Sunday, 23 August 2015

12 cons from the Cons. party

When the "Conservative party" is abbreviated, usually due to convenience or laziness, to the "Cons party", notice is rarely taken of how much more appropriate the reduced version is. The truth is that the Tories are past-masters in convincing the country of so-called "facts" which have absolutely no evidence to substantiate them whatsoever. We only have to recall this year`s election, and how much influence the nonsense about Labour`s mis-spending causing the economic crash had on the electorate, to appreciate this. Buoyed by this success, they are currently persuading the UK to accept something in the range of a dozen untruths. We are being "conned" by a party very suitably named!
1. How can austerity be so vital to the country`s future, when the chancellor sees fit to throw away overnight £1.1bn in an RBS sale? Where have imposed austerity measures resulted in economic growth? Greece?? Tories apparently "care" about the next generation`s debt, but clearly intend to raise tuition fees further!
2. Tories are very keen for tax avoiding companies to "smell the coffee", and to reduce the tax gap of at least £50bn a year. At least, this is what we are told, but they have cut thousands of jobs at HMRC, whilst their so-called "Google tax" is only intended to raise £600m, and not until 2019!
3. A tax rate of 50% on high-earners is self-defeating, we are again informed by the Tories, because it raises less income for the government, in line with the "Laffer curve". This, of course, is nonsense; the curve is an invention of a Reagan advisor to justify the Republican government`s lowering of taxes for its rich supporters. Its de-bunking by modern economists has coincided with the suggestion by Piketty that the top rate should be around 80%.
4. Within weeks of becoming Education Secretary, Gove was mis-using data to warrant his assessment and examination reforms, and the Tories are still mis-informing us about state education. All schools must academise if they fail to get 60% pupils with 5 A*-C grades, brainwashing us with the inaccurate notions that academies provide better education, and that there are no excellent state schools and hard-working teachers in poorer areas with results nearer 40%. Comparing test results using the Pisa system gives a hugely misleading impression, when other countries exclude from the testing "certain types of children to boost their scores", as reported in the Guardian last year.
5. Tories even have the nerve to suggest they are the party of "the working people", yet their claim to make people better off by raising the living wage does nothing of the sort, when they reduce tax credits, and refuse to regulate rent-raising landlords.
6. The election result clearly took the Tories by surprise, as now they are lumbered with Osborne`s electioneering promises relating to the "Northern Powerhouse". Most ludicrous of all is the idea of HS3, when electrification of the Manchester-York line, promised back in 2011, has not even been started yet, whilst the HS2 line will only create more dormitory towns for London employees. Giving powers to elected mayors to control hugely reduced government grants will do nothing to boost local economies.
7. As it suddenly sees itself as the "compassionate" party of working people, the Conservatives cannot possibly be the party in hoc to the bankers and the City. As if! When HSBC threatened to move its headquarters out of the country because it could not pay large dividends to its shareholders due to that nasty bank levy (nothing to do with fines for money-laundering drug money or interest-fixing or mis-selling?), what did Osborne do? The bank levy was duly reduced, as requested. HSBC was saved £700m a year, with similar savings made by Standard Chartered, another institution threatening to move.
8. Another "con" favoured by the Tory propaganda machine is that private ownership beats public every time, but again, with absolutely no supporting evidence. Are we really meant to believe that when completely privatised, Lloyds and RBS will change their business cultures, caring for customers and giving them satisfaction will become more important than profit? There will be no more mis-selling or corruption of any kind, no more obscene bonuses? Will privatisation even lead to new CEOs being appointed? Similarly, would programme quality at the BBC or Channel 4 be improved by their sale? Didn`t the East Coast railway prove state ownership works, whilst private companies benefit from £93bn a year in "corporate welfare"?
9. Tories support and, indeed, revere, that "British value", democracy, but whilst they remain very content to maintain our electoral system which provided them with a majority government from just 37% of the vote, they want to change union voting procedures for industrial action. They clearly, on the other hand, do not want to increase the turn-out at elections; if they did, they would insist polling-booths moved into town centres, supermarket car-parks, and university campuses, and even experiment with electronic voting.
10. Tories are desperately worried about the country`s low productivity. Really? They do nothing about the short-termism of CEOs and business managers, whose renumeration depends on company profits, and who consequently prefer not to invest in new plant, machinery and technology, or even in training staff with the necessary specialist skills. As a result, pay for bosses of the FTSE100 companies is around 150 times their average worker`s pay!
11.So-called "compassionate" Tories apparently care hugely about the Mediterranean and Calais migrant problems, which explain why they refer to them as "swarms" and "marauding millions", why fences and dogs are their only solution, and why HMS Enterprise has failed to save any lives in the Mediterranean in over a month`s "search and rescue" operation. Shouldn`t our "world leader" Cameron be insisting on an EU summit to reach a fair solution?There are so many examples, from "bedroom tax" to withdrawing the Education Maintenance Grant and the grant for the poorest students, which prove that compassion is yet another myth the Cons. party expect us to accept. Does anyone really believe the NHS is safe in Tory hands?
12. The Tories also love to help sustain the Blairite propaganda that a left-wing party can never win an election in this country; doesn`t a Blairite-led party offer the least in the way of opposition, accepting much of the Conservative mythology outlined above. Its a party with left-wing proposals which the Tories fear, challenging their ideological nonsense about austerity, privatisation and "compassion".
   How the current Labour party allows these "Con-tricks" to exist without opposing them is usually explained by the leadership contest taking precedence and centre stage, but without every Labour MP taking every opportunity to tackle these Tory myths head-on, there is a real danger that too many of the electorate will swallow them!

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