By James Melville.
Boris Johnson has introduced the Conservative Party’s general election slogan: “Britain deserves better”.
This is a slogan that to put it mildly, lacks any self awareness. Considering that the Tories have been in power for the past nine years, the multitude of problems faced by Britain have been largely created by the Tory government
The Tories have used a number of ironic slogans at elections that are the diametric opposite of what is actually happening. Remember Theresa May’s 2017 election slogan ‘strong and stable‘ or that the Tories always claim to be the party of economic competence? It is bogus and massively misleading sloganeering.
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 Tory era from 2010-2019, the UK was 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 5 million people since the Conservatives took office in 2010. Britain now has over 1 million people receiving emergency food supplies per 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. Yet since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, the percentage of the NHS budget going to private healthcare providers has doubled.
On Brexit, this is a Tory psychodrama that has spilled over into a national drama. At 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 3 year cycle of division and hatred because the Tories unnecessarily unleashed something that wasn’t a priority or a national concern and then failed to deliver a workable solution to Brexit.
Brexit was instigated by internal Tory ideological rivalries that have rumbled on for three decades and shaped by an identity crisis linked to Britain’s imperial past and confusion about Britain’s future role in the world. David Cameron called the 2016 EU referendum to lance the boil of internal feuds within the Conservative Party, but all that it achieved was to make the boil go septic. Britain is now on its third Tory Prime Minister since the EU referendum and still no one really knows what Brexit means and how Brexit can be delivered. All we have is endless jingoism, empty rhetoric and promises that are not delivered.
The Tories like to think of themselves as the born-to-rule party and a ruthless 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 7 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.
So when we all vote at the general election on December 12th, we need to remember this: Britain does deserve better. Britain deserves better than the Tories.