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Fat chance have Tory fat heads of turning attention from fat cats to fat people

my chums and I are going to sort the country out

It’s been a bad week for the Tories. This is supposed to be the month they pull ahead and seal the general election deal. Fat chance. The HSBC tax dodging scandal, the £15,000/head black and white Tory fundraiser, the facing down of Lord Fink by Ed Miliband after initial threats to sue, then Fink handing over another victory by admitting that “everyone” (i.e. his well monied mates) avoided tax, the Conservatives have got to be praying that the political fates won’t send them another week like this.

Right on cue, in the desperate scramble for anything to change the record here comes their great, trite hope: the removal of social security from the obese, the alcoholic, and the drug-addicted. Less fanfare has greeted their quiet trial of sanctioning in-work recipients of income support if they don’t work a set number of hours, a measure they’ve ruminated on before. When the heat turns up on the rich all the Tories can do is kick down at the poor, and it typifies the programme they will be taking to the country: an entirely negative agenda packed with lies and scapegoats.

You can’t help your background, but you can learn from it. I grew up a working class Tory, and so whenever commenting on the decrepit state of the Conservatives a feeling of gratified schadenfreude warms me from tip to toe. The same isn’t true for the 15 year old buried in the brain: he looks on with abject horror. Whereas the Tories of the Thatcher and Major years had the good grace to at least pretend an association with and a paternalist care toward the proles, there is none of that under Dave and the gang. They don’t even pretend to represent the entirety of business any more, beholden almost entirely to the hedge funds, to the magic men of the city who conjure billions from the flux of global finance, and do make it disappear equally quickly in cataclysmic blasts of economic chaos.

The labour movement talks a lot about the dislocation of its base. For the Tories it’s even worse, so bad that only a few siren voices dare speak it aloud. The blue party are hated to a degree not shared by any other political party by millions of people. In that particular poll they’ll always be well out in front. The broad coalition they constructed during the post-war boom, of protecting privilege by conceding the hoi polloi its council estates, its living wages, and its industrial bastions in the nationalised industries was broken on the Nottingham pit heads.

Yet Thatcher did more than hit the labour movement a concussing blow, as she smashed up and sold off the industries underpinning the post-war order whole branches of capital were lopped off and left to rot. Other sections of capital, that part of it looking to the longer view were also alienated. As the various factions tussled over the body of the Tories during the 90s – ultimately to be won lock, stock, and two stinking barrels by the most short-termist and fractions of capital – New Labour came to be the preferred party of British capital-in-general up until the stock market crash brought them a glimpse of their own mortality.

Bits of capital showed their gratitude to Gordon Brown for saving their system by drifting back to the Conservative fold. But not all of it did. What Blair and Brown achieved, unbeknownst to themselves, was they rendered the fracturing of capital under Thatcher permanent by providing, albeit briefly, an alternative ship when the original was holed beneath the waterline.

This background helps explain why the Tories are so useless and cruel. The front bench team share between them stupidity. Venality and incompetence make them so loathsome. The same can be said for the wider party too, and its UKIP mini-me. For a whole social movement from above, for that is what the right is, when we’re talking about how common place its character defects are, we’re talking about a sociological phenomenon, not individual psychological foibles.

Think about it. Where are the Tory intellectuals? There’s Conservative Renewal, the group around Phillip Blond, Peter Oborne, and Spectator people like Fraser Nelson and Isabel Hardman. And in the chamber itself? Jo Johnson, Robert Halfon, Sarah Wollaston might be squeezed into the category of ‘Tory decent’ but that’s it. The one thing all these right wingers share is their marginality from mainstream conservative thinking because they are politically sane.

The rest are at the mercy of what passes for commonsense in these circles: hold down pay, pare back employment rights, savage any means of support outside of the wage relation. Taken together they will somehow create the conditions for economic growth, thereby keeping the great unwashed mollified, and allow them to carry on as if they were born to rule. The qualities the modern Conservative Party select for are the traits that see a country run by and for city interests find helpful.

Tories are stupid, but they’re stupid for a reason.

This article first appeared at All that is Solid

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  1. Robert says:

    That’s why labour only now speak for those in work, every speech from Miliband states working people not working class, hence they are all pretty much the same in polls, they are heading for another hung government and deals done behind closed doors.

    Affordable homes not social homes it’s not just the Tories that have gone backwards.

  2. Barry Ewart says:

    Yes the Tories are happy to set neighbour against neighbour re welfare for political gain. They also hope to distract working people from tax cuts for millionaires and tax dodging individuals plus corporations as these Big Fish are distant from most people’s lives. Labour is on a winner highlighting the tax dodgers and he upper class welfare state. Imagine if their was an army of advisors telling the poor how they can work on the side but of the equialent advice for the rich is perfectly legal. So over 1m people on benefits have faced sanctions and 200,000 have been punished for not getting a TV license yet only one out of 1,000 HSBC tax dodgers have been prosecuted. It’s one rule for the rich and one rule for the poor! I will vote Labour and Labour has moved on a bit from the middle class New Labour SDP coup – I will support it because it has a generally decent rank and file and is where most of the trade unions are.

    1. Robert says:

      Today as they have done for the last five years spoke about working families. they do not speak about any one else working families he said is the back bone of this country, well that means the pensioners who fought in wars and retired are no longer seen as being part of the labour party .
      labour only speak about the you7ng those i8n work, sadly in my area most people are out of work or in low paying jobs, I cannot see to many of them rushing to vote for Miliband who has never worked out side p of politics and only then for a short period.

      The next election will be for Blue labour as they like to see themselves, or the Tories, it would not surprise me if they pair of them go into coalition with each other.

      Labour Wales yes I will vote for them but not this so called centrist party of Progress.

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