I’ve increasingly noticed that Osborne tilts his head to one side whilst talking. I can only assume he’s listening intently to the voices in his head, that’s the only explanation for the lunacy dressed up as policy that seems to come out of his mouth. I noted this in the comments section of the Independent article on Osborne’s speech and thought I’d expand on it here.
It was an odd speech in many ways. To my mind a great Conservative government should have a lot in common with Disraeli’s 2nd government. Disraeli, the second modern Conservative prime minister after Robert Peel did many great things in his time as PM, things you wouldn’t associate with the modern Conservative party. He amended the Factory Act to give more rights to workers, enacted legislation to allow peaceful picketing and so much more. As a result the Liberal MP Alexander Macdonald told his constituents in 1879, “The Conservative party have done more for the working classes in five years than the Liberals have in fifty.” How ironic then that Osborne actually referenced Disraeli’s time as premier in a riposte to Cable over working conditions for chimney sweeps. Way to miss the point Mr O.
Whether it’s down to the inept handling of the press or just a staggering amount of inbreeding, the current crop of Tories seem either genuinely incapable of understanding the lot of the common man, or simply don’t care as their noses are so far into the trough and they’ve all got plenty of non-exec directorships lined up for when parliament becomes too tiresome. We are still mired in recession, and regardless of who is exactly to blame for this, assuming that people are on benefits because they want to be, rather than because they have no choice is facile. This is backed up by the comments on housing benefit for the under 25’s being scrapped because they should live at their parents house; a cosy upper middle class notion of comfortable families looking after their own with scant regard for the financial reality.
Cutting the 50p rate of tax, refusing the LibDem’s idea of a Mansion Tax on properties costing more than £1m, making little or no mention of large scale corporate tax evasion whilst seemingly focusing on making even more savings from the vulnerable and disadvantaged shows just how out of touch with reality the Conservatives have become. It’s worth noting that the National Audit Office said the DWP contract to assess fitness to work, worth £110m a year, offered poor value for money, a common theme in a lot of PPI schemes of late.
Osborne actually said, [the] books can’t be balanced on “wallets of the rich” but seems to think that the poor and stretched middle class can be utilised for this very task. There is a strong argument for everyone being taxed fairly, not disproportionately but fairly. There is ample evidence showing that the effective rate of tax people pay seems to go down as their earnings go up past a certain level, and it’s this sort of chicanery the government should be focused on sorting out, not attempting to assess amputees for a return to work a couple of weeks after their amputation as (in)famously happened to some poor bloke in Staffordshire recently.
Earlier this year I was approached by the local Conservative party about considering allowing myself be long listed as a potential candidate for local councillor. This obviously massaged my ego massively, especially since I’m not even a member of the party, but the more I see about the direction the Conservative party is taking, the more I see my views diverging from theirs. It’s simply not something I could in all conscience conceive doing whilst their policies veer towards the impoverisation of all but the wealthy elite.