Thursday, 18 February 2016

Tories undermining democracy

The government`s "decision to reject completely MPs` advice  to amend rules" relating to constituency boundary changes comes as no surprise (A cavalier disregard for MPs` advice undermines democracy,13/02/14). Your editorial rightly says that the alterations will give "the Tories a massive head-start in 2020", and are "an affront to parliament", but what`s new? The Tories have already started the process of stitching up the next election by introducing individual registration, and reducing funding for opposition parties, with the "short money" changes, and reductions from trade unions, but with no restrictions imposed on Tory donations.

       Such examples of democracy being undermined did not prevent Cameron recently attempting to "sign up Boris Johnson to his campaign", with a promise to "assert the sovereignty of the House of Commons and these houses of parliament" (PM`s hard line on UK self-rule woos Johnson,04/02/16). The hypocrisy does not end there; whenever Tories want to justify arms sales, or even armed intervention, the excuse invariably given is the need to protect democracy. It`s regarded as a "core British value", yet we have a government with an overall majority in the lower chamber, elected on the votes of only 24% of the total electorate! Only a Tory government, with a record of ignoring the wishes of the Commons, and passing legislation without debate by using statutory instruments, would have the brass neck  to persuade the nation to vote in favour of staying in the EU by claiming it was the only sure way to ensure the "sovereignty" of parliament.

After a brief summary of the government`s legislation and policies since it took office, Helen Lewis concluded, "Surely we deserve better" (Slothful and slapdash: the housing bill tells us everything about the Tories,12/02/16). Sadly, the country knew all about the Tories before the election, about their cruel and needless laws like the Bedroom tax, their selfish tax bands benefiting the rich, and their appalling record in dealing with tax avoiders and greedy landlords. The country still voted for them because the media waged an unwarranted war against the Labour party, against its policies, which would have injected an element of fairness into our society, and in particular against its leader.
  Of course, the Tories are "committed to a scattergun set of policies", because there is no "long-term economic plan", any more than there is a "northern powerhouse" policy, and these don`t exist as they were simply pre-election wheezes, which they never expected to have to put into action. The huge amount of privatisation, the provocation of junior doctors to stir up dissatisfaction with the NHS, teacher shortages following pay freezes and continuous criticism of their work, and housing policies, which hurt "hard-working families", cannot be described as unexpected.
 Tragically, we deserve what we get! Compassionate Toryism is a myth perpetuated by the Tory propaganda machine, and 24% of those entitled to vote swallowed it!

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