Letters to Sheryll Murray MP on strikes, the NHS and nurses’ pay

Sheryll Murray official portrait by Chris McAndrew, Wikimedia Commons

Dear Sheryll Murray

You have often used the term “democracy” in your replies to me when challenged over your abysmal record as our MP – at least in the replies that weren’t just copied and pasted from the Ladybird book of lazy replies for MPs, at any rate.  But, do tell me, can you prove that you actually understand the word? 

Start by telling me how in any way shape or form is it democratic to threaten to change the laws surrounding strike action to essentially make it illegal to strike? It is a basic right in any democracy for a worker to be able to challenge poor employment practices, poor pay and poor safety by withdrawal of their labour. 

The UK already has the most regressive anti union laws in the western world. In fact if parliamentary elections were run under the same conditions as union ballots are forced to be, then I seriously doubt that you or indeed any MP would be in parliament today because in many areas less than 50 per cent of the eligible voting age public don’t actually vote because the first past the post system is so outdated and unrepresentative. 

Instead of standing by as ministers are expending vast amounts of government time on trying to implement a policy that nobody wants – a policy that will be unworkable and probably end up in another screeching U-turn – can I suggest that you and your MP colleagues press those in cabinet to address the issues that are leading people to need to strike in the first place. That would be a much more effective way of ending the strikes. People don’t tend to go on strike and sacrifice pay if they aren’t forced to. 

The simple fact is that forcing people to work against their will on wages that cannot sustain them and with employment conditions that are not fit for purpose is not democracy, it is authoritarianism. So, do you understand democracy and want to defend it or are you just paying lip service to our nation’s democratic process?

Dear Sheryll Murray

I believe I speak for pretty much everyone in your constituency when I say that I am angry. I am angry that the NHS has been forced into the position that it has by a decade of government policy. I am angry that nurses and paramedics – the literal lifeblood of our nation – are being forced to strike by YOUR party of detached millionaire sociopaths to whom personal gain is more important than peoples health and wellbeing.

But more so than any of that, I am livid that YOU, a former NHS employee I am led to believe, are standing by and deafening us with your simpering boot-licking silence on this matter. What the hell do we bother paying you for? What is your purpose? We might as well replace you with a cardboard cut-out for all the use and good you are to us. 

I know it has been a long time since you had a proper job: you know, a job without a massive and seemingly inexhaustible expenses account that is paid for by people like me. It’s been a while since you had to pay full price for food and alcohol.  But I would like you to think back to those times, back when you had a real job and real world finances and reflect on them as you read the next few sentences.

The NHS is dying, and so are its patients in droves. It is dying because of a fatal wound that was wilfully inflicted by a Tory government long ago under the false flag of austerity, a wound which has since been repeatedly poked and reopened by successively rebranded “new” Tory governments. Tory governments consisting of MPs like yourself, who blindly obey the whip and vote along party lines to deliberately sabotage our health and care services by grossly underfunding them.

Every avoidable death, every delayed cancer diagnosis, every single bit of suffering is on the shoulders of people like you. I hope you are in good health, but if you ever find yourself not in good health I bet you can afford not to have to endure the long waits, misery and fear that NHS patients now face. That in my mind should disqualify you and MPs like you from voting on policy that affects real people. 

You should be ashamed of yourself and your tin-pot party. 

You could, of course, choose to redeem yourself by demanding a real time pay rise for NHS staff to boost recruitment,  and also demand a genuine real terms funding increase  for the service as a whole. Do you have any moral fibre remaining to do this or are you so corrupted by your time in office that you prefer to feather your own nest and eat and drink vast amounts of subsidised gratuities on our tab whilst you count down to retirement? 

Prove me wrong just once, Mrs Murray, and do the right thing.