Tories are humans, don’t you know

31 08 2017

Last week a Labour MP made the grave mistake of saying that the Tories were enemies.

“You can’t say that!” they said. “That’s not the way to do it!” they said. “Tories are humans too!” they said. “We need to work with them.” they said. “By using “Enemies” and “Evil” you’re using the language of dictatorships” they said.

Thatcher may have once labelled the Miners as “The Enemy Within”  but “That’s by the by” they say. “That’s totally different from the point I’m trying to make, that’s not the point OK!” they say.

“You’re deliberately misunderstanding the point that I’m trying to make” they say. “Communism is worse than the other thing” they say. “When you’re left-wing you’re naturally against freedom.” they say. “Come now you must realise that the freedom to employ someone for no pay is very important in our society.” they hint.

Yesterday there was this article from The Times with a really lovely twitter headline; “Leftwingers boasting that they’d never kiss a Tory are blind to the intolerance of their own ideology.” said the headline. The pithy putdown within the tweet’s screenshot really sold it to me; “The Misunderstanding, that Tories are like Mr. Burns out of the Simpsons, is quite frustrating” I looked forward to many more philosophical highlights. This is just the job to that save my soul thought I.

Alas, alas, alas, the paywall prevented self-re-education. There was me ready to let the article to educate myself out being critical of the Tory point of view when the paywall prevented me. Capitalism ruining education, oh dear, how sad. Mr. Burns would never act like that! I’m sure there’s an ironic quality to my situation but I can’t be arsed to search for it.

I suspect the subtext is “I KNOW WE LOOK INTOLERANT, BUT YOU’RE JUST AS INTOLERANT SO THERE.” It would seem that Leftwingers are too busy protesting about governments making deals with the governments that allow dictators and concentration camps to notice that they actually really like dictators and concentration camps after all, and that’s just the ones I know!

The strangest thing is that both Labour people and Conservative people seem to value a decent health service, secure employment opportunities and good quality roads, and that’s just the one I know!

Anyway to return to the main thrust of this post, when it comes down to it, in the final analysis, at the end of the day, not to put too fine a point on it, how can you not look down on the Tories? They have chosen to plump for a heartless outlook on life, the one that puts their own interests ahead of everyone else’s.

I’ve found that there are only two possible responses when you’re confronted with a Tory; pity them and wonder how life has made someone so bitter or pity them and wonder how life has made someone so heartless.

No offence, I’m just saying it like it is. That’s what gets you a media profile these days. It’s just banter, or something. I’m just a bitter banter bandit.

Here are some reasons why we should look down on Tories.

1. Their Outlook

Let’s call it”Selfish Misanthropic Pettiness”. They’re always moaning about something as if they’re personally inconvenienced.

“You can’t build that here!”

“Who’s paying for these so-called refugees to use MY municipal sports facilities?”

“When are we getting rid of the NHS? I’m sick of paying for Communism.”

“How can you trust a pacifist with his hands on the Nuclear trigger?”

“You’re objecting to Zero Hours contracts? What about students, single mums and fraudulent benefit claimants?”

“You can’t tell me there aren’t Fraudulent Benefit Claimants. I know hundreds. You see them all with their yellow three wheeled vans, solid gold cuff links and investment portfolios on the Future Market.”

Mention “solidarity” to them and you’ll hear contempt, rephrase the idea as “people sticking up for themselves and their fellow workers” and you’ll hear disdain. Mention “Labour” and you’ll here the word tax. Mention “tax” and you’ll hear about asylum seekers. Mention “unions” and you’d hear the fevered imaginings of Reggie Perrin’s brother in law verbatim. Mention “the environment” and you’ll hear about hoaxes. There’s a pat answer for everything.

If you press Tories they never seem able to fully explain why it’s fine that we should live in a society that seems not to care about its citizens. “That’s the way things are, what can I do?” they’ll say. You can almost hear the moral justification “It’s not me, I’m nice. I don’t hate other people. I only vote Tory for blah blah blah.” The moral triumph of selfishness has absolutely nothing to do with them and their decision to vote for a party with selfishness at its core. Who can argue with that?

2. Their Smugness

This tends to afflict the politicians rather than the supporters.

We’ve all seen the Tories on TV with their Tory faces. If you’re not sure who I mean they’ll be the ones refusing to answer questions with a Tory face. They’ll be the ones diverting attention to opponents with a Tory Face. They’ll be the ones with smiling lips on a Tory face, a smile with all the self-assurance that a human can humanly display.

Even when they’re delivering a policy that’s patently bad or inhumane they’ll be smiling that Tory smile from a Tory face. Forget the words, forget the clear implication of the policy you have just heard just look at that self-assured Tory smile from a self-assured Tory face, dig those soothing  waves of self-belief! They simply couldn’t be wrong.

The Brexit shambles is the ultimate example of self-assuredness. A vote meant to heal a rift in the Tory party, one side saying “It’ll be fine, we’ll just save money for the NHS”. the other not really caring because they had other jobs on the horizon. Now “everything is fine” they say.”We’ll get what we want” they say. “There’s absolutely nothing complicated in the process whatever” they say.

You don’t need to be Jeff Stelling to see that this process will be the biggest self-inflicted political mess in modern British history. “It’ll be worth when we have those blue passports” they say with self-assurance, even if you and I won’t be able to afford to use one in the future.

Tories continually find new ways justifications for their noxious outpourings, Labour have a Momentum so the Tories have decided to get themselves an Activate. Imagine those cool cats at Tory HQ; “Let’s make selfishness hip for squares daddio!!! Let’s start with cultural re-education camps for council tenants.”

If you manage to press these people they never seem able to fully explain why it’s fine that we should live in a society that seems not to care about its citizens. “That’s the way things are, what can I do?” they’ll say. You can almost hear the moral justification “It’s not me, I’m nice. I don’t hate other people. I’m only a Tory politician because blah blah blah.” The moral triumph of selfishness has absolutely nothing to do with them and their decision to stand for a party with selfishness at its core. Who can argue with that?

3. They imposed the market economy upon us.

Forty years ago Tories decided that Hayek had all the answers because the Unions had ALL the power in Britain. Pinochet had shown the way. “Such a lovely chap, doing a first rate job with his economy dear boy.” they said.

Twenty five years ago Francis Fukuyama pronounced The End of History. There’s no debate. “The Market Economy Is King!” they said.

Today we have Austerity.

The thread linking all three periods is Gordon Gekko’s bastardised ideology; “Greed Is Good, Who cares if people have to re-apply for their jobs.” 

“We simply cannot challenge this state of affairs.” they say.

“There’s the trickle down goodness.” they say.

I felt my first splashes on a summer job about 17 years ago, when our boss came splashing around one clear morning. The factory had been taken over since my previous summer of service, the family owned business was now part of a corporate family.

The upbeat chap was a head honcho type that had deigned to pop down and speak to us;

“We’re all in this together” he said.

Needless to say we were still waiting for the pay rise to management levels by the time I left in the September. I’m quite sure the noble thought was definitely there however.

It might be obvious that unfettered capitalism is not useful for societal happiness because it’s only useful for helping one sector of society screw the rest over, but what does that matter? Some Tories may concede that universal happiness under capitalism is impossible because it’s not designed for everybody to “strike it rich” but what does that matter?

“Market Capitalism is the bestest system for us.” they say.”Don’t worry Market Capitalism is still the bestest system for developing an equal society” they say. “Market Capitalism is simply amazing” they say. “Marx has nothing to say” they say.

Marx should be silenced even though his 170 year old criticisms of capitalism still hold water. Market capitalism still hasn’t solved the issues linked to the disparity of wealth. But then what does that matter?

In the 1980s we were told to take up cycling to help the economy. There were problems but they were all our fault, and riding a bike would help profoundly. “It’s your fault that businesses are laying people off” they said. “It’s all due to YOUR lack of competitiveness” they said. “It’s all due to YOUR lack of productivity” they said. “It’s all due to YOUR Union Barons” they said. “Go and ride a bike, it’s the best, most helpful thing you can do, to help yourself out of the hole your fecklessness has made” they said.

It wasn’t the bosses, the rich, the Bourgeoisie at all. There wasn’t anyone trying to take advantage of the situation to earn a profit. It was our fault, all our fault. We just had to get to take up cycling and sort it out.

I remember that they didn’t like people fighting for their jobs, “That’s evil militancy” they said. “There’s nothing worse than fighting for your right to work in a job that you want to work in” they said. “It’s much better to ride a bike to another unspecified job.” they said. It was easier to make people redundant and moan about feckless shirkers being unemployed than try and do something different, they hinted.

They privatised the inefficient nationalised industries, which were then streamlined because they were overmanned. This was the code that made people like my Dad redundant.

I fear that I may have given the wrong impression about the decade. It wasn’t bad for everyone. The bike riding advice didn’t apply to government ministers. Years after he demanded that people take up cycling Norman “Cycling Proficiency For Unemployed Scumbags” Tebbitt was offered a directorship of the privatised industry that made my Dad redundant.

There was nothing fishy in the fact he became a director of the privatised industry that had been created by his government, nothing fishy at all. “It’s just the time we live in.” they said, “Yes but this is all ancient history now, it’s not relevant now!” they say.

They have a point, the attitudes of the 1980s are no longer relevant, the attitudes have massively changed, they’re hugely different, so bigly different you can’t believe. Recently Norman “Cycling Proficiency For Unemployed Scumbags” Tebbitt said  Make young unemployed pull up ragwort for benefits”.

The unemployed are already forced into using every spare nanosecond looking for work, visiting potential employers and distributing CVs, Yes without the threat of benefit sanctions the feckless wasters would never try and end the dispiriting situation they detest under their own steam, they hint. Never mind, let’s make them do unpaid labour on top. That’s the only way to encourage a sense of dignity, that is.

Today the Tories label their awful ideology with the softness of the word austerity. Needless to stay, it’s the same old rubbish. It would be bad enough if it was more of the same but they appear to be going further. There are so many examples that we could use to condemn Austerity but let us limit criticism to two facts; it’s forced hundreds of thousands into penury and it’s been used as an excuse to hollow out the remaining vestiges of our Post-WW2 settlement.

“I, Daniel Blake is just Marxist propaganda that Pravda would be ashamed to use!” they said. “I, Daniel Blake doesn’t ring true.” they said. Anyone would think that people didn’t like having a spotlight thrown on the logical outcome of our government’s dehumanising policies.

I suppose if you were being charitable you could say that the government is only motivating people, and who doesn’t need that little bit of extra motivation to accept precious zero hours jobs. “What’s wrong with Zero Hours Jobs? You’re just anti-working class you are.” they’ll say. “See you, yes you, the working classes, zero hours jobs are all you lot deserve, and what’s wrong with that, it’s called progress.” they’ll say.

The creators of austerity never seem able to fully explain why it’s fine that we should live in a society that seems not to care about its citizens. “That’s the way things are, what can I do?” they’ll say. You can almost hear the moral justification “It’s not me, I’m nice. I don’t hate other people. I only formulate Tory policy for blah blah blah.” The moral triumph of selfishness has absolutely nothing to do with them and their decision to formulate policy for a party with selfishness at its core. Who can argue with that?

The “Centrists” eh! “You can’t look down on a Tory you’ve got to help them to help us.” they say. “You can’t nationalise the railways!” they say. It’s fine to be a centrist when there’s a left-oriented consensus, as in 1945-’79, but we’ve had a right-oriented consensus for the last 40 years. How do they suggest that we meet Austerity halfway? Capitulation to the market economy isn’t a noble position.

“Centrists” don’t mind stuff, except when people say “nasty wasty fings” about the effect of Conservative policy, or the Conservatives that enacted such disgusting policies. Mind you they never seem able to fully explain why it’s fine that we should live in a society that seems not to care about its citizens. “That’s the way things are, what can I do?” they’ll say. You can almost hear the moral justification “It’s not me, I’m nice. I don’t hate other people. I only tolerate the Tories for blah blah blah.” The continuing moral triumph of selfishness has absolutely nothing to do with them and their decision to tolerate a party with selfishness at its core. Who can argue with that?

We cannot meet market capitalism halfway and hope for a better outcome, it will always win. The market is not an abstraction, it is a living breathing collection of individuals making calculated decisions based on self-interest. Those decisions could be focused towards people but they’re not, their focused towards the pursuit of profit.

The best way to improve matters would be to change the economic system for something more humane. We can control the economy, the economy doesn’t have to control us. The last move from a less humane economic system (laissez-faire) to a more humane economic system (Keynesianism) required the trigger factor of the Second World War’s death and destruction. What will it take to achieve change this time?

Change is not impossible, we only need humans to think of the greater good and make some decisions. That’s not as fanciful, or wishy washy, as it seems. People continually make decisions throughout a day. If people decided to change our society’s priorities after World War Two we can make a similar choice today.

Please don’t ask me to sweep what Tories think, and their abhorrent policy outcomes, under my emotional carpet. It’s amoral to reduce humans to the level of consumerist slugs. Surely our society can do better than their putrid outlook.

PS, I’ve spent a life weighing things up politically. I choose to be left wing. I know that being left wing has its drawbacks, and there are inconsistencies, and there are irritating fellow-travellers but I’d still rather perceive the world as I do. No amount of point scoring whataboutery will change my view. If I didn’t want to think it, I wouldn’t think it.

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