Theresa May’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference may go down in history as one of the most reviled monologues ever uttered by a UK prime minister.
Why? Because it opens the door to fascism – or seems to.
The whole conference has been geared to make us believe there is an enemy in our midst – the immigrant.
This ‘othering’ of our fellows is one of the main, defining principles of fascism, and there stood Theresa May, advocating it for all she was worth.
Similarly, the claim to be standing up for the workers – the Nazi Party in Germany was the the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, remember (socialist? What was socialist about them? Nothing).
And the claim that the state should play a much more interventionist role in the lives of ordinary people – shades of ‘Big Brother’!
Here’s The Guardian:
In a populist speech to her party’s conference in Birmingham, the prime minister painted June’s referendum result as a “quiet revolution” that should force politicians to tackle public concerns, repeatedly telling delegates that “change must come”.
May said she saw the referendum result as a political turning point, which legitimised a tougher line on immigration and more state intervention in the public’s lives. She told her party: “It’s time to remember the good that government can do.”
May said in her speech that some people did not like to admit that British workers could “find themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration”.
May offered a deliberate rejection of the legacy of Thatcherism. “There is more to life than individualism and self-interest”, she said, drawing on the story of the triathlete Alistair Brownlee who gave up his chance to win the final race in the world series in Mexico to help his heat-dazed brother Jonny over the line. “We succeed or fail together.”
The prime minister appealed to disaffected Labour voters, arguing that the party had fled from the centre of British politics. She said the Conservatives were now “the party of the workers, the party of public servants, the party of the NHS”.
She mocked the splits and abuse between Corbyn and his MPs, winning huge cheers by adopting her former description of her own party to describe Labour: “You know what some people call them? The nasty party.”
May told delegates she was offering “an agenda for a new modern Conservatism that understands the good government can do, that will never hesitate to face down the powerful when they abuse their positions of privilege, that will always act in the interests of ordinary, working class people”.
“Always act in the interests of ordinary, working class people”? That’s an incredible statement considering the Tories’ history.
The claim that some people now call Labour “the nasty party” must be ironic. Mrs May knows there is no comparison. But see for yourself:
Which do you think is the nastier of the two? And the graphic doesn’t even mention the Tory persecution of the sick and disabled.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was quick to point out the real intent of Mrs May’s speech which, taken alongside those of Amber Rudd and Jeremy Hunt (for example) clearly point the way towards fascism.
Mr Corbyn stopped short of using that word, but it was behind every word he did use: “Conservative Party leaders have sunk to a new low this week as they fan the flames of xenophobia and hatred in our communities and try to blame foreigners for their own failures.
“Drawing up lists of foreign workers won’t stop unscrupulous employers undercutting wages in Britain. Shutting the door to international students won’t pay young people’s tuition fee debts, and ditching doctors from abroad won’t cut NHS waiting lists.
“The Conservatives will instead foster division and discrimination in our workplaces and communities.
“Once again, they are making false promises on immigration they can’t deliver. Instead of turning people against each other, ministers should take action now to deal with the real impact of migration.
“They should stop the abuse of migrant labour to undercut pay and conditions, which would reduce numbers.
“They should support communities with high levels of migration and they should set out a positive agenda for fair migration rules as part of the Brexit negotiations for a new relationship with the European Union.”
And that only covers her attitude to immigrants.
Mr Corbyn’s support group in the Labour Party, Momentum, took aim at the whole Tory conference with a rallying cry to join the fight against them.
“Tory conference has shown that Theresa May’s party is small, nasty and backwards-looking,” it stated. “They are running down our country – stagnant wages, rising debt, fewer homeowners, smaller homes, creaking infrastructure, and services cut to the bone. But the few – the bankers who crashed the economy, landlords receiving billions per year in housing benefit, Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley ripping off workers, Philip Green gutting BHS workers’ pensions, and the tax avoiders not paying their fair share – continue to get away with it.
“The people of Britain can’t afford to be treated like this any more. That’s why a movement is rising, right across the country. It’s a movement that’s ambitious for Britain.
“We won’t blame those at the margins for failures at the top. We are confident in our country’s talents to face the future, and build a strong, high-tech economy that rewards those who create the wealth – that means all of us. We refuse to believe that the young can’t have a better life than their parents. We have the talent, the ingenuity and the will to build a better world: affordable housing for all, a national education system, a renationalised NHS, job security for everyone, an equal society, safeguarding the environment, and peace, security and justice. We do that by empowering people and communities to take control of their futures.
“We won’t accept second best. Things can, and they will, change.”
Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, also had strong words. Her statement said: “Theresa May’s speech comes as the Tories signal they are poised to target foreign workers in the most disgraceful display of reactionary right-wing politics in living memory.
“It is an appalling, regressive, and hugely troubling development which will leave many people in Scotland – and across the rest of the UK and beyond – wondering, with real concern, what kind of country the Tories want us to be.
“The Prime Minister has claimed that she is seeking out the middle ground of politics – the repellent reality of the policies planned by her party could not be more different.
“Theresa May’s version of Brexit Britain is a deeply ugly one – a country were people are judged not by their ability or their contribution to the common good but by their birthplace or by their passport.
“It is a vision the Scottish Government wants no part of, and one which we will never subscribe to. Ours is a vision of an inclusive, tolerant and just society, and we will do everything in our power to shape Scotland in that way.”
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones added his voice to the chorus of disgust: “There will be no ‘go home’ message to foreign doctors in Wales. There will be no lists of foreign workers in Welsh businesses. We will also fight against proposals to shut the doors of our universities to the brightest and the best from around the world.
“The content and tone of the announcements made in the Tory Conference have been disturbing, sinister and beneath contempt. This isn’t just dog-whistle politics, it is politics of the gutter.
“Brexit is a seismic and unsettling event in our country’s history, and how we react to it will be the measure of this generation of politicians and political parties. I have made absolutely clear my belief that Wales must accept the referendum result, we cannot refight that battle, but we can fight for our vision of the future. A bright future for our children and grandchildren, based on our values of fairness, internationalism and prosperity for all. The announcements coming from the Tories this week show just how vital it is that we win that fight – it is a fight for the soul of post-Brexit Britain, and we cannot allow these hardliners a free run in that contest.
“When senior Tories said … that foreign doctors and their families were only welcome here whilst they were needed, I said they are welcome full stop. We must reject the Tories’ terrible insult to people who work day in, day out to save and improve lives across Wales. What a terrible message to suggest that some people in our NHS, in our communities, are worth more than others.”
That’s fascis- sorry, Toryism for you.
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