British prime minister Theresa May is the subject of mockery for her stage-managed election gatherings. And she is being ridiculed for her repetitive use, during the initial stages of the 2017 general election campaign, of the unimaginative slogan ‘Strong and stable leadership’. But that slogan is not only inane, it goes to the very core of Tory deceit. And it’s a deceit the Tories are guilty of every general election.
Theresa May arrives for rally in Leeds to huge cheers pic.twitter.com/oyvZ1fqnIx
— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) April 27, 2017
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In essence, it says the Conservatives are the only political party that can be trusted to manage the British economy. And that Labour will ruin the economy.
But here, with the help of graphs, are just five examples that spectacularly expose that lie.
Deceit number 1: the national debt is under control
Deceit number 2: everyone is better off under the Tories
Public sector workers have seen a wage freeze for over a decade. And UK wages have fallen 10 per cent since the 2008 financial crisis. That’s worse than anywhere in Europe, apart from Greece. The Resolution Foundation, meanwhile, found an average loss per worker of £11,920 over the last ten years.
Deceit number 3: record high employment
The Tories claim record employment rates. But that ignores the cost to human dignity. Because the reality is that many jobs – close to a million – involve minimum wage, zero-hours contracts and offer no stable income. And it’s likely to get far worse.
Deceit number 4: a shared, fairer society
Deceit number 5: Brexit
Now for the big one.
May is famously quoted as saying ‘Brexit means Brexit’. Of course, Brexit means far, far more than just Brexit. And ever since May took the reins of power, surrounded by far-right Tory ideologues, it is clearer that Brexit under her watch could prove to be an economic disaster. And in Brexit Britain under the Tories, we could see some nasty surprises.
But what else will Brexit under the Tories mean? Well, these are just a few of the known unknowns::
- Uncertainty over the free movement of Brits across the EU (to work or to relocate).
- Expansion of arms trade deals with dictators, as more money is needed to fund the Brexit deficit.
- A fit-for-purpose NHS just a distant memory as further cutbacks kick in.
- The relocation of crucial agencies based in Britain to the EU.
- A potential reduction in human rights as EU law switches to UK law.
- Brain drain of academics, as many return to the EU.
- Uncertainty about fees, etc., for British students who study in EU countries.
- An erosion of workers’ rights.
- Cutbacks in welfare payments as the economy worsens.
- Rising inflation due to a weaker Sterling.
- 1000s of EU nurses to leave the UK.
- Further collapse of social and aged care sector as care workers shortage deepens.
- One third of manufacturing companies to relocate overseas (with consequent loss of jobs).
- Skills shortage (from banning EU workers).
- Consumer rights and safety legislation could go too.
- Rising prices
- North of England may fare badly under Brexit.
- Wales and certain English regions (e.g. Cornwall) to lose EU funding.
- Increase in hate crimes and xenophobia.
- Decrease in doctor numbers.
- More expensive holidays in EU.
- Uncertain future for the up to 2 million British nationals working and/or living in the EU.
- Contrary to expectations, fishermen likely to be worse off under Brexit.
- Reduced pensions and longer to wait.
- Rising unemployment.
- More food banks.
- Encouraging far-right nationalism across Europe.
- British businesses relating to euros to move to EU.
- Breakup of UK.
Cumulatively, these changes will likely lead to greater austerity, social inequality and a far higher national debt. So further impacting on a range of services, including schools budgets, healthcare and local government.
Nevertheless, they remain the cornerstone of Tory policies, for the near and distant future. Policies that appear little different to that of the extremist British National Party.
Take back control
Democracy is nothing, unless the electorate is fully informed of all the facts. And not simply dished up propaganda. Indeed, there are ongoing investigations into possible fraud, including voter manipulation, by two of the main referendum campaigns.
And perhaps with such an important decision that will affect the British economy and the livelihoods of millions of people for decades, the referendum should have seen a better design. As it was, the referendum was, arguably, flawed. However, opportunities perhaps may arise that could allow such things like freedom of movement for those who want it. And other parties, like Labour, are offering an alternative to the Tories’ ‘hard’ Brexit detailed above.
But if you really want to take back control of your lives from those who claim to govern in your name, a very different kind of politics will be needed. Not a Brussels based politics. Nor a Westminster based politics. At least, as they function now. And not a politics based on just using a ballot box every few years. But a form of genuine democracy that is yet to be imagined in the UK, let alone implemented.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election. If you don’t have a national insurance number, a five 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.
– Read more from The Canary on the 2017 general election.
Featured image via screengrab
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