Emotional: Reverend Walsh hopes his plea will reach the eyes of the Prime Minister
A church minister has written an emotional open letter to David Cameron, pleading with him to remember the human cost of Tory austerity.
Reverend Mike Walsh, a minister in the United Reform Church from Manchester, posted the stirring missive to Facebook, where it has been shared more than 100,000 times in just three days.
In it, he says that although he disagrees with the Prime Minister on many issues, he is willing to believe he's a good man.
Reverend Mike Walsh/Facebook
He continues: "Prime Minister, though you can obviously see your party did not win the confidence of Scotland and huge swathes of the north of England, I'm not sure your party quite understands why. It's not because we're all 'loony-left' or extremists and nationalists, it's because so many of us are scared.
"Scared of what your policies will do to our communities and families. Scared of what will happen to our health service and our schools. Scared of losing our family homes for the sake of a few quid saving from the bedroom tax, or not being able to heat our home and have enough left to buy food.
He says he agrees that the best way out of poverty is to work, and doesn't think people should be able to live out their lives on benefits - "Who would think that was OK and fair?"
But he says the Conservative policies to remedy these problems don't consider the human and social cost.
He invites the Prime Minister to visit Scotland, to meet with people on zero hours contracts, and to talk to people in Manchester who've been hit by the bedroom tax.
He even suggests Mr Cameron should live for a week on the minimum wage, or volunteer at a food bank, so he can better understand the cost of his policies.
He adds: "If you do that, then maybe you can heal some of the fractures in our society."
Reverend Walsh asked his followers to share the message on their timelines in the hope that it will reach Number 10 - and they did in their thousands.
He says he's also sent the message in a paper letter, and via email, to Downing Street.
In the printed version, he says, he's invited Mr Cameron directly to come and visit him in Manchester.
In a further post on Facebook, he explained that he felt the tone of his letter was important in it getting noticed.
He said: "To all those who wanted my letter to be angrier, be assured of my anger, but recognise this letter has clearly stood out amongst the thousands and thousands of angry posts on Facebook, and I want to talk to Mr Cameron, not simply shout at him"
Dear Prime Minister,
I don't know if you will ever read this, but I have some things I wish to say to you.
You have won the General Election and command a majority in the House of Commons, and as such will feel you have a legitimate mandate to govern. However, you must also know that you don't command a majority of the British people.
Although our political views are very much at odds on many issues, I'm willing to believe that you are a good man, as sure of your ideals as I am of mine, and believe your plan is what's best for us all. You said today that you will govern for the whole country and bring back together that which has clearly fractured. I hope you will.
But Prime Minister, though you can obviously see your party did not win the confidence of Scotland and huge swathes of the north of England, I'm not sure your party quite understands why. It's not because we're all 'loony-left' or extremists and nationalists, it's because so many of us are scared. Scared of what your policies will do to our communities and families. Scared of what will happen to our health service and our schools. Scared of losing our family homes for the sake of a few quid saving from the bedroom tax, or not being able to heat our home and have enough left to buy food.
I don't disagree with you that the best way out of poverty is to work, nor do I think that people should get something for nothing and expect the tax-payer to support people indefinitely if they are able to work. Who would think that that was ok and fair?
But your party's policies on these issues, couched in terms of reducing the deficit and balancing the books, don't seem to take into account the social and human cost of such actions. The country isn't a business, it's its people. All its people. And you are everyone's Prime Minister whether we voted for you or not.
You said today you will govern for everyone and unite the country. I hope you do. But to be able to do so you need to make it a priority in your first 100 days, to spend time in Scotland visiting people on zero hours contracts. Come to Manchester and talk with those who have been sanctioned for having a spare room, but have nowhere else to go. Go to Liverpool and meet people with disabled dependents who can't afford even one nanny, or to Newcastle and talk to people still living in poverty due to the demise of the coal industry. Spend a week or two living on the minimum wage, or volunteer in a food bank for a whole day.
Then Prime Minister you might begin to understand the cost of your policies from the other side, to see people as more than their net contribution to the economy, or as deliberate drains on the system. If you do that, then maybe you can heal some of the fractures in our society. Without this I just don't believe you can see just how crucial these issues are.
So please Prime Minister, leave Westminster for a few hours a week and truly strive to govern for all of us.
Rev'd Mike Walsh
The United Reformed Church