Deviating briefly from travel and fiction, I wanted to post something on this blog about the upcoming general election in the UK. Specifically, exploring why people vote Tory, when it is in absolutely everyone’s interests to do anything but.
It seems to me, there are two reasons one might vote Conservative.
The first reason is that you’ve had your head caved in by a ruthless beating from the right-wing press. You’ve been sold sensational lies and frightening rhetoric, and it has come from sources you considered reputable.
Take for instance the Tory spin on Labour’s handling of the economy. They can’t be trusted with the economy, supposedly for two reasons – they “presided over the economic crash of 2008”; and they “left the country with a huge deficit”.
Give them some credit
Firstly, the economic crash was an international catastrophe brought about by US sub-prime mortgage lending, and the knock-on effect that it had on banks globally. The UK economy, for better or worse, is heavily reliant on its financial services sector, and so felt the crash more keenly than many others.
Indeed, Gordon Brown’s measures were roundly applauded at the time for blunting the credit crunch by investing in the economy and cutting taxes to boost growth, hoping to cease the multiplier effect of companies and the public reigning in their spending.
It worked – according to former Bank of England policy-maker Danny Blanchflower, the budget stimulus led to Britain’s economy actually growing 3.1% between the autumns of 2009 and 2010. Under the coalition in the year afterwards, it grew 0.3%.
Read this from economists and journalists in the Independent, in which this myth of excessive Labour borrowing is roundly debunked… http://www.independent.co.uk/…/the-myth-excessive-governmen…
This brings us to the deficit – the political bogeyman. This is what the Tories would have you believe is the root of all evil – and Labour and the Lib Dems, for their part, have failed to redirect this false narrative and now must ostensibly agree with it, to the detriment of all.
In fact, the deficit is nowhere near the catastrophic rhetoric we are bludgeoned with day after day. A government needs to borrow during a recession, as its tax income falls and unemployment benefit claimants increase. But our repayments of debt as a proportion of GDP were lower after the recession than they were in 1996. We have not borrowed excessively, but within our means to repay it.
Read this excellent website http://falseeconomy.org.uk/cure/how-big-is-the-problem for more information. The page I’ve linked to illustrates this point, but explore the rest of their website to glean a better understanding of both the Tory spin and the damaging effects austerity has had on our economy.
Enemy from within!
With the election campaign now in full swing, the latest lie to smash your brain into quivering smithereens is that the SNP will “hold the UK to ransom”. What utter tosh. Their 50 or so MPs will not hold sway over anything, apart from helping Labour to end austerity.
Worried about losing our nuclear deterrent? The press have been busy scaremongering saying the SNP would force the UK to abandon Trident if they formed a coalition with Labour. That’s bollocks. The Tories themselves would have to vote against extending it in the Commons for that to happen.
Might they vote against it just to make Labour look bad? No, not with transparent voting. It would be political suicide. So, the myth of Labour undermining our defence by collaborating with the SNP is utterly false and an insult to the public’s intelligence.
So, that’s our first Tory voter – someone who has been brainwashed by a barrage of propaganda from the right-wing press and who thinks they’re being sensible by voting Conservative. Please, please, have another look at what you believe is true, and have another think about it.
Money for nothing
The second Tory voter is someone who will personally benefit from Tory policy – someone fairly well off, who stands to increase their wealth through lower taxes; or someone who hopes to avoid taxes on the rich, implemented by a Labour government, like Myleen Klaas opposing a Mansion Tax.
This kind of Tory voter is harder to reason with – fair play to them, they have something to financially gain! You can harp on about how the poor have been forced to prop up the country, with bedroom taxes, benefits cuts and stagnant wages in an inflationary economy; but it doesn’t affect them, because this type of voter isn’t poor.
All for one, one for all
This type of voter does not see the benefit of universal growth – just their own personal bank account’s growth.
But when more people are in well-paid work, they spend more, businesses make more, wages increase, the government coffers bulge and investment in services increases, which in turn creates jobs, consumer spending, taxes and so on.
If you hammer the poor, they cannot spend. The system falters, growth is stunted, you – personally – become less well off; unless of course you’re a landlord, a banker or a bloody politician.
The Tories say Labour is “anti-business”, but there’s nothing more anti-business than austerity. An alternative to austerity is needed not just to help those at the bottom, but for all of society.
Thanks for reading.