When the last article in the Citizen was written about the plight of our local food banks, I, and many of my family and friends were gob-smacked about the comments of our local MP, Richard Graham and his general attitude of “it’s all their own fault”. To do something like that once is bad, but could be out of context, to do it twice is just wrong. Yet he has done it, by his own contribution to another Citizen article. Mr Graham’s attitude to those in need, caused in large by his Government is contemptible. This shows a distinct lack of moral fibre and general ignorance about his constituents. This is disgusting and he should have the good sense to realise that his position is untenable with those who rely on him to help them in their hour of need. In short, it is too dangerous for Gloucester Residents to wait to 2015, he should leave now.
Richard has form when it comes to this, it’s not too long ago that he accused rape victims of asking for it by the way they dressed. That was bad enough, but he has once again shown that he is quick to judge those who need support rather than helping them. He claims that usage has gone up because the vouchers are easy to get (let’s not highlight that his office is a source of vouchers) but he should really talk to some people who have gone down that route. No-one who I have talked to finds it an easy prospect. Many have to overcome personal feelings of shame and anxiety before going for help, many parents who are just doing their best to survive. This is not easy for them to do, that is then followed by working out how to make that precious food parcel last.
We automatically assume that food bank users are all long-term benefits claimants, and that’s an easy vision for Richard to deal with, because he vilifies the Welfare State. But the reality is that many food back users are those people who have had a decent job and trying their best, but get made redundant and suddenly find themselves with the mortgage bill looming (selling the house doesn’t help) and having to make ends meet very quickly. The reality is it could be any one of us should a wrong decision of our employer happen. For Richard to say he has no idea about why usage has gone up, claiming many of them are from out of the city, even though his office is one of the distribution points of vouchers and he knows what you have go through to get them is just bizarre. I’m surprised he knows where the Foodbank is, because he has not even visited it while he has been an MP. He has commented that they need to go to him if they want help.
He is quick to point out the traditional rhetoric about claimants just wanting the latest gadgets. He points out the Mobile phone, yes lots of people use mobile phones, but for many it is their only phone line, their only contact and many of our government agencies struggle to talk to you if you don’t have a contact number, and many are cheaper than a landline. Yes people have debts, people have made decisions they are not proud of, but haven’t we all. Lets face it, those duck ponds, stables and second homes don’t pay for themselves. But it’s easy to blame the victims, it’s quick to do and leaves Richard free to engage in his more preferred exploits. He does seem a lot more interested in his jollies abroad in his envoy role, rather than the issues and problems of those who he should be representing.
Richard, I simply can not believe the attitude to those who should be able to rely on your help in their times of need. This transcends political arguments, your attitude to the most vulnerable in our community is dangerous for them and for Gloucester as a whole. Waiting for 2015 isn’t good enough, I implore to you apologise to those you are supposed to serve, and resign your seat.