BEFORE and since the Glasgow East by-election, a great deal of self-righteous and, frankly, dishonest, claptrap has emanated from various Tory politicians and blogs concerning poverty and its legacy. To wit, the now famous comment by Iain Duncan Smith on visiting Easterhouse a few years back and being told by a resident, “We’re all Labour here,” followed by IDS’s legendary (or should that be “mythical”?) retort: “Yes, and look where it’s got you.”
Now Tara Hamilton-Miller, “Call Me” Dave’s apologist at the New Statesman, has written a piece which continues the Tory campaign to rewrite the history of the last Conservative government and the calamity they deliberately inflicted on many of our communities.
Take this, for example:
The recent spotlight on welfare is relevant to the forthcoming by-election in Glasgow. A Tory MP visiting the Scottish city this past week was uncharacteristically passionate. “Every member of my party should have been in Glasgow East today to see what a broken society looks like,” he said. “These people have had a Labour government for a hundred years, and look where it’s got them. David should have insisted everyone walks the streets of Easterhouse to witness what the ‘left’ produces.
I suppose a lie repeated often enough, etc…
For let us not forget, the wholesale shift of manual workers in our industrial heartlands from work to incapacity benefits was a deliberate and intentional ploy by the Tories to keep the headline unemployment figure at three million (which, of course, “Call Me” Dave’s boss’s at the time, described as “a price well worth paying”). The government knew it was piling up huge social and economic problems for the future, but chose to do nothing to ameliorate the damage it had caused. After all, if these people voted at all, they would only vote Labour, so why bother?
Dave’s new caring, sharing Tories would succeed in fooling more people if, instead of blaming Labour for “the broken society” (congratulations to the focus group, by the way), they accepted their own responsibility and actually (whisper it) criticised John Major and Baroness Thatcher for their destructive, heartless and cynical short-termism.
If they refuse to point the finger of blame where it belongs, voters can assume that today’s Tory Party (a) doesn’t think Major and Thatcher were wrong in what they did; and (b) thinks it can get away with more of the same in the future.