First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemöller
That old friend of Vox Political, Samuel Miller, was right when he said this was “despicable”.
According to James Kirkup in the Torygraph, the British electorate is perfectly happy to let the Conservative Government enact policies that harm other members of society.
In his opinion, when it comes to backstabbing, the riff-raff are just as bad as their betters.
That’s why he reckons “welfare cuts that hurt poor people can be sold to the electorate” – we’re now all so selfish, in fulfilment of Thatcher’s decades-old scheme to eliminate any idea of ‘society’, or ‘the collective good’, that “many of the people who are not directly affected by [in this case] the tax credit cut will not feel much sympathy.
Charming. “O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us!” – as the great Robert Burns once wrote.
Making low-paid workers poorer is not, in this sense, as big a problem for him as some think.
… because we’re all backstabbers and like to think that we’re getting a better deal than our neighbour. Divide and rule. But what if we’re all being shafted by the overpriviliged, scrounging toffs? Kirkup doesn’t mention this. Instead he suggests that what we really don’t like is a government that lies to us – as the Tory shower is doing about tax credits right now.
David Cameron told Andrew Marr only yesterday (Sunday) that the cut in tax credits was part of a package that would actually make workers better off – but we know that they won’t. Kirkup says:
Voters aren’t stupid, and they don’t like being treated as if they were.
But it’s stupid to believe a government will leave you alone, just because you let it victimise somebody else! Remember Pastor Martin Niemöller’s words about the Nazis (above) and you’ll see the truth in that.
But Osborne, it seems, is relying on another Nazi strategy – The Big Lie. This is the one claiming that if you repeat a lie often enough and loudly enough, eventually the people will believe you.
Kirkup doesn’t seem to get that, which is probably why he wrote his article in the first place. He thinks:
Mr Osborne’s problem with tax credits is that he looks like a man who thinks he can take voters for fools. Who thinks he can tell the country he’s helping low-paid workers when his policies actually leave them worse off.
When the Chancellor presented his tax credit cuts, he also announced his living wage, and proclaimed himself the champion of low-paid workers. It was “a Budget for working people,” he said.
But making poor workers worse off while insisting you’re helping them? …The way he has presented his welfare changes is too clever by half, and will be found out.
Even more bizarre than his failure to see one Nazi strategy after correctly identifying – and approving of – another, is Kirkup’s advice for Osborne:
If he won’t change his policy on tax credits, he should change his message, and soon.
Change his message? What’s he going to say? “Sorry we lied to you about our welfare changes making you better-off, but it’s all in the good cause of putting you down while we all get richer. Hoorah”?
Voters are realistic.
… suggests Kirkup after spending most of his article arguing the exact opposite.
They accepted austerity policies and the consequent pain in the national interest –
No, they didn’t. There’s just been a massive demonstration against austerity in Manchester – just the latest in a series, and only attended by those with the financial wherewithal to get there. The vast majority of the population knows that austerity was not in the national interest; it was utterly unnecessary and only served to drain money away from those who need it most and into the hands of the very richest, who don’t need any more at all. Any voters who did behave as Kirkup describes are about as unrealistic as can be – for reasons explained above.
then rewarded the party they believed had been honest about that necessity.
Again, no. The Tories got back into office on less than a quarter of the available national vote because the electorate was divided over how best to oppose their hideously cruel policies. Labour wasn’t offering anything like help, but none of the other parties looked like a realistic opposition either, so the vote was split and a large proportion of the electorate didn’t even bother going to the polls. That has changed now, with the arrival of a Labour leader with a strong plan of opposition.
We are left with an article that gives away the Conservative mindset, rather than warns that party’s leaders against inadvisable behaviour.
Without meaning to, Kirkup has told us that we need to stand up for those who will be affected by the Tories’ cuts because, if we’re not affected now, we’ll be next.
He has told us that the Tories are lying to us when they say their plans will make us better-off, that they lied to us about austerity, and that their best chance for re-election is to change their current lie into a different lie.
Most damning of all, he has demonstrated the model on which the Conservatives are basing their policies – the Nazi government of Germany under Adolf Hitler.
They talk like Nazis; they act like Nazis. What does that make them?
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