“You have stripped us of everything: the rich have got richer, and the poor have got poorer” – these words reverberated not just amongst the entire Question Time audience at The Dome but literally in every Doncaster household affected by austerity.
If this statement does not tell you of a two, three, four tier state system that “Dodgy Dave” and his mates have imposed, then I really don’t know what will.
Let me give you a real example of this. On my Facebook page last week I posted that I needed the support of a labourer to help me lay down a patio, and they should contact me. I was absolutely inundated with responses by people willing to work for just £10 a day; whilst some told me how badly they needed the work so they wouldn’t become homeless.
To put this into context people are willing to work an entire day for just a couple of pounds more than 1 hour’s living wage. It’s devastating to face this reality and know about these hardships, whilst being limited to change the trajectories of these people’s lives.
In my previous column I pleaded to the public institutions in Doncaster: don’t just to focus on transforming services, focus on transforming lives. This point has also been endorsed by Dr David Crichton in his recent column, in which he too is tired of witnessing the postcode health lottery that impacts on the poorest so badly that it takes away years from their lives. To put this into perspective, last week I met with colleagues from the Council and Police who had requested my support to tackle Hate Crime as a result of my column in February and my experience in this area.
At this meeting I told the officers, that they should recognise that “hate” in any shape or form is the worst symptom of society, and whilst it is important that people are safeguarded and protected from abuse, it is even more important to be able to tackle the stagnant inequalities that leads to hate and inequality – the fact is some people are more equal than others. To completely ignore these facts and purely focus on just hate is tantamount to leaving the rich to get richer, and the poor getting poorer. I stated that I want to see a real programme focusing on all the key aspects of inequality; but it is for leaders to explain what this should be.
The fact is that change can only happen, if people who are drowning in monopolised power will allow it to happen. Putting it simply Doncaster’s will for change shouldn’t be governed by “Dodgy Dave’s” austerity programme, rather it should be driven by the actions of people like the Pope, who didn’t just leave people in despair to fend for themselves, he did something about it, similarly our leaders should do exactly the same.