Saying “No” to Benefits Street… Warning, this one’s political!

Last week Ralph Lee, head of factual at Channel 4 announced he would not back down to pleas by Stockton locals to stop making Benefit Street in our town, I am one of those locals, but I mean really, why would he?  What power does a little town in The North East of England have to change anything that happens to it?  We will just add it to the long list of things we tried to fight and failed, like

– Thatchers anti-industrial north east revolution (a.k.a lets kill your industry & livelihood & replace it with benefits, revolution)

– Blair’s failure to find adequate money in the treasury to develop north east rail

– Cameron’s local government cuts intervention (a.k.a lets take away your libraries, youth services & art galleries to keep giving bankers in London a bonus)

– Ian Duncan Smiths bedroom tax that is ripping apart communities and turfing pensioners out of their homes

I could go on. People wonder why the North East has a drink problem, well that’s what happens when you rip the soul out of someone, take control of of their life, tell them, they’re rubbish and then maybe make a few TV program’s about it.

Our railways, that could help us rebuild our economy through better links to major cities in the north have been completely neglected.  Despite endless debates in Westminster and pleas to the treasury from our local MP’s, we have trains that make India’s railways look modern.  And then some London based bankers decided to play roulette with all of our money, lose badly and then get a bail out from our government but who pays the price?  Town’s like us, who through austerity are having to find millions and millions of pounds worth of cuts every year because money that we used to get from central government went to bail out the bankers.  We are losing our youth centers, drugs educators, youth workers, domestic violence workers, community nurses, rape counselors and children’s play workers.  And so we go on marches, we cry injustice, we plead stop, but just like Chanel4 ‘s Ralph Lee, they don’t listen, they carry on regardless saying it’s in the public interest.

There is a lot of talk around devolution at the moment.  Westminster are beginning to debate about how London shares greater power with the rest of the nation? I can’t imagine any bright ideas coming from the Tories though, particularly if they continue with the idea of English votes for English laws.  To me English rule means a continuation of the same.  After all, it’s only London that’s the problem really isn’t it?

What 45% of Scotland was saying to Britain last month was that they wanted more control of their lives and what happens to them.  Well join the club Scotland, so do we but we are not going to get it until power is genuinely devolved from Whitehall.  Maybe instead of all of the regions beginning their own Independence campaigns, the only thing we really need to do is join together to tackle the power of the city of London and corporations that control us. Maybe we should come together to say to Cameron and his tax avoiding corporate friends, we are serving you notice, we’d like our nation back oh and we hope you don’t mind, but we’ll probably make a TV documentary about it, while we’re doing it!

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