Ilford Recorder Column 9 August 2012

Danny Boyle's Olympic Games opening ceremony was a brilliant statement of what it is to be British today. I was particularly pleased to see "Jerusalem" and "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles". The BBC coverage is superb. I have been surfing the red and blue buttons from cycling to swimming to hockey to beach volley ball. Like many I did not get the tickets I requested so I'll wait until the Paralympics to get to Athletics at Stratford and Wheelchair Basketball at Greenwich. But I did go to Wembley to experience the fantastic atmosphere of a mixed unsegregated 70,000 crowd as Team GB women beat Brazil. Sadly in the world outside the Games bubble things are not going so well for our country. David Cameron's Tory-led Government are stumbling from one reversal to another with U-turns on pasty, caravan, skip and charity taxes; plans to scrap free school milk; knife crime sentences; cutting child benefit; selling off our forests; and House of Lords reform. But on the economy they are stubbornly refusing to change course. Chancellor George Osborne's failed plan pushed the UK into a double-dip recession. Long-term youth unemployment in London increased by 352% in the last year. More people out of work claiming benefits rather than paying taxes means the Government is borrowing £150 billion more than they planned. We need fairness in tough times and a new direction to get out of this recession made in Downing Street. Osborne should make three immediate policy U-turns; reverse the cut in the 50p top rate of tax which gives over £40,000 to millionaires; repeal the unfair ‘granny tax’ which means 4.4 million pensioners, including 358,000 in London lose an average of £83 from next year; and put in place Labour’s plan for jobs and growth including a bankers’ bonus tax to fund youth jobs.




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