Monday, 14 September 2015

The "Security" Mantra and Tory Hypocrisy

It's nice to see arguments made on this blog taking flesh in real life, even if they're coincidences as opposed to the well-connected and listened-to having a look and half-inching them. Less nice is when your opponents appear to run with those suggestions instead. Yes, much to my chagrin, for the last two-and-a-bit years I've been banging on about the need for Labour to emphasise security and talk about having plans for this and that. The result? An incoherent manifesto that was neither fish nor fowl, while the Tories couldn't talk about anything but the non-existent "long-term economic plan."

New leader, new mantra. "The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family's security", so says Dave. Security, security, security. Many a witless Tory parliamentarian have become a speak-your-fib machine at the behest of CCHQ. Of course, It's so much bollocks. We remember who said a big lie can fool more people than a small one, and the Tories are hoping this cynical truism holds.

On national security, Dave's government has retreated into splendid isolationism, daring to only address foreign policy matters when holidaymakers are inconvenienced at Calais, or there's an opportunity for Dave to cement his reputation as a war leader. By not engaging with the world, rubbing up Britain's allies in the EU the wrong way, and lest we forget the utter indifference Dave has shown Northern Ireland since assuming office, he's got a cheek to lecture anyone about national security. What you gonna do, Dave? Set the spooks on the Leader of Opposition?

Let's talk economics. The Tories' much-vaunted economic plan is and has always been cutting public services, throwing employees on the scrapheap, and penny pinching social security to those who can't get by without it. Somehow, passing "saved" monies onto the rich in the form of income and corporation tax cuts would miracle up a strong economic recovery according to their 1980s Thatcherite orthodoxy and make everyone better off. In fact, the record numbers in part-time work, the huge numbers of substantively unemployed people hidden in the self-employed figures, the vast amount of temporary and insecure work around, and their absolute resolution to do bugger all about it; the Tories have and continue to present a clear and present danger to the economic wellbeing of the people of these islands.

And family. Yes, the Conservatives. The party of the family. The one that has placed "hard-working families" on a pedestal and assiduously cultivated and patronised them. What have they done for families? Taking away working tax credits, that's helped families make ends meet. Attacking public sector wages and giving bosses carte blanche to bully and intimidate workers, meaning millions of kids aren't spending as much time as they might with one or both parents because they're at work. Or that the stresses and strains of the working day come home, and is taken out on partners and kids. Family security? The policies of the last five years show what the Conservatives think about the sanctity of the institution they rhapsodise over.

The Tories are hypocrites, but Dave and friends aren't nasty bastards because they don't know about the misery their policies are causing. Undermining the self-security of millions of people in the name of security is a deliberate political strategy. If their jerrymandering isn't enough, the Tories' path to power comes not through making a positive case for their programme but by scaremongering. We saw it before the election. We'll see them carry it on. And project fear, as anyone will tell you, works best when people are feeling frightened. If the 30 million or so folk in work felt secure in their occupations, weren't stressed out by dodging redundancy and awful managers, and weren't driven to a state of hypertension about where the next job or payment was coming from, the Tories' arguments would get zero traction.

Our difficult job is to turn the tables on the Tories. They are adept at using the fear of joblessness, penury, hopelessness, and family breakdown. So lets use the stories of our people who've suffered some or all of these, and throw them back in their faces.


asquith said...

Jezza said did roughly half of what he's accused of, and that IS enough to kill the vaguest hope of me supporting him. The other half is exaggerated of fabricated, but will be widely believed in Staffordshire Moorlands, Cannock Chase, Tamworth, etc. This is enough to end his electoral prospects I think.

You're right about the Tories, and the far-left will throw it back in Blairite faces that their illegal war in Iraq didn't accomplish any known mission. But what if you're not a Blairite, but as I am a supporter of Tim Farron :)

Like the Scottish seperatists and the Europhobes (of whom Jezza will probably end up being one) he has won a kind of victory just by turning up. He will mainstream his ideas. But what about those who don't want that and think it would land us in Venezuela or permanent Tory rule that I want no more than you?

Anonymous said...

You are correct about Tory hypocrisy of course and you could have added that the Tories are also a threat to the health of all, including your children. Their health policies will lead to US style health care, which comes bottom of every health league table, apart from the ones concerning money!

But we should recognise that the Tories share the blame with the Liberals (of course) who gave them office in the first place and facilitated their vile policies and also New Labour who led the way is neo liberalism and the current state of affairs.

There are some interesing stats that show you the period we are in, like the fact that the richest 1% own more than the bottom 50% and 99% if we factor in the rest of the world, or that after 2007 the biggest fall in living standards has been for the bottom 20%, while the top 10% have seen their wealth increase.

We should also note that before the neo liberal period debt as a % of hoursehold wealth was 20% and now stands around 140%.

Also pensions that are defined contributions now account for the majority and are subject to the casino practices of the city. previously the majority of pensions were defined benefit schemes.

On tax the burden has moved from the wealthy to the poorest. the rich have seen a staggering fall in tax rates, while the majority have seen a rise in rates. This means that states now have to go cap in hand to the rich and borrow at interest.

Record numbers are now using food banks, with food banks users more likely to live in rented accomodation. This is another security issue the Tories, liberals and New Labour have imposed, the threat to decent housing. The Tory promise of owning your house has turned into the nightmare of renting off spivs.

Though temporary fall in oil and food prices have in a very small way started to see modest real wage increases, between 2007 and 2013 we saw the biggest sustained drop in real wages on record. It should be noted that the Tories changed the way this figure was calculated, and masks the real fall.

There has also been a huge increase in zero hour contracts and for many workers life is now insecure, many people cannot no longer make any sort of long term plan. As full time jobs has been lost these have been replaced by part time and low skill work.

Many students and young people now face the prospect of being debt slaves before they even get into the job market.

This is the backdrop of the Corbyn victory. The vote for Corbyn was a vote for security, which currently is a luxury that only the rich can afford.

Anonymous said...

If Security is the new Tory mantra why no Security by means of rent controls where it really maters for private tenants. Or might that also control landlords, and restrict the terms on offer from the providers of buy to rent mortgages. But horror of horrors that might drive down house prices.