The Conservative Party – nasty, stupid and clumsy

Is this the face of a 'Caring' Conservative? Or is he nasty and clumsy? And if he is, does that mean the supporters behind him are stupid?

Is this the face of a ‘Caring’ Conservative? Or is he nasty and clumsy? And if he is, does that mean the supporters behind him are stupid?

Independent luminary Andreas Whittam Smith reckons the Conservative Party in its current form is both nasty and stupid – and also clumsy, if his latest article is to be believed.

Nasty because of its aggressive behaviour – such as the decision to withdraw support for rescue operations that save thousands of migrants from drowning as they attempt to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Or because of benefit assessment policies that mean people living with progressive and degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease and rheumatoid arthritis are being subjected to what a group of charities describes as “upsetting and unnecessary” examinations to see whether they will recover enough to look for work in the future – a pointless exercise because their conditions are flagged up from the start as progressive and degenerative; they’re never going to get better.

Or because, after the Resolution Foundation found that one-in-five employees (4.9 million people) earned less than the living wage, George Osborne is promising that if the Conservative Party wins next year’s general election, then most welfare payments that the working poor rely on – including child benefit, tax credits, jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit and income support – will be frozen in April 2016 for two years. They are currently rising by 1 per cent a year. He will make the working poor poorer.


Clumsy because they have imposed unpopular decisions on the people in an unfair way. Mr Whittam Smith defines fairness in terms of “the four main elements that go into creating a sense of procedural justice: Those concerned should have been able to play an active part in the process. The rules should be applied with sensitivity to individual situations. Decision-makers should be impartial and fair. And the agents of the system with whom people have to deal should treat them with respect.”

He continues: “There is no evidence that people living with progressive and degenerative conditions or members of the working poor or families struggling to pay care bills for elderly relatives have been consulted. There is no evidence of sensitivity to individual situations or else the bedroom tax legislation would have recognised the special difficulties of disabled tenants who are unable to share a bedroom and would have taken into account where homes have been specially adapted.

“As for the agents of the system with whom people have to deal, outsourcing many of these tasks has not produced happy results. Naturally the outsourced staff work by the book. They cannot be flexible or understanding. They are chiefly concerned with getting the job done as quickly as possible so as to reach the profits targets set by their employers. And then, in the final analysis, claimants are not dealing directly with the state at all but with a sort or mercenary army. Mutual respect cannot exist in these circumstances.”

Let’s expand on the last point for a moment, and connect it with the previous points about benefit assessment, with this snippet of information: An academic report from Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Stirling has confirmed that the Tories’ welfare reforms are not helping people to find work.

According to Alan Wyllie on the A Working Class Man blog, the report showed:

  • “The current welfare system is not helping people find work. Those who had moved into employment found work independently and not due to Jobcentre Plus services;
  • “There was limited support on offer to help recipients of out of work benefits move into work. Those participating in the Work Programme did not report that it was helpful;
  • “Most people wanted to work but issues such as childcare, illness and training made it difficult for them to do so;
  • “The current welfare system also does not appear to meet its aim of ‘make work pay’. People who had moved into work felt only slightly better off and continued to find it difficult to make ends meet;
  • “Benefit freezes or restricted increases have meant falling real-term incomes, with many study participants finding it hard to meet basic needs.

“The report concludes that: ‘Participants with a health condition or a disability, and those who were lone parents, reported that they wanted to be in work but faced considerable barriers to doing so, which were unlikely to be addressed by increasing conditionality.

“’According to the views of participants, stronger conditionality is unlikely to get more people into work, due to a lack of suitable work and barriers in the areas of education, skills, employability, childcare and health.’

“The researchers found that claimants who did not abide by the new conditions faced serious consequences.

“’The impact on benefit recipients who fall foul of new rules – or who are affected by a mistake on the part of a benefits agency that is not their fault – can be severe,’ they said.”

That’s nasty – not only have benefit changes been forced onto people without any regard for them, but they don’t even work.

However, this – moving back to Mr Whittam Smith – may be the Tories’ downfall. He points out: “Nowadays we are no longer a homogenous mass but an agglomeration of minorities. In my own circle of family and friends, for instance, there are people who are disabled and others with serious illnesses. There are those who are single parents, others who are retired. There are middle-aged people with back-breaking mortgages, others who are and young and ambitious. There are regular Church-goers as well as non-believers. There are people in jobs, and people who cannot find work. There are Londoners who can’t conceive of living anywhere else (I am one of these), and people who resent the capital city and all its works.

“Each of these minorities has its own particular concerns and needs, prejudices and resentments, but yet feels sympathy for any group that is badly treated.

“The Coalition led by its Conservative ministers has often gone about its work in an unfeeling, insensitive manner. And for that shortcoming there could be a price to pay at the next general election.”

Quite so – especially as they came into government under the banner of ‘Compassionate Conservatism’. What a terrible joke.

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  1. thoughtfullyprepping November 10, 2014 at 7:19 am - Reply

    It’s kinda like watching the of a flogging a dead horse except with the ordinary people of the UK being whipped to death.

    Everyone knows it’s wrong, everyone thinks something can be done about it (through the ballet box it seems) and then sits there stunned as the same sh#t keeps on happening.

    So the solution is?
    Oh yeah, the general election next year where the people’s vote (whoops) – the sheeple’s vote – will make a difference.

    So, in the interest of being a good little sheeple and not rocking the boat, I could just meekly vote for ? ? ?

    What a dilemma, more Tory government, Labour who will just blame everything on the Tories and carry on flogging us, UKIP the alternative Tory party who will definitely make matters worse, or the lying Lib Dems.

    Yep, the Lib Dems have it for me.
    At least I’ll know they will be lying from the get go and can’t be trusted.
    You could say I’ve picked the best of the worse.

    Still I’m predicting it’ll be a union of Tory and New Tory aka UKIP.
    All the hatred and a whole new set of wacky (we hate the poor, sick, and little people) policies. Nice.

    • Mike Sivier November 10, 2014 at 10:24 am - Reply

      Why do you say Labour “will just blame everything on the Tories and carry on flogging us”? Have you forgotten Labour’s policies?
      Here’s a reminder:
      Labour policies
      There are a lot of good plans here.

      • Janice Duke November 10, 2014 at 11:33 am - Reply

        Lies. They will say anything to get elected. The big three and New Tories (UKIP) all need to go.

        “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

        • Mike Sivier November 10, 2014 at 11:56 am - Reply

          The trouble with that comment is that the main political parties change over time – so supporting them is not “doing the same thing over and over again”.
          Voting Labour in the 1970s would have produced hugely different results from voting Labour in the 1990s, or next year. Voting Conservative in the 1950s was a hugely different prospect from supporting that party after Margaret Thatcher and her neoliberals took over.
          And the ‘big three’ aren’t going anywhere. You called them the ‘big three’ for a reason – they are the most popular political parties in the UK. Millions of people will vote for them. Any movement towards other parties is still only just getting started.

      • Janice Duke November 10, 2014 at 12:47 pm - Reply

        And that is why this country is fucked. Yes, they change, the trend seems to be by going more toward the right and embracing marketing and spin over substance. Labour are pro-austerity, pro-fracking, anti-monetary reform, anti-renationalisation, anti-electoral reform, and pro TTIP. Just like the conservatives they will continue to hand this country over to corporate and banking interests. If they get into power they will break all of their promises and continue with austerity while blaming it on the Tories. And rather than responding to UKIP by actively opposing them and showing how much good immigration does for this country they have chosen to join in with and further legitimise UKIP’s deluded narrative.

        The big three are big because (like UKIP) they have a lot of money backing them, the kind of money that prevents smaller more progressive parties getting any limelight in the mainstream media. Scotland will punish Labour in the next general election, as it has punished the Lib Dems and the Tories before, by voting for alternative parties. England would do well to follow their example.

        • Mike Sivier November 11, 2014 at 11:38 am - Reply

          Labour is pro-economic revitalisation, pro-renationalisation, pro-living wage,
          You say Labour will do all the neoliberal nonsense you mention but you cannot be sure of it – in that way you are nothing more than a lackey of Lynton Crosby so I should ask if he is paying you to write this. Just because the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats lied about what they would do in 2010 doesn’t mean Labour is lying now – the two things do not match. Joining UKIP’s narrative? I think you’re reading the wrong book.
          As for Scotland punishing Labour by voting for alternative parties, do you mean the SNP? Give us all a break.

      • Florence November 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm - Reply

        Janice- the “all parties the same” is a lie that is part of the Tory propaganda devised by Lynton Crosby. It worked in Australia. It is intended to make us either too demoralised to vote, or make the opposition look like poor copyists (although Ed Balls not helping here) or make people think the present Eton mess is as good as it gets. We have to take note – Labour and Ed Miliband are being savaged in the press because they ARE different, and ARE a threat.

      • thoughtfullyprepping November 10, 2014 at 2:52 pm - Reply

        Plans? ROTFL
        Pass them over, I’m running short of loo roll.

  2. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl) November 10, 2014 at 8:02 am - Reply

    I am certain that all decent people will agree with these comments and that is exactly why this government doesn’t. We must make certain that usurpers of justice and decency for all are never re-elected.

  3. amnesiaclinic November 10, 2014 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    It is possible, just to make a real change if people do get involved and start holding politicians to account. A very good start was your examination and comparison of what the parties promised in 2010 and what really unfolded.
    The main problem is that the msm should be doing this and they aren’t – or maybe things are so bad there is a chink of light in the articles you have highlighted.
    We cannot shrug our shoulders and give up!
    We do have our circles of friends and influence so we can make a difference!

  4. Thomas M November 10, 2014 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    The government we have now is certainly one of the most unpleasant in living memory. Whilst I have not yet been directly bothered by it, it’s only a matter of time unless it’s voted out in 2015.

  5. Stephen Tamblin November 10, 2014 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Why ow why don’t we put up or shut up and every one in this country who hate through tori scum. its simple vote for any body but the conservative thay must never be able to run this country any more but them thay have all Ritch people on there side. Please thay must be stopped

  6. HomerJS November 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    I think the way they are dealing with the unemployed is particularly nasty, for the following reasons.
    Now unemployment has always had a negative effect on mental wellbeing, but currently this is made worse by the very stressful environment created by the job centre. We also have a whole host of people with mental health problems who were previously on sickness benefits who are now being told they are ‘fit for work’. Current employment practices are creating stressful workplaces and firms are looking to shed staff that are unable to cope. This also means that employers are not keen on recruiting staff that lack the ability to manage this stress. Having a stressful job seeking environment does not help prepare people for the market, it just emphasises their inability to meet these expectations. There are also some people who may have had a mental health problem but were able to find a job that met their needs, although this may have been considered a ‘soft’ job. Then the cuts happened, and of course the soft jobs were often the first to be cut, and so these people found themselves made redundant. All these add up to a long term unemployed group where mental health problems are a dominant factor. Add in the fact that employers don’t want these people, it then becomes more than cruel for the DWP to punish these people. If you can’t get a job then you can’t get away from the sanctions and harassment.

  7. wildswimmerpete November 10, 2014 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    “does that mean the supporters behind him are stupid?”…………, merely decerebrated.

  8. Michele Witchy Eve November 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    It’s now impossible to see that conference strap-line (as on the lectern on your top picture) and not reading it as “Securing a BITTER future”.

    As to whether the parties are all the same, as many now believe, one has to acknowledge that the public are suffering a profound loss of trust in politicians – and often with good reason. However that mistrust is articulated the fact remains that we (the voting public) only have two choices. Vote or don’t vote. The question that falls between those two choices is – will either choice make any difference to us the people? So far there’s no convincing arguments for either choice, hence the apathy and disinclination to engage in politics. Which suggests that it is high time that the way we allow politics and politicians to work needs some major reforms.

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