The UK Needs to Vote Out the Callous Tories
Why it’s unfathomable for Boris Johnson to remain Prime Minister, and why the Tories will end the UK either way
It’s a terrifying reality that Boris Johnson is favourite to lead a majority Conservative Government. He is not the sort of man who should be anywhere near a position of power, and under normal circumstances he wouldn’t be.
But politics no longer follow normal conventions.
A brief look at the background of the man should tell you why he is unfit for public office, but this video alone would ordinarily be enough to destroy any politician’s career. In it, Boris Johnson refuses to look at an image, right in front of him, of a 4-year-old boy sleeping on the floor of a hospital corridor. He refuses because he knows his party’s cuts to the NHS have caused it. He would rather the negative line of questioning disappear so he can continue with his spin. When the journalist persists, Johnson, still refusing to look, takes the phone away and puts it in his own pocket — he takes someone else’s property out of their hand, something probably costing as much as a grand, and puts it in his own pocket. What sort of sense of entitlement must someone have to do that? Who would think that is acceptable behaviour, just to force someone to listen to their spin?
And this is him doing his best to appear empathetic to the public in the run up to an election.
No wonder he goes out of his way to avoid scrutiny at every opportunity. He sent his Dad to a debate on Climate Change, and then threatened to review Channel 4’s broadcasting remit when they refused the substitute. Andrew Neil, of the BBC, is a Tory, Johnson’s former boss and someone who clearly does not want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister. But Johnson’s efforts to evade scrutiny forced someone who could have been an ally to make this extraordinary clip.
As recently as this week he’s said he wants to stop migrants treating the UK as if it’s part of their own country, blowing again on a well-worn dog-whistle. But who can be surprised when he has a history of outright racism: he described Africans as ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’, said women who wore the niqab looked like ‘letter boxes’, and the less said about his views on colonialism the better.
He’s referred to gay people as ‘tank-topped bum boys’.
He’s been recorded conspiring to have a journalist beaten up.
He has claimed ‘children of working mothers’ are ‘more likely to mug you’.
He’s described the super-rich as a put-upon minority, like homeless people.
In one speech he said he believes inequality is ‘essential for the spirit of envy’, saying people are very far from equal in terms of ‘raw ability if not in spiritual worth.’ In it, he shows his pride in the days when the UK ‘conquered 171 members of the UN’.
On climate change, he’s said that “global leaders were driven by a primitive fear that the present ambient warm weather is somehow caused by humanity; and that fear — as far as I understand the science — is equally without foundation.”
But it isn’t just him. The rest of the Tory party are no different.
Domonic Raab sent Vietnamese families bills of £2k for returning the bodies of loved ones who died in the back of a lorry.
In Alun Cairns, the Tories are sticking with a man who knowingly supported someone who was accused by a judge of deliberately sabotaging a rape trail.
Donald Trump has been recorded telling record numbers of lies, yet they barely affect his ratings. In the UK, Johnson, along with the rest of the Tories, have seen this and run with it. Michael Gove showed the same level of inability to confront the truth as his the boss (who he definitely didn’t stab in the back), in this video. But then that’s hardly surprising given his form.
They make up distraction stories, like the recent one where Labour activists ‘punch’ a Tory aid — the video clearly shows the aid gently walking into a man’s raised hand (a man who had his back to him).
It’s the willingness of the media to peddle this nonsense that shows us how we are so at risk of getting what could prove to be the most destructive government in modern UK history. We get front pages slamming Corbyn for being a liar for saying he watches the Queen’s speech, when in fact he usually spends Christmas morning in a homeless shelter, while ignoring the fact that Johnson lied directly to the queen over the proroguing of parliament.
I’m aware that much of my criticism of the party so far has amounted to ad hominem attacks, and if their policies where actually decent then perhaps their characters wouldn’t matter so much. But their policy, and record in government, is by far the most compelling reason not to vote for them.
I made an effort recently to make an impartial comparison of the Conservative and Labour manifestos, which you can read here. Even there, the Tories failed to convince me that they had any real, positive ambition for the UK, and the handful of decent policies, if implemented, would in many instances only be making up for nine years of doing the opposite.
Their approach to Welfare has been describe as deliberate cruelty. There are people with months to live being ordered back to work, people starving waiting for payments, previously unheard-of foodbanks numbering in their thousands. Children wearing coats to bed because families cannot afford to heat their homes is now common in many areas.
People are literally dying as a result of Tory policies.
The Tories are backing the First Past the Post system of voting in their manifesto. Of course they are; it’s the unfairness of this system that has ensured the UK’s democracy is in no way democratic.
I personally live in an incredibly safe Labour seat — if they don’t win here, then we’re looking at a Tory majority in the hundreds. So in some respects my vote for Plaid Cymru will count for nothing; this is thanks to First Past the Post. They are the party I support because, among other reasons, they are consistently the party with the most progressive policies, but this election has to be about getting the Tories out. If I lived in the Vale of Glamorgan and had the chance to unseat Alun Cairns, I’d happily lend my vote to Labour. There is much I cannot stand about the Liberal Democrats, which I’ve written about before, not least their recent history as joint architects of austerity. And I don’t trust them not to form a coalition government with the Tories again, given half a chance. But if I lived in a marginal seat where a Lib Dem had the chance of unseating a Tory, I’d grit my teeth and lend them my vote just to lessen the chance of an overall Tory majority.
Whatever happens on Thursday, I believe the Tory party will be the undoing of the UK. This election has proven that its political system is so broken that a party with such an abhorrent record in government, led by a man so callous and disingenuous, offering so little benefit yet so much pain to so many, can nonetheless enter a general election as strong favourites.
The SNP in Scotland has been mapping out a more positive, progressive vision for its future for some time, with the public there on the verge of a majority in agreement. In Wales, people are slowly coming around to the same opinion (which I’ve written about here).
But in the meantime, for the love of all that is still good in this world, don’t let them cause any more havoc. Vote the Tories out.