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Sunday 15 February 2015

An Open Letter To David Cameron

Dear Mr. Cameron

Your recent announcement about obese people, drug addicts, and alcoholics losing benefits didn't really come as a shock to me. There was more a sense of resignation and futility, because you haven't got a clue about what real people are like, or the issues they face.

Addiction has long been recognised as a medical condition. If you could cure it, I'd be the first to hold your coat. However, since medical science hasn't achieved it yet. I have my doubts. Cut the benefits, put desperate people into an even more desperate situation, and watch both the death toll and the crime rate rise. Is that really what you have in mind? Don't you think enough people have died through the new benefits system already? I won't go into the idiocy of the current drugs policy, except to say that no sane dealer wants it legalised, because you'd remove their customer base.

So onto the obesity issue. I have a few problems with this. Obesity isn't simply a matter of eating too much, Mr. Cameron. There are a number of factors involved, including, but not limited to:

1) Thyroid problems
2) Medication (known as iatrogenic obesity)
3) Genetic disposition
4) Psychological pain
5) Not being able to afford decent food. This one's a doozy, isn't it? Because the average person living on these benefits simply can't afford to live healthily and pay their bills. If you think this is sufficient, I challenge you to live like this for 3 months. No extras. No help from friends or family. Live on this, and see how you feel afterwards.

Perhaps the biggest issue I have is that once again, this is a huge personal intrusion to people with these conditions. You do not have the right to dictate how somebody deals with their body, because we are not supposed to be slaves.

I realise that this puts pressure on the NHS. (So does underpaying the staff to the point that doctors and nurses are emigrating to greener pastures with better pay and living conditions.) But, Mr. Cameron, the NHS was designed to help everybody who needed it. Either the system works, or you start excluding on the basis of colour, gender, religion, body shape etc. You can't have it both ways.

One of the arguments is that people die from these conditions. Yes, they do. People die every day. They also die in car accidents, house fires, from homicide and sheer bad luck. So far your government has attempted to press ahead with raising the speed limit for HGV's despite the warning that it will increase deadly accidents, destroyed fire-fighters pensioners, and released long-term tariff convicted murderers early, only to have them kill again. If you were willing to run the risk of harm to people by doing all of these things, please explain why you are so hell-bent on controlling our lives and bodies? Will the next step be making anything over a size twelve illegal?

Do you know what happens in a country where the leadership shows it's okay to be prejudiced, Mr. Cameron? That it's fine to hate and despise anyone who is other, who doesn't march in line to the official drum? You get this. And this. And this.  And directly to the point, this. People die or are attacked, harassed or mutilated because you thought it was cool to get some extra attention. You should be protecting people, not encouraging prejudice.

What's truly heartbreaking, Mr. Cameron, is that you and your government could have made some truly effective and good social and economic changes in this country. Instead you have reduced us to xenophobic paranoids, willing to point the finger at everything except ourselves. We dance to the tune of the red top tabloids, because our leader panders to the worst of them. Instead of investing in the country and creating a workforce, you pushed people into starvation and told us it was for our own good. By pushing education out of reach of all but the elite few, you have created a nation of frustrated, under-educated people who are drowning while you stand on the shores and watch. And you just don't stop.

I truly hope that this was yet another misguided attempt to get your name in the headlines because of the upcoming elections. Unfortunately, it has once again revealed you to be a man who does not do his research, does not think about the repercussions of his proposals, and does not give a damn about anyone who is not on the same economic level as yourself.

What a waste of an otherwise intelligent man.