Twitter is alive this morning with a series of clips from one of the husting type sessions from our broadcasters. The session is by Victoria Derbyshire whose BBC session involved Dominic Raab who was the MP for Esher and Walton and having achieved 63% of the vote in 2015 is likely to be returned to a seat that has been Tory dominated since 1950. Dominic accused Jeremy Corbyn of threatening to disarm the Police and then failed to come up with any form of evidence to support his crazy idea. Then when he was questioned about the national debt which has risen from just under a Trillion in 2010 to over 1.7Tn this year he could not offer any explanation or understanding apart from demanding to answer the question on his own terms.
One of the agencies that was participating in the event is @FullFact whose Director Will Moy was in the audience of the show. Full Fact provide a lot of fact checking for events such as TV programmes. So far they have not responded to the lie by Dominic Raab over police disarmament but they did offer this information to clarify a piece about foodbanks. According to Dominic most food bank users are not “languishing in poverty” and he claims that “cash flow problems” are the cause of the huge rise of people using foodbanks which according to Full Facts “The number of uses of Trussell Trust food banks has gone up since 2010 from 41,000 to 1.2 million”. It is deeply disturbing to have a Government made up of people like Dominic whose party seems incapable of understanding how foodbanks operate and who actually uses them. Of course cash flow is a key issue for people whose benefits are withdrawn for a variety of reasons and then are forced to wait weeks or even months for the money to be returned. The prospect of Dominic understanding this is low, bearing in mind he was a Solicitor prior to his political career taking off and he currently earns £208 per hour for his extra curricular work as a member of the Advisory Board of Reliance ACSN Limited, a UK cyber security firm.
Another piece of data that Full Facts released during the programme is shown above which for me is a critical issue. The graph shows how public money is spent in our nation. Living in the South East where the spending is the lowest per person and also where the cost of living is close to the highest reveals a challenging situation that needs to be addressed by a future Government. It will never be popular because the people who claim that the North South divide is toxic for the North constantly ignore the detailed analysis which shows that if London was removed from the map, the South East and South West would be one of the poorest areas of the UK, not one of the richest as is often portrayed in our London based media. Some of the poorest people in the UK live in our region, particularly in our rural communities which the Tories manifesto has rather naively promised “We will bring sustainable growth to the rural economy and boost our rural areas, so that people who live in the countryside have the same opportunities as those who live in our towns and cities”. Frankly without a plan this will never happen and in the meantime the use of public funds to assist the rural communities in Wales and Scotland, need to be applied in places like rural East and West Sussex.