I have long argued with friends of mine that voting for the Conservative Party in Britain (or the Republicans in America) basically means voting to help rig the government to benefit the rich.
The political parties in both countries are two wings of a business party. One side tries to temper the effects of market capitalism by providing a safety net for the poor – the other side does absolutely nothing, and leaves business to control every aspect of our lives. The problem is that conservative political rhetoric often sounds good in theory; individual responsibility, freedom from government, family values etc. The reality however consists of a life dominated by corporations, job instability, growing wealth inequality, declining standards in health and education and fiscal crisis after fiscal crisis.
Market capitalism is a failure, yet it is still packaged by political parties as the only way to run an economy. It isn’t, and the evidence just keeps pouring in: From the Independent:
The poor will be penalised and the better-off helped by George Osborne’s latest economic measures, according to the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies.
The poor will suffer disproportionately from the Chancellor’s failure to increase tax credits, a study by the IFS concludes, and will not benefit to the same extent as the better-off from the council tax freeze (because they pay less council tax) and the delay of the fuel duty increase (because they drive less). The overall effect of the Treasury’s new plans will be to reduce the incomes of those in the bottom 30 per cent of earners and to benefit those in the top 60 per cent. The Chancellor’s decision will also push more children into poverty, IFS researchers conclude.
This should come as no surprise. The Tories are the business party, and their entire mandate is based on engineering policy to cater to them. The middle classes and poor are there to be lied to and abused – Tory PR and the right wing press do a good job of deflecting the blame for the economic crisis onto unions and excessive government, all the while ripping the guts out of the state and fleecing the poor to pay for the gigantic hole left by a reckless banking industry.
There is only so much PR and spin the public can take. You can’t tell people that your policies are working if they can’t afford to heat their houses or clothe their children. At some point reality dictates politics and Cameron and his cabinet will find themselves out of a job.
Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.