Five signs the Tories are losing the plot

Anyone noticed the Conservatives behaving a bit oddly lately?

Anyone noticed the Conservatives behaving a little strangely recently?

We have, and we suspect it’s down to the party panicking after being caught with no answers to the living standards crisis.

The detoxification of the Tory brand appears to have been abandoned, but there are several other signs the party is beginning to lose the plot:

1) Green levies

As well as blaming rising energy prices on so-called green levies, David Cameron is reported to have told aids the government should “get rid of all this green crap”.

Downing Street has rebutted the allegation, but it doesn’t seem particularly far fetched to suppose that Cameron might have said such a thing. He has, after all, spent recent weeks trying to blame the rise in the cost of energy almost entirely on so-called ‘green levies’.

And to think, at one time Cameron promised to lead the ‘greenest government ever’.

2) Too many of us are too thick to get on, according to Boris

While there was something of a brouhaha last week over Boris Johnson’s speech to the Centre for Social Justice – the core of the Mayor’s speech was the uncontroversial point that economic equality (as opposed to less inequality) is impossible – his comments about IQ were more revealing. In effect, the Mayor wrote off a large swathe of the population as too stupid to ever achieve anything.

IQ is an attractive myth if you are one of those in a position of power or wealth, but a myth all the same. The children of wealthier parents are more likely to go to the best schools (properties in desirable catchment areas cost on average 42 per cent more), eat the best food, have access to ‘high culture’ and a place to do their homework. They also benefit from a number of other forms of social and cultural ‘capital’ their working-class counterparts lack. Nurture has at least as big an influence as ‘IQ’.

3) Putting VAT on food and childrens’ toys

The Free Enterprise Group is a group of Tory MPs who unsurprisingly advocate a greater role for the market. Treasury minister Sajid Javid is among the group’s members. Last month the group set out seven demands ahead of George Osborne’s Autumn statement this Thursday, one of which was for an end to VAT exemptions and the reduced rate currently applied to many essential items.

This would lead to big increases in the price of zero rated items such as prescriptions, train tickets and food and children’s clothes.

4) Bizarre comparisons of Ed Miliband to Marx, Engels and even Stalin

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty Four, head of the omnipresent government is Big Brother, a quasi-divine leader who persecutes all individualism as ‘thought crime’. While the link between Stalin and Big Brother is somewhat tenuous, the latter is at least a hint toward Stalin’s regime.

Tory HQ appears to believe, however, that it is Ed Miliband who Orwell is referring to

Twitter CCHQ

Tory hyperbole over Ed Miliband since he announced an proposed energy price freeze at Labour party conference goes right to the top. At Prime Minister’s Questions last week David Cameron said that Mr Miliband was “no longer a follower of Marx” but “loving Engels instead”.

Weird.

5) Lying about history is fine, provided it makes you feel good

Tory grandee Charles Moore is a former editor of The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator. I don’t think it’s too far fetched to say that he is fairly representative of Tory opinion. Observe, then, an interesting paragraph in his recent review of Conservative MP Daniel Hannan’s book on the Anglosphere. Largely favourable, Moore does, however, disagree with Hannan’s history. But nevermind that, he writes, for “Getting its history wrong is part of being a nation”:

The way Hannan gets ours wrong works to the good. Even if it is not always true that we have upheld liberty and the law, it helps us to do better if we believe that this is our special role in the world. In all countries, at all times, there are a shocking number of people who want to diminish freedom.

In other words, nevermind the fact that the British Empire was very often not a place of milk and honey, it makes us feel better about ourselves if we believe it was.

19 Responses to “Five signs the Tories are losing the plot”

  1. SimonB

    They seem unable to make decisions too. At the level of town and parish councils we are trying to finalise our budgets and precepts for the forthcoming year yet we are being left with unanswered questions about council tax benefit. Last year cuts in CT benefit were covered from district council budgets but this year some district councils are so squeezed they are hesitating. The consequence for larger parish and town councils could be that, being prudent, they budget to cover the shortfall. However this could push them into triggering a referendum on their precept if they increase too much, hinted at over £70 Band D. Nobody at DCLG seems able to make a decision, everything is being kept under review and councils at the front line are being kept in limbo. It really is no way to run a country!

    The current silence on capping at parish council level is hardly reassuring either.

    Localism is widely viewed as being dead, along with Big Society and all the other wizard wheezes of the early days of this administration.

  2. inrepose

    I am not sure labour are much better with various Co-op issues and friction with trade union members. I can’t see myself voting for either party and Nick with his U-turn on student fees is also a no. I certainly need something new to vote for.

  3. TheLiberalArms

    The Conservatives only followed Cameron’s ‘modernizing’ strategy for electoral reasons – now the polls are against them they’ve shot back to their default position like a released spring.

    A little something to cheer you up http://theoccasionalpigeonuk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/ukip-to-extend-membership-to-moderately.html

  4. TM

    ‘IQ is an attractive myth if you are one of those in a position of power or wealth, but a myth all the same. The children of wealthier parents are more likely to go to the best schools (properties in desirable catchment areas cost on average 42 per cent more), eat the best food, have access to ‘high culture’ and a place to do their homework. They also benefit from a number of other forms of social and cultural ‘capital’ their working-class counterparts lack. Nurture has at least as big an influence as ‘IQ’.’ It is indeed a cosy myth that IQ plays a major role in the class system and the idea that many privileged Upper class and Middle class people get their positions and privileges because they are smarter than the rest of us. If only that were true, hey Boris! I suspect the irony of his comments are lost on that intellectual giant that strides the world stage only because of his superior intellect and brilliant ideas how to run London. It is another way to dismiss the poor and then blame their poverty and disenfranchisement on them. Not Tory propaganda at all then. It is also the fact that even if you are not that bright at all, no names mentioned here, that when you have connections and privileges and wealth and went to the ‘right’ schools, you can usually sail through life no matter how little talent, intelligence or real accomplishments you have and still end up comfortably wealthy, with a plethora of Right wing prejudices and baggage attached for good measure. This is the class system, Britain’s last taboo and something which the Left should be tackling as par the course.

    ‘Tory hyperbole over Ed Miliband since he announced an proposed energy price freeze at Labour party conference goes right to the top.’ Surprise surprise! Someone actually challenges the gross injustice and promotion of inequality and they are called a Marxist or socialist or Stalinist or whatever. It’s another way to close the debate and allow business as usual, business being squeezing as much out of ordinary British people as possible and calling it entrepreneurial spirit or free enterprise or some other such nonsense. The rest of us probably call it gangsterism or a monopoly.

    ‘In other words, nevermind the fact that the British Empire was very often not a place of milk and honey, it makes us feel better about ourselves if we believe it was.’ They have to appeal to little Englanders don’t they and make them feel patriotic and superior and give them the right to hate and despise others who don’t buy all this BE bulls**t. Patriotism truly is the last, and the first, refuge of a scoundrel.

  5. John

    Look to the extremes then. The Green parties economic policies only require maturity (they can be a tad idealistic and naive) while UKIP have a surprisingly cohesive set of policies. Up to you which fits your views best of course

    Myself, I’ll stick with the Greens. Unlikely to ever achieve power under the current voting system it’s one vote NOT going to the big three.

  6. John

    It is rather McCarthy isn’t it? But then, scare tactics have often been used by the Right-wing Establishment.

    I just hope we don’t start getting the ‘rally to the flag’ reflext the Americans perfected.

  7. marje arnold

    the biggest joke is that cameron and osborne are the thickest people ever to run this country and thats despite their superior education.

  8. TM

    That’s what a number of us tend to think too. People in glass houses, and all that.

  9. keggsie

    IQ is used a determinant of learning difficulties and not intelligence. IQ tests were debunked years ago – even by the psychologists who devised them.

  10. Steven Durrant

    It normally takes well into a 2nd or even 3rd term for this sense of malaise. They are truly shit and deeply, deeply corrupt. So a lot of this weirdness is a kind of lashing out in my opinion. The only strategy they can think of is based on hyperbole, lies and fear (that’s beyond their general serving of those who bribe). Obviously they will hope for some kind of economic “recovery” to point at, but the dogs in the streets know that only the wealthiest will feel any benefit from it, and that much of it is hot air based on finance fraud.

  11. uglyfatbloke

    Was there any belief that the tories had ever found the plot in the first place?

  12. Theduckman

    You will find that the Conservatives are more of 1984 than they want to admit. They do erasing of past documents which is far more doubleplusungood than the duckspeaking Labour leader Ed milliband or Ed Balls, who really is a ungood bellyfeeler for a chancellor. Plus, they want to remove us from Europe to make Oceania.

  13. neilcraig

    Blaming tax on electricity for putting up the price of electricity.
    Next thing the “left” will be telling off the Tories for saying water makes things wet.
    The real point is that this only a tiny part of it.
    By definition since it is clearly true, every honest politician in the LabConDemGreen cartel has admitted that 90% of all electricity prices are corrupt state parasitism. That is what causes recession.
    Not many honest among these scum are there?

  14. TM

    Yes. It was also devised in part by a notorious racist too. Nothing like a bit of fascism, racism and class prejudice to get the pot boiling hey? And don’t you just love it when uber-privileged types start acting as though they are self made?! Nobody picked him up on that either.
    John: you noticed the Americanisation creeping in too. Usually privileged folk hate self made people or that whole thing but pretend to go along with it for the whole sham our democracy is becoming.

  15. marje arnold

    couldnt agree more. the class system is the one thing we need to get rid of.

  16. marje arnold

    yes but this is the type of voting that puts the tories back in as their voters will never desert them no matter what.

  17. TM

    It is the last taboo. The Upper Middle class and the Middle class love to talk about racism and every other prejudice because tackling them doesn’t affect them one way or the other. However, turning the spotlight on class privilege and all the stuff that those people benefit from gets them very uncomfortable doesn’t it, and so they all fight tooth and nail to keep it off any agenda and seem to refuse to accept it is a major problem for a country that is supposed to be a first world democracy, but is now actually run like a 19th century factory or gentleman’s club. Mustn’t have any uncomfortable reality impinging on Right, and Left, wing fantasies must we?

  18. TM

    Keep looking. You won’t find it. The whole system needs changing and making fairer, and it needs to represent the majority, not the tiny elite of wealthy people at the top and the concerned but always affluent Middle class.

  19. inrepose

    John – Thanks for this reply. I only just spotted it but since posting here I have joined the Green party as a member.

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