Why on earth didn`t Blair and Mandelson stress how far to the right the Tories have moved in the last five years, rather than making very dubious points about Miliband being too left-wing for the voters and the unsuitability of the mansion tax? After all, was David Cameron choosing his words carefully, when he recently told Tory MPs that Britain was "on the right track"? Even though his government has missed most of its economic targets, he was probably correct, but only in the political sense! Too many Tory policies now resemble those history has often condemned under extreme right regimes, which no doubt explains Tories` reticence to discuss them!
Cameron is well on the way to meeting his objective of shrinking the state to pre-war levels, reducing government expenditure on welfare, and reducing tax rates for the rich. So for him to say that the country is on the "right track" becomes less ambiguous when he is actually referring to a direction further away from the left, and whilst his statement, of course, was aimed to placate his party critics, it can only be bad news for the majority of the people.The other parties must ensure the electorate fully understands the nature of this Tory party, and how far to the right it is taking the country. Comparisons with extreme right-wing, nationalist parties, both of the past and present, are neither irrelevant nor impossible.
Tory treatment of the less fortunate in our society is well documented, with welfare cuts, the infamous "bedroom tax" and failure to stop exploitation just a few of the examples of how inequality has not increased simply because the rich have become richer. Unemployed have been forced to take jobs on zero-hours contracts, thousands are forced to resorting to foodbanks for survival, whilst very few employers are taken to court for paying less than the minimum wage, and even fewer private landlords face any penalties for charging obscenely high rents for squalid accommodation. Government excuses for failing to raise the minimum wage to a level approximating a living wage abound, whilst businesses continue to make excessive profits. How typical are these of the policies of extreme-right governments, intent on suppressing freedom and hopes of equality of opportunity?
With working people`s standards of living in decline, a common policy adopted by extreme right-wing is to attack the workers` defenders, the trade unions; consequently, not only is there constant jeering and criticism in the Commons on the government side whenever unions are mentioned, plans are afoot to make strike action almost impossible with new laws in the next parliament. There`s no need to attack unions` offices and buildings, 1930s- style, when legislation can render workers` representation ineffective.
Neither do Tories care for democracy, in another example of emulating the extreme right of history. Just recently laws on election expenditure were changed without discussion in Parliament, and instead of encouraging democracy with easy-access polling booths in city centres, supermarket carparks and university campuses, and even investigating the possibility of electronic voting, Tories continue with traditional methods, knowing millions of new voters could only mean Tory defeat at the polls. In the meantime, secret talks on the proposed transatlantic trade and investment partnership between the EU and the USA could mean multinationals suing sovereign governments on the grounds that their profits are threatened by government policies. Is this what the electorate voted for in 2010? Of course not, but that doesn`t stop the Tories from continuing their extreme right-wing agenda, or deter them from their privatisation policies.
Justice, another area where intervention by extreme right wing governments is traditional, has witnessed the Tory-dominated coalition government ending legal aid, whilst also aiming to scrap the Human Rights Act and pull out of the European human rights convention. Prison and police understaffing has reached dangerously low levels, suicides in prisons have reached increased exponentially, and involvement in CIA rendition is well known.
Right-wing governments, without fail, spend more than is healthy on defence, and whilst shrinking the state has necessitated cutting numbers in the armed forces, billions are spent in maintaining what they insist on calling a nuclear deterrent, the Trident missile system, when everyone is aware that, not only would the nuclear weapons be launched only with American consent, but that they are anachronisms in a world facing huge terrorist threats and minority dissatisfaction. Nationalist policies, whether they concern anti-immigration issues, or provocation of weaker countries like Greece, over the recent "lending" of the Parthenon marbles to Russia, abound in Britain as in all countries with governments on the extreme right spectrum.
Then there`s education, and the insistence on teaching nationalist history, often at the expense of historical accuracy. Where have we seen that sort of thing before? And taxation, ensuring the rich pay less, avoidance by big business continues, and the poor pay a greater proportion of their earnings than the rich through indirect taxation, something set undoubtedly to rise under another Tory government, is another example. In fact, the list grows ever longer with every month that passes, and every policy the Tory party adopts.
"On the right track", Dave and George? Too right! And too dangerous for my liking!