Perhaps the best Tory campaign slogan we have heard from this election is the repeated use of 'judge us on our record’. The phrase is designed to paint an image of the Tories as reasonable and open to criticism from the electorate. The phrase was notably used by Theresa May's stand in act during the 2017 election debate, soliciting roars of laughter from the crowd. They knew as well as anyone that judging the Tories on their record would result in a decisive election loss. Ironically, the conservative party don't want us to judge them on their record, but on their meaningless sloganeering and catch phrases like 'judge us on our record’. Today, I have decided to do just that. Here are a few of the Tories 'achievements over the past few years:
Missed Economic Targets: Before getting into power in 2010 the Tories promised to eliminate the deficit within the first year of the new parliament. When they got into power they said the deficit will be eliminated by 2015. In 2017 they are saying that the deficit will be eliminated by 2025. So the Tories want us to vote them in at this parliament, then vote them in again in 2022, and they might have eliminated the deficit by halfway through that parliament. How many more times are the Tories going to move the goalposts before they finally decide to change their clearly fruitless economic strategy. Not only that, but the Tories have managed to create more public debt in seven years than every single labour government in history combined. If this is 'strong and stable’ handling of the economy, I would love to see what the Tories define as weak and chaotic economics'.
Declining Wages: under Tory rule British workers have suffered the joint worse wage decline in the developed world, with Greece. This is also the longest decline in wages since records began. The only real difference is that Greece did it because they were forced to by the Troika. The Tories did it because they don't care about British workers.
Austerity: you would think that after the decline in wages, the spectacularly missed economic targets, the creation of tons of debt and George Osborne's eventual departure from front line politics, that the Tories would seriously reconsider their economic strategy. It's amazing that so many people still believe in the austerity con. Theresa May has been proliferating the same kind of economically illiterate justifications for the austerity con. The evidence is clear that austerity has only succeeded in the transferring of public money into provide pockets, at the expense of the millions of people, who keep the economy going.
The NHS Crisis: Between 2010 and 2015 the Tories slashed £20 billion from the NHS. Their current spending proposals involve the cutting of another £22 billion before 2020. In 2010 the Tories promised to stop the forced closure of NHS services. In 2012 the Tories tried to force the closure of Lewisham hospital. In 2014 they tried to change the rules in order to make it easier to force the closure of NHS services. Since 2015, the Tories have been working on a secret plan to close NHS centres, maternity wards, walk in centres and mental health services a up and down the country. This has been continued by Theresa May. One of her first acts as PM was to scrap nurse’s bursaries which caused an astonishing 100,000 decline in applications for university nursing courses. Not only are this, but thousands of NHS staff from EU countries leaving the NHS in record numbers causing a recruitment crisis. Laying of tens of thousands of staff, slashing budgets, closing hospitals and reducing services would be bad enough in its own right but at a time of rapidly increasing demand on NHS services, it's a recipient for disaster.
The Productivity crisis: The UK is suffering a massive decline in productivity, lagging 35% behind Germany and 30% behind the USA. This means that the average UK worker has to work an hour in order to achieve the same level of economic output that a German worker does in 39 minutes. Unhappy and exploited workers don't work as hard as those who feel valued and we'll paid. Well educated workers are more productive than those who have suffered a poor education system. If the UK wants to resolve the productivity crisis it needs to improve wages and working conditions and invest in education. The Tories have been doing the polar opposite for seven years.
Systemic Abuse of Disabled People: The Tories have subjected disabled people to countless assessments in which they have to prove their disability to some corporate outsourcing giant. The assessment regime costs way more to administer than they do in reduced benefit payments. The Tory party constantly claim that the assessment regime is designed to get disabled people into work, but they deliberately laid of 1,500 disabled people by shutting down Remploy factories. Also, In March 2016, 309 Tory MPs voted to cut the employability support allowance by £1,500 per year. The government’s own figures admit that thousands of disabled people have died within weeks of being found 'fit for work’ and stripped of their benefits. All this has resulted in the Tory government being severely criticised by the UN for 'severe violations of disabled people's rights’. The list goes on.
Child Poverty: Since 2010 the number of children living in poverty has risen to 400,000. The Tory cuts to child welfare and in work benefits for parents are setting plunge yet another 25,000 kids into lives of poverty.
Railway mishandling: As a result of the Tory privatisation of the railways the UK has the most expensive, most overcrowded and least reliable rail service of any developed European nation. In spite of this, the corporations who operate the rail services take more in government subsidies than it costs to run the entire system under British rail. Vast swathes of the UK rail system are now owned by foreign governments who use the money we pay for our rail travel to improve their own rail systems
Lowering Corporation Tax: Over their seven years in power the Tories have cut corporation tax paid by the biggest multinationals from 28% to just 20%. By 2020 they plan to cut it to just 17%. This means that the UK has got one of the lowest corporation tax rates in the developed world. The global average is 27 % and the G7 average is 33.4%. As a side note, it is therefore highly ironic that when Labour propose a 26% rate, people assume that corporations will flee the country. All reversing the Tax cuts would do is bring the UK into line with other developed countries.
Unaffordable homes: since 2010 the Tories have overseen the lowest levels of housebuilding since the 1920s. This is in spite of increasing demand. This combination of weak supply, high demand and collapsing wages has pushed house prices to their most unaffordable level ever.
School Privatisation: An awful lot of people don't seem to realise that the Tories have been forcibly privatising thousands of state owned schools for free, into the hands of unaccountable pseudo charities, often into the hands of Tories party donors. In the case of academy chains like Perry Beachers, they often top slice education budgets to pay six figure salaries to academy bosses and rip off the taxpayer through outsourcing. This Tories don't care about this, they hate the public sector with a burning ideological passion.
Rip of tuition fees: With the assistance of their lying lib dem colleagues the Tories introduced £9,000 per year tuition fees for university students. Students now face the highest fees in the world for study at public universities. The fees are so high that two out of three students will never be able to pay of their debts, despite paying a 9% aspiration tax on their disposable income for pretty much their entire working lives.
Food Bank Dependency: the Tories have overseen a huge rise in food Bank Dependency since 2010. Over a million food parcels were handed by the trussell trust last year and they are just one of the food bank organisations. Areas that have suffered the rollout of the Tories universal credit scheme have significantly higher rates of food Bank Dependency.
Unqualified teachers: In 2010 the Tories changed the rules and scrapped the requirement that teachers actually be qualified for the job. Since then the education system has been flooded with unqualified teachers, presumably in an attempt to undermine the education system so schools can be flogged off to the private pseudo charities mentioned earlier. It is worth remembering that the man that oversaw this was Michael Gove. Remember, the man who claimed that 'we have had enough of experts’ during the EU referendum campaign.
Secret Courts: In 2013, with help from the so called liberal democrats, the Tories introduced a new law to create secret courts in which a person can have their sentence decided behind closed doors in secret courtrooms that they are not allowed to even enter. These secret courts don't just apply to terrorism related offences or criminal charges, they can be used in civil cases too. The cabinet minister responsible for this draconian piece of legislation was of course the then home secretary, Theresa May.
Privatisation: Since 2010 the Tories have overseen more selling off of public assets than Thatcher in the 80s. Many of their privatisation scams have resulted in vast rip offs to the taxpayer; they sold of royal mail at over £1 billion below its market value; they sold off publicly owned banks at massive losses to taxpayers; they have given away billions worth of NHS services; they gave away thousands of school properties for free to unaccountable pseudo charities; they sold off the student loan books and they sold off the UK government's stake in Eurostar for a fraction of what it cost us to set it up.
Social Care Crisis: The Tories have slashed £4.6 billion from the social care budget at a time when it is so desperately needed. This has concluded with the biggest increase in the death rate since the 1960s, and is putting an immense amount of pressure on NHS services.
Outsourcing to tax Dodgers: The Tories have bought giant outsourcing companies in to perform all sorts of government programmes. Huge numbers of these corporate leeches are now having their contracts renewed automatically with no cost benefit. The labour party have proposed a new law to ban outsourcing companies from receiving government contracts if they're based in tax havens. The Tories are quite happy to keep using taxpayer’s money to pay outsourcing companies to do the work the government should be doing themselves
Fire service cuts: across their first term, the Tories slashed 30% off the fire service budget resulting in the loss of 10,000 fire service jobs and the closure of 39 fire stations. Across their second term they intend to slash another 20%. In 2015 the number of fire deaths increased by 17%.
Prison Chaos: UK prisons today are a hole of violence, widespread drug abuse, escapes, chronic understaffing and rising suicide rates. The UK prison system is in chaos. One of the worst examples of this is HMP Northumberland that was privatised by the Tories in 2014. This is supposed to be a training prison to teach prisoners so that they don’t reoffend upon release. At this prison however, a private contractors called Novus was giving prisoners pictures of peppa pig to colour in as their ‘training’, all at the taxpayers’ expense.
Police Cuts: Between 2010 and 2015, the Tories axed 34,000 police jobs. Between 2015 and 2020 they intend to axe tens of thousands more. The police managed to juke the statistics by not recording vast numbers of crimes, but the impact of these police cuts can’t be hidden off the violent crime statistics, which have increased by 96% between 2012 and 2016.
Flood Defence Cuts: For each £1 spent on flood defence spending the nation saves £8 in avoided damage and disruption. Several of the areas that had their flood defence schemes cancelled in 2010 ended up suffering severe flooding.
Democracy under Threat: The proposed Great repeal Bill is an astonishing assault on the concept of democracy and accountability. If this bill passes it will give Tory Government Ministers the ability to rewrite tens of thousands of UK laws with no parliamentary scrutiny. If people supported Brexit because the EU is too undemocratic, it would take an astounding display of Doublethink for them to now support Theresa May.
The Snoopers Charter: Theresa Mays snooper Charter is the most extreme state surveillance law ever introduced in a developed nation. It allows over 20,000 government employees (including non-terrorism related bodies like the food standards agency) to trawl through the private communication data of innocent people. It also allows the state to tell lies in court in order to secure convictions.
Pandering to Dictators: Theresa May and the Tory’s love sucking up to tyrannical despots like the Islamist Saudi Monarchy and the Turkish autocrat Recep Erdogan. The disgraced Liam Fox was even in the Philippines to suck up to the brutal dictator Rodrigo Duterte and talk up our ‘shared values’.
The Hinkley Point C Scandal: The Tories have agreed to bribe the French and Chinese into building us a nuclear power station by promising to use taxpayers cash, to pay them double the market rate for electricity for 35 years, then cover up the clean-up cost at the taxpayers’ expense too. The reason we have to do this is that the Tories privatised the UK’s nuclear expertise in the 1990s, and the private company was then allowed to be purchased by the french government.
Rising Inequality: While the UK workers suffered the worst collapse in the value of their wages on record, the tiny super rich minority literally doubled their wealth. There is an abundance of evidence showing that the more unequal a society is, the less economically prosperous it is, and the unhappier people are. Take from the poor, give to the rich, that’s always been to Tory agenda.
Mental Health funding Cuts: The Tories love talking up how much they care about the issue of mental health, but their actual track record is disgraceful. Between 2010 and 2015 they slashed £600 million from mental health services. They’re still slashing away now. In fact, they even advised the corporate outsourcing companies carrying out their disability assessments to actively discriminate against disabled people.
Contempt for Human Rights: Theresa May has a burning contempt for human rights. She has expressed her desire the tear up the European Convention on Human Rights many times, and join Belarus as the only European nation that doesn’t adhere to the human rights legislation that was bestowed on Europe by Winston Churchill and Clement Atlee.
In Work Benefit Cuts: The majority of people receiving non pension related benefits in the UK are the in work poor not the unemployed. When the Tories slash things like housing benefit and tax credits what they’re doing is actually further impoverishing the working poor. Ironically, they have made life harder for those in work while spouting the Orwellian propaganda of, ‘making work pay’.
If you judge the Tories by their dismal record in government, then there is actually no reason to vote Tory at all. The only reason to say things like ‘judge us on our record is that they are assuming that the British Public are too intellectually lazy to actually judge their political record, and are just going to assume that their record is good because their boasting about it. Perhaps were not quite as thick as the Tory’s assumed us to be? We’ll find out in a few days…