The Conservatives like to portray themselves as a government of strength and unity. And entering the general election, Theresa May hoped that Labour divisions would help to see her return with a secure majority. But in under a week, it is the Conservatives who are looking divided and unsure of themselves. All the while, people are uniting across the country to get rid of the Tories.
May has refused to rule out abolishing the triple lock on pensions or raising tax, national insurance or VAT. And this has put her in the firing line, with even The Sun speaking out against her party.
In turn, this has led to divisions. Chancellor Phillip Hammond is arguing for abandoning the tax pledges made by David Cameron in 2015. But Patrick McLoughlin, the Tory Party Chairman, said he disagreed and that:
In a clear indication that the policy is still under discussion, Sir Patrick said Mr Hammond had been expressing his own views rather than that of the party.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party is clear on the issue. Those who earn over £70,000 will face higher taxes. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is arguing for a “fair taxation system”, where the government will be:
looking to the corporations and to the rich to pay their share.
And his argument that those earning more than £70,000 are the richest is backed up by the data. According to HMRC, it’s only just over 5% of taxpayers who fall into this tax bracket.
Now readjusting policy is one thing, but completely U-turning on a previously held belief is another thing entirely. In 2015, Ed Miliband proposed freezing energy prices. The then Energy Secretary Michael Fallon reacted by saying:
[Energy companies] have global investment mandates –they can invest in Kazakhstan, Brazil, the United Kingdom. The great danger from what Miliband has done is [that Labour] has made the United Kingdom a riskier investment location for these companies.
But the Conservatives are now backing a price cap on energy – something David Cameron said made Ed Miliband look as though he wanted to live in a “Marxist universe”.
This isn’t the Tories embracing a socialist utopia, though. It’s just a cynical ploy that isn’t fooling anyone.
One of the biggest elephants in the room, meanwhile, is still Brexit. The Conservatives like to pretend that they’re the party of Brexit; almost as if they all campaigned for it and have been behind leaving Europe from day one.
But this ignores the obvious fact that Theresa May campaigned to remain. And that senior Tories are still speaking out against May’s vision of Brexit. The party has never been united on Europe, and never will be.
May in hiding
In fact, it seems that May is hiding from the general public. She’s continually refused to engaged with the televised debates. And when she has ventured forth and met people, she looks so excruciatingly uncomfortable it’s embarrassing.
So don’t be fooled. Jeremy Corbyn is proving to be a calm, thoughtful leader – responding to questions with both authority and compassion. Meanwhile, May won’t debate, and she is leading a party that is looking more chaotic and disunited by the day.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election. If you don’t have a national insurance number, a 5 minute phone call on 0300 200 3500 will get it sent to you in ten days.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.
Featured image via Flickr
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