Tory chair and Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis showed typical Tory arrogance yesterday with a dismissive comment about a large attendance of local people to protest against Tory-controlled Norfolk County Council’s plan to ‘transform’ children’s services in the area – by closing six of the town’s SureStart centres as part of a plan to shut down forty-six of the county’s fifty-three centres.
SureStart centres are a vital resource for parents – but were created by Labour in government. Tories have been closing them in huge numbers around the country since they came to power in 2010.
Arrogant, hypocritical, out of touch with reality – take your pick from that and more. And local people did.
‘No real regard’
Lewis’ comment that those attending to protest the closures have ‘no real regard’ for children’s welfare and were just ‘playing politics’ incensed local – who were quick to point out the many ways in which Tories, including Mr Lewis, are damaging children in the area and habitually play politics.
Improvement by closure
A frequent theme in the huge thread of responses was the damage the local Tory council is doing to children and the services they and their parents rely on. When this was pointed out, Lewis astonishingly tried to claim that this represents ‘better’ services – and was rightly challenged and ‘flamed’ for it by people pointing out the extent of Tory cuts in the area:
Welfare of local vulnerable children
Among the many responses pointing out just what SureStart centres mean to children and their parents, two very direct, personal responses stood out. One closes this article; the other laid out a very concrete example of a centre being a vital help to a vulnerable woman and her children – and pointed out that Lewis has not turned up to visit even the SureStart centre that stands a mere thirty seconds’ walk from his constituency office:
Welfare of anyone
More than one commenter pointed out that the Tories’ policies have damaged all kinds of people all over the country – and one offered a stark statistic:
— marilyn (@662Maz) November 3, 2018
Who are yer?
Lewis has a reputation for being rarely seen in the constituency – and never seen near a SureStart centre. This was a frequent point of attack by locals responding to Lewis’ nonsense:
The theme of Lewis’ absence from his constituency to stay in London spilled over into comment about his expense claims for accommodation in the capital, which were – to say the least – substantial given the short train ride between them:
The hypocrisy of criticising ‘shouty’ people protesting over vital services when Tories are boorish every week in Parliament for political purposes is glaring – but as more than one person present pointed out, there was abuse of the public by Tory councillors during the SureStart meeting as well:
As an appetiser to Lewis’ dismantling, his critics began by pointing out the nonsense of his claim that protesters were ‘shipped in’ – a claim as untrue as it is hypocritical:
Lewis criticism was a bit rich, given the Tories’ liberal use of buses in election campaigns – and their inability to raise even a semblance of a crowd for their leader without bussing in every Conservative councillor for miles around:
Some pointed out that bussing in Tories had got the party into trouble, with one MP currently on trial for bus-related irregularities around campaign buses:
But another pointed out that if all else fails, the Tories are more than ready to resort to, let’s say, less conventional measures to conjure up a presence:
This barbed comment, entirely factual, referred to the ‘appearance‘ of Tory David Burrowes in a group photo he had actually missed.
While much of the thread was hard-hitting criticism of Tory hypocrisy and callousness, the evidently rattled nature of Lewis’ comment drew some humorous comments as well – as did Lewis’ hypocrisy and his alleged resemblance to a well-known comedy character:
— Plastic (@Jamesli07723738) November 3, 2018
Oh Brandon, you are such a f****g arse! You are presiding over a systemically #racist #Antisemitic & #Islamophobic party which is gleefully throwing thousands of people into poverty & worse with its ‘Arbeit Mach Frei’ #UniversalCredit policies & you spout sh1t like this pic.twitter.com/TVRTJSygEs
— Marco Kinney (#GTTO)✋#OneVoice #BackTo60 (@Obscure_Rebel) November 4, 2018
— Carole Anne Jones (@CARogersNo1) November 4, 2018
— MakeAmericaWaitAgain (@MakeAmericaWait) November 3, 2018
— Socialist and Proud (@eilie49) November 3, 2018
Didn't happen. However May literally bussed in her rent a mob during the last election, and were told to clap and cheer on demand. You really are pathetic Brandon, this is all you have? pic.twitter.com/HVezC7LxzC
— Never Trust A Tory (or the BBC) (@pplwhocantpark) November 3, 2018
So lucky we’ve got you guys in charge, nothing like huge increases in food banks, homelessness and deaths while benefits refused…the state of you; utterly despicable humans pic.twitter.com/uAczP6rrwD
— Ret1red H1tman (@Ret1redH1tman) November 3, 2018
— OneTenTwelve (@OneTenTwelve) November 4, 2018
— carole hope (@carolehope2) November 4, 2018
Face it. You’re just jealous. pic.twitter.com/U6DlLZrJu5
— Grumps (British republican).✋🏿 (@bobwiggin) November 4, 2018
Accusations of "shouty" from the party who think braying like rabid donkeys in Parliament is an acceptable reaction when a polite question is being asked. 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/NCxmyixRdd
— Janet T Beckett 💚 #GTTO (@carbonsaveruk) November 4, 2018
That didn’t go well…
A few people summed up the consequences of Lewis’ ill-advised foray onto Twitter with a succinctness that deserves special mention:
But the final word should go to a woman who responded with outraged and tragic detail about the impact of Tory cuts on her disabled son – click through on the last tweet to read the full information:
If has nothing to do with allegiance to a political party, and everything to do with services provided to a community being cut. If Labour were doing the same I’d be criticising them. You need to look at the facts of who this affects and how before writing inflammatory tweets.
— Rebecca Cheese (@beakpie) November 3, 2018
Many thanks for failing to respond to my question, and instead using Twitter in the meantime to tweet about the NHS. I’ll give you some more facts about my son; how he has been repeatedly failed by your party ever since he was born. Seeing as we’re now on the topic of the NHS: pic.twitter.com/F7JHB9oBgd
— Rebecca Cheese (@beakpie) November 3, 2018
Shame on Brandon Lewis. Shame on his whole party – in Norfolk and everywhere.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.