This week (October 2021) Tory government stopped off in Manchester to eat, shit and leave.
Cabinet ministers, in speeches and in accompanying TV and radio interviews, spouted well-worn hard-right libertarian mendacious soundbites that displayed utter contempt for humanity and showed how deeply wedded are the Tories to ensuring greater and greater wealth concentration while everyone else is shafted and sent into penury.
Regurgitation of oft-vomited rancid tripe that began with Thatcher and Tebbit was the key theme of the speakers’ rhetoric. This endless loop of chundering was set in motion by the actions of Tories in the 1980s and by think-tanks created or reactivated then.
Several tax-avoiding, secretly-funded, professionally corrupt incestuous mobs were at this year’s conference including Institute Of Economic Affairs, Centre For Policy Studies, Tax-Payers’ Alliance, Centre For Social Justice, Policy Exchange and Adam Smith Institute. These execrable institutions exist to construct as many tools as possible to concentrate wealth and to design necessary methods of deception and persuasion to encourage and aid government imposition of such tools.
Tory cabinet’s members are direct products of libertarian think-tanks. MPs have contributed to their literature and to promotion of their ideology for many years. Some think-tanks were created by current government ministers. Some think-tank veterans are government advisers (Westley, Isaby) or in government departments (Hannan at Board Of Trade). It is merely of question of semantics to consider whether think-tanks are expressions of the government’s philosophy or whether Tories are employees of think-tanks. It is a symbiotic orgy. Throughout the conference think-tanks held many events with MPs where instructions were issued and direction of government policies were agreed. Think-tanks’ donors are the real government.
Some (non-Tory) analysts tried to dissect speeches and comments by senior Tories as if the latter were presenting genuine well-thought perspectives and policies. Much of the analysts’ energies were used listing all the lies and explaining why certain declarations were contradictory or had been debunked earlier as factually or feasibly worthless.
Too much respect was given by observers to motivation of the Tories even when observers were very critical. The purpose of all expectoration by Johnson, Raab, Sunak, Truss, Patel, Javid, etc. at the conference was to restate old cliches of misdirection and misrepresentation in the form of dishonest soundbites, to gaslight opponents with displays of nefariousness, to assure their real employers that they were on track to ensure further wealth concentration, and to promote plans or programs that have no content or intent.
It was a performative party conference. The speeches were not delivered to the public: Tories rely on compliant media to pick out hollow phrases that can be splashed on newspapers’ front pages or be an introductory remark in a TV report. BBC was forced to have Tory soundbites as its backdrop for some of its broadcasting from the conference.
Style was also part of the performance: Sunak pretended to be analytical, Javid pretended to have a plan, Raab pretended to be serious and Johnson played the Etonian buffoon.
In isolation, the rhetoric from the conference should have embarrassed any government. The relentless lying, the crass lack of knowledge, the woefully poor analysis, the extreme indifference to the real situations of people, the incompetence, the blindness to the consequences of Brexit, the absence of any policies or plans, and the casually cruel attitude to the effects of Covid pandemic should have shown the government to be the exact opposite of what a government needs to be.
But, Tories know they can rely on giddy support from the majority of newspapers, and they know that most of the rest of the media will give the government far too much respect (they deserve none at all) and will treat the government as if it is a real government with real interest in wanting to help people.
The Tories know “opposition” parties will address Tory cabinet members’ statements as if they are grown-up remarks worthy of debate.
2021’s Tory conference marked time in the sense that the few comments of note were restatements of commitment to annihilation of public services, destruction of NHS, further dilution of democratic accountability, censorship of opposition, and assurances that the poorest will pay over and over again for basic necessities and will be forced to keep feeding the wealthy.
Snippets from the speeches
Home Secretary Priti Patel displayed her disdain for the rule of law when talking about applications for asylum by refugees,
“There is the legal process. If an asylum claim is rejected, there is nearly always an automatic right to appeal. No surprise that nearly everybody appeals. Even if the decision to refuse asylum is upheld, there can be yet another appeal. Right up until the possibility of further appeals at the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. If that fails, the claimant and their lawyers can start a fresh claim. And then, even when seated on the plane, their lawyers can still block their removal.”
and explained how she intends to bypass legal process and human rights.
“For the first time, how somebody arrives in the United Kingdom will impact on how their asylum claim is processed. Our new ‘one stop’ shop will tackle the multiple claims and appeals which frequently frustrate removal.”
She said military force will be used against families in boats on the English Channel.
“The military [will] deliver operational solutions including new sea tactics, which we are working to implement, to turn back the boats.”
Immediately after the above comments Patel spoke about foreign criminals in a clear attempt to equate asylum seekers and criminals.
On political protests Patel said
“I will also increase the maximum penalties for disrupting a motorway, criminalise interference with key infrastructure such as roads, railways and our free press, and give the police and courts new powers to deal with the small minority of offenders intent on travelling around the country.”
Criminalisation of political opposition is a key tenet of the government policy.
Health Secretary Sajiv Javid began by stating
“We know ‘government money’ is taxpayers’ money.”
He followed that with one of the most significant remarks at the conference where he absolved the government (the elected government) of responsibility for doing the basics of what a government should do.
“Health – and social care – begins at home. Family first, then community, then the state.”
The despicable comment erased the fact that people paid taxes and national insurance as payment for health and social care. He also seemed not to know that an elected government is a servant of the people. He appeared to view “the state” as a separate entity to a country’s inhabitants who fund it and voted for it.
Javid’s horrendous assertion was a product of his extremist libertarian political stance learnt from the most insidious right-wing think-tanks and was a loud pointer toward his support for privatisation of healthcare.
Ominously, he said
“2022 will be a year of renewal and reform [for NHS]. [The review will] shine a light on the outstanding leaders who drive efficiency.”
When Tories say “reform” they always mean destruction.
Justice Secretary Dominc Raab said
“We’re investing £4 billion to deliver 18,000 extra prison places. We need the extra cells to restore some honesty in sentencing.”
If a government needs to increase the number of “prison places” it is an admittance of failure. The “£4 billion” pounds could be spent on other public services, an investment that could reduce crime. Raab knows that in USA prisons are very profitable for their “owners.”
Raab’s staunch opposition to rights (workers’ rights, legal rights, human rights) is longstanding. In his speech he combined anti-immigrant rhetoric with his justification for removing human rights.
“Too often they [the public] see dangerous criminals abusing human rights laws. In one case, a man successfully claimed the right to family life to avoid deportation. We’ve got to bring this nonsense to an end. So, today I can tell you that, under this Prime Minister and before the next election, we will overhaul the Human Rights Act to restore some common sense to our justice system.”
Raab’s opposition to Human Rights Act is not about criminals. He wants to remove the rights of people so that government and corporations can behave however they want with no legal options for people to fight back to protect themselves and their livelihoods.
In an BBC interview Chancellor Of The Exchequer Rishi Sunak displayed his indifference to London being the tax-avoiders’ capital
“I don’t think [London being called ‘tax avoidance capital’] is a source of shame, because actually our track record on this issue is very strong.”
but, in his conference speech he claimed that “we need to fix our public finances” (after eleven years of Tory mismanagement) and, therefore, the poorest people will need to suffer more.
“Is the answer to their [Universal Credit claimants] hopes and dreams just to increase their benefits?”
That rhetorical question from Sunak was in the context of his “hopes and dreams” being realised via the wealth of his parents and, later, that of his wife.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was keen to divide the world into goodies and baddies with UK in the former category.
“Either we retreat and retrench in the face of malign actors or we club together and advance the cause of freedom. My vision is to strengthen our economic and security ties in order to build a network of liberty around the world. We want to trade with and invest in more countries to our mutual benefit which leads to freer and wealthier societies aligned to the cause of liberty, spreading the human rights and values we believe in.”
When Truss said “our” mutual benefit she meant the financial benefit of cross-border corporations and financial institutions. She meant the ability of international businesses to exploit without being hampered by pesky government regulations. Her “cause of liberty” is the cause of libertarianism, or corporate fascism, unhindered by democratic interference.
Truss listed her preferred trade partners in the “cause of liberty” including “the gulf states.”
She warned of “malign actors” and said
“We are demonstrating this with the visible armed presence of our carrier strike group. We are investing in our capability, spending more than 2% of GDP on defence, the biggest since the Cold War. I want our allies from the Baltic to the Tasman to know that Britain stands with them and that together we will stand up to our adversaries and promote the cause of freedom.”
Truss didn’t say which “malign actors” were operational in either the Baltic Sea or the Tasman Sea.
She mentioned China only once but it was clear that, like her predecessor Dominic Raab in his Global Britain speech in March (2021), Truss wanted to cast China as the main enemy of “a successful, modern, liberal, free enterprise country that time and time again has stood up to despots and tyrants.”
Truss’ desperate desire to enemify China was not a fear of competition in an economic sense, because, clearly, it would make much more sense to form trade deals with China. Her opposition was on behalf of the real malign actors who want to turn the whole world into a libertarian’s paradise of exploitation and China will not comply with that as the government there acts in the interests of its population.
In a darkly comedic episode she said
“We will stand up for free speech [as Priti Patel clamps down on free speech and the government interferes in what can be said in schools and broadcast on BBC], we will stand up for a free press [in a country where almost all press is owned by far-right tax-dodging proprietors] and we will give everyone across the Britain the opportunity to succeed regardless of background [in the context of university education being prohibitively expensive].”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also gave a speech.
Clowning, embarrassing lack of knowledge, cringeworthy faux optimism, snide comments and utter lack of self-awareness by Tory cabinet members throughout their respective speeches at the party conference were partly an act and partly unintentional. Most of the words spoken were waffle akin to that spoken by a drunk spouting an incoherent opinion.
However, within were clear brutal threats of intent and demonstrations of ideology that are extremely worrying for our freedom and our financial security.
This year’s Tory party conference was a succession of malodorous farts that stank of the demise of democratic accountability.