, drug use, and squalor had “no place in an advanced nation in the 21st century”.”
Look at the state of the Criminal Justice System
In March 2019, the Secret Barrister tweeted:
“Some days the state of our justice system makes me want to cry. Today was a textbook day of compounded failings, leaving a trail of human suffering in its wake. A betrayal of defendants, victims and witnesses unlucky enough to have been ensnared in the criminal courts in 2019.”
Look at Windrush and the ‘hostile environment’ created for immigrants
In March 2019, a report in The Week Magazine stated this:
“MPs have accused the Home Office of betraying victims of the Windrush scandal, nearly a year after the government first apologised for it…. In a damning parliamentary report, the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) accused the Home Office of “complacency” and shirking its responsibility in response to the wrongful detention and deportation of some members of the Windrush generation.”
Look at the state of the Immigration Detention System
A BBC News report published in March 2019 stated this:
“The Home Office has “utterly failed” to ensure the safety of people held in UK immigration detention centres, a damning report says. MPs on the home affairs committee warn there are “serious problems” in almost every part of the detention system.”
Look at the state of the Welfare System & the growing number of people relying on Food Banks
In April 2018, a report in The Week Magazine stated this:
“The number of people who are dependent on food banks is soaring as welfare benefits fail to cover basic living costs, a new study warns. Annual figures from The Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest food bank network, show that a record 1.3 million food parcels were given to an estimated total of 666,000 people in 2017-18 – a 13% increase on the previous year. In areas where the Government’s universal credit scheme has been fully rolled out for 12 months or more, the figures were even more damning, with a 52% increase in emergency food packages recorded.”
Look at the state of child poverty
In February 2019, a report in The Big Issue stated this:
“Government figures showed over four million children in the UK were living in relative poverty in 2018. That’s one in three. Now The Big Issue has learned that this number will rise over the next five years as Universal Credit takes hold, increasingly pushing more and more families into poverty. New figures from the Resolution Foundation this week indicate that the number of children living in relative poverty is on course to hit 37 per cent, topping the previous record high of 34 per cent recorded in the ‘90s. By the end of 2019, it could be the majority of children in single parent families or in larger families – with two or more children – living in relative poverty.”
Look at the state of the homelessness figures
A BBC News report published in November 2018 stated this:
“This year, 320,000 people were recorded as homeless in Britain, analysis from housing charity Shelter suggests. It is a rise of 13,000, or 4%, on last year’s figures and equivalent to 36 new people becoming homeless every day.”
This is a government that:
- Called a general election in order to reinforce its parliamentary majority, only to lose thirteen seats.
- Offered astronomical sums of money to the DUP in an effort to maintain some semblance of legislative control.
- Restored the Whip to two members accused of sexual misconduct.
- Faces accusations of institutionalised Islamaphobia.
- Has been torn apart by Brexit – its members placing self before party and party before country.
- And so it goes on.
This is a government of staggering malice and incompetence.
But this is also a government faced by an opposition so inept and so riven by its own overwhelming failings that the potential outcome of any future general election somehow remains far from clear.
And it cannot go on like this.
I know that there are good MPs in Parliament – on both sides of the House. I don’t doubt that some of them have the potential to be great. But they have got to stop playing political games and start putting people first. It is time for them to stand up and speak up and do what’s required.
Politics is not my thing. People are.
And people have got to matter more.’
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