Otto English says “deep-rooted political illiteracy” is allowing those in power to remain popular after footage showed two voters in Hartlepool blame Labour for police and hospital cuts.
Despite being out of power for more than a decade the two men seemed to confuse national political decisions for those being made on the ground in local constituencies.
“You can sort of think for yourself”
In the BBC Breakfast clip, the voters are asked to reflect on the Hartlepool by-election and how they reached their decision.
One voter said: “I suppose for Hartlepool and electing Labour it stems back to your granddad, your dad, and it’s passed onto you, ‘you vote Labour because we’re working class’.”
He added: “Now we’re getting to a stage where you can sort of think for yourself – we’ve had enough of Labour. They’ve just wrecked it, everything.
“The hospital, we haven’t even got a cell where we can lock someone up on a night. We haven’t got a court, where we can take them to court. What’s that all about? You’ve got to have these facilities, [such as] police.”
The other voter said: “We had the option to give birth to our second son in Hartlepool but we decided against it, because there is no doctors, no [hospital] theatres, and if anything went wrong, God forbid, we would have had gotten off to Tees.”
Political illiteracy benefits those in power. We really, really need to educate people about how political systems work and journalists have a duty to challenge this stuff rather than simply let them rant on. (I don’t know what happened next)— Otto English (@Otto_English) May 9, 2021
NHS and police cuts
According to GMB figures released in 2019 some 23,500 police staff jobs have been lost in England and Wales since 2010, when the Conservatives were voted into government.
The figures include more than 7,000 cuts to Police Community Support Officer roles (PCSOs).
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, commented at the time: “The Tories talk tough on crime but in reality they’ve spent the last decade denying police forces the resources they need to keep the public safe.
“They have put lives at risk every day.”
At the start of the pandemic, John McDonnell said that ten years of “cuts, weak growth, and widespread insecure work” left the UK in a “vulnerable position” to a shock like the one the country faced with the escalating coronavirus.
Some 150,000 people are thought to have perished due to the virus in the country.
New MP Jill Mortimer repeatedly blamed Labour MPs for Hartlepool’s state
Jill Mortimer, the newly-elected Tory MP for Hartlepool, has repeatedly blamed Labour MPs for Hartlepool’s state.
Speaking on LBC this weekend she said the people of Hartlepool “wanted change and voted for positive change”.
But LBC’s Nick Ferrari stressed several times that it is the Conservatives who have been in power “for quite some years”.
He said: “You talk about opportunities being missed, they have clearly been missed by the government which you’re now a member of”.
Jill Mortimer disagreed and blamed Hartlepool Labour MPs – and got the maths wrong, saying they have been in power “for the past 57 years” – but the constituency has been in place for 47 years.
She said: “The people of Hartlepool aren’t daft, they knew that their Labour MPs have not been doing their best for them, and that’s why they wanted a change.
“They failed to act to secure the opportunities that they could for their town which is what I will be doing.
“All I know is that we went out, we ran a good campaign, we told people our message of what we wanted to do here and they put their trust in us.”