The Tory leadership campaign rumbles on and each day we are introduced to a new policy initiative from each candidate telling us how they will undo the damage of the last 12 years of Tory Government
Out of a sense of desperation I suspect from the Sunak campaign there have been U-Turns and some pretty scary announcements . The latest idea that Rishi plans to de radicalise people who “vilify” the UK through the Prevent programme was perhaps the scariest but also the most telling moment of this campaign.
His campaign ‘clarified’ that people being critical of the UK government wouldn’t be sent for de radicalisation – but the fact they had to put out such a clarification speaks volumes. This is all part of a pattern of this ridiculous and dangerous attack on ‘being Woke’. As I’ve said before and repeat I am woke and proud if…
Alert to injustice in society, especially racism.
The previous day we had seen Truss announce she was going to cut £8bn from the Civil Service costs by introducing regional wage boards to cut the pay and conditions of civil servants across the country. Quite rightly this was binned less than 12 hours after being announced. Incredibly she tried to say the policy had been misinterpreted- despite it being set out clearly in her own press release for all to see. Again the response is to LIE.
The fact is that public sector pay still stands about 0.4% below where it did in real terms since 2010. Public sector workers have spent much of the decade seeing their salaries cut in real terms. With inflation now heading for 15% in January the policy was both economically stupid if the Tories are even remotely still interested in Levelling Up and politically disastrous for their Red Wall MPs.
Unquestioning Pride in Nation
At the heart of my disdain for this government is these ‘culture wars’ they fight and the framing they create on so many issues. Either on the economy or society and our history.
As a politician it’s very difficult to call into question our institutions, the Monarchy, or much of our appalling history and its consequences. Of course there are elements of being British that I enjoy, but I have always bulked at using ‘being proud’ tag too easily and loosely.
I am by nature an internationalist. I am a global citizen. I recognise that my neighbour is both in Loughborough, out here in France where I am writing this from, or from Africa, South America, or South East Asia. Our world is so interlinked short sighted nationalism is dangerous. But that seems to be the path the Populist Right have been taking us from some years. Flag waving and British exceptionalism that reared its ugly head as part of the #Brexit campaign seems to be fought every day by these Tories and their right wing media friends in the Mail, Express and Tory-graph.
It becomes tiring and boring (which is exactly what they want). I swing from the mood to take on this fight with vigour only to find myself the next day enjoying being away from it all and savouring the tranquility of a beach, or a Norwegian Fjord and wondering if it time to give up on Britain and its squalid corrupt tory government.
Things Can only get worse…
And so we have another month of this campaign. The Tory Party membership – these candidates are appealing to – do not represent mainstream Britain or certainly don’t worry about the things most of the electorate are considering ahead of a really tough year ahead – The cost of living crisis, low pay, and massive energy bills.
Elections are often won by presenting a positive version of the future. Who really believes Truss offers anything other than a nightmare for most of us? Her ERG and Billionaire backers see the chance to finally create a Singapore Style UK economy and workforce. For them #Brexit was only the first stage on a road to undoing decades of progress for working people in the UK. Her dismissal of Sturgeon (Just ignore her) and the pursuit of the legislation to rip up the NI protocol show how dangerous these ideologues are. Earlier this week I admitted that Labour had been taken over for four years by ideologically illiterates. We rescued Labour. I fear it may too late for the Tories. Their moderates seem like me, to be walking away and not up for the fight to save their Party from the extremists. It’s dangerous for our democracy. And another two years can mean they get to do a lot of damage.
Sorry to sound so depressing- but I’m genuinely worried for the future of our country.