Friday, April 11, 2008

House Points: Anne Moffat says "bog off"

My House Points column from today's Liberal Democrat News.

Labour's losing it

I know what’s wrong with the Labour Party these days. It’s called Anne Moffat and sits in the House of Commons for East Lothian.

Let me explain. Last Thursday Norman Baker was asking the government to support Lewes District Council's offer to make a financial contribution to keep local post offices open.

At which point Moffat piped up: "He's a horror - tell him to bog off!" If you don't believe me, look in Hansard.

We Lib Dems find Norman endearing. He is sound on everything from Tibet to the reopening of the Uckfield to Lewes railway line. I appreciate other parties may not like him so much, but it was his question that forced Peter Mandelson's second resignation from the cabinet. That should make Labour MPs warm to him.

But it has not worked with Anne Moffat. Leave aside her crude language: just look at her bizarre politics.

You get yourself elected as a Labour MP because you care about public services. Then your government begins a cull of post offices. Shouldn't you be speaking up against it?

Or maybe you are a realist. You recognise that, in a world of texting and e-mail, it is not possible to have a post office in every village and on every suburban high street. But then shouldn't you be in favour of local councils keeping them open?

It is easy to accuse people of sentimentality about sub post offices. We all say we want them, but how many of us actually use them? Let me tell you why they matter.

There was a shop around the corner from my mother's house. The old people from the nearby sheltered accommodation used to go there to collect their pensions and buy a few treats. Then the post office counter closed and the shop closed with it. Now those old people have nowhere to go.

The result for them has been diminished lives and poorer health. And we are all paying the cost of that.

With issues like post office closures and the abolition of the 10 per cent tax band, this government has clearly lost touch with its natural voters. As far as Labour is concerned, as Anne Moffat would put it, they can bog off.


Amy said...

Well said.

I'm going to post a link to this in the "Amy Rodger for East Lothian" facebook group, if that's ok.


Jonathan Calder said...

You are welcome to post it.

Many thanks