Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Political leaders our out of touch with reality

Taken on Gillingham High street last week
In his article for Party People last week Councillor Geoff Juby, leader of the Medway Liberal Democrat Council group has rightly indicated that those who run the economy are not seeing the whole picture.

The situation at the bottom is indeed dire. The Medway towns are indeed suffering, in fact the three poorest wards of Chatham central, Gillingham South and Gillingham North have been granted improvement funds to be administered by the CAB due to their poverty.

Across the towns we have empty buildings, both commercial and residential and with people's outgoings far exceeding incomes it is no wonder legal loan sharks and pawnshops are so popular, especially with 17% of houses in the area have no one in work and 174 applicants for 22 jobs at a local Tesco. The people of Medway aren't lazy or looking for handouts they want to be listened to and good economic judgement from those at the top.

Geoff said: Whom can we trust with the economy? Ed Balls presided over the the scandalous greed of the big banks and unfortunately our current leaders live in a world of private schools and high income. It would do them all good to come and live for a week at the level of some of our workers, existing on the minimum wage with families to support - there might be a bit more compassion then!

I think it's a fair comment. After all, of you've never had to scrimp and save in your life time, had to stretch the food budget to its limit, been faced with the balance screen at the cashpoint saying "amount available £0 " whilst having to pay out still, will not appreciate what they have got. I've been that poor before and I regularly review things so that it won't happen again.

I'm not discriminating against George Osborne or David Cameron but lets be honest, they have never known such times, I'd wager neither have the Eds and to be brutally honest I doubt Nick has. It is difficult to empathise with a situation which you are not familiar with.

Although this plan to encourage the building trade will bring welcome relief to areas of the country and to those in the building trade there is also the problem that here in Medway, no one can afford to do the work. What is more important to you? Getting to work? Keeping a much needed car on the road? Extending your conservatory?

Politicians need to think about us, those at the bottom of the ladder, who want to make ends meet, who don't want hand outs, who work hard but still want family life. Yes, the Liberal Democrat influence in Government has helped with the raising of the Income tax threshold, immeasurably so as now my wife won't have to pay it putting money back in our pockets, but we need more action like this rather than sweeping measures.

Morgan Spurlock, the American documentary maker once spent 30 days living on the US minimum wage and he was shocked at how much of a struggle it was. I, like Geoff, would welcome members of the cabinet doing the same thing!

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