An insight into the delusional ideology of the Tory Party

(Or: Why we can’t afford to let them win the next election)

The Tory Party has recently released its very own ‘vision for the future’. Although it makes for disturbing reading, it does offer an insight into the inner ideologies of the Tory Party, an organisation so keen to re-brand itself and gain some distance from its unofficial title of ‘The Nasty Party’. Entitled 2020 Vision: An Agenda For Transformation, the document is available to read here.

I won’t go into the whole document, although it does give interesting insights into the Tory’s agenda. So much of Cameron and Co.’s rhetoric is steeped in doublespeak so it’s interesting to see the veil lifted and see their, albeit terrifying and destructive, agenda that lays behind the lies. The whole document gives insight into their own vision of a Tory-led UK in 2020, but I wanted to quickly examine the small section found under the heading “The Innovation Economy”. It is here that an actual fictional narrative has been created describing the horrifying implications that could happen if the Tories remain in power:

It is the morning of the 7th May 2020. Over breakfast, Mr and Mrs Jones, happily married for 50 years with three children, are reflecting on the past and their hopes for the future. Reflecting on the difficult years of 2010-2015, they now know Britain is on the right track. Britain is topping the world economic tables for competitiveness and unemployment is low. The most striking development is that it seems the whole world wants to invest in the UK.

Mr and Mrs Jones have a large proportion of their savings in bonds. Not Government bonds—which are no longer issued—but in interest-bearing bonds from mutuals, cooperatives, social enterprises and private businesses. Their oldest child, John, is a successful ‘Life Science’ entrepreneur. He is hiring 20 top class science graduates and another 20 apprentices from the local technical college. He happily invests his profits in research and development. His business benefits enormously now that the Government only accepts electronic invoices. The UK online services industry has cornered the market for electronic invoicing standards. Electronic invoicing alone has added about 0.5 percent to GDP. Their daughter, Mary, is a successful maths teacher on the road to promotion. Her husband is an orderly at the local hospital trust. Nobody can remember if it is private or public; it is just a good hospital and they both hold a stake in its future. Their youngest, David, is a perpetual student and hightech entrepreneur. Like so many others, he is also registering his own IP with the Online Intellectual Property Office.

Mr and Mrs Jones seldom see politicians on TV. The only political stories appear to be about tax reductions, high-tech exports and the massive trade surplus. Britain is confident, dynamic and at ease with itself. The only criticism Mrs Jones has is that “the Conservative Government failed to raise the tax-free threshold to £25,000. It’s such a disincentive for lower earners.” However, Mr Jones reminds her of the days of “those awful tax credits, national insurance contributions and year-end tax returns.” Mrs Jones reflects on this, adding, “at least we know where we stand with a 20 percent flat tax.” “But,” Mr Jones says, “never trust a politician, I very much doubt they will get the flat rate down to 15 percent by 2025 as they promised.” “True,” adds Mrs Jones, “but we can’t expect too much, now that Parliament only sits 16 weeks a year.”

Fantasy? Not necessarily.

Whilst making for a rather unsettling read, it describes what the Tories aim to achieve. It also describes their ideal future for the UK. There is a really good breakdown of this part here, but I will give a quick explanation of the parts I found unsettling (in no particular order).

  1. Britain is topping the world economic tables for competitiveness and unemployment is low.

    Under the current Tory government unemployment is a key concern, despite the government assuring us that unemployment is falling. The reality is that the statistics that make up unemployment are convoluted, with many on workfare schemes, and still claiming JSA, being counted as “employed”. Government workfare schemes are actually taking paid job vacancies away from workers. High street names like HMV are going bust, leading to mass redundancies. Widespread public sector cuts mean even more unemployment. With all this in mind it is really hard to see how the Tories envision a future with Britain topping the economic tables and low unemployment figures under their leadership. Unless in 2020 they are still manipulating the unemployment statistics, of course… The skwalker1969 article describes it nicely:

    Silly, silly people who opposed the Tory wage-slashing, benefit-cutting, state-shrinking ways! Don’t we realise that we’re on the path to a Shining Future? 2.5 million unemployed people, an impending triple-dip recession, Foodbanks opening at the rate of 3 a week and rising rates of suicide – nothing more than a few eggs that needed to be broken to complete the Conservatives’ ‘omelette’.

  2. Government bonds are no longer offered

    I won’t profess to say I understand the whole government bonds aspect, but the blog I mentioned earlier, skwalker1969, has given a decent description of what it all means:

    “The idea that government bonds – which is how governments finance their spending – ‘are no longer issued’ is far more revealing than you might think at first reading.

    That the report thinks such bonds will no longer be necessary betrays the extent to which the Tories, in their secret ‘heart of hearts’, want to slash the state on which many people inevitably have to rely.

    Only in a country where virtually everything is provided by private companies, and paid for by direct charges on each individual ‘customer’, could a government even conceivably do away with government bonds. Either that, or we discover that we’re sitting on oil reserves that make those of Saudi Arabia look like a duck-pond.

    Without that unlikely event, a country that does not fund its spending through bonds is going to be one that has no place for the vulnerable, for those who through disability or circumstance are unable to pay their own way. Such people are too expensive, and too unprofitable for private providers if the government is not footing the bill.

    That this is how the Tories see the future speaks volumes about their plans and ethos – far more than their coded, public statements will ever admit to. Life sciences and electronic invoices Here we see what the Tories are pinning their hopes on.

    The economy is circling the drain because of policies that are either misguided or, more likely, deliberate; full-time jobs are disappearing while poorly-paid part-time jobs replace them if we’re lucky; decision after decision sucks cash – and therefore demand – out of the UK economy. And demand is everything, for economic recovery.”

  3. Nobody can remember if hospitals are private or public

    Perhaps one of the more relevant and eye-opening aspects of this Tory vision is this statement, though it might seem unsurprising to many. It is clear that the Tories want to sell off the NHS to private corporations, privatising the National Health Service that even Thatcher left alone. However, in their ideal future, the public can’t remember, and don’t seem to care, if hospitals are private or public; they’re just seen as “good hospitals”. The NHS will be privatised and sold off bit by bit, and in the Tory Party’s ideal (and delusional) vision of the future, nobody will care. Well, maybe they will care when the private corporations cut corners and place profit before quality, efficiency before patient care, inflated management bonuses before…

  4. Mr and Mrs Jones’ youngest son is a “perpetual student”.

    One of the more delusional aspects of their vision is the notion that the average couple, Mr and Mrs Jones, have a grandson who is a ‘perpetual student’. This is laughable considering this government tripled tuition fees. Enough said, really.

  5. Politicians are seldom seen on TV anymore

    This bit is rather scary, though I suppose the whole ‘vision’ itself is one big nightmare trip. So, in the crazy world of Tory-led 2020, politicians are “seldom seen on TV anymore”, and the only political stories that do appear are all about “tax reductions, high-tech exports and the massive trade surplus”. So in their vision of the future, politicians rarely feature in the news. Clearly an uninformed and ignorant public is a Tory wet dream. With a government rarely featuring in the news, it would be free to get away with… well, anything it wanted. Such as privatising public services, for instance. Although maybe it’s not as sinister as all that. Maybe the Tories aren’t on TV much because they don’t actually do much in the future. In fact, it’s probably explained by the fact that:

  6. Parliament only sits 16 weeks a year

    I guess in the Tory world of 2020, corporations and business run everything, and Parliament is just there to occasionally  lower taxes for the wealthy elite. Maybe by 2020 Parliament is more like the Royals, where they’re just there as a tourist attraction and a hark back to the “old” days where elected governments actually ran the country. Maybe, despite the attacks on the poor, the disabled, the vulnerable, the public services, the council cuts (etc, etc.) – maybe despite all of that, Cameron’s “Big Society” was actually implemented and a lot of public organisations and local services are run by volunteers in the community, and everything else is controlled by multinational corporations that pay 0.5% corporation tax, or something. Ah, those crazy Tories…

    The funny thing is, even the Tories (in their crazy scenario) admit that they won’t be able to do much with only 16 weeks out of the year. Mr Jones is moaning that the flat tax rate of 20% (more on that in a second) isn’t the 15% that they promised (at least the Tories still envisage them breaking promises in 2020), to which Mrs Jones replies:

    True,” adds Mrs Jones, “but we can’t expect too much, now that Parliament only sits 16 weeks a year.”


  7. There is a 20% flat tax. For everyone.

    Another scary aspect of this ‘vision’ is the fact that taxes are lowered to the extent that there is a “flat tax” of 20% for everyone. That means that even the millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate of tax as the working classes. Actually it will probably be much like today, where they pay even less due to tax evasion/avoidance, etc. However, in the future, and even with a 20% flat tax rate for everyone, the Tories aren’t happy. This future government of 2020 wants a lower flat tax rate of 15% for everyone. It’s hard to see how further tax reductions will help support the government and the country, but then again by 2020 (under a Tory leadership) everything will be run by the private sector so there probably won’t be any sort of welfare system or “public” services to speak of by this point anyway. Maybe we won’t even need a welfare state, because by that point all the poor and disabled will have died out (so they hope?). Even schools will be fully privatised, run for-profit, by the time the Tories are done. The flat tax gained will just go towards paying the MPs salaries, I suppose.

There’s much more to dissect from that scenario, and the 2020 document as a whole, but I only wanted to do a quick run-down of the impressions I got from it. It’s clear that the authors behind the document are delusional, and potentially dangerous (!!). If this is representative of the Tory ideology and real vision for the future (and I cannot see anything to counter this), then it is clearly very worrying. If anything puts you off voting for them in the next election, let it be this. Unless you want a future government who only sits for 16 weeks a year, and lowers taxes for higher earners to the point where a welfare system and public service sector becomes impossible to maintain; a future where big business runs everything and the government doesn’t even feature on the news… It’s not that I love seeing politicians and government policies talked about on TV all the time, but surely they need to be in the public eye to be held accountable? Surely the public should be kept informed?

Damian Hinds, the Conservative MP who is one of the authors of the report, said that the ideas aimed to encourage social mobility, supporting those from disadvantaged backgrounds who wanted to get on in life.

“The electorate gave our party half a chance in 2010,” said Mr Hinds. “This work is about showing what we could offer the country if voters give us a full opportunity to govern on our own in 2015.

See what I mean? Anyway, let me know what you think below.

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Cameron to let bankers off with extortionate bonuses

Rt Hon David Cameron MP speaking at the Conser...

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David Cameron has warned that it would be wrong to take “revenge” on the bankers despite the fact that it has emerged that thousands of bankers are in line for extortionate bonuses whilst the general public suffers with cuts, hikes in VAT and attacks on public services.

JP Morgan has revealed that it will give 10,000 Bristish-based staff an average of nearly £250,000. The Royal Bank of Scotland, which by the way is now 83% owned by us (the taxpayers), is set to pay around £1 billion in bonuses to staff. It is claimed that Goldman Sachs is to hand out £8 billion in salary and bonuses for 2010 (down from £10 billion for 2009), and Bob Diamond, the head of Barclays, is expected to be handed a “meagre” £8 million bonus for last year.

Whilst the general public suffers the brunt of the cuts, the hike in VAT, the removal of state support for many (such as with Derek Carpenter), the marketisation of our education system, the shakeup of the NHS, the attack on our public sector, the bankers are lavishing themselves with huge bonuses and giving themselves pats on the back for… what, exactly? Why are they not showing the slightest signs of remorse, or giving something back to the country that they helped bring to the edge of ruin? As the average citizen begins to feel the strain of the coalition’s measures, the banking sector simply carries on as usual.

Continue reading

Coalition strips cancer victim of state support

Derek Carpenter, 63, has advanced prostate cancer. He lives in constant pain and walking proves difficult, an activity which leaves him “feeling like the bones are sticking out from the bottom of his feet”. He cannot leave his home without a wheelchair. Despite this the government, famous for its zealous use of the word “fairness” when describing its “progressive” policies, has decided that Derek is no longer entitled to state support.

Following a “Work Capability Assessment”, the 63-year old cancer victim was told he was not eligible for Employment and Support Allowance, which replaces Incapacity Benefit. Derek says he is “a worker not a shirker, and I have been all my life”, yet the jobs he could do are non-existant, given his health and lack of mobility. Derek’s situation is not unique – unfortunately we will be hearing more cases like his over the course of this government.

The Citizens Advice Bureau is currently dealing with numerous cases like Derek, instances where people who truly require state support to get by have been stripped of benefits by a coalition government which cares more about allowing the banking sector to continue to hand out extortionate bonueses than being concerned with the more vulnerable members of society. Chris Darlington from Haverhill CAB says: “I am in the process at the moment of between 30 and 35 cases at the moment… the regulations are being too stringent”

Perhaps the name change is somewhat telling. The formerly entitled “Incapacity Benefit” has been replaced by “Employment and Support Allowance”, though clearly people like Derek Carpenter do not require support in the coalition’s eyes.

The Department for Work and Pensions says “The Work Capability Assessment is designed to assess whether someone is fit for work rather than writing people off on a lifetime of benefits” and that “changes will be made to iron out any problems”. Well unfortunately for some people, like Derek, they do require a “lifetime of benefits” simply to get by day to day. I highly doubt many would consider themselves “written off” merely because they need state support to get by. Some might say it is actually an insult to descibe them in that way.

Until the time when “changes” are “ironed out”, people like Derek will have to suffer, with little option but to appeal.

 

 

Oh, and check out this lovely article by the Daily Mail below. It details the “shocking” number of people on “sick benefits”. Yes, there are those that will “play the system” out of idleness or laziness, but there are thousands of people just like Derek Carpenter who need state support to continue living. It is propaganda like this that has contributed to this government’s “tough stance” on people claiming benefits.

Minister for Women and Equality scraps Harman’s equality law

Theresa May - Home Secretary and minister for ...

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Theresa May favours “fairness” over “equality”

In a glorious act of doublethink, the Minister for Women and Equality Theresa May has scrapped a key piece of legislation under the Equality Act, favouring a greater emphasis on the dubious word “fairness” rather than “equality”. Perhaps she misread her job title.

The legislation was a legal requirement that would have forced public authorities to take disadvantage and inequalities into account, to assess whether or not they were addressing inequalities when making policy decisions. The measure was an important part of the Equality Act passed earlier this year by Labour’s former minister for equalities, Harriet Harman. Theresa May dismissed the legislation as “ridiculous” and described the measure as “socialism in one clause”.

“They thought they could make people’s lives better by simply passing a law saying that they should be made better”, May said. Clearly Harman had been taking her job title too seriously when she passed the equality measure, a trap May is ensuring she does not fall into. The problem with the word ‘equality’, May went on, “is that it has been seen to mean equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity”. Which is clearly a bad thing. Continue reading

Broken Promises, Broken Buildings

A peaceful protest turns violent as protesters storm Conservative Party HQ, smashing windows and lighting fires

[This is a video montage that I created using footage of the student protest in London, November 10th. It includes video clips from several sources, and I have included footage of Nick Clegg filmed prior to the General Election. I in no way advocate the violence or the damage to property that occurred during the demonstration, however the aim of this video is to convey the emotions and feelings of the activists engaged in the protest in contrast to the promises made by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg prior to the election. This video is not-for-profit and I do not own the rights to the footage used. I will be happy to remove any or all footage if asked to by the owners.]

Over 50,00 students turned up in London on Wednesday to protest the government’s proposal to raise University tuition fees by more than 200%, which could leave many students paying back the debt for the rest of their working lives.

The student protest began peacefully despite the unanticipated scale of the demonstration and the underwhelming police presence. The demonstration marched from Horse Guards Parade, central London, and past Westminster, however when the march reached the rally point at Millbank, the protest took a turn for the worse.

At around 1.37pm it is reported that over a hundred protestors broke off from the crowd and stormed Millbank Tower, the Conservative party’s headquarters, occupying the lobbies and waving flags from the rooftops, shouting “Tory Scum!” and “Nick Clegg, we know you, you’re a fucking Tory too”, according to the Guardian’s Matther Taylor, who was present.

Workers were evactuated from the building shortly after as the protestors smashed windows, threw missiles, lit emergency flares, spray-painted anarchist logos and anti-Tory messages on the walls, Continue reading