10 September 2008

Tories Use Recession As Perfect Excuse.

The Tories are heading for power with a promise of...
nothing. Worse, they are promising hard times ahead. And anyone who remembers the disastrous policies of Thatcher and Major knows what that means.

The Tories may well stick to current spending limits (as they are now suggesting)- Thatcher and Major never cut public spending overall (it stayed around 40% of GDP as it is now)- but what they did do was make the tax system much more regressive - (by doubling VAT and introducing council tax etc) AND shifting spending from state education, public transport and the NHS towards funding mass unemployment, a police state, the national debt and the 'defence' budget. Expect public services and inequality to worsen.

The Tories current sparse plans hint they will do this again, this policy lite approach is working because our media apply different standards of scrutiny to the Tories as they do to Labour. The Tories plan to reward the middle and high earners with cuts in IHT and stamp duty. They will worsen inequality by scrapping tax credits and using the money to help the married rather than exclusively the poor.

Yet even Tory rhetoric to help the married is shown as a sham by their local councils (including Brighton and Hove) who double charges for getting married etc and make cutbacks in children services and other areas.

Labour have doubled the prison population in 10 years with harsher sentencing, but the Tories plan to increase the prison population by 5,000 more than even Labour's foolish expansionary plans - so much for the Tories rhetoric on rehabilitation and liberalism.

Boris Johnson's scrapping of the CO2 and congestion charges in London and 'rephasing' traffic lights to favour motorists over pedestrians shows the Tory green credentials to be 'greenwash'. Building more roads as Cameron enthusiastically calls for is not the way to save the environment, neither are energy guzzling de-salination plants that Tories routinely approve of.

In short, vote Tory if you want a more unequal, less fair and less green future.


  1. That's absolutely true. The trouble is, there is little reason now to suppose that Labour is or will be any better.
    Now even the Lib Dems are talking about tax cuts.
    Should I join the Green Party? It seems to be the only thing left (pun intended).

  2. PZT: I now get on quite well with some Greens here locally - I think we should work with them (and progressive Lib Dems etc) but fundamentally whomever is the largest left-of-centre party is the party we have to influence if we are going to make progress under this dysfunctional system - for the foreseeable future and for better or worse, that is still likely to be the Labour party in most places and certainly as a possible national challenger to the Tories. But even if the mantle did change to another party, Lib Dems, Greens or whomever, we will still face the same challenges of disagreement. The left need to unite to defeat the Tories (under whatever banner).

  3. But are you sure the Labour Party still IS a left-of-centre party? It often seems to me no longer to be even faintly so. Its social-democratic rhetoric has become more and more threadbare, as even Polly T has now admitted. On one or two issues, even the Tories are beginning to sound marginally more progressive. Of course, that's probably window-dressing, but still, if you have two right-wing managerialist top-down pro-American pro-globalisation pro-fatcat pro-war pro-bomb parties both of whose progressive rhetoric is mere window-dressing, it is "small choice in rotten apples", to quote the Bard ...

  4. PZT: Surprisingly since 1997 this government has redistributed over £100bn through the tax system from the upper-middle earners to the poorest, the Tories did the opposite. This means new Labour is probably the most redistributive government this century. The problem is this has coincided with a massive increase in the power of the global very wealthy that has seen their earnings spiral out of control and the media become even more right-wing. New Labour declined this battle with global money - whether they were right to do this is indeed debatable when it has dragged them into oil wars, anti-EU and populist 'lock em up' measures to please the US and Murdoch while alienating many voters.

    Saying all that - what is the alternative? Join the Greens who are going nowhere and would be as bad as Labour if they ever got popular? Join the Lib Dems who now argue for tax cuts and say social democracy has failed? This electoral system has to be changed otherwise left-wing splits just gift the Tories victory. Without Labour support we will not get PR. I can't see any other choice but by pushing the Labour party in the right direction and the only way to do that is to keep the Labour membership to the left and keep pushing for PR and other progressive measures. Remember that before 1981, Labour party members didn't even have a say on the party leader, let alone anything else - the CLPD within the party won that concession, so members can make a difference.

  5. "new Labour is probably the most redistributive government this century"

    Ahem, pedantry I know but still.

    As to the economy; if you bleed people white then sooner or later the money runs out. Instead of building up a reserve that could help mitigate the effects of the downturn Brown has pissed our cash up the proverbial wall.

    I'm not a fan of the Tories but I would have more confidence in a blind rat ragaining control of the country's finances than the OEGK.

    As to the direction that Laour should take I really hope they do swing to the left. As you know, I am no friend of theirs.