Absent: Chris Grayling and Justine Greening.

Three days into the New Year and the Conservative government had already inflicted three crises on itself. But the ministers responsible are nowhere to be seen.

The annual NHS winter crisis, caused by Tory government underfunding of the health service, is now upon us once again, with routine operations cancelled and patients kicked out of beds to make up for the incompetence and zeal for privatisation of the managers.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt initially refused to come forward and answer for the situation, but has since appeared in carefully-orchestrated interview to apologise for the inconvenience.

This Writer supposes he feels able to do so on the grounds that the crisis in the NHS is not one that was caused by intentional Conservative policy – although that seems highly debatable!

The hike in rail fares, that means prices have risen by almost a third in the nearly-eight years since the Conservatives came to office, is of course entirely due to Tory policy.

Their zeal for privatisation at any cost to the consumer – and the public purse – is exhibited by their determination to keep the East Coast franchise in private hands, no matter how badly those hands fumble or how much public money passes through those hands in order to keep the business from insolvency.

Outcry against the fare increases has been met with silence – mostly because Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has gone on a previously-unannounced visit to Qatar.

One wonders whether he took the train to get there. If he did, then undoubtedly some of the European service he used were run by nationalised industries that now own many of the UK’s rail franchises, meaning that we paid to subsidise his journeys, even though they were abroad. It seems Tories are perfectly happy with nationalised industries – as long as they are owned by foreign governments.

And then there is the appointment of someone called Toby Young to the Office for Students, by Education Secretary Justine Greening. His post has been described as that of Universities Regulator.

Mr Young, who appears to have had some involvement with the failed Tory experiment known as Free Schools, quickly exhibited proof that he is not the kind of man who should be allowed anywhere near students – especially if they are female.

His qualifications turned out to be bogus – claims that he has lectured at Harvard and Cambridge turned out to be false, meaning that he does not meet the requirements of the Code of Governance for public appointments.

And his personal behaviour falls well below the mark. The social media have been ablaze with outrage at his tweets, which seem to alternate between overt sexism and outright sexual harassment. He has also been found to have disguised himself as a woman in order to try to attract lesbians, as research for an article he wrote, and another article seems to promote eugenics – forcibly controlling the population in order to increase characteristics that are considered attractive. The last political organisation to support that was the Nazi Party in Germany.

Mr Young has defended himself by claiming that people are upset because he is a Conservative.

The Conservatives themselves seem embarrassed by him. The announcement of his appointment was made at one minute past midnight on January 1, when government ministers would have known that the vast majority of the population would have been partying to welcome in the New Year. It was an excellent time to dish out unwelcome news.

And where is Education Secretary Justine Greening? She’s nowhere to be seen. Faceless spokespeople from the Department for Education have come forward to offer excuses which have crumbled in the light of the facts.

But Toby Young still has his job. Perhaps this is another indication that Tories don’t care who’s best for a job – they just like to reward their friends. Look at the New Year Honours list for further evidence of that.

The rail fares will continue to rise under the Tories because they like giving our money away to private enterprise – even if that private enterprise belongs to a publicly owned utility run by a foreign government.

And the NHS will continue to lurch from one winter crisis to another because the Tories like giving contracts to provide for our health to companies that are only interested in profit, meaning there is increasingly less cash for actual care.

The Tories will continue to take money and resources away from the majority of UK citizens, just as long as people keep voting for them – so make no mistake: A vote for the Conservatives is an act of self-harm.

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