UPDATE: This article should be retracted in light of the updated piece – I was wrong
I have chosen to not remove this article for the sake of austerity and transparency.
Warning: This article is going to upset a lot of people. My opening salvo is at the cowardice and credulity of the British voting public, but rather more specifically, at the swing voters who were responsible for getting David Cameron and the Tory party into power. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to ‘tribalist’ voters who make voting decisions based on how they’ve always voted, rather than on what the parties promise and stand for. I’ve got loads more critique for that kind of senseless behaviour, but that’s a story for another time. So here goes…
I don’t know anybody who actually *likes* David Cameron. Yet he somehow managed to persuade people into voting the Conservative party into power at the 2015 General Elections. How did he manage to do this?
1) Scare tactics.
He made the British public afraid, very very afraid, of what the Labour party would do to the country were they to come back into power. He repeated this line over and over again, the little memorandum that was left by the previous Labour government which jokingly said “I’m afraid there is no money.” The disgusting Tory party paraded it around as if it was supposed to be a serious confession. It was a joke simple as. The deficit not was the fault of the Labour party. There was no money left because the economy was really bad. The economy was bad because the whole western world economy crashed.
The UK’s economy suffered not because Labour overspent. The reality is that Labour spent according to what the forecast budget could afford. Labour spent the money investing in much needed infrastructure. And the greater reality is that under Cameron’s governance, national debt has increased more in 5 years than it has under 10+ years of Brown and Blair.
3) More lies.
Cameron likes to claim that the economy is improving under Tory policies. But wait, what policies have helped the economy… austerity measures? They’ve certainly hurt a lot of people, and I cannot see how it would contribute to economic recovery. Or what about that tax allowance for married couples? £212 per annum is hardly anything to rave about – it’s clearly just lip service to conservatism, and an expensive one to administer at that! Tax cuts? This just flies in the face of austerity!
There is no evidence that the economic recovery is a result of Tory policies rather than through the natural recovery which always happens after every economic crash. Sure, welfare reform was much needed after being neglected by the Labour government for far too long, but the welfare reforms are insignificant compared to the wider budget. Even worse, the welfare reforms are set according arbitrary targets, rather than according to principled guidelines. The results is that as councils struggle to scrape together figures to meet the targets, many of the most vulnerable are coldly and uncaringly hit with welfare sanctions.
4) More scare tactics.
The nation were scared into believing that an Ed Milliband-led Labour government would only function by being under the thumb of SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon. There is no argument for this whatsoever – and this not only contributed to Labour’s loss of votes, they also contribute to SNP’s surge in support. Ironically, I believe this wave of Scottish nationalism has practically undone all of the Tory campaigning against the Scottish independence in 2014.
Where to begin… In addition to all of the above, Cameron has successfully smeared the only viable alternative to the Tory party, namely the UK Independence Party, by branding them as ‘closet racists’. It didn’t matter that he retracted the statement later, or that UKIP has never had a history of being racist. In the politically-correct sphere of the United Kingdom, such allegations stick. I only have to cry out “racist” and hordes of public would rally to my support. Nevermind that amongst these hordes are those who would have exhibited racist tendencies towards me to begin with. It is a self-righteous hypocrisy that seems endemic to the British public. Nobody bothered to investigate the allegations. Anecdotal evidence was sufficient to reinforce the confirmation bias of those who simply believe what they read. Not even the many immigrant and ethnic minority supporters, members or even Parliamentary candidates of UKIP were enough to dissuade these ideas. People’s minds were made up. It is even more ironic that the nationalistic, populist policies of UKIP were branded as ‘extreme right-wing’ whilst the nationalistic, populist policies of SNP were considered acceptably left-wing. Short-sighted hypocrisy thrives in this nation.
6) More smear
What about the poor Liberal Democrats who were wiped out in this last election? Somehow or other, Cameron et al managed to foist everything negative about the coalition government onto their political allies, and scapegoated them to destruction. Conservative voters blame Lib-Dems for holding back Cameron from doing a good job. Labour voters blame Lib-Dems for not holding back Cameron sufficiently from doing the damage he did. How can you simultaneously do too much and not enough? Never before has a ‘centrist’ party experienced such demolition, especially at a time when you’d expect them to grow in significance as they grew in experience and influence.
Don’t forget Ed Milliband – since when was it publically acceptable to bully anyone, much less a public figure, by attacking him based on his appearance and smearing him as a “North London geek”? Whatever happened to the self-righteous political correctness of the British public? Or has this gone the way of short-sighted ignorant hypocrisy again?
Let’s get back to the beginning – how did Cameron win this election? He scared people into not voting for Labour by telling them scarey lies about how they would ruin the economy. He scared people into not voting for an alternative centre-right party by labelling them as extremist bigots. He scared people into believing that the Conservative party were the only safe choice.
And you know what? The idiot public believed him. Nobody actually wanted David Cameron’s party in power. But they were too scared to vote anyone else. This is why I said what the title said – the British public are a bunch of gullible cowards. If the British voters had more guts to vote according to policy rather than according to fear, we may have a very different government.
It’s too late for the next 5 years. This might be why they’re swinging away from ‘safe’ centrists who say a lot but mean nothing, and are supporting someone who has some principle. It’s a shame that they are still too scared by all the previous labels. Ed Milliband should have been given another chance. Nick Clegg should be given a greater voice. UKIP should be able to cast off their ‘racist’ label. But no, the British public are too scared, in case all these allegations were true. So they swing in support of a veteran politician instead, one with principles and integrity, despite not having made any significant waves for about two decades. Enter Jeremy Corbyn.
Remember the short-sightedness I mentioned before? The myopic Brits have forgotten that Corbyn hails from a generation of political lefties who were so far left that the British public voted the Tories into power out of desperation. They forget it was Corbyn’s associates who helped give Britain eleven years of the first and only woman Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Post-script: Turns out a Conservative economist feels the same way. He wrote this article as far back as 2012: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ramesh-patel/growth-cameron-austerity_b_2007552.html