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The Nasty Party

01 Jan 2021 09:00

Since the war we have had 31 years of Labour government and 47 years (or 60% of the 78 years) of Tory government. More recently, we have had 12 long years of increasingly right wing nastiness that has become the hallmark of Tory government. But, now the madness of Corbyn has exited stage-left, it is time for some gentle moral and pragmatic common-sense to settle on Westminster and for the nasty party to exit stage-right into the slurry lagoon of history.

Why do I dislike the Tory agenda so much ? Well, just for starters, here’s 20+ reasons:

  1. The Policing Bill is a disgrace. It is an attack on the right to protest and an erosion of democracy and civil liberties. The government’s repeated disregard for the law:
  • The unlawful Proroguing of Parliament in 2019.
  • The unlawful cutting of foreign aid to beleaguered nations without regard to its statutory duty (International Development Act).
  • The non-implementation of the Northern Island protocol, in breach of the Brexit agreement.
  • The breaking of its own covid rules.
  • Threatening to withhold funding to the constituencies of rebel MPs is unlawful.
  1. The Election Bill will disenfranchise many voters and compromise the independence of the Electoral Commission. It is a very bad bill which appears designed to undermine our democracy and to give unprecedented powers to the government to determine the remit of the Electoral Commission.

  2. The Judicial Review and Courts Bill undermines the judicial review process whereby the courts can hold public bodies accountable to the law. It also blurs the boundary between the Courts and the State. But it apparently does not go far enough for some in this government who would like to see ministers have the power to strike-out legal rulings, thus abandoning the principle of nobody being above the law.

  3. The Nationality and Borders Bill will allow the removal of citizenship from an individual in the public interest. It is an entirely unnecessary and nasty piece of legislation that is causing understandable concern among ethnic minority groups.

  4. A lack of any clear plan to deliver promises on Climate Change, as recently made clear by the Public Accounts Committee. Nothing in recent budgets either. The Green Homes plan is dead in the water. The 10 point plan is all bluster. Delays to the Environment Bill. As for COP26 … BoJo flew back to London in a private jet to have dinner with a journalist mate… pretty much says it all.

  5. The recent Energy Strategy that does very little to tackle the critical and urgent need to reduce energy consumption now. It a vague and long-term strategy that does not even mention home insulation, for instance.

  6. The chaotic management of the covid-19 crisis. Vaccine good … the rest very very bad. 170,000+ dead and counting, but BoJo says we will “ride out” the current wave ?! It is a ridiculous policy, that is putting pressure on the NHS, allowing the virus to circulate unchecked and hence increasing the likelihood of new variants emerging. Dropping mandatory face-masks in confined spaces was just pandering to the ignorant civil-liberties lobby… who will happily wear a seat-belt?! Then there is our miserable contribution to the international effort through Covax. 100 million doses pledged by June 2022 ( a month away) and so far just 30 million delivered, not to mention the 100’s of thousands of doses that have been destroyed.

  7. Cronyism … aka corruption. PPE contracts, Track and Trace contracts … no public tender or scrutiny, all swallowed billions. It is very likely that some will make its way back into Tory coffers.

  8. The abuse of the honours system is sad if not criminal. It should be a means of recognising outstanding contributions to society, and it is undermined when it is used to reward or buy political loyalty. It is simply unlawful to be given an honour for making a contribution to a political party, but 15 of the last 16 Tory Party Treasurers have been offered a seat in the Lords if they donated £3m to the party. It is extraordinary and will be investigated. Also, why on earth was Gavin Williamson given a knighthood, a man with a track-record of dismal failure as a minister? The answer is simply because he has been loyal to his political master BoJo.

  9. And to add insult to injury, the Royal Yacht vanity project that will cost you and me £250 million to build, at a time when millions are facing real poverty. Why not just seize an oligarch’s boat … it would probably be bigger and better? It is not unlike the Garden Bridge project when BoJo was Mayor of London, that burnt over £50m … but no bridge. Then there was the £5m of public money spent on the Thames Estuary Airport project that was universally regarded as mad and would have cost 10’s of billions. And we should never forget the bridge/tunnel to Northern Island that was so bonkers that it only cost you and me £900,000 to determine that it was … bonkers.

  10. Bringing Politics into Disrepute. This could be a very long list, but some headline items:

  • The attempt to change the rules to suite as in the case of Owen Patterson’s clear breach of the rules, was … disreputable.
  • The dismissal of the report on Priti Patel’s bullying, was an abuse of position and influence. She should have been sacked.
  • The saga of the flat refurbishment is simply sordid and embarrassing.
  • Party-gate (aka Garden Gate) … and the constant flow of half-truths, untruths and lies.
  1. Misleading parliament used to require resignation from ministerial or committee posts. Now it counts for nothing, as deception and untruths have become the norm and politics has been reduced as a result.

  2. The attacks on the BBC are just an example of how this government has little interest in balanced unbiased reporting. The boycott of the R4 Today programme was an example of how it cannot cope with criticism and it hasn’t got the arguments to win a debate without recourse to lies that investigative journalists of the quality of those at the BBC will uncover. Now they wish to emasculate the BBC by doing away with the licence fee. The self-interested cultural vandalism does not end with the BBC. All forms of public service broadcast is under threat. The latest being the proposed privatisation of Channel Four. The excuses put forward are hollow and widely criticised. The Tories just don’t like public service broadcasting as it leads to a healthy media that will hold them to account… they would prefer GB News, a shouty bubble of right-wing rant.

  3. The Hostile Environment policies, introduced by Theresa May, are divisive, ill-conceived and plain nasty… and while making life hard for many people, they have had virtually no effect on illegal immigration.

  4. The utterly revolting policy to send immigrants to Rwanda, a country with a very poor human rights record. It is shameful and wrong and the reasoning behind it is typical Priti Awful Patel. Why this individual is still in post can only be understood in the wider context of the moral depravity of this government and its leadership.

  5. The Homes for Ukraine scheme which is yet another disgraceful and cynical policy that is deliberately designed to make it difficult for Ukrainian refugees to enter the country. It is as the Observer says “designed to fail”. Why would you give visas to a whole family except for one child? The reason is the family will not then come, which explains why of the paltry 40,000 visas issued just 6,600 individuals have made it to the UK. It is grotesque, cynical and outrageous.

  6. A lack of basic humanity as evidenced by:

  • the ending of the £20 top of Universal Credit at a time of desperate need;
  • the NI hike that will disproportionately affected poorer households;
  • the total inadequacy of any proper plan to address energy costs;
  • the debacle of the Afghanistan evacuation and the abandonment of 100’s British Council workers … and many others;
  • the ongoing lack of payments to Windrush victims (the Home Office needs top-to-toe reform… it fails at everything it touches);
  • the telling fact that there are now more food-banks in the UK than there are MacDonalds, due to the austerity measures of the last 10+ years;
  • the free school-meals debacle;
  • the disgracefully reluctant and minimal help given to Ukrainian refugees.
  1. A lack of basic competence as evidenced by:
  • the trade deal with Australia, which will be hugely damaging to agriculture (listen to farmers not the government);
  • the management of visas for key workers, that has led to huge shortages of staff in many sectors, resulting in economic damage as well as real animal welfare issues;
  • addressing the housing crisis as if it was a simple supply issue. 300,000 houses a year to be built they say, with absolutely no justification or rational. We do not need these houses. What we need are affordable homes in the right places.
  • putting a political popinjay like Jacob Rees-Moog in charge of anything …
  1. The Levelling Up White Paper is a big document. It gives a good account of the problems caused by the many years of Tory inflicted austerity measures. It never admits this of course. It puts forward policies that could in due course help, but as ever the funds to achieve these policies are vague and ethereal. It reads like a manifesto and that is because it is the usual disingenuous politics we have come to expect… just like all the climate change promises that make good copy but have little substance. We now await the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill due later this year, which will also contain reforms to the planning system, as thankfully Jenrick’s dreadful Planning Bill has been scrapped. But will the constituencies of rebellious MPs (ie one’s that have some integrity) get the levelling-up funding? Apparently not, if BoJo has his way; it would be unlawful … but hey.

  2. The NHS and Social Care are in crisis due to under-funding. The government’s ambitions are not backed up by anything like sufficient funds, with a funding gap for social care of well over £10bn. Also, the proposed charging limits for social care are iniquitous and disproportionately affect the less well off.

  3. The Health and Care Bill, which does nothing to address the workforce issues, or the creeping privatisation that means that commercial interest is influencing outcomes and not what is best for patients. The bill also completely fails to address the enormous problems within social care and its effect on the NHS. It talks at length about restructuring and then gives the secretary of state enormous powers to approve or block change… typical Tory control-freakery.

  4. The immoral plans to increase our nuclear arsenal... while cutting foreign aid, Voluntary Services Overseas funding, etc (no more Erasmus) ?

  5. And finally… the brexit lie-athon that has stranded us on the edge of Europe with a seriously damaged economy, damaged cultural ties, damaged political influence, damaged research … and a globally damaged reputation.