Tag Archives: Tories

I once thought that the Conservative-led coalition was a good thing. Then I opened my eyes.

I apologise if this is a bit of a rambling torrent, but perhaps I need to say: I didn’t always think the way I do now.

I actually believed the Tories back in 2010. I thought the coalition was a good thing. I thought they were the green, socially aware, de-toxified tories. I believed all the stuff they said. Then I started to look in to the figures, and I started to question.

The Tories started using really odd metaphors likening the economy to an indebted family, saying the overdraft was at its limit, or the credit card was run up. I know economics, and these images didn’t make sense. The economy of a sovereign country that has its own central bank and its own currency cannot be likened to family finances. Our debt is mostly money we owe to each other; even more importantly, our income mostly comes from selling things to each other. Your spending is my income, and my spending is your income. We also have historically low interest rates, and I know it’s best to borrow to fix the roof now, than wait until it caves in next year.

I also couldn’t forget recent history. Until 2008, the Tories said they were going to match Labour’s spending plans. We never heard them say Labour were borrowing too much, nor did we even know about this deficit thingy either. I do remember the banks and financiers getting in to trouble with their bundled-debt ratings and Lehman Brother’s collapsing in the US. And then the banks starting to crumble over here and demanding that the tax payer prop them up; we duly did because they were “too big to fail.”

Labour didn’t ruin the economy, financiers / bankers did. These super rich elite pretty much run the economy by commodotising everything, including food and health. Then they create more and more complex derivatives, until they themselves don’t even understand them, and it leads to trillions of pounds worth of loses. They helped pushed wages low so that profits could climb high. They controlled the wealth and in order to for the finance driven version of capitalism to survive, pushed every one further in to debt. Then they took it away. Companies still cannot borrow to invest to grow.

“The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity,” declared John Maynard Keynes 75 years ago. The austerity drive in Britain isn’t really about debt and deficits at all; it’s about using deficit panic as an excuse to dismantle social programs. I looked at the countries in Europe that have weathered the economic storm best, and near the top of the list I found big-government nations like Sweden and Austria.

You cannot rely on a free market. The economic experiment of the last 30 years, starting with Thatcher, has been a failure. The bottom 50% of the UK own less than 6% of the wealth, while the top 1% own over 40% of the nations wealth. The link between GDP and wages was severed as long back as the late 80s, yet it took until 2008 to mirror the horrific crash of 1929. Back then the world took control of capitalism and the financiers, but now for the super rich it seems it is business as usual.

Until we take hold of capitalism and keep it under control again, like the post war period up to the mid 70s (read keynes) then we’re just going to get more inequality, which leads to this kind of thing, and a huge gulf between super rich, workers, poor … at present the labourers are increasing in productivity, but wages are being kept low, so profits can become higher, so executives can get richer, and take it all abroad.

The Tories keep saying they are reducing the debt, but the autumn budget we just had will see debt increase from 70% of GDP to near 80% over the next 3 years. They have already spent more than Labour had planned to under their proposals. Can’t people see that the Tories are bare faced liars? “We won’t reorganise the NHS,” resulted in reorganising the NHS! And on it goes.

So, I started to open my eyes to the language of divide-and-rule the Tories were using against the sick, disabled and poor; I saw their broken promises;

And I decided, they stink.

How I’m paying the price for this Tory-led Government’s failure

I suffer with CFS/ME, fibromyalgia and depression. My only income is fortnightly Income Support / Incapacity Benefit at £102 per week. Since the Coalition have taken government, I have already seen my housing benefit slashed and have to top it up by just over £25 a week and this year alone I have seen my gas and electric bill rise by nearly 10%. My money comes in and it goes straight out again on rent, bills and food. I have nothing left over. To the point that friends and family sometimes send me a little money, just so that I can have some variety and get out and about.

So I was already apprehensive by the morning of the Autumn Statement as there was wide spread talk about possible cuts to benefits, with the rhetoric already in full swing on the TV and radio. However, that day I was in good spirit and my health was managing well. I took a seat in my local coffee shop and listened to the Chancellor deliver his statement on the radio.

I smiled and scoffed wryly at the Chancellor’s tractor factory style regurgitating of numbers and figures, whilst he supposed that because of ‘this’, it showed ‘that’. The usual game, I thought. But then, amid a strange convolution of unrelated reasons and warped logic, came the announcement about benefits: from next year they would only rise 1% per year for three years.

I burst in to tears right there in the coffee shop. I was stunned. It felt like my whole world had been snatched from beneath me. I could hardly speak or breathe. I cut the radio off and I felt such a sinking feeling of sadness; depression hit me physically and mentally.

Many dressed it up as “an effective freeze,” saying, “Income would still be going up…” I’m not stupid; I know full well that if inflation rises faster than your income, it is a real cut to one’s spending power. I estimated that in three years time, with food and fuel inflation as they are, this would result in an effective cut of around a quarter to my income.

The real question is: how will I manage when I am already struggling to manage right now?

To compare wage increases with benefits increases is frankly ludicrous. I cannot make any more savings within my budget. There is no cushion, no buffer, and no give. The only savings left will affect my health, well-being and mental state, when I am already struggling with all of those anyway.

The Chancellor is completely wrong when he says disabled people are protected. They are struggling and they will see cuts to large parts of their income regardless. But worse than that, he has decided that Employment Support and Incapacity are not now disability benefits with the stroke of a pen and a flick of the wrist.

I feel quite strongly now that the current government do not care about society and that they care even less for the poorest and most vulnerable. If they had a social conscious, or any shred of empathy, they could not even for one minute contemplate inflicting this Spector of abject poverty on people like myself.