Tonight the SKWAWKBOX is pleased to feature two guest posts. This first takes aim and Home Secretary and suppressor of democracy, Amber Rudd and her attempt to retain her Hastings and Rye seat. It’s by Joshua FunnellJoshua Funnell:
The NEW Battle of ‘depressing’ Hastings: time to fell Amber Rudd’s “Magic Money Tree”
Hastings is depressing. If you’re from there you’re probably pretty angry with me. But what if I now told you I wanted to be your MP? I should surely expect to see an army of 1 finger salutes directed my way.
Incredibly, “depressing” is exactly how Amber Rudd described her Hastings constituency to the Financial Times, perhaps assuming her constituents wouldn’t read it…
Pride in a constituency is surely a prerequisite of any MP? I mean, at least pretend, right? “Depressing” probably wouldn’t be the chosen slogan for the Hastings Tourism website. Probably neither would be this utter gem by Rudd:
Hastings used (my emphasis) to be this beautiful, refined seaside place.
but now it hosts,
…people who are on benefits, who prefer to be on benefits by the seaside. They’re not moving down here to get a job…(but) easier access to friends and drugs and drink.
Good Lord Amber. Talk about an unorthodox approach to constituency Public Relations. No doubt business leaders fought viciously to set-up-shop after reading this glowing review. One local politician dryly commented:
…really disappointing given the timing for our City of Culture bid.
In fairness to Amber, Hastings may be a little ‘rough around the edges’ as they say, an up and coming area for property developers. But my god, if this is what she’s willing to say to the international press, what does she really think…?
Let’s not be too harsh on Amber though – even if she thinks Hastings invokes a depressing episode of Shameless – perhaps when she explained why she chose to represent Hastings it was driven by a charitable desire to improve people’s lives:
I wanted to be within two hours of London and I could see we were going to win.
DAMN IT AMBER! You don’t make this easy… This is the kind of moment in a court drama where her defence barrister would interject, “I politely request an adjournment to confer with my client”. Judging your constituency’s value based on the convenience of your personal travel arrangements is like having a sham relationship just to live in their house.
Ask yourself: are these the words of a champion of Hastings? All I’m saying is, she wouldn’t be my choice for a trial by combat in Game of Thrones if I wanted to live…
The ‘entitlement’ charge is easily thrown around in our ‘check your privilege’ era, but in Amber we have a compelling case. After all, when she tag teamed in for Don Corleone May at the BBC debate, she told the audience, “judge us on our record” (the audience then almost died of hysterical laughter). So let’s review that historical record.
In the BBC debate, Rudd chastised public sector workers wanting money in line with inflation by unveiling the Tory election nuke, “the magic money tree”. A political sound bite so belittling and patronizing a 3-year-old would roll their eyes.
Yet the magic money tree seems firmly rooted in the family of Amber Augusta Rudd. Yes, her middle name is Augusta, a cheap shot by me, but let’s let that sink in….
Although not born of a virgin, or in Hastings, or East Sussex for that matter… she was born of a Stock Broker, Antony Winton Rudd. She was educated at the private Cheltenham Ladies College, a far cry from Hastings Academy which accommodates a less socially advantaged demographic and routinely falls below average educational attainment levels.
Yet this personal fortune did not deter Amber from voting to cut the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for the poorest students, nor trebling tuition fees. Unless she paid for her own £34,000 a year tuition at Cheltenham Ladies, this seems a little naughty. Also consider 1/6 state schools are currently asking parents for financial contributions, whilst Amber backed highly experimental and hugely expensive ‘free schools’, maligned as ‘disasters’ by education experts.
Working for the magic money tree?
Magic Money Trees were abundant at Amber’s first job at J.P Morgan Bank and also at two companies in the Bahamas dealing with “Advanced Asset Allocation Management”. Purely coincidentally, I’m informed by botanists that magic money trees populate the Bahamas in great numbers due to a ‘tax-free climate’ that assists their growth. Rudd did not deny involvement with these companies, but refused to comment on their tax affairs despite calls from Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron amongst others. So remember, if HMRC ever needs clarification on your tax affairs just say ‘I have no further comment’ as it was good enough for the Home Secretary.
As reported by Private Eye, when Energy Minister, Rudd provided little assurance when it was discovered she had failed to disclose a huge conflict of interest regarding her brothers’ financial interests in companies linked with the building of Hinkley Point C Nuclear plant (a decision which she ultimately did not make).
Rudd was also once hired as ‘aristocracy co-coordinator’ to find posh extras for the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and is literally a direct descendant of King Charles the 2nd.
People can’t help being born privileged, but they can decide whether they use it to stiff those without by luck of birth. This considered, has Amber got the back of the Hastings average Joes?
It seems the answer is a resounding no.
Rudd has consistently voted for austerity policies that have made the lives of the majority and poor infinitely harder. Her party has presided over the longest decline in real wages for 50 years and the greatest devaluation of any country in the G20. At the same time they allowed the top 1% of earners to double their net worth.
She defends private energy and transport companies who rip off customers for shareholders, yet condemns their low paid employees for striking. As Home Secretary, she refused to bother to review evidence of alleged planned police political violence against the miners at Orgreave in the 1980’s, despite years of campaigning by relatives. Only recently on TV, she supported weapons sales to ISIS-supporting Saudis because it’s “good for British industry”; ‘enough is enough’ on tolerating terror, unless we can make a cheap buck it seems. Today she backs a Dementia Tax that will asset strip pensioners to pay for care already paid for with National Insurance and tax contributions their whole lives.
Finally, only days ago at a pre-election Hustings, Rudd shut down a fellow candidates speech. Nicholas Wilson was discussing UK arms deals to Saudi and banking corruption. This brave man had 13 years of his life destroyed, was sacked, driven to depression and financial ruin for fighting to expose the defrauding of thousands of customers – he was eventually vindicated in court. 13 years of struggle, and Rudd simply denied him his voice.
Rudd reminds me of late US Comedian George Carlin, who once asked in disbelief why people of modest means vote for people who “don’t give a shit about you”. He’s right, and I sometimes wonder if we’re indoctrinated to believe ourselves undeserving of a politics that gives us material comfort and social uplift. Instead, we believe ourselves only worthy of pain and an economic sour medicine for our own good. We seem scared by the novelty of optimism, yet weirdly comfortable with the familiarity of strife.
Similarly, Rudd offers a harsh ‘realism’ of cuts and austerity she isn’t personally exposed to. ‘Realism’ is nothing more than elites convincing the many to expect nothing, whilst others simultaneously take and are given everything, a political choice masquerading as inevitable.
That’s the subtext when Amber stands at a podium in front of an audience of hard-working teachers, NHS staff, policeman, civil servants and then scolds them like an old school headmistress chastising delusional children about there not being a “magic money tree”. Well, I’m sorry, this is a little rich coming from someone born in a tree house in that very same money tree.
Hastings, vote for the many, not the few. Vote for a real local candidate, Peter Chowney. Vote Labour. Vote for real hope and change that has not been on offer for many generations and battle for the real people of Hastings.
If Hastings votes for a woman that holds them in such contempt, this would be the most “depressing” thing of all.
The SKWAWKBOX is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you found this information helpful and can afford to, please do click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your support so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.