See also: • Cascading Oppression • Fractal Abuse • Authoritarian Paradigm Collapse
Bedroom Tax Row - Letters:
Letter to Mark Simmonds MP 15/09/2013
16 September 2013
Main Index Next Letter

This was the letter that I felt obliged to pen (metaphorically because it never ever saw the tip of a pen) to my local conservative MP.  I can never quite weigh up if I am trying to talk 'their' language so that they 'understand' or my language so that I say what I mean.  If I really said what I meant I think I would alienate my words from any semblance of intellectual reception so I guess it is always going to be somewhere in the middle.  This letter is important because it is 1/60,000,000th of the opinion of the Great British Public!

80 Haslet Road – Biston - Sumshire – AZ1 1ZA
Telephone: 01234 567890 - Email:

Mark Simmonds MP
16 Main Ridge West
PE21 6QQ

15 September 2013

Dear Mark Simmonds

I am writing to express my profound shock at remarks that are emanating from leading members of the Conservative party regarding the visit to this country by Raquel Rolnik.

You will be aware that Mrs Rolnik visited the UK between 29 August and 11 September this year to look into the impact of the government's policies relating to housing.  You will also be aware that Mrs Rolnik is one of the United Nations' Special Rapporteurs on adequate housing.  I read Mrs Rolnik's initial press release and it seemed reasonable, if a little favourable, to the general welfare changes currently being implemented.  There was one significant criticism relating to the effects of the "under-occupation penalty" introduced in April of this year as part of the current welfare reforms.  My own view is that this is an ill conceived and ruthless policy which couldn't possibly be economically successful.  However, that as it may be, I could not believe the reports I was reading regarding comments made by the Conservative Party Chairman, Grant Shapps.

According to The Telegraph Grant Shapps said, amongst other things, "How it is [sic] that a woman from Brazil, a country that has 50m people in inadequate housing, has come over, failed to meet with any government ministers, with any officials from the Department of Work and Pensions or even to refer to the policy by its accurate name anywhere in the report at all."

Having read the official Press Statement to which Mr Shapps refers I note that Mrs Rolnik refers to the "under occupancy penalty" which is, as far as I can ascertain, a correct reference.  Is it the case that Mr Shapps had not actually read the report himself or is it possible he doesn't know what the policy is called?  I cannot believe that the Conservative Party Chairman doesn't even know the correct name of the policy.  To state a complete untruth about the content of a United Nations report is bizarre and unacceptable.  What is most shocking is the tone of his criticism.  It is appallingly prejudicial to attempt to dismiss the validity of Mrs Rolnik's report on the grounds of her country of origin.  He also incorrectly asserts that no government ministers were met.  This is reminiscent of the sort of retorts we were expected to ascribe to the likes of Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak or Colonel Gaddafi.

This vitriolic personal attack on Mrs Rolnik is quite disgraceful but more significantly it strongly suggests there is no valid argument against the suggestions made in the report.  So I am left wondering if in fact the policy, commonly known as the Bedroom Tax (as pointed out by Mrs Rolnik), does unfortunately breach international human rights law as suggested by Mrs Rolnik.  I noticed that Mrs Rolnik had commended some policies but as Mr Shapps seemed only to focus on the Bedroom Tax issue it rather alerted me to the worrying possibility that not only are we in danger of breaching international human rights but perhaps Mr Shapps already knew that and is beside himself with anger that he (or the Conservative Party in general) has been 'found out'.

His behaviour has profoundly shocked me and I am now going to have to write to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon myself to balance Grant Shapps' complaint and to assure him that if this is the reaction we get when government policies are questioned then they surely need more scrutiny.  Mr Shapps has written to the UN Secretary-General saying "I would like to request that a full investigation is conducted by the United Nations";  On this point I concur with the Party Chairman.

I wonder if Ban Ki-moon says something Mr Shapps doesn't like will he be referring to him as 'that little man from Korea'?  I cannot emphasize enough how shocked and disgusted I am at the apparent ignorance and arrogance of Mr Shapps.

Yours sincerely

Sam Spruce

Copied to:       United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Special Rapporteur, Raquel Rolnik
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron
Chairman of the Conservative Party, Grant Shapps

Main Index Next Letter

Toxic Drums Share

© Sente Limited 2013