As the 2021 Conservative Party conference drew to a close, it coincided with rocketing gas prices and a notable rise in food prices and petrol prices. As always, it will be the poor who suffer the most. And it was during the conference that a £1,040 cut from Universal Credit payments, affecting millions of people on benefits or low income, took place.
Despite this levelling down, the Tories were in a celebratory mood at the conference. Indeed, perhaps the most defining image of the conference was of secretary of state for work and pensions Thérèse Coffey wildly dancing with other Tories to the song Time Of My Life.
Therese Coffey singing ‘I’ve had the time of my life’ at the #CPC21 just as the benefits cut comes into force is a new low; the footage a reminder the the Tory Party is a culture free ideological crack den of unsurpassed grimness and vacuity. #ToryBritain pic.twitter.com/RDjCXXHKAP
— Brendan May (@bmay) October 6, 2021
One example of levelling down is the government’s institutionalising of poverty by persuading the public that foodbanks are a good thing. Or to put it another way, they’re a ‘normal’ part of society:
WHEN did British people NORMALISE having food banks in what is a developed country?
No other country in Europe has anything close to the appalling Dickensian HUNGER of the UK
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE BRITISH PEOPLE that they think this is somehow OK?
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) October 6, 2021
Nor is it certain that the foodbanks will be in a position to support everyone in need this winter. So perhaps it’s not unsurprising that former Finland prime minister Alexander Stubb is proposing the EU provide aid to the UK in its hour of need:
If the EU would play its cards right, it would offer assistance to the UK now or later when the supply of basic goods and services takes a turn for the worse. This is what friends do, even if the pain has been self-inflicted, stupid an unnecessary. 1/3
— Alexander Stubb (@alexstubb) October 8, 2021
Even the pro-Tory and pro-Brexit Telegraph reported on the proposal.
Moreover, come next spring increased gas prices could mean an annual bill of £1,660 for gas and electricity for the average home. And food prices could increase by 5%. According to the Royal Automobile Club, a tank of fuel costs approximately £12 more than last year. For many families these increases – coupled with the £20 reduction per week in Universal Credit – are unaffordable. And in reality they may mean freezing cold homes or malnutrition.
Covid cases rise for children
Meanwhile, while price rises and benefit cuts are bad enough, it’s also reported by Independent SAGE‘s professor Christina Pagel that coronavirus (Covid-19) cases are climbing for school-age children:
While hospital admissions in older adults continue to fall (excellent), admissions in under 18s continue to climb – especially 6 to 17 year olds.
Overall numbers *much* smaller than adults, but kids are facing one of their worst periods of the pandemic for cases and admissions. pic.twitter.com/vkfYBlcn1A
— Prof. Christina Pagel (@chrischirp) October 6, 2021
No doubt this is mostly thanks to the government’s easing of mitigation restrictions in schools. Though a few simple steps are needed to change that:
“Stay safe” is a pretty meaningless instruction to give pupils in schools on covid if there’s no isolation of contacts and no masking in crowded poorly ventilated rooms. Hand gel won't do it alone!
— Dr Nisreen Alwan 🌻 (@Dr2NisreenAlwan) October 7, 2021
A reintroduction of mandatory mask wearing on public transport could also help reduce overall numbers. Professor of primary care Trisha Greenhalgh explains why:
LONG THREAD on masks. Mute if not interested.
Do masks work? Why do some people claim they don’t work? Do they cause harm? What kinds of masks should we wear? How does masking need to change now we know that Covid is airborne? When can we stop wearing them?
Get your popcorn.
— Trisha Greenhalgh (@trishgreenhalgh) July 11, 2021
Sleaze and corruption
And just when you think that the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) corruption scandal has evaporated, another alleged example has come to light:
‘Secret’ PPE contract handed to Tory donor’s firm now worth £11m https://t.co/8WVy1vUo9D
— Suzy 🌹 (@Lovehasnowords1) October 7, 2021
But it’s not just PPE.
The recently released Pandora Papers have shone a light on money laundering. And The Canary had previously revealed how British peers were implicated in money laundering from Russia-based oligarchs. Also, we reported on how the Conservative Party was a recipient of several donations from oligarchs.
Amid this chaos, prime minister Boris Johnson continues to spew more lies:
Johnson says "it was the private sector" that developed the Covid vaccine. "It was capitalism that ensured we had a vaccine".
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine research was 97% publicly funded.#CPC21
— Adam Schwarz (@AdamJSchwarz) October 6, 2021
However, Johnson also neglected to mention that the Pfizer vaccine was developed in state-funded labs in Germany. And he further neglected to refer to the shockingly high number of coronavirus deaths in the UK:
Johnson claiming credit for the vaccine roll out which was the NHS but never mention the 138000 deaths, and that Britain has the highest daily death rate and covid infections in Europe
— Alf Bibby (@alfbibby) October 6, 2021
In summary, the Johnson government could be described as a government of chaos or a government of corruption – or both.
Or perhaps it’s much simpler than that: Labour MP Zara Sultana describes what’s going on as nothing less than “Class war”:
Today, a government led by an old Etonian, a Chancellor who's the richest MP, a Cabinet that's ⅔ privately educated, and whose party is funded by ⅓ of UK billionaires, will slash Universal Credit, robbing £1,040 from 6 million families.
Let's call this what it is: Class war.
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) October 6, 2021
But how can the Tory government face retribution from those who suffer the most from its destructive practices?
What is the punishment for the premeditated destruction of a country?
Asking for the UK
— sue#NHSLove💙💙💙#FBNHS (@SueSuezep) October 7, 2021
That’s the million dollar question. Though the answer to that may have nothing to do with a ballot box.
Featured image via YouTube
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop