You see, Mr Brown is MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath – in Scotland.
Labour is extremely unpopular in Scotland at the moment, where the SNP has whipped up a belief (rightly or wrongly) that the party betrayed the people by siding with the Conservatives – even though, as a supporter of the union, Labour could not do anything else. Mr Brown, who raised concerns over the future of state pensions in an independent Scotland, has been singled out for special criticism.
In these circumstances, will Labour’s London-based leadership really be so insensitive as to ‘parachute’ an ally of the leader’s office into the constituency? This would be someone who is unlikely to bear any resemblance to a traditional Labour candidate, and is more likely to be a privately-educated Oxbridge graduate who has spent their entire career at a thinktank or working as a SPAD (special adviser) for a sitting MP.
Such an appointment would be entirely inappropriate and would signal that Labour is not interested in retaining the seat; the mood in Scotland means voters would take it as an incentive to support another party, most probably the SNP.
It is possible that Labour would leave the selection open to the constituency party, as its declared intent was to take over selections from the middle of next month; again, the course of action that is chosen will determine the response from the local electorate.
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath would be far better-off with a Labour candidate chosen from local residents, with a deep knowledge and understanding of the area and what it needs, having lived and worked there for his or her entire life.
This strategy succeeded with Liz Mckinnes, the newly-elected MP for Heywood and Middleton and should offer the best chance of success elsewhere.
Postscript: Readers are reminded that Gordon Brown is the other recent prime minister who has had a disabled child.
We all know how David Cameron rose to the challenge of his late son Ivan’s cerebral palsy and epilepsy – he used it in a series of photo opportunities and then, after Ivan’s death at a tragically young age, went on to use his memory as a shield whenever his ill-treatment of the National Health Service or disability benefits were raised in Parliamentary debate.
In contrast, Mr Brown chose to suffer in comparative silence. His daughter, Jennifer Jane, died after suffering a brain haemorrhage, on January 7, 2002, just 10 days after her birth. His son James Fraser (born in 2006) was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, but Mr Brown would have kept this information private if The Sun had not published an intrusive report. Years later, he said the publication had left him “in tears“.
Whose behaviour would you describe as more dignified; more prime ministerial; more statesmanlike?
For those of you who aren’t in the know, Jack Monroe (she of A Girl Called Jack blog fame) has come under attack from pro-Tory Twitter users after she tweeted, as part of the #CameronMustGo drive, the following:
She really did. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes (Conservative), stated that Jack’s was “the most shameful tweet; you understand nothing about grief.” She then addressed Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, asking if Jack’s tweet, from her personal account, reflected the values of the newspaper.
Fortunately this miserable excuse for a public representative doesn’t need a put-down from me. Here’s Nick Portch, who did it with ease by asking if Dr Wollaston was “A Conservative trying to get somebody sacked for exercising their freedom of speech?”
Nice one, Nick.
As for understanding “nothing about grief”, back to Jack herself: “And because 2 years later, I can’t open my own front door, suffer anxiety attacks, the mental scars of poverty are ruinous, #CameronMustGo.” Okay, “mental scars” might not indicate grief to you but it seems very likely that if you suffered those effects as a result of them, you’d spend a certain amount of time grieving about it.
Other criticisms were less civilised. Vernon Vega’s ran as follows [asterisks mine]: “Re the Cameron tweet…you really are a bit of a c**t aren’t you?” What a charmer. Absolutely no substance whatsoever.
Sarah Vine gave us: “No one is privatising the NHS.” We’ll examine the stupidity of this statement momentarily.
‘Angela’ tweeted: “I have no idea who you are, but you are a truly disgusting specimen. You deserve the biggest karmic kick in the face,” and Daily Referendum continued the theme with: “If Karma does exist, then you should be pretty worried right now.”
It seems likely there were worse, because Ms Monroe subsequently tweeted: “I can express my opinion on it, so can you. We disagree, debate, discuss. But death/rape threats, & threats to my son, are a crime.” If karma does exist, then it seems likely these are the people who should be worrying.
She remains unrepentant, as this shows: “Doorstepped by @MailOnline. Short statement, politely delivered, don’t regret pointing out that DC closes down debate on NHS & disability and that his experience of caring for Ivan was not comparable to experiences of others, many of whom are now victims of welfare cuts.”
The Mail subsequently – and gleefully – reported that Sainsbury’s is cutting its ties with Ms Monroe (after using her in advertising campaigns for its Value range of food for people with less money). The headline: “Sainsbury’s axes left-wing blogger for vile PM slur”.
In short, there’s been a lot of fuss over this tweet by Ms Monroe.
For Vox Political, this has been fascinating, because she posted it around 21 hours after Yr Obdt Srvt, the author of this very article, tweeted the following:
Who knows what might have happened if the Tories mentioned above had seen that, instead of Jack’s comparatively mild tweet?
Neither this blog nor its author have received any adverse comments in response to the tweet or the article that preceded it.
What does this tell us?
Perhaps it indicates that Ms Monroe was targeted, not because she suggested anything that was beyond the pale or unforgiveable, but because she is a person from the lower orders who certain people believe has ideas above her station.
Her A Girl Called Jackblog catapulted her into the public eye because it offered ideas about how to make decent meals to people struggling to feed their families on a low budget – in other words, people on benefits. She did it to chronicle her own efforts to feed herself and her son on a food budget of just £10 per week – and she started blogging in response to a local councillor who claimed that ‘druggies, drunks and single mums are ruining the High Street’. A book of recipes went straight to the top of the charts at the start of the year, and a sequel may do the same before Christmas.
She built herself up from ‘Benefit Street’ and the blogosphere to become a success – and the vested interests don’t like it. It disproves their narrative that everyone on benefits is a scrounger, a skiver and a sponger – and they need working people to think what they tell them to think in the run-up to next year’s general election.
That’s why the Tories and the trolls have gone after her; it was an opportunity to put down a lower-class upstart and stifle the facts she was broadcasting.
This writer hopes Jack Monroe can rise above the noise created by the Tories, those with vested interests, and the trolls. Their messages are meaningless. Let us all hope that for each of them there are at least a dozen of us who know her message has reached people we could not, and therefore can only offer her our gratitude and love.
Shiny and insincere: Maybe. But Bob Monkhouse spoke from the heart about the loss of his son, something that seems beyond David Cameron’s abilities.
Do you ever have moments when you think you’ve said something the best way you can, and then someone else comes along and does it better? In this case, the words come from an unexpected source – and from beyond the grave.
Last week this blog ran a couple of articles attacking the way David Cameron, in his speech to the Conservative Party conference, used the memory of his late son Ivan to attack the Labour Party’s stance on the National Health Service.
Some readers took exception, and it is to these that the following is addressed.
In a Mail on Sunday interview back in January, Cameron himself expressed his displeasure with people who said he would eventually find a way to take something positive from his loss: “Even though Ivan was very disabled and very ill, it was all just a total shock. We had no idea he was going to suddenly die in the way he did,’ he said.
“But the person who says to you, ‘There’s a silver lining to all this,’ or ‘Some good will come of all this,’ you actually want to thump. It’s the most annoying thing anybody can possibly say.”
It seems Cameron did find a way to make something of his son’s death, though – by attacking Labour. Here’s the Daily Telegraph‘s coverage of this part of his speech last week: “In the most emotional passage of his keynote address, Mr Cameron expressed outrage that Labour was trying to position itself as the party of the NHS and undermine the Conservatives’ record.
“‘They were spreading complete and utter lies – and I just think, how dare you! It was the Labour party that gave us the scandal of Mid-Staffs, elderly people begging for water.’*
“He added: ‘For me this is personal. I know what it’s like to have a sick child in hospital and know that when I get there are people who will care for it like it was their own child.
“’How dare they suggest I would ever put that risk for other people’s children? How dare they frighten those who rely on our National Health Service.'”
In both the remarks quoted above, Mr Cameron’s son hardly gets a mention. He’s there as a device for Cameron to talk about himself or Labour.
This is something that was brought home to Yr Obdt Srvt in the most unexpected place over the weekend, when BBC Four ran a documentary about, of all people, the late Bob Monkhouse.
During his life, Bob gained a reputation for being shiny and insincere – all gloss and no substance. It’s a reputation that may be partly deserved. He also shared two important characteristics with Cameron – he was a Conservative (or at least a Conservative supporter, back in the 1980s), and he had a son with Cerebral Palsy who died young (although considerably older than Cameron’s son).
And there was nothing insincere about Bob when he said this about his son Gary: “I think most parents of a grossly handicapped child will see [it] not as their tragedy, but as their child’s tragedy. And then, as in the case of my son, you begin to learn from the child.
“He was such a – a straight arrow. He was a source of great inspiration to me and, and I think of him every day, and if I grieve – as I do – I grieve not for his death but for his life, which was a very difficult fight for him.”
The difference between Bob’s words and Cameron’s should be clear. If so, then there is nothing to add.
Following on from today’s article about David Cameron’s shameless use of his late son to score political points on the NHS and disability benefits, the thought occurred that a 1,500-word article might be a little much for some busy people to take on board. Here’s an image that will hopefully get the point across far more quickly. Please feel free to share it anywhere you feel it may do some good.
A commenter on the Facebook group provoked right-wing wrath after David Cameron’s speech yesterday by posting a photograph of a tearful-looking Samantha Cameron and suggesting that even she was embarrassed that he was using the memory of his late son Ivan – yet again – to support his ever-more-desperate claim to be a supporter of the National Health Service.
In the name of balance, Yr Obdt Srvt responded as follows: “Cameron has again and again put the treatment of his child front and centre during discussion of the NHS – a service that he and his government are now determined to undermine and destroy. He was happy to take Disability Living Allowance for his son, but have you noticed that after Ivan passed away, he was also happy to take DLA away from everyone else and replace it with something that is much harder to get?
“Cameron takes selfishness to new levels and, in my opinion, it would be entirely justifiable if his wife was embarrassed to the core by what he said.”
That quietened the dissenting voice, but not the irritation caused to Yr Obdt Srvt by Cameron’s behaviour, which seems offensive to his own child’s memory. It was, therefore, unsurprising to find that he has ‘form’ in this regard, dating back to before Ivan passed away.
Take a look at the following, from Sturdyblog‘s article We need to talk about Ivan. The article featured a series of pictures of Cameron with his son, including the shot at the top of this article, which the author said made him increasingly uneasy:
“Everything had the feel of a ‘photo opportunity’ – not a family portrait.
“I tried to be open to friends who asked ‘would you rather they hid the child away in shame?’. But there was something interesting about both the timing and tone of this – pitched like a curiosity tent in the middle of an election circus. What about the other side in that election?
“I am no fan of Gordon Brown, but credit ought to go where it is due. The man is partly blind, he and his wife lost a child only days after she was born, then had another diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. There was no denial; no attempt to hide away the facts; no shame. But there was also no feeding the media in order to boost likeability – and, heaven knows, Brown needed it. There was stoicism. There was dignity.
“I tried to dismiss my extreme discomfort with the way Ivan was being used, at least in my subjective judgement. I tried to convince myself that this was my own cynicism talking; my political dislike of conservatism; my shameful, selfish awkwardness and guilt at being confronted with disability.
“Unfortunately the pattern continued, even after his death. There were photographs from the funeral, which did not appear ‘papped’. There were pictures at assorted memorials, taken by the Camerons’ official photographer, engineered to engender sympathy or even pity. There were visits to hospices sponsored by OK! Magazine.”
Writing in March 2012, the author stated: “Last week David Cameron referred to baby Ivan during Prime Minister’s Questions again. It was the sixth or seventh time he has done so, either obliquely or directly, in response to difficult questions about the NHS or welfare or disability benefits. Occasionally Cameron is baited into it. He must rise above such occasions. Occasionally, however, the mention is defensive and entirely unprompted.”
Here’s the moment, caught on YouTube:
“In last week’s PMQs Cameron was asked by Dame Joan Ruddock about cutting the benefits to one of her constituents – a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. In his response he denied that the benefits available to disabled children were being cut (a distinct untruth with regard to new claimants as explained in this factcheck) and continued: “As someone who has actually filled out the form for disability allowance and had a child with cerebral palsy, I know how long it takes to fill in that form.”
“No reference to the girl about whom the question was; no offer to look into her case; no attempt to answer the question. Only an out-of-context reference to Cameron’s dead child, offered as irrefutable proof that his reforms must be right and implied rebuke for daring to question them.
“We always complain that our politicians are out of touch. What is the objection about a Prime Minister using his personal experience to help shape policy? No objection. But policy consists of words put into action. When the action is distinctly contrary to the words, it is not policy. It is hypocrisy.
“He has presided over an unprecedented, concerted campaign against the NHS. So much so, that the very unit in which his child died is threatened with closure. To do this while citing his personal experiences to silence his critics, is unspeakably wicked.
“To stand there, at the dispatch box, and invoke his plight as the parent of a disabled child, then minutes later announce the closure of 36 Remploy factories (not via a statement by the relevant minister, but by placing a letter in the library) is utterly cowardly.
“The net result? A conversation about Ivan in which nobody dares speak up for Ivan. A muted debate, in which the interests of children like him are not fully represented in our Parliament.
“Each time the spectre of that poor child is raised like an invincible shield by his own father, each time his memory is drop-kicked into a political minefield – knowing that nobody will dare touch it – debate is silenced and legitimate questions about these reforms go unanswered. It is not only inappropriate. It is distasteful and immoral.”
It was then and it is now.
To put Cameron’s claims about the NHS in perspective, Michael Portillo has been quoted (many times) as saying: “They didn’t believe they could win the election if they told you what they were going to do.” Here’s the moment, from Andrew Neil’s This Week show:
Andrew Lansley spent six or seven years working on what became the Health and Social Care Act 2012, apparently to make it as convoluted as possible in order to prevent its blueprint for an NHS poisoned by profit-making concerns from being diluted during Parliamentary debate. He was banned from talking about this work in the run-up to the 2010 general election (see Never Again?: The story of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 – A study in Coalition government and policy, The King’s Fund and Institute for Government, p2).
The above are just representative examples of the evidence available to show Cameron’s contempt for the service that treated his son.
Coming right up to date, Political Scrapbook called Cameron’s bluff by referring to disabled children he didn’t mention in his conference speech yesterday. The article quoted him verbatim: “For me, this is personal. I’m someone who’s relied on the NHS and … who knows what it’s like when you go to hospital night after night with a sick child in your arms. How dare they say that I would ever put that at risk for other people’s children?”
Then it continued: “In the interests of balance, here are some other disabled children from around the country — a nation in which40% of children with disabilities live in poverty — who didn’t merit inclusion in his keynote address.
“Five year old Reuben Sims requires round-the-clock care and breathes using a ventilator. His mother has been charged £18.40 per week for the ‘spare bedroom’ used to store Reuben’s medical supplies.
“Here is Luis Rennie, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is registered blind. He has faces eviction from his family home — specially adapted at a cost of £60,000 — if his mother refuses to pay for the room used to store equipment such as wheelchairs.
“And it’s not just the Bedroom Tax which is putting the squeeze on families with disabled children.
“A flavour of the impact of austerity on services provided directly by local authorities is given in an analysis of London boroughs by Ambitious About Autism:
Cuts to transport services for children with special education needs
Cuts to children with disabilities teams
Charging for non-statutory services
Provision of statutory services at a reduced level
“Then there’s Universal Credit, which — if Iain Duncan Smith’s team develop the competency to actually implement the policy — will leave100,000 disabled children worse off by more than £120 per month.
“Young people’s charities also face public funding cuts of almost £405 million over the five years to 2015/16 — a greater proportion than the rest of the voluntary sector.
“Respite for carers is being slashed, with eight out 10 family carers telling Mencap that ‘they have reached breaking point due to a lack of short breaks’:
“‘When you care for someone 24 hours per day and you know it’s going to be forever, sometimes a short break is your only hope.'”
Yr Obdt Srvt has personal experience as a carer and knows this statement to be true.
The sad fact is that the likes of David Cameron will never accept that using a dead relative as a commodity, as a trump card in an argument, is morally wrong. They do not understand the swell of indignation they create whenever they put their grief (whether real or feigned) on parade in a bid to gain electoral sympathy – and voters’ support. They believe they are right to do so.
They deserve to be stripped of that misapprehension in the most humiliating way. When it happens, let’s hope it hits Cameron as hard as the slap in the face he so richly deserves – from his own spouse.
Call-me-Dictator-Dave: Cameron has announced tax cuts which will necessitate further service cuts, at the end of the most fascistic Conservative Party conference yet seen [Image: Telegraph].
Here we are, then – the big offer to bribe the UK’s citizens into voting Conservative, despite the hammering he has given them for the last four and a half years.
To persuade you to let him keep hammering you for another five years, David Cameron is offering to:
Raise the tax-free personal allowance for the lowest earners from £10,500 to £12,500
Raise the threshold for the 40p rate of income tax from £41,900 to £50,000
He said raising the tax-free allowance would help one million people and cut taxes for 30 million more.
Perhaps he thinks we’re stupid. These plans are hasty, back-of-a-fag-packet responses to UKIP’s tax plans, announced at the Purple Party’s conference last Friday. Farage stole his thunder and now he’s trying to claw something back – at the expense of the economy. How is he going to get the deficit down when there’s no tax money coming in? Even if his policies killed every single benefit claimant – and they’re well on the way! – he would not save enough to balance the budget.
Not only that, but paying less tax means more public services will be sold off, and private citizens will have to pay for them, privately, out of their own pockets. We all know that publicly-provided services are cheaper, meaning that this move will cost us much, much more in the long term.
Cameron knows that but his business buddies will benefit so he doesn’t care.
Other promises included:
Protecting the NHS budget for the next Parliament. If he intends to do this the way he raised real-terms spending on it in the current Parliament, there will be no NHS left by 2020. Yet again, he played on the memory of his own disabled son Ivan, who died in 2009 – turning on the water-works when he said, “For me, this is personal”. It is personal for him – he personally wants to be the man who destroyed the NHS altogether – and you can tell what kind of man he is from the way he used a family tragedy in a cynical bid to play on your emotions.
The UK will go to war with Islamic State extremists. Because another war is what we all want – right?
Getting “what Britain needs” in EU negotiations. What Britain needs, or what the Conservative Party needs? And what about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would condemn British workers to a race to the bottom in terms of working conditions and products available, while also locking privatisation of services into our economy, just as the Conservative’s want.
Offering every teenager a place on the National Citizenship Service scheme. Is this Cameron’s version of the Hitler Youth?
Planning to build 100,000 new affordable homes for first-time buyers – because the Tories have been hugely successful getting them built in the current Parliament, haven’t they? (House building hit its lowest point in more than 70 years under the Coalition). And why only 100,000? Labour is offering five times as many.
Cameron described the Tories as “the real party of compassion and social justice”, but in the same speech said people would have to “work a bit longer and save a bit more” – glossing over the facts of life under Conservative governments, that people can’t work when they don’t have jobs, and those who do can’t save when their jobs don’t pay enough.
Notice that he said nothing about social security. On the £25 billion of cuts previously announced by George Osborne (and this was before Cameron decided he was going to do another tax giveaway bribe on the eve of the election), he said, “That’s a lot of money, but it is doable.” It certainly is, if you are willing to cut the state down to the bone, sell everything off to anyone who’ll buy it (China, perhaps?), and don’t care that it will cost millions of lives because the only people to suffer will be poor.
When the history of this period of UK politics is written, David Cameron will appear as a wretched little smear of scum.
One suspects the on-screen caption was more apt than the BBC intended.
David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference may go down in history as the worst drivel ever coughed up over the public by a British national leader.
I was going to write a serious article about it but, on reflection, I have decided to mock and insult him pitilessly, interspersing my disdain with some medicinal doses of cold hard truth – and a few tasty pics from Facebook and Twitter.
Where to begin? Let’s go for the biggest groaner. Yet again with your disabled son, Mr Cameron? “When I used to push my son Ivan around in his wheelchair, I always thought that some people saw the wheelchair not the boy. Today, more people would see the boy and not the wheelchair – and that’s because of what happened here this summer.” He was referring to the Paralympics but what people saw was an overprivileged toff who took disability benefits for his son when he didn’t need them and is now cravenly using the deceased child’s memory to score points, while depriving the sick and disabled of the money they desperately need in order to survive. Did he really think anyone watching that, with an ounce of sense, would not be sickened to the pit of their stomach by his bare-faced, self-satisfied hypocrisy?
It’s the sort of line that forces me to agree with the Tweeter who typed: “I’ve got a great ‘Cameron’s speech’ drinking game. As soon as he starts to speak, drink bleach.”
There was a big lie about the NHS: “We made a big decision to protect the NHS from spending cuts.” In fact, in the current financial year, his government cut NHS spending by something like £25 million, and I believe he is also rationing access to treatment. He recently announced £140 million of new funding – but neglected to trumpet to the rooftops the fact that it’s in LOANS, so any organisation taking it would have to pay it back, presumably with interest.
He said the number of doctors, dentists, and midwives has increased – and this is true. But if you factor in the number of nursing staff that have been cut (there are now fewer than in 2010) then the number of full-time equivalent, professionally qualified staff in the NHS has risen by just a fraction of one per cent since the coalition took office. Hardly a ringing endorsement of his policies, is it?
Cameron: “So be in no doubt: this is the party of the NHS and that’s the way it’s going to stay.”
Twitter: “There isn’t a god or Cameron would’ve been struck down.”
Even the BBC’s Stephanie Flanders was looking askance at this: “Cameron talks about the NHS but can they tell us how many of the Cabinet have private health insurance?!”
Cameron: “Aspiration is the engine of progress… That’s why the mission for this government is to build an aspiration nation.”
Twitter: “‘Aspiration Nation’ sounds like the title of one of Grant Shapps’ motivational courses!”
Cameron: “Line one, rule one of being a Conservative is that it’s not where you’ve come from that counts, it’s where you’re going.”
How many Conservative Prime Ministers came from Eton, then, ‘Call-Me-Dave’?
Cameron: “We don’t preach about one nation but practise class war…”
Twitter: “…says head of government of private-school-educated millionaires making big cuts to public services for the poor.”
Could this possibly be the conference pass that Andrew Mitchell famously hasn’t used this year?
He said we need businesses investing and taking people on. To do that, they need low interest rates so they can afford to take out a loan, and confidence that it’s worth investing.
Big explanation follows, courtesy of Ramesh Patel in the Huffington Post: “The real reason why our borrowing costs have fallen and remained low since 2008 is because the demand for bonds has risen and there is a an expectation that it will remain high because the markets expect the UK economy will remain stagnant.” That’s STAGNANT. Not “on the rise”, as Cam would have us believe.
“Consumers and businesses are not spending. As result, saving levels have risen, which has increased the demand for bonds [loans made for a fixed period of time at a fixed interest rate] and increased their price. There is an inverse relationship between the price of bonds and their yield-return or interest rates. Hence, if a £1,000, 20-year, bond is at an interest rate of 5 per cent, you would receive a return of £50 per annum. Now suppose the demand for bonds rises because more people are saving. Lets assume it rises from £1,000 to £1,500. With the interest rate remaining the same, the return will also remain the same at £50. Hence, the new effective interest rate falls because £50/£1,500 = 3.33 per cent.” So interest rates have dropped because the price of bonds has risen – but that won’t help anyone take out a business loan – and if you don’t believe me (as Dave repeated several times during his oration), just you go out and try it!
He said it was essential to get the deficit down, and the Tories’ deficit reduction plan is “the very foundation” of their growth plan.
This is nonsense. Back to Ramesh Patel: “A government that attempts to reduce its spending during a recession engages in a self-defeating activity. Rather than increasing its income, it increases its deficit and debt. Quite simply, cutting spending results in increased unemployment, which increases its benefit spending. As a consequence, consumption spending is reduced, which results in lower income or GDP. Austerity has never worked.”
Just so. Austerity has never worked. It isn’t like a household reducing its spending to increase the amount of money it holds; the opposite holds true in national economics. Cameron (and his chancellor, GideonGordon George Osborne) knew this before they got anywhere near Downing Street and have been stringing you along for two and a half years.
Do you need more convincing? Here we go – he said “The damage was worse than we thought, and it’s taking longer than we hoped.” It wasn’t. He inherited a growing economy, with falling unemployment. It is his government that dragged the UK back into recession. Borrowing is up by 22 per cent so far, in this year alone, because of his policies. His claim that he has cut the deficit by a quarter in the past two years is nothing more than a lie.
It certainly isn’t why interest rates are at record low levels. Mortgages might be low as a result but how many people really benefit from that? Businesses don’t have the confidence to invest – or the wherewithal, since the banks are stubbornly refusing to pay out, no matter what Cam the Sham’s government does. Sadly, more than 33,000 businesses have gone bust since the 2010 general election.
On employment, he said more than a million new jobs have been created in the private sector. What he FAILS to say is that they are mostly part-time. Those people will be topping up their income with government benefits – creating more government borrowing. And what about the unemployment figures – especially among young people? More than a million are out of work. We’ve got 1.49 million men out of work and 1.1 million women unemployed as well.These are atrocious figures – the worst since, well, the last Conservative government.
His attack on Labour was a child’s argument. He called Labour the party of “one notion” (see what he did there, mocking Ed Miliband’s “One Nation” statesmanship?) – borrowing.
But wait. His government is currently borrowing £802 every second. And I repeat: Government borrowing has increased by 22 per cent since the beginning of this financial year alone.
“We’re here because [Labour] spent too much and borrowed too much.” If Labour’s record was so bad (its borrowing record is in fact better than that of the Tories), why was Osborne promising to match Labour’s spending plans, right up until 2007? I think the only conclusion we can form is that Mr Cameron will say anything if he thinks it will appeal to the masses. Truth or fact have nothing to do with it.
The vacuousness of the argument he picked with Ed Miliband, over tax, defies belief! He took issue with Mr Miliband for saying a tax cut was like the government writing people a cheque, saying “If we cut taxes, we’re not giving them money – we’re taking less of it away”. What’s the difference? They’ve still got more of it than they would have had otherwise! Arguing over semantics is not an election-winning strategy.
This was Cameron’s defence of the cut in the top rate of tax, from 50 per cent to 45 per cent. He said: “It’s their money.” Was he saying the super-rich should not pay any tax at all, because it’s “their money”, not the state’s? In that case, what about the rest of us? Is the money we earn “our money” and should we then, also, be exempt from tax?
If so, then good luck paying off that huge deficit you’re building up, Dave – not to mention the benefits bill you’ve been steadily increasing over the past two and a half years!
I sometimes wonder if he knows anything about the real economy at all.
Oh look! I just unintentionally echoed something Mr Cameron said! About Labour?!? Deluded isn’t the word. If it weren’t for the deadpan, funereal seriousness of his delivery, this could be a comedy skit.
He talked about the threat of wealthy businesspeople moving to other countries, which – guess what, Dave? – they never, ever do.
He said the rich will pay a greater share of tax in every year of this Parliament than in any one of the 13 years under Labour – but has never produced any figures to back up this claim. How are we supposed to believe him?
He went on and on about the need to build more homes but declared no new policy.
On welfare, he referred to individual families in receipt of up to £60,000 in housing benefit. Who are these people and where in the country can they possibly live? Has anyone EVER received that much? I want to see Conservative Central Headquarters produce the evidence RIGHT NOW!
He said it’s an outrage, conveniently ignoring the fact that NOBODY RECEIVING HOUSING BENEFIT ACTUALLY SEES A PENNY OF IT. It obviously goes to the landlords. But his plan to cap housing benefit won’t harm landlords – they’ll just evict the tenants for being unable to pay the rent.
Why not cap RENTS instead? That is the real solution. But then, as somebody mentioned on Twitter, this isn’t about helping people in need – it’s about turning central London into a poor-person-free zone.
Oh yes, and somebody should really make it clear to Mr Cameron that 93 per cent – the overwhelming majority – of new housing benefit claimants are in work. What does this say about the kind of work available in Cameron’s Britain? To me, it says that it doesn’t pay enough for people to survive. He should be asking why the government is effectively subsidising these employers when they should be paying a proper living wage! (A living wage? Isn’t that a… Labour idea?)
On his state-sponsored slavery Work Programme, he said, “Work isn’t slavery; it’s poverty that is slavery.” Firstly, when it’s compulsory, unpaid work, I think Mr Cameron will find it IS slavery. Especially when it’s the kind of work that helps the firm but not the worker, who can be slung back on the dole after a few weeks, and another slave – sorry, worker – pulled out of the line to do the same ‘training’. Secondly, the Child Poverty Action Group tells us that, thanks to Mr Cameron’s policies, child poverty in the UK is set to rise by 800,000 by 2020; this is the biggest increase in generations and Cameron’s comment on that was “it’s us, the modern compassionate Conservative party, who are the real champions of fighting poverty in Britain today.”
There was more – much more – of this tosh but I can’t be bothered any more. You get the idea. If you want to see what someone from Eton has to say about the state education system, go to the Tory website and read it yourself – if you can stomach it. Let’s just say the point at which Cameron started attacking teachers who choose to work in the toughest schools was the moment when one man, whose girlfriend is a teacher, gave up all attempt at calmness and started screaming swearwords in response.
There was no mention of the police at all. We know he’s cutting the force nationally by 15,000, though – let’s face it, the billboard with his face on it made his intentions perfectly clear!
The verdict? One Tweeter typed: “What an absolutely vacuous, empty tokenist deluded speech riddled with lies, mistruths and divisive barrel-scraping spin.”
My favourite is this. It’s short, pithy, and to the point: “One of the worst dictator speeches since 1945.”
But I’ll leave the last word to Ed Miliband, who delivered his critique of Mr Cameron and his party in advance, during last week’s Labour conference:
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