OPEN LETTER TO YVONNE FOVARGUE MP

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Dear Yvonne

Since your election in 2010, I have been impressed by how promptly you respond to my letters on various topics.

You have made me feel I have some input into our parliamentary process. Thank you.

Recently I wrote to you regarding the fact that 97% of our entire money supply is created out of thin air by commercial banks making loans (extending credit in their language). This statement is not open for debate. The Bank of England has publicly stated that this is fact.

To quote a monetary expert who has a far greater in-depth grasp of these issues than I, Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times:

The essence of the contemporary monetary system is creation of money, out of nothing, by private banks’ often foolish lending.

When this money is paid back, with interest, it disappears from the economy. As commercial banks decide who gets first use of money created when they make loans, and for what reason, the unelected board members of the big five commercial banks have a massively inappropriate influence on our entire economy.

Moreover, banks make loans predominantly for property and financial speculation. Only about 10% goes into the real economy – jobs, schools, social services, public infrastructure etc.

This situation exists because legislators allow it to exist.

I was one of around 1600 Positive Money supporters who wrote to about 500 MPs on this issue.

By comparing the various responses we now realise that letters to our MPs are often answered by their party’s central office and not by the MPs themselves.

Could you please view Positive Money’s analysis of the your party’s response to my letter here: http://bit.ly/1syWebv and clarify which points of Positive Money’s analysis and proposal you personally agree with and which you don’t?

See the Liberal Democrats response here: http://bit.ly/1wygH5j

And the Conservatives response here: http://bit.ly/1DW8Bqv

***

As an administrator for the National Community Activists Network  interactive website (NatCAN) I am generally kept aware of the day to day concerns of active, politically-conscious people.

I realise that MPs have a pressing and extremely busy schedule to keep and that it impossible for you speak to all of your constituents in real time.

I would therefore like to give you the opportunity to comment on two other matters, presently of great public concern, via this online blog post, in which your response will available for viewing and comment for a year or so.

1). Almost without exception, the most common remark regarding our major political parties in the run-up to the election is, ‘they are all the same’.

The political scientist and professor of comparative politics, Peter Mair, began his book ‘Ruling The Void’ with these words:

“The age of party democracy has passed. Although the parties themselves remain, they have become so disconnected from the wider society, and pursue a form of competition that is so lacking in meaning, that they no longer seem capable of sustaining democracy in its present form.”

He went on to say,

“Parties are failing because the zone of engagement – the traditional world of party democracy where citizens interacted with and felt a sense of attachment to their political leaders – is being evacuated.”

“Though the levels of party membership in absolute numbers now appear to be bottoming out – indeed, they have often fallen so low as to make it almost impossible to imagine further decline in absolute numbers without this signalling the wholesale collapse of the party organizations concerned – the scale of the decline since the high point reached in the late 1970s is unmistakable.”

As Britain’s two-party system gave way to alternating periods of predominance, so too adversarial politics gave way to a new centrist consensus. The parties might still compete with one another for votes, sometimes even intensively, but they came to find themselves sharing the same broad commitments in government and confining themselves to the same ever-narrowing repertoire of policy-making.”

“In the absence of a left-right plane of competition, in other words, the entire foundation of the party government/responsible parties model is undermined.”

(More quotes from this book here http://bit.ly/1cHimgo)

If our major parties are wedded to austerity logic, support the privatization of the public sphere, the deregulation of the corporate sector, and the lowering of corporate taxes, paid for with cuts to public spending (an extreme, pro-corporate ideology that benefits only the rich and is diametrically opposed to the welfare of the general public), who should we vote for at the upcoming election and why?

2). Concerning the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

At our recent meeting you kindly provided me with an outline of the Coalition Government’s position on the matter, signed off by Vince Cable and mentioned that you would like my comments – here they are.

Prior to reading this letter I had a grudging admiration for Vince Cable. If he actually penned this document and isn’t signing-off one that was constructed by his department’s bureaucracy, I have lost that grudging admiration.

Several thousands of 38 Degrees supporters have on two occasions handed out leaflets concerning TTIP in town centres all across the UK, including Wigan.

TTIP is a mechanism to make the already rich richer. It will be a disaster for the rest of society because:

It is a direct assault on democracy through the introduction of Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS), which allow companies to sue governments if those governments’ policies cause a loss of profits; all public services, especially the NHS, are in the firing line; it will impose US standards on the environment and food safety; it will remove what little is left of workers’ rights and it will cause massive loss of jobs, as did its predecessor NAFTA.

See more detail here http://ind.pn/1tb2AmH and please listen to John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, here http://bit.ly/1wzrLjE

What is your own position on TTIP please Yvonne?

For information on Money Supply, TTIP  and more, go to Frequently Asked Questions

Best Regards, Joe Taylor.

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18 thoughts on “OPEN LETTER TO YVONNE FOVARGUE MP

  1. You’re right Allan, all we really want is our MPs to respond to matters that concern their electorate.

    Easier said than done, more’s the pity.

    If you look through these comments I think you will agree that they are reasonable and polite.

    Time will tell – fingers crossed.

    Like

  2. Great initiative Joe. Well done.

    If this sort of regular blog post could be shared and published by as many bloggers and members of the public as possible in a constituency the MP would be forced to respond. Which is all anyone really anyone wants to start with.

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  3. Here’s a copy of an email I’ve sent to Yvonne Fovargue:
    “Dear Yvonne,

    I’m writing to you following your recent correspondence from a fellow constituent of yours, Joe Taylor.

    Joe raised several important issues with you , including the process by which our money supply is created. I share Joe’s concerns on this issue and am writing to ask if you could find the time to attend the back bench debate on money creation that’s scheduled for this Thursday. I realise you must get many such demands on your time, but I do hope that you will be able to hear the views of your parliamentary colleagues on this vital issue.

    In addition I will be very much obliged if you will advise me if the Labour Party is prepared to make a commitment to review the money creation process should you gain power in the forthcoming election.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    With regards,

    David Fairhurst”

    Liked by 2 people

    • You might like to see quotes from “Where Does Money Come From” here

      Examples:

      Physical cash accounts for less than 3 per cent of the total stock of circulating money in the economy. Commercial bank money – credit and coexistent deposits – makes up the remaining 97 per cent.

      We have seen that today the bulk of the UK’s money supply is created not by the state, the Bank of England, the Treasury, or the Royal Mint, but by a small collection of private, profit-oriented companies that are commonly known as banks. These are the fundamentals.

      Those with the power to create new money have enormous power – they can create wealth simply by typing figures into a computer and they decide who can use it and for which purpose.

      Cheers, Joe

      Like

  4. I went to see Yvonne on Friday, to discuss this open letter and to clarify if or not she is able to respond to it.
    She was not able to commit herself at that point and I fully understand her reasons.
    As a newly elected MP and shadow cabinet member, it would be inappropriately to comment on those policy issues in which she has no expertise, without first consulting the party’s policy team. Remember, she is a former Citizens Advice manageress, from the ‘social problems’ front line, unlike many of those who sit across the floor from her, or indeed alongside her.
    As a member of the opposition, her staffing resources are limited. Her local office staff are administrative, not advisory.
    For information regarding the Labour Party’s position on TTIP, contact Paul McKay from the office of Ian Murray MP, Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment, on paul.mckay@parliament.uk
    Yvonne has recently moved from Defence to Education and will attend the backbench debate on Money Creation this Thursday if she is not already committed to an appointment made by her predecessor.

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  5. Some good questions, joe, which deserve proper answers. I suspect that, even if a reply is in Yvonne’s own words, the text will have been approved by a policy wonk somewhere in the party. I also suspect that decent constituency MPs are as much a victim as we voters are of their party’s determination to stick to the neoliberal consensus. Let’s hope your letter makes at least one MP think a little harder about these issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think it is a good idea for elected members to communicate with their constituents on a neutral platform such as this.

    The topics raised here are extremely important. It would be better for all concerned if it was clear where our elected MP stands on such issues rather than be given the party line.

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  7. Some good points here Joe. As I see it, many ordinary (non wealthy) people, myself included, are dismayed by current events: Even while we, the general public, are still paying for the mistakes made by the financial sector in the last financial crisis, the government seems to be rushing to embrace TTIP, which further undermines financial regulation and leaves citizens unprotected. I would like to know exactly how TTIP could possibly benefit ordinary people in the UK. On the other hand, Positive Money seems (to me) to offer a viable alternative to the boom and bust of the current financial system.
    I too would be interested to hear the views of our local MP on these important issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think she will find time Nick. I knew her before she became our MP and I always found her to be a conscientious and obliging woman. We often say that our MPs don’t listen to us, but how can they if we don’t talk to them? We don’t work, socialise or live with them so how and when can we? An occasional visit to their surgery is best available means of interaction for most of us – and one rarely taken. Online forums such as this might help bridge the gap between our parliamentary representatives and their constituencies. I’m sure both parties want that. Nothing ventured…

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  9. Think the distance between what goes on in the Westminster bubble, or even within individual parties represents a great challenge. Inevitably there will be a group think going on, with the political debate reflecting the inward looking nature of our democracy… we, citizens of the UK, are like window shoppers peering into the shopfront of our democracy, choosing between the different baubles on offer.

    Some will be sparkly and full of saccharin colours (political equivalents of Accessorise or Gap), others present austere and respectable browns and blues (M&S springs to mind). Another a charity shop, dressing up a ragbag selection of cut price second-hand policies. Or maybe for a bit of rare variety something that appeals to guilt-ridden do-gooders (like a fair trade gift shop).

    You can ascribe whatever party to the above you like, but the truth is that we seemed to have lost whatever dynamism our politics once had. Ultimately we are more like the endpoint in a massive marketing machine, rather than the executives in the board room, designers in the R&D department or shop stewards on the shop floor. Focus group politics.

    I believe in a more participatory democracy, where we write the story. Yet social inequality grows and no-one up there seems to listen. Leading to the tragedy of food banks, hundreds of thousands of sofa surfing young people who can’t get a job or a place to live, and hard working families struggling on state handouts to make do… whilst their employer’s shareholders avoid paying their tax.

    In another country (where people still have hope for their politics) I heard a senior politician say “to solve the problem of hunger you must start from the principle we are citizens, not consumers.” TTIP is another free market top down, capital driven policy that has no connection to the life being lived by my family, friends and neighbours. Stand up to it please. It doesn’t have to be like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Joe.. great, these are the issues I really want to hear my M.P talk about. I have such little time or I would get to more meetings and to Yvonne’s surgery. It’s good to see the issues that matter to ordinary constituents being raised with our MP in this kind of forum. Allthough I live in the constituency, I struggle to get to meet our MP due to work and family comitments. Looking forward to reading her reply, cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for letting me know about your open letter to Yvonne Fovargue.
    I have read it and found it extremely interesting both in content and style.
    Let me comment on the style first; It was polite, to the point and written in a none ‘party bashing’ manner. It was indeed in the form of one way discussion.
    The completion of the discussion will be when she answers your legitimate and sensible questions.
    It was useful to the reader to be given the links to associated and relevant subjects, which will allow for further research by her, before she pens and answer, and of course for other readers
    The fact that is open is both a benefit and a threat to the MP because she has to state what she believes in. That is significant because you are not asking for a party response, written by a faceless minion from a prepared party script.
    It gives the MP or any MP to the opportunity to communicate with a wide group of people who would be interested in the issues that you have raised. This style of communication with the electorate, if used properly, has the potential to make politics more personal and far less ‘faceless.’ That could well be a
    threat as they are being asked to account for themselves and not hide behind the party line.

    The issues you have raised are exactly what I would have wanted to raise and you have set out extremely important issues relating to democracy and public accountability that need to be addressed.
    The most significant is that of the democratic process and how it appears to most people to have decreased.
    Indeed the issues of democracy, the creation of money and international trade are the most pressing at the present time. They impinge on so much of what is important to people in Britain today i.e. NHS, Political Accountabilty, Public Services, Employment and Nation Finances.

    It remains to be seen if MPs take up the opportunity to engage in this form of discussion and not simply hand letters on to the faceless army of official writers. Clearly there will be some who see this as an opportunity to engage and others who will refuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Joe, What you’re saying here is important and far reaching. It is vital for our democracy that OUR representatives know the rudiments of modern economic dynamics. In a globalised system of economics the old ways of understanding simply no longer easily fit. Until recently I thought governments had a handle on the economy through the control of money but the reality is a long way from that as you have pointed out. In fact I would argue that a there are many economies running alongside each other, all subtly or not so subtly impacting on constituents. It seems to me that it is vital for our democratic health that MP’s make themselves aware of the many different ways of looking at our economy. Too many MP’s are subject to hegenomy, which I define as ‘this is the way it is, it’s always been like this and we can’t change it’ thinking. They have to start realising that there are many people who can propose viable, ethical and democratic alternatives to how things are now. How things are done now haven’t always been like this and can be changed. It may need courage and lots of dialogue but I’d rather engage in this sort of struggle than have to cope with a world ravaged by harmful conflict, environmental meltdown, mass migration and global inequality.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am also interested in your MP’s reply. If Labour cannot acknowledge openly the damaging role played by the Banks in money creation, then truly we are stuck! We can tweak the economy all we want, introduce proposals to ‘balance the books’ in terms of public spending but all this is so much straw in the wind when the ‘Elephant in the room’ remains unacknowledged and unaddressed!

    Liked by 1 person

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