Back to the Future, Part Two: We're on the brink….

Johnson: Are you sure this will work?

Cummings: It’s the Will of The People…

At the time of writing, it all looks pretty bleak for Labour Party supporters. The last poll put the Tories 19 points ahead.(update at the bottom of this article) Yes, it was similar midway through the 2017 election. Yes, this is an election with, more than ever before, constituency-specific conditions that buck the trend of national polls. Yes, the campaign allows Corbyn more direct access to people to be able to counter the most egregious media bias. Taking all of that into account, it still feels like a mountain to climb, and the ambition of being the largest party in a hung parliament, realistic a few weeks ago, seems unattainable now. The first sign of a closing of the gap in the polls has brought out the big guns of the anti-semitism tactic, a hugely successful plan to discredit the most overtly anti-racist political party in the history of the known universe. You can’t argue against it, if you’re not Jewish, without running the risk of being accused of, at best being in denial about the problem and at worst, being a racist. Even Jewish labour party supporters who have the temerity to contest the MSM version of events are demonised as traitors or not being real Jews. Please, give the tens of thousands of Jewish voices who are pro-Corbyn some air time. Please, when you write these articles, give us some evidence. Please Jeremy, argue your case. Look at some of these links for more: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/mar/07/debunking-myth-that-anti-zionism-is-antisemitic Michael Rosen’s blog: https://t.co/H6kKX1R2b0?amp=1 Jewish Voice for Labour: https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/smoke-without-fire-the-myth-of-a-labour-antisemitism-crisis/

It could still be the case that real people voting on December 12th will show the polls to have been wrong, but I have to be honest, I’m not expecting that and I’m beginning to feel more than a little depressed. Because what is at stake in this election makes it, by a country mile, the most important in my lifetime. Despite the best efforts of the mainstream media to normalise the Conservative Party led by Boris Johnson, to place them in a One Nation Tory tradition, they are really the Brexit party in all but name.

The Selfish, the Sentimental and the Stupid

Consider what has happened in the last year.

Moderate and mainstream Tories have left in their droves. Either they have something resembling principles, and they cannot in conscience be part of a party that is going to inflict such damage on the country. Or they cannot justify, with weasel words, (See James Cleverly, Matt Hancock, Nicky Morgan, Michael Gove) the blatant, repeated and outright bare faced lying and law breaking that is the modus operandi of the current leadership. Whether they have left, or have been ousted by the withdrawal of the whip, or the actions of rabidly right wing constituency parties, they are no longer there, a moderating influence on future policy direction. Look at the names of those who have gone: Rory Stewart, Ken Clarke, Amber Rudd, Dominic Grieve, David Gauke, Nick Boles, Justine Greening, Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen. His own brother, Jo Johnson, has stepped down as a candidate. We have no way of knowing, at the time of writing, how many of his children are standing against him for other political parties. The party is now an unembarrassed coalition of the selfish, the sentimental and the stupid, a mirror image of the voters they now attract.

You just have to look at the current cabinet for a flavour of what a Johnson Government would do.

Priti Patel as Home Secretary: Believes in the Death Penalty. Thinks poverty is the fault of local authorities. Broke Civil Service regulations last year as Secretary of State for Overseas Development by holding secret meetings without the required Civil service officials, with members of the Israel government over illegal settlements on the West Bank. Thinks British workers are “the worst idlers in the world” Has advocated reducing dramatically the welfare state in the UK and imposing working conditions of countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea

Sajid Javid as Chancellor. His main role appears to be as a token person of colour in the cabinet. Has suffered outright and open racism from other Tory members in the way he has been treated and in the torrent of social media abuse he has experienced from many constituencies, members and officials. Played a leading role, before becoming an MP, in Deutsche bank, enriching himself on the back of his trading of collaterised debt obligations (no, me neither), the financial instrument that played a central part in the collapse of the global banking system.

Liz Truss as President of the Board of Trade. Someone with the largest recorded gap between their ability and their own estimation of their ability, coming just ahead of Andrea Loathsome, the person who wants to get rid of all workers’ rights legislation from Europe.

Dominic Raab, co-author with Priti of the book “Britain unchained”, a rag bag collection of lunatic fringe right wing stuff, both on economics and social policy. This is the stuff that passes for the intellectual wing of the party. The compensation prize in this election, if the Tories win, is the prospect of Raab, IDS, and even Johnson himself losing their seats. Most of them, Johnson in particular, wouldn’t be able to find the high street of their constituency without a minder holding their hand, because they don’t give a flying fig leaf for boring old constituency work. That sort of stuff is for social workers.

Matt Hancock, minister for Health, who will say and do absolutely anything he has to, to cling on to power and his ministerial limo.

And that’s before we get onto Jacob Rees-Mogg, Minister for the eighteenth century and Michael Gove whose policy crimes and misdemeanours, and his absolute equanimity about lies and law breaking almost rival Johnson himself. (What a dream team that would have made back in 2016 – The Mendacious Brothers).

So what policies could we reasonably expect to be enacted if the Tories have a working majority, given that the new crop of MPs are likely not to have a single scruple or moral instinct between them? Well, for starters:

  • Savage anti-immigrant legislation
  • Selling off  much of the NHS to USA and a quantum leap towards Health insurance
  • Abolition of all meaningful workers’ rights laws – expect restrictions of sick pay entitlement and the right to paid holidays.
  • Abortion outlawed
  • Increase in State pension age to 75
  • Slashing of public spending on services and infrastructure
  • Increase in unemployment that not even the expansion of the unregulated gig economy can mask.

Most worryingly, once Johnson gets a majority, I don’t think that it’s far fetched to suggest that they will do everything in their power to stack the elections odds against Labour ever getting re-elected. The Boundary commission redrawing of constituencies will go ahead this time, with all that implies for Labour. They will bring in the blatantly partisan requirement for photo ID before citizens are allowed to vote. This will effectively disenfranchise tens of thousands of Labour voters. Johnson has shown his utter contempt for previously accepted norms of public discourse and for the rule of law and the conventions of parliamentary democracy, and will have no hesitation in dismantling anything that is a hindrance to his pursuit of power and his retention of power once he has his hands on it. The most recent heavy-handed threats against Channel four for not just rolling over are a sign of how none of the freedoms we have taken for granted for so long can now be guaranteed.

Lies, damned lies, and the media

Johnson: Won’t anyone notice?

Pa Johnson: Don’t worry -The great unwashed can’t even spell Pinochio

Cummings: Brilliant!

And it is this that is at the heart of this election, the reason it is of such importance. It is conceivable that reasonable, civilized people can vote Conservative because they believe in a smaller state and trickle-down economics. I don’t agree with them and I think that they are wilfully ignoring all the available evidence, but democracy dictates that we must suck it up when The People make the wrong choices.

But absolutely nobody can vote for this particular brand of the Tory party, who has any regard for the truth, for the law and for freedom.

It is possible that some of the apologists can convince themselves that the ends justify the means, that they know they are right so that it is acceptable, ultimately, to bend the truth and the law, to get a Tory Government. That is chilling enough. Even more sinister is the idea that they know they are wrong, but they want power above all else and are prepared to do anything to get it and then hang on to it.

I don’t want to be hysterical about this. I may be being overly susceptible because I watched the BBC4 series, “The Rise of the Nazi Party” a few weeks ago, and I’ve just finished reading the Booker prize winner, “The Testaments”, Margaret Atwood’s follow up to the dystopian nightmare view of the future, “The Handmaids Tale”. But the checks and balances of a mature liberal democracy that we have all taken for granted as guaranteed for ever are under attack, and suddenly it is possible to see how, step by step, populist authoritarianism slides in through the backdoor and slips into a seat on the back row. Before you know it, it’s taken the stage and the audience are all clapping furiously.

We’re half way there. Already Johnson has:

  • Suppressed the report into Russian interference and donations to the Tories
  • Unlawfully prorogued Parliament
  • Misled the Queen
  • Doctored video of Starmer talking about Brexit
  • Produced a fake “Fact checker” version of the Conservative Party website to mislead the public
  • Threatened a national broadcaster
  • Leant on the BBC, with the license fee an unspoken arm twisted behind their backs.
  • Avoided all serious scrutiny by the media
  • Avoided investigation into fraudulently funnelling money to Jennifer Arcuri when London Mayor.
  • Lied about the reason for having the general election

Ten to twenty years ago, just one of these things would have sunk any political career. Now, apparently, the public say that Johnson’s a naughty boy and we don’t trust him, but we like him and we’re going to vote for him because he will get Brexit done, with his “Oven-Ready” deal.

It’s not the deal that’s Oven Ready. It’s us – the long -suffering Turkeys.

Fight back! Vote tactically, even if that means holding your nose and voting for the Lib Dems. Find out who are the nearest challengers to the Tories in your constituency and vote for them.

Ps: Stop press! Latest polling suggests a narrowing of the gap -It’s not over yet and this makes the tactical voting message above even more important.

Back to the Future. Part 1:1979, Margaret Thatcher, and the end of Civilization

In which The Owl breaks the Law, but feels Morally Justified

I am 62 years old. The general election called for December 12th is, by a long way, the most important of my lifetime. There have been other significant elections, elections that I thought were critically important. The first Blair victory in 1997 springs to mind. After the crushing disappointment of 1992, when John Major snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, partly because of the inability of Neill Kinnock to speak simple, clear English, it felt as if that election was our last hope. But even that pales into insignificance when compared to what is at stake now. The only thing that comes close is the election of 1979, and given the recent media obsession with a return to the seventies that both parties spending plans are supposed to represent (more of that later), it seems appropriate to take a little trip down memory lane and recount the events leading up to my flagrant breaking of electoral law over forty years ago.

Thatcher v Callaghan 1979

1979. It is very difficult to accurately paint a picture of the 1970s for people who did not experience that decade as adults. So much has been obscured, wilfully, by the rewriting of the history of that time, that one can almost forgive youngsters for thinking that the seventies was a time of unbridled union power, of reckless public spending, of rampant nationalisation sending the British economy into near terminal decline, rescued only by the intervention of the IMF and the Blessed Margaret. This is the established version of our history. And, having lived through it, one is left wondering how much more of our history is similarly falsified. Indeed, “History is written by the victors” as Winston Churchill famously didn’t say. The only thing that representations of the decade have got right is that it was, indeed, a very brown and orange period, in terms of clothing and home décor.

Up until 1979, there had existed what came to be known as “The Post-War Consensus”. That is, both the major parties accepted that a modern economy and society ran most effectively on a judicious mix of Private and Public sector endeavour. The mixed economy balanced freedoms, rights and responsibilities and a strong state sector was essential, not just for social justice and equity, but for economic efficiency as well. It was accepted by both sides that spending about 40-42% of GDP on the state was necessary to ensure a smooth running, fair society. One effect of this consensus was that a period of Government by one’s opponents wasn’t too disastrous. The Tories had a slightly meaner approach to public spending, but that was about the only difference.

But then came Thatcher and the monetarist experiment. In opposition, when The Labour Party began to be known as the natural party of government, or as more efficient managers of capitalism, the Tories began to think. The pragmatists dabbled with ideology with catastrophic long term results. The ideology they espoused was embraced with the fervour of converting catholics and they developed a toxic combination of ideological certainty, limited intellect, and the common touch, aided and abetted by a command of rhetoric. It was the first signs of populism and it ran riot through the Labour party’s complacency.

At the time of the election, I was living in York, extending my student years after graduation via a series of crummy jobs and even crummier accommodation, until I could settle on what to do with the rest of my life. I’m still working on that last one by the way, but at the time, it felt like I would come up with an answer in the following year or so. One crummy job finished (was it the Great York and Surroundings Bus Census, a job that involved me and my partner in crime keeping ourselves warm as the snow fell, abandoned at some remote village green, by setting fire to our leaflets in the litter bin? Or perhaps it was the job at York bus garage where I was tasked with cleaning the garage floor with some watery detergent and a very small brush? There is probably some hapless youth still cleaning the same floor, with the same tools today, with the same chances of success) and I took a trip to the job centre to find another Crummy Job.

I picked a card from the display boards and took it to the lady at the desk. She peered at the card and read aloud, “Ah, yes, a stock clerk at Raylor’s Plant Hire, Thomas street, York.” She smiled and looked over the top of her horn-rimmed glasses at me. Her smile scurried away, back under its customary stone. She stared appraisingly at me. “Hmm. Are you sure this is the job for you?” It was a question that in later years as an English teacher I would recognise as one that expected the answer “No”. After a further hesitation she made up her mind and I was duly despatched to their offices just outside the city walls, starting at 9am the next day.

After my previous jobs, the prospect of sitting at a desk in a warm office ten minutes away from my flat was appealing. I scrubbed up and wore a respectable jacket and tie to look the part of the keen white-collar worker. This was a job I needed to keep hold of. The first clue that that might be a little more difficult than I had anticipated came when I walked into the huge, open plan office on that first morning. The boss was a dapper little chap called Derek. For devotees of seventies sitcoms, think John Inman in “Are you being served?” Tight suit and waistcoat combo with fetching floral kipper tie, he was the epitome of camp, at a time when no-one really knew what camp was. His desk, a stately mahogany monstrosity with the surface area of an aircraft carrier, dominated the far end of the office. From this vantage point he could surveill the whole team and keep them under his baleful eye. The clue was in the middle of his desk and on the wall behind him. Two enormous full colour pictures: one of Her Majesty, Queen Liz, the other of The Blessed Margaret Thatcher. In the middle of his desk, two plastic union jacks hung as limply as the unwatered Swiss Cheese plant in the corner. My heart sank. My boss was mad Thatcherite. And a monarchist to boot. And this was ’79, the time of The Pistols and Punk. I was shown to my desk, virtually two planks of wood tucked away in the corner furthest away from the mighty Derek. I slunk back there and vowed to myself to keep my head down and my mouth shut.

It was a fine plan, or as fine a plan as twenty-two year old wasters’ plans tended to be. Predictably, it did not survive for long. At 9.15, when the full complement of Derek’s crack team had assembled, each person to their own desk, a strange ritual began that was repeated every morning of the general election campaign.

Derek tapped on a glass on his desk with a spoon, like the best man at a wedding.

“Good morning campers. All ready for another day of free enterprise and wealth creation? Before we begin, let’s just do our daily roll call, shall we?”

His voice was a strange combination of flat Yorkshire vowels and a working man’s club version of a female impersonator. He turned to the woman sitting at the desk on the far end of the front row. “Good morning Joyce. And have you been following the events in the general election campaign?”

“Yes, Derek, I have.”

“And will you be voting Conservative on Thursday May 3rd, Joyce.”

“Yes, Derek, I certainly will.”

“Good girl Joyce.”

Derek moved on to the occupant of the next desk. The same interrogation took place, word for word, with the same responses. There were about 12 -14 people in the office, and each one in turn played their part. Sitting at the back, I watched the whole bizarre spectacle unfold, my heart sinking ever further towards my boots as the focus shifted inexorably towards me. Finally, the moment of truth arrived. The occupants of the other desks turned in their seats towards me. Derek beamed in my direction. “Ah, of course, we have a new member of our happy team. Christopher, isn’t it?” (Please note: all names have been changed to protect the innocent. And the guilty.)

“Yes, that’s right,” I managed to mumble, relieved that he had started with an easy question.

“Well, Good morning Christopher. Have you been following the events of the general election campaign?”

“Yes. Yes, I have actually Derek.”

“And will you be voting Conservative on Thursday May 3rd?”

There was a pause. I swallowed and licked my lips nervously. The silence grew in the room. The fixed, casual smile on Derek’s face began to flicker.

“Well, actually, Derek,“ I began and paused again.

“Yes?” he enquired, disturbed at this unprecedented break with routine.

“Well, I’ll be voting for The Labour Party Derek, actually.”

Everyone froze. The smile fled from Derek’s face and his brow furrowed. His eyes ranged around the massed ranks of his acolytes, as if to spread his disbelief amongst them. Satisfied, he stopped, raised an eyebrow and proclaimed, “We’ve got a bloody …. Socialist in the office. What the hell happened to my arrangement with the lass at the job centre to weed out the lefty students?” The word “socialist” was intoned in a voice dripping with contempt and a lip so curled that it was almost touching his nose.

I somehow survived the rest of that first day. I returned the next day to find my desk relocated to the corridor outside the office. Once a day I was called in for the ritual humiliation of Derek singing the praises of the forthcoming Thatcherite Free Market Utopia, followed by his withering condemnation of the failures and moral bankruptcy of Socialism. Dangerously, I challenged him and argued back. Part of the reason I survived was that Derek enjoyed the argument and he was unused to someone disagreeing with him. But mainly it was an exercise in power relationships. He enjoyed this daily affirmation of his own power and the rightness of his cause. It was like a Lion playing with a bruised and bloodied Wildebeest. And a really small and skinny wildebeest at that. And when the fun stopped, I was summarily banished to the corridor for the rest of the day.

Finally, Thursday May 3rd arrived. The polls had made gloomy reading for Labour supporters, and Derek’s steadily increasing sense certain victory made work ever more unbearable. That evening, my chums and I settled down in front of the telly in my tiny flat, with a few drinks prepared for the worst. I lived in two rooms of a huge Victorian three storey terrace just outside the city walls. Once grand, the house was then positively Dickensian in its squalor, and provided accommodation only marginally more comfortable than rough sleeping. The Landlord was a benevolent Christian from Hull who tolerated the casual and perpetual non-payment of the tiny rent that he charged and turned a blind eye to the recycling of the sole fifty pence piece through the gas meter to heat the fire. He would arrive at the house about once every two months, making pathetic, hand-wringing  attempts to get his tenants to pay at least some of their arrears and would depart some time later having lent most of his debtors a fiver each.

Various ex-university ne’er-do-wells and chancers had passed through this crumbling pile over the years and the net result was, by the time of election night, a stack of neatly arranged polling cards, about fifty in total, was placed just inside the front door. Their rightful owners were scattered to the four corners of the globe by this stage. I was registered to vote in North Yorkshire at that time, after a “Withnail and I” type spell living in a farmhouse near Easingwold. It was the biggest Tory majority in the country, a place where the working classes, horny-handed sons of toil and agricultural labourers, were transported to the polling station in one of the Lord Snooty’s tractors so that they could tug their forelock and vote Conservative because they knew their place.

I had resigned myself to not voting, partly because my vote would not dent the majority, partly because it was a round trip of about forty miles after work. Any remaining flicker of wanting to do the right thing and exercise my democratic rights, won at great cost by the struggle of my forebears, was totally extinguished by three pints of Sam Smiths and a bottle of cheap red. It was the beginning of a long career of armchair socialism.

And then, at about 9.30pm, there was a hammering on the front door. With much grumbling, I prised myself out of the cosy, warm sofa and went down see who it was. I swung open the door, expecting to find someone else come to join the post result wake, only to find three labour party workers, their faces furrowed and serious. They were all in identikit socialist worker outfits of Donkey Jackets, Rock against Racism badges, three-day stubble and John Lennon glasses.

Their leader did not waste time on any social niceties. “Alex is in trouble. You’ve got to come out and vote.”

Alex was Alex Lyon, the sitting MP for York at that time, a well-respected, popular and principled constituency MP in an area that was reliably Labour. If he was in trouble, the political tectonic plates were truly shifting.

“I can’t,” I stammered, “I’m not registered here. I haven’t got a polling card.”

The storm troopers of the revolution exchanged weary glances and shook their heads. Che Guevara leaned in through the doorway and picked up the pile of voting cards. He fanned out the cards in two hands and proffered them to me.

“Pick a card, any card,” he said. “As long as it’s got a man’s name on it.”

I hesitated. Breaking the law came hard to a well brought up lad from the North. My scruples crumbled, however, on the rocks of their scorn.

“Jesus wept,“ one said, “It’s not a hanging offence. Exercise your democratic rights, man. People have died for this, y’know.”

That did it. I marched to the polling station burning with democratic fervour. Wat Tyler, The Levellers, Oliver Cromwell, Emily Davidson, Keir Hardie – I was standing on the shoulders of giants. Songs would be sung in my honour, municipal closes of social housing would be named after me, I would feature in a film made by Ken Loach. Immortality was mine. The man who bravely defied the forces of reaction to cast his vote freely, without fear or favour. Well, there was quite a lot of fear, actually. I slunk into the polling station, collar turned up, mumbling at the teller, hyperventilating and sweating profusely and then scurried out, expecting to be wrestled to the ground by the police.

It made not a jot of difference, of course. The Blessed Margaret stormed to victory with a fairly modest majority of 44 seats. I slunk back into to work on Friday morning, hung over and depressed. I arrived to find that my desk had been moved from the corridor and now occupied pole position in the front row, right next to Derek’s desk. He greeted me that day with a sickeningly broad, beaming smile, and proceeded to lecture me on the onward march of history and progress under the benevolent wisdom of Mrs T. That day and every succeeding day for the rest of my tenure there. It was a horrible, horrible first day of the new Reich, one that left me squirming with disappointment and dread.

What my twenty-two year old self could not have realised back then, was that this was just the start. Over the following forty years, it was all going to get much, much worse.

Coming next week

Part 2: 2019 – The Forty Year Fact Check

The Young Person’s Guide to Conservative Government

A Public Service Announcement

Pitt the Younger

Given recent political developments, a new General Election seems imminent. In the interests of a fully informed electorate, to protect the democratic health of the system, you may find the following guide a useful tool to use with any Young People you know.

Conservative Governments follow a cycle of events in an unchanging, fixed way, like the seasons follow on from each other. These are the key stages:

  1. During a period of Labour Party Government (*see below), the Conservatives spend a lot of money given to them by rich donors and foreign powers, to issue propaganda rubbishing the actions of the Labour Government and falsifying statistics to create the impression that key areas of society are in decline. The money is given to them because, under a Labour Government,  the Rich have fewer opportunities to further enrich themselves at the expense of the state and the poor. This enrages them and they consider it to be very unfair and very detrimental to a productive economy. They mask their concern for the decline in their own personal enrichment by expressing concern for the lack of opportunities afforded to the poor by having a badly run economy, with rising unemployment.
Mark Francois

2. As a priority, the Conservative party identify key areas of the economy or of Society that are in crisis. They use phrases such as “Broken Britain” and they issue misleading right wing think tank reports to stoke fears of terminal decline under the Labour Party that they portray as unpatriotic, economically illiterate, and in the pocket of terrorists and the trade unions.

3. They identify a series of key groups who can be routinely scapegoated for these manufactured crises. These tend to be the following: Immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers. Lots of preparatory work has to be done first to blur the distinctions between these groups and to create the impression that most of them are associated with Islam or terrorism. In recent years, this list has been supplemented by the idea of “Europe” or “The EU” as a sinister unelected body whose only purpose is to do Britain down because at heart we are better than them, culturally, historically, economically and morally. (see “British Values”). This narrative of British exceptionalism is pursued without embarrassment, and in some cases, it appears that some Conservative Politicians and supporters actually believe it. In recent months, new groups have been added to the list of scapegoats: The British Parliament, The legal establishment and the BBC. This has been given the helpful umbrella term, “The liberal metropolitan Elite” or more usually, “The sneering liberal metropolitan Elite”. No-one actually knows what this means. There is a suspicion that it is used in the same way that the term “Fake News” is used by Republicans in the United States, ie when they cannot give a plausible answer to legitimate questions that have been raised by a free press, or the political opposition.

4. Hand in hand with this decline goes a reckless spending of tax payers’ money, on projects and initiatives that actively make things worse. Higher taxes allow the Labour Party to encourage immigration, terrorism, criminality, unemployment. Because of high taxes and political correctness gone mad there is more homelessness, more immigration, more crime, poorer exam results, worse health outcomes, longer waiting lists. This list is literally endless. Why on earth would the Labour Party do this? What is in it for them? The Conservative Party in opposition have strained every sinew to make the answer to this glaringly obvious to everyone, apart from the handful of Communists in the country: The Labour Party are the Enemy Within.

Captain Mainwaring

5. Once in power, The Conservative Government follows its natural instinct, which is to dramatically reduce public spending, lower taxes and line the pockets of its supporters, the already very rich and powerful. These people, apparently, are not the liberal metropolitan elite. They may be the rural elite, or the fascist elite, but both of these groups are infinitely more acceptable than those damn liberals. The sneering ones especially.

6. This is all done in the name of freedom and to liberate entrepreneurship from the dead hand of the state, so that we can all become richer.  No-one seems to worry that this has never worked. Except The Enemy Within.

7. Carrying on the work carefully prepared when in opposition, the Conservative Government continue to denigrate the work of the BBC, accusing all of its journalists and newsreaders of being Lefties. There are clear threats made regarding the licence fee and, subsequently, all news broadcasts are grotesquely “balanced”, which means even the most rabid right -wing lunatics are given equal air time for their views. Please note: This is a process likely to accelerate given the success of the Trump experiment in America. (See “Fake News”)

8. As the life of the Government progresses, their policies start to have an impact. Statistics regarding Homelessness, Health, Poverty, Climate change Social Care, Children’s services, Crime, Infrastructure, Transport etc all plummet. On the BBC news, a succession of such disasters is reported by head shaking, hand wringing newsreaders, with a baffled expression, as if they are at a loss to explain these strange, unrelated phenomena. A simple graphic would show the cast iron correlation between the election of Tory Governments and the inevitable collapse of the fabric of civil society. The point is never made because it is too “political”, so we must get used to thinking of these events as Acts of God, not policy consequences.

The Blessed Margaret

9. In the second half of a Tory Government, the arguments of the Labour Party and the possible policy solutions become very popular as clear and obvious solutions to the disasters wreaked by the gang of half -witted charlatans currently in office. Tory spokespeople reaffirm that they are spending more money than ever before on   (insert any issue people are moaning about).

10. The year before the election when the Tories are double digits behind in the polls, they steal 75% of the Labour policies they have spent the last four years demonising, and pledge to spend loads of money on Housing, the NHS, Social care, etc etc.

11. They spend billions of pounds from the magic money tree on bungs, bribes and propaganda that forcibly remind people that the Labour Party, The Greens and The Liberal Democrats are all Communists, in the pay of the Unions, Palestine, Islamists and foreigners generally. It used to be Russia, but that’s a bit awkward nowadays.

12. They will do absolutely everything in their power to obscure the basic choice everyone has to make about what kind of society we want to be. Either we can be a country that spends 42% of its GDP on infrastructure and the public realm, ensuring a country that runs efficiently (See Germany). This used to be the case for all civilised European countries. It is what we used to do during the post-war consensus, when all of the statistics mentioned several times above were all much, much healthier. Or we can choose to spend 37% of GDP on the same stuff and watch as society crumbles around us. No-one will ever point out his basic choice to you because they are disposed to treat the electorate as ninnies who don’t know their arse from the elbow. You will get used to this. You have a choice over whether to get angry about it and protest or to shrug your shoulders and eat more of the same shit.

13. Very often the electorate buy the lies and The Conservative Party is re-elected to Government. As soon as that happens, the steps outlined above start again, from step 5, and they begin to cut public spending savagely again. They reallocate a pittance from existing budgets as a fig leaf to cover up their broken promises. This is a bit of a bore for them to have to go through, but they are heartened by the success of Trump who has hit upon a new way of dealing with this. He simply lies about it and gets away with it. This will save the Tories a lot of time in the future. (see “Dominic Raab”)

14. Every now and again, things are so badly mismanaged by the Tories that no amount of lies and spin and propaganda can prevent the election of a Labour Government. Historically, this has been a statistical aberration, but, strangely, there was a period of over ten years of Labour Government, on the back of three election victories and they did great things, but the Left don’t like to talk about that. (ask your parents about this. I think it has been removed from Wikipedia) They (the Left) still think of that period as another period of Conservative Government, cleverly rebranded. During this period, Tony Blair did several things that did not help. They were:

  • Knocking back Proportional Representation. (This was a disastrous mistake, and, I believe, an example of Hubris. Jacob Rees-Mogg may correct me on this)
  • The Iraq War.
  • Being starry -eyed about the Rich and Famous
Someone whose name I can no longer remember, but who now seems a model of ethical behaviour, despite vague memories of her appalling performance in Government

There are signs that this immutable cycle may be entering a period of rare adjustment, on the back of the success of Trumpery in the USA. This has emboldened the Right to embrace cheating, lying and outrageously unethical behaviour. The current Cabinet appointed by Mr Johnson is so unspeakably Right Wing and so driven by ideological fervour that they are impervious to any appeal to morality or ethical standards. There are people in Mr Johnson’s cabinet who believe in the Death Penalty. Who are against abortion. Who do not support Gay marriage or a whole raft of LGBT rights. Who think that there should be no regulation of markets, or employers or housing. Who think that the creation of a low tax, no tariff, low standards sweat shop off shore is a step in the right direction. Who do not care about the return of bombs in Northern Ireland. Who have been openly racist. There are even rumours that a member of the Cabinet is planning to make not leaving a double space after a full stop illegal, no ifs, no buts. (In that sense, this whole article has been an act of civil disobedience, which is very gratifying). I never, ever thought that I would be able to write that paragraph in bold above in my life time. They believe that their view of the world is right and that The People cannot be trusted to realise that. This means that they can no longer countenance even a brief five year hiatus in their hold on power. The prospect of not being in charge for a minute enrages them beyond reason so steps will be taken to ensure that there will never be a Labour Government again. In the same way there is now talk from the USA that Trump will not step down if he is voted out and the rule about not serving for more than two terms will be scrapped if he does win again. (see “Vladimir Putin”)

Post no-deal sunlit uplands…….

We all need to be ready for this. There will be some very dark, difficult days ahead.