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By Jo Phillips

By Jo Phillips

Take a long, hard look Rishi

Jo Phillips tells Rishi Sunak to stop talking about global security and defence when he can't provide safe water for UK citizens.

It’s a tough one, presenting yourself as a world statesman with gravitas when you seem more like the deputy head trying to conduct assembly outside n the rain because the school roof’s leaking.

But the PM gave it his best shot in a speech earlier this week. Not unreasonably, he talked about rapidly shifting global politics, threats and challenges from hostile states, mass migration and conflict. But then he blew it by saying Britain would be safer under the Tories than Labour. If you want to look serious, then don’t undermine it by playing cheap politics… or leave the point scoring to your smooth foreign secretary, who oozes charm across the world like spilt milk reaching every corner of the kitchen floor.

Sunak’s said to be a man who likes data and spreadsheets. So you might think that he’d link mass migration to climate change – which is making parts of the world uninhabitable, causing crop failure, bringing floods and famine.

You might also think that trying to do something about climate change would be good for the planet and keep those pesky would-be migrants in their own countries for a bit longer. The Tories, however, are content to abandon targets, break pledges and conveniently ignore climate change.

But, back to migrants – because with the modern Conservative party, Reform snapping at their heels the issue of migrants is never far away. Someone came up with the grand idea of publishing a league table of criminality so we could see what nationality, what asylum status and what crimes had been committed.

This is fuelling even more hatred, xenophobic hysteria, and worse. Meanwhile, our prisons are so overcrowded and disgusting and our courts so clogged with the backlog of cases that lawyers, defendants and victims are being turned away from court hearings and the party of law and order, which happens to be the party in power, is suggesting releasing prisoners early to free up some space in the aforementioned disgusting prisons.

Another report, this time on the state of maternity care in the country, should shame any of the numerous health ministers, alongside NHS managers and staff who’ve failed to do anything about it for years. Still on the subject of health we learnt this week that the government’s boast that waiting lists are falling while true are utter cobblers because all that’s happened is that some patients have been moved to different lists which appear in different data sets.

And, to add insult to injury, swimming in open water should have a health warning, because of the amount of sewage. In parts of the West Country, schools and businesses are closed because of contaminated water.

So, in the apparent absence of any grownups advising the prime minister and his government and their inability to link stuff, let me help: a country that can’t ensure safe, clean water for any of its citizens, nor safe maternity services putting mother’s and babies at completely unnecessary risk. A country whose justice system is so broken with no plan to fix it but rather delay justice and release convicts into the community. A country that cares more about the colours of lanyards worn by public servants than any of the above – is probably not a country whose prime minister should be even talking about global security and defence. Because if he truly believes we’re safer under the Tories then we’re in deeper shit than a swimmer in the Thames.

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