The Conservative-led government IS evil, Owen Jones – even if its supporters aren’t

Not evil: We have reason to believe that Iain Duncan Smith's policies have led to the deaths of dozens - if not hundreds - of sick and disabled people every single week. We have reason to believe he is suppressing evidence of the number of deaths caused, which in turn leads us to believe that it is a greater number than we have imagined so far. And he has done so, in order to avoid the inevitable public outcry that would follow such a revelation. Do YOU believe that these actions are not evil?

Not evil: We have reason to believe that Iain Duncan Smith’s policies have led to the deaths of dozens – if not hundreds – of sick and disabled people every single week. We have reason to believe he is suppressing evidence of the number of deaths caused, which in turn leads us to believe that it is a greater number than we have imagined so far. And we have reason to believe he has done so, in order to avoid the inevitable public outcry that would follow such a revelation. Do YOU believe that these actions are not evil?

Following on from the previous article in this series, let’s look at the consequences of hiring organisations that have no moral compass, to carry out vital public work – and the implications about the governments that take them on.

It has long been the attitude of this blog that the leaders of the Conservative Party are evil creatures, and this conclusion is borne out by their actions. Today this contrasts starkly with the opinion of fellow leftie Owen Jones, writing in The Independent, who has claimed it is wrong to label them in that way.

He cites some of the best-known examples used by people to prove the evil of the Tories: “It is projected that over a million children will be driven into poverty by this Government’s policies [wage depression, cuts to benefits, cuts to landlord subsidy]. Half a million people, unable to properly feed themselves in one of the most prosperous countries, have been driven to food banks, particularly because of cuts to benefits or delays in payments. Sick and disabled people are being stripped of support [work capability assessments carried out by Atos]. The bedroom tax is punishing hundreds of thousands for the failure of successive governments to build council housing [and landlords including social landlords will evict them]. Cuts to in-work and out-of-work benefits have been imposed as a cynical ploy, to paint Labour as the party of welfarism: the cost of such political manoeuvring [being] more people having to choose between heating and food [in fact the Conservatives are the party of welfarism. They talk about the social security bill rising 60 per cent under Labour, but under the Conservatives is rose by as much as 80 per cent in a single year (1982-3, if memory serves)].

But he says these wicked, immoral acts, enacted by the most privileged in British society upon those who have no defence against them, are not evil. “‘Evil’ is a comforting, but worrying concept,” he writes. “Its connotations are so extreme that, by applying it to someone, you at a stroke strip them of their humanity; you cease in any way to be able to imagine their rationales or thought processes; they simply become a cartoon villain, for whom the ultimate thrill is the inflicting of misery. As soon as you fail to understand your enemy, they have already defeated you. It would be easy to imagine the Tories as a cabal of upper-class sadomasochists, spending their evenings plotting ever more devious ways to hunt children on council estates like rural foxes. But it misses the point.”

Sorry, Owen, but on this one I think you’ve missed the point.

Look at the most commonly-cited example of evil we have: Hitler. Sorry to drop the H-bomb but this is relevant: He was genuinely evil. But he was not a “cartoon villain”. Those who fought him did not see him as an inhuman or alien creature. They certainly did not believe his only aim was to inflict misery (although he did, and in similar ways to the current UK administration – look at the way both have treated their sick and disabled). Hitler’s opponents did not see their enemy as a creature they could not possibly understand; instead they spent huge amounts of time and effort trying to get into his mind – even bizarrely decorating their offices with Nazi paraphernalia, dressing like him and trying to look like him in the scramble to comprehend what made him who he was.

They would have agreed with Mr Jones – as I do – that it is necessary to understand an enemy in order to defeat them. But by this yardstick, Owen would be saying Hitler wasn’t one of the most evil men to blight the 20th century – and he clearly was.

Hitler did what he did because he thought it was the right thing to do. He believed – passionately, just as Iain Duncan Smith believes – that his policies were the best, not just for Germany but for the world. He believed that the German people – the Aryan race – were the inheritors of the Earth and he had a duty to bring them into their inheritance. He believed that other races – particularly the Jews, but also the Romany, and undoubtedly others as well – were inferior and that it was all right to use them as slaves in order to achieve the aims of his master race, while expending as few resources feeding and clothing them as possible. And he was surrounded by people who believed the same. Alternative ideas were suppressed.

Isn’t this exactly the same as Owen’s own rationale for the way Conservatives behave? “Most of us like to believe we’re ‘doing the right thing’,” he writes. “A politician introducing a policy that any independent observer will find drives people into poverty will privately justify it to themselves as necessary or unavoidable or for the long-term good of those affected. It allows people – on the right as well as left – to stubbornly believe things in spite of all the facts.” Like Hitler in the final months of World War Two? Like David “There Is No Alternative” Cameron?

“As is well known, the Tory front-bench is drawn from the most privileged sections of society. Such a background can – though not inevitably – lead to a failure to understand why people may struggle to get by,” Owen writes. Hitler’s background led to a failure to understand that he did not have a right to persecute sections of society he didn’t like – and Iain Duncan Smith’s background has led to the same failure. “It means mixing with other prosperous people, who they may see as the real drivers of prosperity who just need to be left to their own devices, freed from meddling governments and unions.” In Hitler’s case, he believed that the government and businesspeople needed to work together to bring about prosperity for the people – whose duty was to follow these leaders and service their needs blindly. “Easy, then, to justify policies that benefit the rich (who you see as noble wealth-creators) and punish the poor (who you see as those too feckless to climb the social ladder without prodding).” Easy, then, to justify policies that benefit the Nazi (who you see as a noble wealth-creator) and punish the Jew (who you see as a parasite, sucking money out of the state).

Conservatives are not a large section of the population. Those who are politically active are a tiny minority – the Tory Party is in fact a minority-interest organisation, promoting the interests of the very, very rich – so branding the Tories as evil is not casting a large section of the population in that light. Most of the people who support the Tories are misguided, rather than evil – they believe too much of what they read in the right-wing newspapers.

But Iain Duncan Smith’s determination to wipe out a whole section of the population just because their bodies don’t function the same way his does? That’s evil. George Osborne’s determination to stick to his austerity policies, even though he now knows there is no justification for them whatsoever? That’s evil. The Tory privatisation schedule that is intended, for example, to put decent healthcare out of the reach of the poor for generations to come, leaving them vulnerable to the revival of some of the least pleasant diseases and health conditions this country has ever seen? That’s extremely evil.

The way privatisation was presented as a way of democratising ownership of the national utility companies, when in fact the long-term plan was for the shares to be sold out of the hands of the working- and middle-classes who were ignorant of how to handle them properly, leading to huge dividends for people who were already rich, higher prices for the poor (to pay for those dividends, and the executive salaries they justified), and continued support from successive governments when the privatised companies failed to plough their profits back into their industry in investment? That was very evil too.

“Manipulating fears over, say, immigration or crime”? Evil.

“Exploiting existing divisions in working-class communities”? Evil.

Manipulating the press to present them as helping the poor, when in fact those who have the least are being hit harder than they have been for generations – while alternative opinions (with some honourable exceptions, Owen) are suppressed? Evil.

I like Owen Jones, but he’s wrong on this one. The Conservatives must be made to accept responsibility for the evil they are doing. He should not be giving these creatures of evil a way out.

(The first Vox Political collection, Strong Words and Hard Times, is now available and may be ordered from this website)

28 thoughts on “The Conservative-led government IS evil, Owen Jones – even if its supporters aren’t

  1. Phil The Folk

    Well said Mike! With you all the way. Can’t figure out what on earth Owen is playing at here??

  2. Nick

    IDS will have to go before a court once he leaves power as any mp can press charges against him and if the evidence is stacked against him and he presided in the deaths of the sick and disabled in which as the minster for welfare reform his main duty was to protect them and as we have all seen in the press he has failed to do so and he himself has stood by and watched them suffer

    1. joanna

      I would love to see IDS prosecuted, but how? don’t you have to be physically responsible? I didn’t think you could be prosecuted for opinions and Ideas. If anything had the chance to stick, he has all his foot soldiers in the DWP to take all the blame.
      Also most of what he has done is by royal assent, does that mean the queen can be held responsible? In my mind yes but in law and reality no. I know this isn’t fair but what we have to do is make sure they don’t get a chance in the next election and then try to move on, But never ever, ever forget the victims. I really wish they could be legally charged with crimes to humanity, because it would serve as an example to those who follow!
      If I am wrong then I will be happy for a change to admit, that I don’t know what I am talking about!

      1. Nick

        it all depends joanna if IDS can escape once he leaves power’ he may well do so Hitler did for a while but then reality kicks in and as we have seen over the past years when rouge governments get displaced anything can happen so we will all have to wait a see on how this pans out

        it will at the end of the day lay in the hands of the people like in Egypt/Iraq/Tunisia/ etc on how the country should proceed to stop future deaths from happening at the end of the day it’s all down to the people/press and nobody else

  3. Nick

    i told ids from the off their were no safeguards built in to the welfare reform act i also told my tory mp who agreed with me it was plain to see that the welfare reform bill was full of bullxxxx

    from the earliest invalidity benefit till now it’s always been the same and i have all the booklets from 1980 all bullxxxx

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  5. Alex RF

    I agree completely with this article. A real nail-on-the-head piece of writing, excellent.

  6. Husserl

    Here’s a related issue that’s bothered me for decades, having lived in the Netherlands, which was occupied by the Nazis from 40 through 45, helped out by many of the civil servants. Given that the Leader is clearly evil and is ordering evil acts, why do the Leader’s lower-level civil servants carry them out, usually with no effective resistance? I don’t know, but a classic book to read on this is ‘Defying Hitler,’ by Sebastian Haffner. He was a German jurist between the Seisure of Power until 1939. He could not reconcile his morals with his work, and emigrated to the UK in 39.

    1. beastrabban

      Thanks for recommending the book by Sebastian Haffner. Haffner was clearly a brave and courageous man of great moral integrity. The question why so many people obeyed the Nazis and carried out their commands, even though they knew them to be evil, is a problem that has been debated and discussed by historians. When I was an undergraduate the lecturer teaching the section on the rise of Nazism in the course on the emergence of the Fascist and Communist regimes in Europe mentioned it as one of the fundamental problems posed by Hitler and co. In the case of Nazis, part of the answer is the absolute use of state power and brutality to suppress dissent. Under the Third Reich, not only would the person, who resisted or protested against the regime be arrested, but also their whole family. In that situation, only the very brave with either few family connections, or who had the absolute support and involvement of their family, like the White Rose resistance movement, would have the courage to resist.

      I think part of the problem in these cases is that people are atomised and helpless,. They believe they are the only ones, who feel this way, and fear the consequences if they speak out. There may also be the feeling that guilt for the actions belongs to the collective, but not at the individual level of the civil servants, who carried out these policies.

  7. kittysjones

    Yep!! ‘If we look back through history, we see that in any period of time when persecution and punishment of the poor, and destruction of the integral bonds of our society reflects the dominant paradigm, that paradigm is scripted by harsh, shrill Tory ideologues. The Poor Law of 1834 is a very good historical example.

    Owen Jones recently claimed that “The political right is the inevitable, rational product of an unequal society”. I disagree. Unequal society is and always has been the rational product of Conservative Governments.

    If Toryism is simply about rationalising from the relative isolation of a privileged background, and a belief that “hard work” means prosperity – those old mythological meritocratic principles – then how is it so that unemployment and poverty grows and extends under EVERY Tory Government? And why would such rationalisation include persecution and punishment of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society? And such WILFUL denial of their suffering, and even death, because of Tory policies?’

    1. Mike Sivier

      Those are excellent points, Kitty. Hopefully we’ll be able to pull out the necessary factual references to show these phenomena before the next election.

  8. hilary772013

    EVIL! EVIL! EVIL! No other word for them, the whole lot of them are all tarred with the same brush.. nice one Mike, with you all the way on this one. I also like Owen & cannot understand his reasoning on this one.. must be the heat that has got to him & addled his brain.

  9. Pingback: Poverty and Patrimony – the Evil Legacy of the Tories. | kittysjones

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  11. guy fawkes

    Never read such an accurate piece on how the rich and powerful operate in order to maintain their positions in society, how as you rightly said the utilities were privatized to benefit the richest and penalize the poorest with higher charges, then after bleeding these companies dry and lack of investment, they are then probably happy for them to be re- nationalized again so that the tax payer can put in the much needed investment.

    I too like Owen jones but he is most certainly wrong footed on this issue. What I fail to understand is why people aspire to be like the rich with their corrupted and twisted value system. There is far too much emphasis put on the pursuit of wealth in the media especially when so many are living in so much poverty, this in itself is perverse.

  12. bookmanwales

    The real question is “who is the most evil, those who do evil or those who ignore evil acts ?”

    The Nazis are oft quoted and held up as a shining example of evil, but who were the evil ones ?

    Is the person who publicises his beliefs the evil one or those that blindly follow and carry out his orders ?

    Without the mass of people who supported, financed, campaigned and ultimately died for him Hitler was no more evil than other people with extremist views.( This is not a personal endorsement of Hitler or his acts)

    It is easy to blame the elite few, especially those in the public eye, but in reality it is the many who are the force that give evil it’s free reign.Whether they choose to actively partake in a party’s campaign or choose to ignore such a campaign they are equally responsible. They know what is happening in their name but choose to pretend it is not happening or deny personal responsibility because someone else is carrying out the actual evil act.

    The current “evil” taking place in this country is to be shared amongst all sections of society. The Labour party, the unions, the working class, the rich, the poor, the lawmakers, the Tories, the Libdems, the Lords, the media, the bankers, and of course anyone else who raises no objections.

    Why are we all evil ? We all know a wrong is being committed but allow it to happen because we are individually safe. It has not hit us yet, never will and as long as it’s some other group being targeted then that’s ok.

    The Labour party and the unions (supposed representatives of the downtrodden) are mysteriously silent, the working masses ( even whilst the next target) are mysteriously silent, the media (impartial educated people ?) is mysteriously silent, the supposed “charities” financed by the same people being hit are mysteriously silent. It is this silence from the majority that is the real evil as without their silence the evil would have a face and be shown for what it really is.

  13. Ros

    Evil is too kind a word for these neo nazi’s crippling people, people who already have disabilities and need help. Instead the tories take away their help and hope and leave them destitute. Absolutely no morals in the tory party, Ian duncan smith is the main culprit and will retort with anger if anyone mentions that his plan isn’t working. He is killing people. I hope you get your just rewards IDS!

  14. Rose Sangare

    Thanks for such a succinct and coherent article; sometimes it feels like no one is recognising the traumatic effects of this governments war on the poor but when I read this it gave me hope for the future. Always read your blog Mike, your work is much appreciated. Solidarity!

  15. Tony

    Definition of Evil:

    1. Morally bad or wrong; wicked
    2. Causing ruin, injury, or pain; harmful
    3. Characterized by or indicating future misfortune
    4. Bad or blameworthy by report; infamous
    5. Characterized by anger or spite; malicious

    1. The quality of being morally bad or wrong
    2. That which causes harm, misfortune, or destruction
    3. An evil force, power, or personification.
    4. Something that is a cause or source of suffering, injury, or destruction: the social evils of poverty and injustice.

    I Could classify Ian Duncan smith in all of these.

    The rest of the Tory party in at least half, and labour in worryingly just as many.

    1. Tony

      Infact, reading the dictionary, you could classify parliament in total in some part of Evil’s definition.

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  17. jaypot2012

    I’ve seen two people up to now saying that IDS has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The more I read about it the more I believe it – I find it suits a lot of “upper class twits” as well as Cameron. IDS has a very severe form and if you look at the lies he has told throughout his life, and they are just the ones we know about, you will see that he has had NPD for the majority of his life!
    I despise him, along with many others from the tory party, I honestly believe he should be removed from office as his latest ramblings about it’s not what is right or wrong, but its what he BELIEVES, shows a lot of people that he is tipping over the edge (and I hope so much that I see the big fall). He’s now an embarrassment to the tory party and the government that he’ll be gone soon. He should also take Lord Freud with him as he suffers the same NPD as IDS…

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