Dear reader, as you know, this column…
… has become something of an anti-Tory rant over the past couple of years. Now, before you assume that I’m going to provide you with a fulsome, heartfelt apology for that, think again. I’m old enough to remember Margaret Thatcher’s poisonous period in office, and while it pains me to say it, the current band of incompetent, lying, borderline racists are giving Thatcher a run for her money in their pursuit of a post-Brexit nation in which the poor, disabled and vulnerable are very firmly in their sights. To say the Tories time in office since 2010 has been anything other than a complete shitshow would be insulting to the very worst understatement.
Ever since George Osborne, David Cameron and the completely supine cowards in the Liberal Democrat party formed their “coalition”, the UK has been on a downward spiral with austerity for the poor at its vortex. In their wholly unfair and morally bankrupt policy of targeting those on benefits and the working poor in order to compensate for a rogue banking system which almost sunk the country, the Tories set in motion a philosophy which is now being played out by Rishi Sunak’s government.
The Tories will take every opportunity to blame the country’s woes on Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, a global energy crisis, and inflation which is rampant across the world. Fair enough, all of those things will be having an impact, but Liz “I’m a fighter not a quitter” Truss and Kamakwasi Karteng threw a hand grenade into the UK economy and then walked away with handsome pay-offs for their trouble. And while the causes of our economic woes may be multi-faceted, the solutions are not going to be. The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt (remember, he’s the guy who almost single-handedly destroyed the NHS), is about to make an announcement on how we’re going to pay for the debt which we’ve run up. And guess who is going to be first in his sights?
Yup, those on the lowest pay, those on benefits, the disabled, carers, public sector workers, I could go on but you get the picture. Unless he has had a Damascene conversion to democratic socialism in the last few weeks, he has no intention of taxing wealth which most other socially responsible nations do. This tax would be in addition to income tax and is one which is applied in countries who think that those who have substantial wealth assets, such as property, should pay. For example, a wealth tax is imposed in countries like France, Spain and Portugal.
The Tories argument against such a tax is that rich people will simply up sticks and leave. So be it. If you don’t want to contribute to a society which looks after its most vulnerable when they need it most, as far as I’m concerned, you can fuck off. But the Tories are content to let Russian oligarchs and Saudi Arabian potentates buy up huge swathes of property and avoid paying any kind of tax at all. So, they have to get the money from somewhere else – cue the rush to impose benefit cuts and pay restraint on the poorest people in the country. So much for compassionate conservatism.
Now, Hunt may surprise us all and start to crack down on tax avoidance in a very limited way, but any economic response which deviates from Tory orthodoxy will be based on the fact that they are currently in line to take a complete tanking at the next general election. Personally, I can’t see them recovering from the shitshow of their own making and if I was betting on the outcome, I would be having a decent punt on a hung parliament. Labour will recover, the Lib Dems will hoover up a lot of Tory seats in the south, and the SNP look likely to repeat their successes of the past few years. However, if, by some miracle, the Tories do cling on to power, watch them reverse every measure which taxes those who can afford it most – it will be back to basics in a big way.
So, there you have it, another anti-Tory rant to sign off this year. I hope you haven’t become tired of it all, but I think even I’ve had enough, so from here on in, expect a bit more variety in the column, albeit that it may still involve the odd rant or ten. ■