The Tory taste of death

by Jonathan Todd

We’re having so many elections that Lynton Crosby is usurping Kylie Minogue as our most ubiquitous Antipodean. Painting campaigns in primary colours of risk and security, Better the Devil You Know is his favourite Kylie track.

So starkly are risk and security contrasted that it rapidly descends to Eddie Izzard’s cake or death sketch. This time the “security cake” is made of Brexit, Ed Miliband’s energy price cap, and Philip Hammond’s dearth of fiscal plans. If your pallet is trapped in May 2015, this cake will taste of what we were told was deathly risk. Then security supposedly meant EU membership, opposition to the energy price cap, and George Osborne’s austerity justifying fiscal plans.

Crosby now sells a confused security composed of what he recently told us was risk. Unknowable risks at that. We are not being asked to vote for Brexit but for whatever Theresa May, after a highly complex negotiation with the EU and its member states, decides Brexit means. As fiscal prudence has been redefined as whatever Hammond deems it.

Blank cheque Brexit, aligned with carte blanche fiscal policy, is no security at all. Making this understood is now the task of Labour PPCs.

Robert Harris, writing not long before the election was called in the New Statesman, “can’t quite understand how the members of the Parliamentary Labour Party can sit there day after day, month after month, year after year, knowing that they’re simply heading towards a kind of mincing machine at the next election.”

At around the time that Harris was pontificating, Siôn Simon was launching his manifesto for the West Midlands mayoral election – which I worked on with Liam Byrne MP. And which refers to the Fiscal Commission on the West Midlands that Shabana Mahmood MP is chairing. And contains the manifesto for women that has subsequently been launched with Jess Phillips MP.

These Labour MPs never were – pace Harris – sat about and there need not now be any mincing machine either.

Those who have built this supposed machine, upon shifting and spurious claims of security, are the same people who have spent nearly a decade dangerously cutting public services in a self-defeating and failed attempt to make their sums add up.

A&E wait times creep predictably upwards as hospital beds are occupied by people that our social care system is inadequately funded to care for. The blight of rough sleeping inevitably spikes as homelessness services are cut. The historically downward trend in crime is imperilled by Tory cuts to police numbers.

Mark Rogers, then chief executive of Birmingham City Council, told The Guardian at the end of last year, that the council had reached “a deadly serious situation for too many vulnerable people who face the prospect of not having their needs met.”

After years pulling at the fabric of our society, the Tories now ask us to trust them on a leap into the unknown of Brexit – after previously telling us Brexit was a risk to be avoided. It takes a particular mendacity to call this security.

We won’t find security in giving the Tories a blank cheque Brexit but in standing up to them.

Andy Street – the Tory mayoral candidate – has spent over £1m telling the West Midlands otherwise. His manifesto says nothing about fighting cuts or defending the NHS, and invites the Tories to extend the right to buy to housing association properties in the West Midlands. Less standing up and more rolling out the red – and doubtless expensive – carpet for a catastrophic government.

Such a supine response to what the Tories have served up to the West Midlands would be odd. Instead – as Sam Dale has detailed on Uncut – Simon offers a genuine Labour alternative.

No matter what coming years bring, whatever kind of cake Brexit comes to be, the West Midlands will be best served by a Labour mayor standing up for it. The biggest risk would be a blank cheque Brexit and an obsequious mayor for a party that has done so much damage.

Jonathan Todd is Deputy Editor of Labour Uncut and worked on the Siôn Simon manifesto 

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15 Responses to “The Tory taste of death”

  1. Tafia says:

    I’m a Plaid member. I’m 60 years old. In the forthcoming Town and County elections I shall be voting Plaid – indeed I have already been out leafletting for them for these local elections. But in the General Election, for the first time in my entire life, I will be voting Tory.

    We are leaving the EU – start getting to grips with that. And nobody is in the slightest interested in Labour’s faux mealy-mouthed half-Brexit proposals. It’s no more than a con to make sure Brexit does not happen.

    May needs to be powerful enough ti shut up serial interfererssuch as the Millar woman and over-rule all opposition in Parliament including from any of her back-benchers.

    Like most Leavers, when I voted Leave it was in the full knowledge we would have to leave the Single Market and probably the Customs Union as well. I will vote down anyone and any party that attempts to interfere in that.

    I know plenty of other Plaid members and voters who ae doing likewise, and likewise plenty from Labour including believe it or not, a Labour councillor. As a work place union rep I come into contact with a lot of colleagues on a daily basis – and for the first time ever people I know have never voted conservative in their lives (and somne never voted at all) are quite openly saying they will go blue.

    PS – there won’t be any long-winded negotiations. You’re an idiot if you think so. We will be out in far less than 2 years, certainly before the next EU elections. May will make a couple of attempts at negotiating, announce it’s pointless due to EU intransigence and we will simply walk away.

  2. paul barker says:

    The usual self-serving drivel. The PLP has already voted to give May her blank cheque. Labour are simply irrelevant.
    Any Labour MPs who actually want to stop The Tories should defect to The Libdems, now.

  3. Gerlad says:

    Palate, not pallet and blights don’t spike.

  4. john P Reid says:

    I remember tafia I think, when you were Adwilliams, oldham Avenger on Labour home?

    labour should pay attention to, Tafia’s comment, if someone who stood through thick and thin, of the miners strike ,the ’83 result and taking on ,militant , and quit over Iraq

    I recall meeting 4 other women who are in their early 60’s the same one’s dad was in the co-op on strike with Grunswick,ones dad was in the Dockers strike of 89,
    ones dad was in the print strike and one like the above was in the miners strike all voting tory for the first time in their lives

    due to labour treeting the working class ,l with conptempt for many to voting leave, saying we’re thick and bigoted and that Harriet Harman Shami charkobarti from thei million pound hosues ,not to have stop and search and that men who dodn’t take the full2 weeks paternity leave should be shunned, ,with the likes Of Julie bindel who’s done loads for womens rights, banned form campus for saying transsexuals shouldn’t make all women short lists,
    or Harman saying that raped accused shouldn’t be able to have fair trials of reavealing evidence about the accuser, that will lead to ,judges trhwoing cases out of court
    labour is domomed for a generation

  5. Madasafish says:

    We won’t find security in giving the Tories a blank cheque Brexit but in standing up to them.”

    I suspect after the next GE you try doing that and you’ll be flattened..

    Instead – as Sam Dale has detailed on Uncut – Simon offers a genuine Labour alternative.”

    Any Party which relies on such a person is really scraping the bottom off a very dirty barrow..

    Who can forget this which he penned in 2007

    “The young princes who now stride the parade ground with the confidence born of aristocratic schooling can never be afraid. They never have been. Like latter day Pushkins drilled in the elite academy of Brownian blitzkrieg, they are bursting with their sense of destiny. It’s not the Milibands, the Ballses or the Burnhams who are unconsciously nervous. This is the moment for which they were created. They are ready.”

  6. Tafia says:

    that is me John, from the good old days when I was living in Oldham for a couple of years and a member of the Oldham Anti Nazi League fighting it out with the BNP and NF when all the trouble was going on.

    Good times, good comrades. Julie Waterson, Debbie Jacks, Pete Hick.

  7. Tafia says:

    Martin Gleeson, Mike Luft, Ameen, Big Bing, Miranda, Mike Killian, -more I cant remember from Manchester SWP and AFA (hard boys them.) My God we gave the BNP hell for 18 months. Scared to even leaflet at the end of it they were.

    You brought some memories back there John. There’s still loads of piccies of me on their stupid REDWATCH site even after alll these years.

  8. uglyfatbloke says:

    ..and yet this is where we are; Scottish Labour supporting tory candidates while the rest of the party is trying to stop the tories in their tracks….

  9. Anne says:

    I remember the Thatcher years – the miners strikes, three day weeks, when the term ‘give us a job’ was coined, and I remember the Blair years when,on the whole, these were prosperous years – yes there were mistakes but the economy was good, there was less inequality and services were a good standard. It was in the 1990s that evidence based practice informed decisions resulting in better outcomes. Then came the banking crash is 2008 and we got the Cameron austerity years. We are now in the May years. What we must now strive to avoid is the May dictatorship years. I appeal to every Labour member both past and present, from left and right of the party to vote for your local Labour candidate. It is imperative that we hold Mrs May to account. A dictatorship is not good for the country and certainly unhealthy for democracy.

  10. Mike says:

    Labour uncut is usually reasonable, but you have gone too far. There have been cuts to some areas (the NHS has been protected) and some on the left complained straightaway. The Conservatives continued and showed you could cut 30% with no adverse effect on crime and other services. The Conservatives are trusted, Tony Blair said the UK was an essentially small c conservative country. Labour won in 1997, after four economically successful Major years, by promising to be reasonable moderate conservatives.

  11. John P Reid says:

    Ah yes red watch, I got called a Marxist, not sure if was a compliment , actually I remember some Tories tactically voting labour in Barking Essex council election 2010 to oust the BNP,although obvious they voted Tory on the general election on the same day

  12. John P Reid says:

    TafIa do you know the ynys mon seat, could , potential Plaid voters, vote Tory, splitting the anti Labour vote,if not and labour lose it,

    it’s a case of any labour MP with a majority of under 5’000, has got to be looking for a new job

  13. Tafia says:

    Anne – I remember the Thatcher years – the miners strikes, three day weeks, Yes and I remember Miners strikes and power workers strikes and rail strikes and three day weeks and electricity 8 hours on, 8 off under Heath, Wilson & Callaghan. I remember all public buildings (including schools and hospitals) switching their heating and hot water off to save power – all of that was before Thatcher and plagued both Labour and the Tories and a lot of it was to do with the ‘oil shock’. And I remeber sky high inflation. And I remember the dying days of Callaghan’s government – nurses and teachers having pay cuts imposed on them as a conditiojn of the IMF loan.

  14. Tafia says:

    John – Tafia do you know the ynys mon seat, could , potential Plaid voters, vote Tory, splitting the anti Labour vote,if not and labour lose it

    Ynys Mon is a very strange constituency. For starters they will not vote for ‘outsider’ candidates. Since the 1980’s it has been held by the Tories, Plaid and Labour. People – even party members – will vote for the candidate or a specific issue as opposed to the party. People also routinely vote differently at Council, Assembly and Westminster level even if the elections are at the same time.

    At the moment, the County council is run by Independents with Plaid the opposition and Labour only holding 2 of the 45 seats. At Assembly level it’s Plaid – with the Plaid vote more than double all the other parties combined. Whereas at Westminster level it’s held (just) by Labour. It’s also one of the few constituencies where the Local Authority boundary, Assembly boundary and Westminster boundary are all identical. In the Referendum it voted Leave and local follow-up showed a significant chunk of both the Plaid and Labour support went to Leave (whereas most Tories voted Remain).

    At the 2015 General Election the results were:-
    Labour 10871
    Plaid 10642
    Tory 7393
    UKIP 5121

    I know for a fact some Labour voters will definately switch to the Tories because of BREXIT likewise some Plaid (including me) will switch Tory. Some Labour voters will undoubtedly go to the Lib Dems and I knwo some who although they support BREXIT won’t vote Tory so they will abstain. Look at the UKIP voted combined to the Tory vote. As far as I am aware, UKIP will not stand in thos seat this time round so most of their vote will go Tory. Personally, I reckon the Tories will take this seat by quite a way.

  15. John p Reid says:

    Tafia thanks,

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