Letters - Tuesday, January 11, 2022
It’s business as usual for the government
I notice that it is, as expected, business as usual for the Tories.
The MPs who are on a basic £81,932 will on April 1 receive a rise of £2,000 for this part-time job.
Other than PMQs or a vote, the benches are mostly deserted. They come in, register, then go for their food and drink subsidised by the taxpayer. A meal that cost £21.05 in 2016 was reduced to £18.57 in 2021 - a saving of £2.48.
It is also most likely that many even claim this on their expenses, after all they are not there for their constituents but merely to line their own pockets and increase their gold-plated pension. It has also been noted that the cabinet are mostly millionaires, and some are multi-millionaires. They are unlikely to notice the rising prices, or have any real idea of how hard they will hit the ordinary people.
Boris continues to lie and mislead Parliament as only he can. He stated in the Commons that the pensioners get £140.00 a week Warm Home Allowance. This is in fact the amount they get a year and he fails to mention that it is limited to those on the priority register and that it has to be applied for.
The gap between the rich and poor is getting wider. Those on £10,000 or less will who received Universal Credit will have already seen £20 a week taken off them.
The others who are worried about the broken Tory promises, the pensioners’ TV licences, the triple-lock being broken, below inflation rises, are now having to cut back on food and try to avoid putting the heating on. They are sat indoors with extra clothing on, track suit bottoms, thick walking socks and a fleeced lined jacket yet having to get under a duvet to watch TV or read a newspaper are feeling the true effect of Boris Johnson’s Britain.
This is supposed to be a civilized country but when pensioners and the other poor members of society are treated like this it proves otherwise.
Perhaps don’t put up a Blair statue...
After the good news from Bristol, I would strongly advise that any plans to erect a statue in honour of Sir Tony Blair be abandoned.
Leaders and the decline of oratory
When some two years ago Sir Keir Starmer succeeded Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party I thought the country at last had the chance of experiencing a credible and responsible opposition party capable of holding the government to account-something that is vital in a liberal democracy.
Sir Keir admittedly has had his hands full combating and getting rid of the remaining ultra-left Corbynites in his shadow cabinet. In addition, the need to support Covid measures while at the same time criticising the government has proved to be a delicate and time-consuming balancing act.
But listening to him explaining his new ‘contract’ with the people it was apparent that he lacks charisma and an inspiring, authoritative voice.
‘Great leaders ( they are not necessarily decent, honest or admirable) are usually also great speakers’, so said Pericles in the 4th century BCE.
Our Parliament lacks an outstanding orator. Despite his many flaws, Winston Churchill was the last one. It was his stirring speeches during the dark days of 1940-42 that boosted public morale and motivated the nation to carry on. They also enabled him to survive in office.
Great oratory depends on: speaker, context and language. Churchill’s use of English based on short sentences was masterly. Every student should be encouraged to read his books in order to savour written English par excellence.
Sadly, Winston has no equal today. Few MPs can even address the House without notes in hand.
Too many speeches are clouded with an over-abundance of subordinate clauses; there is a lack of fluency, eloquence and elegance; the PM is a prime example.
American politics is suffering in the same way. Like his predecessor, President Biden is a very poor speaker. They have no one to compare with Lincoln, Martin Luther King or Eisenhower.
Like us, and France and Germany, they urgently need political leaders who can motivate and inspire the country in times of crisis.
Unfortunately, the current and growing robotic addiction to social media, is destroying the ability to write good English let alone speak it. It is hardly conducive to breeding orators.
No wonder psychology Professor James Bradley of prestigious Princeton University has said that if this continues he can foresee the day when we will lose the ability to communicate verbally. A gross exaggeration?
I think not. Look about you.
Dr Barry Clayton
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