The title “The Strange Death of Tory England”, a book published in 2005, might seem an overstatement considering the nasty party has been in power since 2010. However the chronic sickness and decline of British capitalism is doing its best to infect the party that represents this diseased system. Daniel Morley looks at the crisis facing the ever increasingly unpopular Tory Party.
The title “The Strange Death of Tory England”, a book published in 2005, might seem an overstatement considering the nasty party has been in power since 2010. However the chronic sickness and decline of British capitalism is doing its best to infect the party that represents this diseased system. So unpalatable is the Conservative Party to huge proportions of Britain, representing as it does endless austerity, privatisation, inequality, and scandal, that it hasn’t won an election outright since 1992.
In desperation at this fact, the Tory Junior Minister for Planning, Nick Boles, recently felt compelled to express his true concerns: that the stench of the ruling class emanating from the Conservative Party is so vomit inducing that a new Party is needed as a kind of buffer, an air freshener, for the Tory brand. “The single biggest problem the Conservative Party faces is being seen as a party of the rich. There is a substantial group of people who will literally not even contemplate voting Conservative.”
The idea is that the Tories would form a ‘National Liberal Party’, openly affiliated to the Conservative Party, such that a vote for it essentially counts as a vote for the Tories, and yet somehow sufficiently independent to trick young people into voting for it!
It is fascinating how such politicians never endeavour to analyse whether this bad name is actually accurate, and whether being a party by the rich, for the rich, may be the cause of the unpopularity, and not a ‘failure to get our message across’. Mr Boles complains that people see the motives behind privatisation by the Tories as being “that our mates who work for private equity will make a ton of money. We have not eradicated that suspicion.” Might that be because that is exactly the motivation, and that workers aren’t stupid?
Such a party cannot take off, not only because it is obvious that it is really just a scheme for farming votes, but also because the crisis of capitalism in Britain is so severe that the Tories, as arch defenders of this system, are obliged to constantly attack the majority of the population.
It is for this reason that the Lib Dem coalition has been a complete failure for the Tories – except insofar that the Lib Dems have been spineless enough to allow them to form a government. Both parties are utterly discredited, and yet there remains no other option for Tories.
The shortage of options for the Tories and the ruling class has been revealed by the fact that Boles’ prime candidate to lead this ‘nice’ ‘National Liberal Party’ is none other than Boris Johnson, who this week revealed just how nice and friendly the capitalist class really are.
Not content with telling the Telegraph how his heart bleeds for the suffering of the oppressed minority that are his “very, very rich” chums, in a later speech to a bunch of bankers he insisted that the unjustifiable inequality in British society is entirely justifiable. This is because, in the view of the London Mayor, this inequality merely reflects the superior IQs of those at the top, who are presumably so far sighted, such exemplars of humanity, they require vast sums of cash just to get by.
In an open call for class warfare, waged by the rich against the poor, Johnson stated that, “The harder you shake the pack, the easier it is for some cornflakes to get to the top”. Boris Johnson is so intelligent he can’t manage to question why there has to be a ‘top’ hundreds or even thousands of times wealthier than the rest. Nor can he understand that society isn’t actually a pack of cornflakes, that those at the top live in a whole different ‘pack’ and thus have for a very long time been shielded from the vigorous ‘shaking’, which is applied only to working class communities in the form of sackings, falling living standards and cuts in benefits. The rich get richer and maintain their position from one generation to the next. It is about time the poor shook the whole pack and turned it upside down.
Osborne responded by saying that he “wouldn’t put it like that” – in other words, he wouldn’t speak so honestly for the capitalist class. As if anyone thinks equality is ever possible under capitalism. That his comments are “shocking” only reveals how dishonest and empty are the vast majority of bourgeois politicians.
How can the Tories ever find ‘nice’ and palatable leaders when personal debt in Britain has just reached 100% of GDP. Average household debt is now almost double what it was 10 years ago, at £54,000. Half of Britain’s poorest 10% spend 25% of their income just on debt repayments. 5,000 are being made homeless every year from mortgage or rent debts. Capitalism can no longer function without constantly increasing debt to utterly ludicrous levels, thus cutting the ground from beneath its feet.
Payday loans have more than doubled over the last four years. Illegal loan sharks are an increasing problem and their thugs are a blight on society. Capitalism is returning to the sins, depredation and barbarism of its brutal birth. There can be no way of cleaning up the party that defends this system, and the exposure of this fact to the workers of Britain is a progressive thing. What can be changed are the mass organisations of the working class by basing them not on managing capitalism but on fighting for the interests of the workers themselves.