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Letters: Clapping is hypocrisy in my book




As I took my evening walk at 8pm last Thursday my heart was warmed by the sound of applause ringing out across West Norfolk.

The community coming together to express their gratitude to those who are putting themselves in harms way for us. We live in an overwhelmingly Conservative voting area.

Knowlngly or not, many of those clapping have also voted for the gradual dismantling of the NHS; they have facilitated the reduction of overall NHS funding in terms of GDP, the freezing of wages, the shutting of wards, the closure of hospitals, the removal of bursaries for midwives and the massive shortage of nurses that we are now experiencing.

A round of applause for NHS workers. Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay(32457548)
A round of applause for NHS workers. Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay(32457548)

The reason hospitals are now having to choose between treating Covid patients or providing cancer treatment is because of Conservative economic policy. The UK has fewer acute beds relative to its population than many comparable health systems.

Last week, Dominic Raab said: “I think you’ve certainly made us all think long and hard about who the ‘key workers’ are in our lives”. Perhaps he has had an epiphany. In 2012 he co-wrote a book called Britannia Unchained, with Priti Patel and our very own Liz Truss in which they stated that “The British are among the worst idlers in the world”. Mr Raab is against human and social rights and believes that it should be easier to sack people. We live in a country where half of working age benefits go to working families. Low and frozen wages, high rents, insecure, part time hours and zero contracts have made it impossible for families to manage without relying on state benefits. Those who voted Conservative have enabled this.

In December, the people of West Norfolk voted overwhelmingly for a Government that is relentlessly hostile to immigrant workers. Priti Patel is pressing ahead with their policies despite the fact that we clearly rely on this workforce. The majority of migrant workers don’t come here to be high flying accountants. They come here to drive buses and deliver parcels, to pick crops and pack produce, deliver social care and to risk their lives in the health service. At this time of crisis they are the backbone of our society. So, when people who voted for the removal of those who “come over here to take our jobs” stand on their doorsteps clapping on a Thursday evening are they valuing ALL workers or just the native British ones?

Once the pandemic is over are we going to allow the continued carving up and contracting out of the health service? Are we going to continue supporting a Government that puts profit ahead of people time and time and time again? Are we really a society that only values people when they have something we want? If protecting the vulnerable, housing the homeless, supporting those who have no income and caring for our communities is worth applauding during a pandemic ... why not all the time?

Rebecca Elliot,

Downham Market



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