Tory Euro flier is a catalogue of failure


A blue leaflet landed on the mat yesterday, urging me to vote Conservative and offering no less than 11 highlighted reasons for doing so.

There’s no chance of this happening, because I know far too much about the state of the nation to be fooled by what was said. Other people may not be as lucky, so let’s run through these claims.

The front cover proclaims: “A stronger economy at home” – not true. The resurgence claimed by the Tories has still, after a year, failed to bring Britain back up to its pre-crisis peak, and pay levels have been skewed to put the lowest earners 14 per cent worse-off than they were under the last Labour government.

“Renewed respect abroad” – another howler. Our military adventures mean we are seen as America’s lapdog, while our economic efforts mean we are seen as China’s.

“Real change in Europe” – ridiculous. David Cameron has marginalised Britain in Europe. We’ll come to an example of this in a moment.

Inside the leaflet is a page headed “What we have done”, which attempts to muddy the issues by linking Tory policies within the UK with their strategy in Europe. The effect is similar to a town councillor running for a seat on the county council, saying if he is elected he will ensure that an allotment is available for everybody (allotment land is a town council responsibility and nothing to do with county councils).

So, under the heading “What you have told us”, the leaflet proclaims: “Cut the deficit”. Under “What we did” it states: “So we’ve cut the deficit by a third”. This is nothing to do with Europe and also misrepresents the facts. When the Coalition government sidled into power it said it would eliminate the deficit by 2015. This is not going to happen and claiming success in cutting it by a third (partially by scrapping investment schemes that should have been kept) is an insult.

Next line: “Create more jobs” – “So we’ve helped businesses create more than 1.6 million new jobs”. If the economy was running properly, this number of new jobs would have created a huge boost for the economy – far more than we’ve seen. The problem is that these jobs are too low-paid to make a difference. It is working-class people who lift the economy because they spend more of their income, pushing money through the system. When they don’t have money to spend because they are struggling to cope on pay grades that mock their efforts, less money goes through the system and the economy stutters.

“Cut tax” – “So we’ve given an average income tax cut of £700 to 25 million people, taking 2.7 million people out of tax altogether”. Remove the £100,000-per-year tax cut for those with extremely high incomes and this average drops dramatically. Add in the extra money people are having to spend because of cuts or caps on in-work and unemployment benefits and people like you are £2,000 worse-off per year.

“Cap welfare” – “So we’ve capped welfare – no out-of-work household can now claim more than the average family earns in a week”. The welfare cap is a sensible idea done in a silly way. If it had been set at an average family’s income – just over £31,000 per year – it would be fair, but almost nobody would have been affected, so the Tories set it at £26,000 per year, purely to knock more people off-benefit and show that it worked – and they thought we wouldn’t notice. Silly Tories!

“Control immigration” – at last we come to something that is relevant to the European election! – “So we’ve taken all the action we can under the current EU agreements to fix our immigration system and limited migrants’ access to benefits”. In fact – as noted in this blog previously – very few of the actions taken by the current UK (not European) government are new. The limited access to benefits was enshrined in UK law already, but they don’t want you to know that.

“Cut the cost of Europe” – “So we’ve cut the EU budget, saving British taxpayers £8.15 billion”. Impossible without the co-operation of other EU member states. They are claiming credit for something that would not have happened if other EU countries had not also wanted it. Naughty Tories!

“No to British taxpayers bailing out the Euro” – “So we’ve taken the UK out of Eurozone bailouts”. This is the only measure in the entire flier that anyone in their right mind can support. The UK was never part of the Euro so there was never any reason for us to support it financially. Any other UK political party would have taken the same action so this is no credit to the Tories.

Finally: “Defend Britain’s interests” – “So we vetoed a new EU Fiscal Treaty because it didn’t guarantee a level playing field for British business”. This relates back to the cover boast about “Real change in Europe”. David Cameron made a laughing-stock of both himself and the United Kingdom with his silly veto, because the other 26 countries involved in the treaty simply carried on regardless, leaving us out in the cold. That isn’t “Real change in Europe”; that’s really being shut out of EU decisions.

This Tory leaflet is an insult to your intelligence. It claims success where the Tories have failed, and calls for you to support people who have intentionally inflicted harm upon you.

And you’ll notice there’s no mention of the elephant in the room: The Conservative Party supports the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that will push conditions of employment down to a lowest-common-denominator level that will devastate workers’ health and livelihoods while also locking the privatisation of the National Health Service into an agreement that will make it an international criminal offence to reverse the changes. Here in Wales, many of us rely on cross-border treatment and this will hit us hard.

Anyone supporting the Conservatives on the basis of this flier would have to be ignorant or insane.

One last thing: Minutes after the Tory flier arrived, I went out to my car and found a plastic bag filled with what appeared to be excrement had been left on the windscreen. I can’t blame this on the leafleters (although local Tories certainly know who I am and what my car looks like) but it did make me question the quality of their local campaign.

Is this a new kind of smear tactic?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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  1. sdbast May 11, 2014 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. thoughtfullyprepping May 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    The unfortunate thing is there are sheeple out there who will happily vote these chimps back into power. In a two horse race, even if both are bad, someone will win.
    It’s just going to be a case of the sheeple thinking (which is highly unlikely) which is the worse of two evils.

  3. hstorm May 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    One of the reasons the deficit has only been cut by a third is that the knock-on effects of the cuts has led to years of economic slowdown, which reduces the fiscal feedback – tax receipts go down at a similar rate to the reduction in overheads, so the saving is far smaller than Osborne anticipates.

    We’re getting growth again now, but that has little to do with cuts, and a great deal to do with the Help-To-Buy scheme increasing demand for housing, pushing up house-prices, and making lending-against-homes a more appealing prospect for banks.

    The H2B scheme, note, is not a cut but an investment, thus a tacit admission by Osborne that Government investment is healthy for an economy, not a drain on it.

    In short, Austerity isn’t just immoral, it’s stupid.

    • Mike Sivier May 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm - Reply

      Absolutely correct. The investment cuts at the beginning of the Coalition administration were a huge mistake, but they account for all but around £7-8 billion of the fall in the deficit, which is why I say this government has cut it by around 1/16, not a third.

  4. royboxer May 11, 2014 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on royboxer.

  5. Barry Davies May 11, 2014 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    You forgot the £3000 it casts every individual in the UK every year to be in the eussr club that he has no intention of doing anything about.

  6. thelovelywibblywobblyoldlady May 11, 2014 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on glynismillward189.

  7. Lloyd Kennedy May 11, 2014 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    I wouldn’t vote for this shower of liars if they were the last people on earth . My advice to the people of Britain is emigrate and let them govern themselves . I love Britain but it is fast becoming a two bob , Third World Country . I live in France where public services and education are far superior to Britain . This is reflected in the general level of education , public transport and the quality of the roads which are second to none .Get out now while you can and before it gets any worse , which it inevitably will .

    • Mike Sivier May 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Some of us don’t have the option, I’m afraid.

  8. beastrabban May 11, 2014 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Mike takes apart the Tory party’s claims in one of their election leaflets, showing that they’re either wrong, would’ve happened anyway, had to be enacted with other EU countries – this is in regard to their claims to have reduced our EU contribution – or are spin to disguise a situation that has actually made people worse off – like the tax cuts that have massively benefited millionaires.

  9. vicmart009 May 11, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on vicmart009 and commented:
    Excellent Blog Mike thank you. I find it incredible to believe that a man of your talents & abilities is not more personally focused in using your abilities for humanity professionally. You are a professional musician, professional writer & reporter & blogger. I have no doubt that you have other undeclared talents which I am totally unaware of apart from social activism. I did ask if you were involved politically & gained the the reply that you were not. I find this very sad as you responded in the same way as my talented daughter. I for my part feel that people in society need people like you. Pls think seriously on this issue Mike & formulate a considered reply. I do hope it shall not be anarchism.

  10. Giles (@GilesBradshaw) May 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    wrt the ‘pre crisis peek’ are talking about the end of an unsustainable boom based on out of control bankers and cowboy capitalism?

    • Mike Sivier May 11, 2014 at 4:49 pm - Reply

      You might be. For many of us, it’s a debatable point.

  11. […] A blue leaflet landed on the mat yesterday, urging me to vote Conservative and offering no less than 11 highlighted reasons for doing so. There's no chance of this happening, because I know far too…  […]

  12. thelovelywibblywobblyoldlady May 12, 2014 at 10:34 am - Reply

    I received one of these leaflets this morning…. I have found an excellent use for it; I’ve shredded it and used it in my sons guinea pigs cage; ah the thought of that guinea pig defecating on thzat load of rubbish gives me a nice warm glow….

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