Sunday, 24 July 2016

Letters on "compassionate Conservatism" and "One Nation" Toryism

As it is the custom for incoming PMs of whatever party to announce their intention for a change of government direction with radical reforms, it was rather disingenuous of Harlow MP, Robert Halfon, to describe May`s idea for "putting workers on boards" of companies as "groundbreaking" (The May doctrine, 15th July, 2016). Most historians agree that even Disraeli, the initiator of "One Nation" Conservatism, who laced his 1874-80 administration with reforms to help the working class,and thereby win their votes, was "window-dressing" rather than changing society. Similarly, May`s co-determination policy is unlikely to reduce the pay-gap, as it did in West Germany, when FTSE 100 CEOs in Britain are paid 183 times more than their average employee.
     Leaders of parties claiming to be in favour of " social justice" do not "push for more grammar and free schools", when the inevitable consequences lead to more challenging schools for the majority. Politicians who supported the most callous austerity measures of modern times must never be mistaken for "compassionate Conservatives", if indeed, such people actually exist.

"The Brexit con will soon be exposed", says Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform, but probably not as soon as Theresa May`s "One Nation" con (Theresa May`s first pledge as PM was for a One Nation Britain,17/07/16). Just like her predecessors arriving at Downing Street, May could not resist making extravagant promises, like focusing on "people whose needs were greatest", but her support for the cruel austerity measures passed by governments since 2010 suggest a pinch of salt may be needed. Even the founder of the concept, Disraeli, whose 1874-80 administration passed thirteen major reforms, all ostensibly to improve the lives of ordinary people, was an imposter, tricking working class males into voting for him; historians generally agree that those reforms were more "window-dressing"  than causes of significant improvement.
The truth is that "One Nation" Toryism always has been an attempt to woo working class voters, rather than a serious attempt to change society. It will take more than co-determination to reduce the obscenely large gaps between the pay of workers and bosses, or to end the tax avoidance policies of most businesses. Inequality has its seeds sown in schools, and having a firm believer in grammar and free schools as PM means a few Damascene conversions are needed. Undoubtedly, Tories can show compassion, but a compassionate Tory government is, without doubt, an oxymoron.

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