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Sat 18 January 2020
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James Melville sets out the state the Conservatives have left Britain in after nine years in power – and wonders why people are still willing to give them their vote.


“In a properly functioning democracy, liars should be exposed and held to account. But that isn’t happening. The Prime Minister’s falsehoods are mostly left unchallenged. If this goes on, the integrity of our politics faces collapse.” – Peter Oborne

I was always told that cheats never prosper. But the cheats are winning and Britain is about to vote for them to prosper.

We never learn. Despite having a compulsive liar as Prime Minister and a set of Cabinet ministers who behave like they are fired candidates from The Apprentice, recent polls state that 42% of UK voters currently intend to vote for a party which has decimated manufacturing and industrial communities, inflicted a decade of austerity and promises to deliver a Brexit which will decimate manufacturing and industrial communities once again.

A Survation poll for The Economist suggests that the Conservatives lead Labour by 13 points in the old industrial heartland of Grimsby. This is only the 45th ranked target seat for the Tories. It’s political Stockholm Syndrome.

Voting for the Tories is a bit like quitting your job because you want to save money on your train fare to work. Considering that the Tories have been in power for the past nine years, the multitude of problems facing Britain have been largely created by the Tory Government and yet they still end up winning.

Despite slashing public services to reduce the national debt, the Tories have, in fact, doubled the national debt from £849 billion in 2010 to £1.8 trillion in 2019. Also, for a large part of the 2010-2019 Conservative era, the UK has been one of the worst performing economies of the G20 – with only Greece suffering larger falls in real wages between 2010 and 2018.

Britain now has almost one third of its entire population living in poverty – an increase of five million people since the Conservatives took office in 2010. Britain now has more than one million people receiving emergency food supplies each year.

Following eight years of funding cuts, the number of NHS trusts in financial difficulty increased from 5% in 2010 to over 60% by 2018 – creating an ongoing NHS crisis. The percentage of the NHS budget going to private healthcare providers since 2010 has doubled.

Then there’s Brexit. A Tory psychodrama that has spilled over into a national crisis. In the 2015 General Election, only 1% of the population thought that Britain’s membership of the EU was the priority issue. Yet, here we are in 2019, stuck in a three-year cycle of division and hatred because the Conservatives unnecessarily unleashed something that wasn’t a priority or a national concern and then failed to deliver a workable solution to it.

The Tories like to think of themselves as the born-to-rule party and ruthless in the pursuit of power. But that’s all they are concerned about.

During their stints in power from 1979 onwards, they have dismantled our industrial heartlands, destroyed hope and prosperity in communities, increased poverty levels, asset stripped our public services and infrastructures and ratcheted up our national debt.

Yet, they find ways (through the right-wing media) of manipulating millions of people into voting for them by projecting blame onto the EU or immigrants for problems that they themselves created. Tories say to nurses enduring a seven-year pay freeze that there is “no magic money tree”, but still find a forest full of money to lob the DUP £1 billion to keep them in power.

Despite all of this, it looks like Boris Johnson’s party is heading for a majority. Despite the lies, duplicity and endless bullshit, it appears that the Tories are going to prosper once again.

It is all so heartbreakingly predictable.


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