Is this really better?

March 21, 2021 6:24 PM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

99id (Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash)Throughout the pandemic the government has promised it will " build back better" after it is all over.

With the number of covid cases subsiding fast we have had a number of statements and decisions from the Conservatives this week which give a clue as to how the might be defining better. It does not point to a better Britain that we would be happy being in

In no particular order the announcements included

1 Crime

The government introduced a new Bill which seeks to make peaceful protest harder. It also bizarrely includes plans to increase the maximum sentence for defacing a statue to 10 years as legislation ignores their "emotional or symbolic value". At a time when the safety of women is a major concern it is worth reflecting that the minimum sentence for rape is 5 years. How does that make life better?

2 Sarah Everard Vigil

After the disgraceful scenes of police manhandling women who had come to pay their respects in what was a very emotional time politicians from across the political spectrum were quick to condemn the police action. For a while the Met Police Commissioner was under pressure to resign

It now appears the home secretary sent a message to Chief Constables saying that a ban on gatherings had to be enforced. "People should conduct their vigil using alternative means and in accordance with the law. Police must take a consistent approach and cannot waive the regulations for any one type of gathering. "She also promised she would personally urge people not to gather - but she never did.

This made her subsequent criticisms of the way officers broke up the Clapham event particularly galling, according to some police chiefs

3 Nicola Sturgeon

For us in England the ins and outs of thre inquiry into the handling of the Alex Salmond sexual harassment case probably has passed you by. What is particularly hypocritical however is the Scottish Conservatives calling for Ms Sturgeon to resign because she may have broken the ministerial code. This is the same party whose leader in Westminster ignored a ruling that Pritti Patel had broken the same said code by bullying junior staff. Hypocrisy or what?

4 After school tutoring

One of the biggest worries about the impact of the pandemic has been its impact on our kids education. The idea of offering after school tutoring to help those catch up was therefore to be welcomed. However rather than trust schools with the extra money to appoint tutors the ideological desire to outsource has come into the news with the Guardian reporting one Company was found to be using Tutors in Sri Lanka who are as young as 17 and earning as little as £1.57 an hour have been used to teach maths to disadvantaged primary school children in England, For this service schools were being charged around £19

Despite the outrageous costs of Test and Trace again outsourced where some consultants trousered £6000 per day it appears the government never learns

5 Climate Change

Despite evidence from Norway where tax incentives help ensure that the market share of electric cars in Norway increased to 54% in 2020 from 42% the previous year, and our governments supposed commitment to going electric they slipped out news this week a decision to cut taxpayer subsidies for electric vehicles and scrap help for those costing more than £35,000. ( previously £50000). Grants of up to £2,500 will be available for plug-in cars - down from a previous £3,000.

Although the Economist has said with battery costs falling it expects electric cars to be cheaper than petrol within 3 years the government argues the cut will allow them to offer the subsidy longer. rather than it being a cost cutting measure

And yet in the last budget fuel duty was again held flat ironically making it relatively cheaper to buy a petrol car in the short term

6 Brexit

The papers have been full of complaints from Dominic Rabb the Foreign Secretary, accusing the EU of trying to erect a border down the Irish Sea. Now we dont know where Mr Rabb has been for the past 12 months but does he not realise the Brexit deal his own government signed agreed to just that. It is true Theresa May vowed never to agree to this, but it was the very solution chosen by his Prime Minister. We often complain of government incompetence but this beats most!!