Take Me To Your Leader Writer

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...has written more leaders (newspaper editorials) than anyone alive or dead, an honour still to be recognised by the Guiness Book of Records or the Nobel judges. I have produced them for the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror, Today, the Sunday People, the Evening Post (Hemel Hempstead), the Caithness Courier and the Student (Edinburgh). My creed is: Have opinions, Will travel.

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Unwelcome in the hillsides

I am sitting in a rather nice cafe on the outskirts of Cardiff and wondering where the great Tory surge that is supposed to be sweeping across Wales is taking place. There are an impressive number of election signs and posters up but they are all for Plaid Cymru or Wales Labour. I suppose they are for the local elections rather than the Big One a month later, but they do give an indication of the way support runs. Perhaps, you might think, it is in the rural areas where admiration for Theresa May is to be found. Yet where I am is rural by most standards. So here I sit, musing and toying with the idea that in Wales it must be the former industrial areas which are moving to the Tories. That was the story in the US presidential, where the rust-belt voters put Trump into power, and apparently in France, too, where that same type of electorate is now widely supportive of Marine le Pen. These people - in all countries - share a disappointment in the usual politicians, a fall in living standards and an understandable anger. But they kick out at the wrong targets by giving their support to the very people who will do them even more damage. I have just looked at today’s South Wales Echo which has on its front page: "Revealed - The hidden poverty in our valleys - Shocking tales of deprivation blighting the towns and villages of South Wales". Those tales, recounted by a charity, are indeed shocking. Some families are even living without beds or light bulbs. Turn to page five of the Echo, though, and you will see that the latest Sunday Times Rich List revealed that two Welsh “power couples” have seen their wealth increase by more then £700 million in the past year and are now worth £2.6 billion and £1.6 billion respectively. So, weighing these two stories against each other, we have on one hand families living in desperate poverty unable to even afford light bulbs and on the other people worth billions who can afford anything and everything they want. Is there something to be learnt from that? Apparently not for the Welsh voters who are jumping into bed with the Tories, the party of the rich and the one which destroyed their coal industry. In the European referendum, Wales, unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, voted to leave. Partly, in common with Leavers everywhere, because of the influx of immigrants. The full top ten of wealthy couples in the Rich List is reproduced in the Echo. These are some of their family names: Bertarelli, de Carvalho, Santo Domingo, Pinault, Moritz, Zabludowicz and von Opel. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help feeling that none of those names sound particularly British. As far as I am concerned, they are welcome here. But you never hear those voters who so vociferously and aggressively demand massive curbs on immigration insisting that this sort of incomer should be blocked. Instead they want to stop those like Polish builders and Romanian agricultural workers who come here to work hard, doing jobs the indigenous population won’t, for low incomes Brits sniff at, as well as desperate refugees fleeing terrible persecution. I don't blame most of those who hold such perverted views. The ones I do blame are the disgusting politicians and newspaper editors/proprietors who take advantage of their ignorance, stoke their prejudices and are leading the country and the world down a very dangerous path.

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