In a welcome return to Parliamentary debate, my secretive millionaire MP is stoutly defending tax breaks for the seriously rich (i.e. him) in the midst of the worst depression since the 1930s. Most of it, as you'd expect, the usual vacuous attack lines generated by Tory HQ. And of course he can't find room for the employment statistics for the constituency, which would show a drop in employment in every quarter since he was elected, if it's anything like the neighbouring constituencies.
But as usual, little Paul over-reaches himself. Yet again, he's discovered some constituents who utterly agree with him and – despite being young and not members of Parliament – display a firm grasp of Parliamentary language:
My constituency has a rich industrial heritage, but many young constituents come to me and say that at so many points in the history of the constituency they have been dependent on the public purse and whatever quango or mechanism. I think people are looking forward to some aspect of private sector entrepreneurship to provide a route out of the poverty that exists in so many of these industrial constituencies.So these young people make an appointment with Mr Uppal (you can't drop into his surgeries unannounced) to discuss political history? I'm not quite sure how 'young people' can have suffered this Oppressive State Nightmare at 'many points in the history of the constituency', nor do I believe that any young people see themselves as trapped in a cycle of dependence - especially as Mr Uppal's government removed the only support available, namely the Educational Maintenance Allowance. Unless he's suggesting that the young unemployed people of this city believe that they'd be free to save the economy if only the state wasn't forcing them to accept unemployment and housing benefit. 'Let Us Starve' they chant as they parade through the city. 'Homelessness Makes Us Strive' is another of their favourites.
The idea that individuals and the economy are being held back by the minimal state support for individuals is simply an ideological talking point. The only bright spot in this city is the foundation of a Jaguar-Land Rover engine plant. Paul finds room to mention it:
Jaguar Land Rover is bringing private sector investment into my constituency for the first time
Firstly, I strongly doubt that this is the 'first' private sector investment in the constituency. Ever? This is just nonsense. The place has lots of companies, many of them international corporations. There is no possible way that this could be true. Anyway, turning to Jaguar Land-Rover: it's not actually in his constituency for a start. Is this project the product of entrepreneurial, private sector energy? Not if you read the newspapers it isn't:
The regeneration project is a joint venture between Advantage West Midlands, Wolverhampton City Council, Staffordshire County Council and South Staffordshire Council.The lesson of this benighted city is that the private sector has failed. It used to be an industrial powerhouse, but failure to innovate and to invest, couple with a determination to reduce wages and export jobs, has left the city destitute. The idea that the state has squeezed out the private sector is utterly ridiculous: the Dark Place has lost jobs and hope throughout the past 30 years: precisely the decades of Thatcherite free market economics (practised by both main parties) and the deluded discourse of entrepreneurialism. Who brought Jaguar-Land Rover here? It wasn't JLR on its own: it was the taxpayers of this area through their local councils and the taxpayers of this country through Advantage West Midlands: JLR was essentially bribed to come here.
Paul Uppal has been free from the constraints of the state: family money enabled his very successful business career in property speculation - precisely the kind of activity which has bankrupted this country without employing a single person or creating any wealth beyond his own enrichment.
Uppal is, I think, either a liar or fantasist. I just don't believe that these 'young constituents' exist beyond meetings of the local Conservative Party. And his economics go no further than the concerns of his political career. It's time for another letter:
Dear Mr Uppal,
I note your recent speech in parliament expressing the desire of 'many young consituents' to escape dependency on the public purse and quangos. Could you please enumerate to me how many young constituents have expressed this desire and how they experienced this 'at so many points in the history of the constituency' given that they are 'young'. To what organisations and mechanisms do you think they are referring
Secondly, could you please make public the unemployment statistics for the constituency since your election in 2010? I gather that constituency break-downs are provided for each Member of Parliament and that other MPs in the city make them public.
Finally, I note that the biggest investment in the city for some years (Jaguar Land Rover) was achieved through the incentives provided by Wolverhampton City Council, South Staffordshire Council, Staffordshire County Council and Advantage West Midlands. Given your professed opposition to quangos and state subvention for the private sector, will you be lobbying for an end to this taxpayer support?