So I received a hilarious (and glossy) newsletter the other day from my local Conservative councillors here in Birmingham, and on the back of this dull piece of dross about 20mph zones and anti-social behaviour orders was the most hilarious political “filler” I have ever seen.
Entitled “David Cameron’s Pledges”, this third of a page is, I assume, meant to be the early yawning-signs of an ambitious party coming to life before a general election, but all it really is, once they are actually thought about, is a collection of empty platitudes that are as hollow as they are meaningless.
“If you save money your whole life, …you will be rewarded” goes the first one. Well, great. But that’s not really David Cameron’s pledge is it? That’s the pledge of basic economics. If you save money your whole life, the reward is all that money you saved. End of story.
“If you are frightened, …we will protect you”
Well…I hope so. That’s kind of the government’s job. The State provides police, armies, social services…you know, all the things that we use to protect ourselves against the things that we fear, and these same protective social institutions have existed under twelve years of a Labour government too. Last I heard, I don’t recall Gordon Brown saying that a re-elected Labour government were not going to protect us in the future? Do you?
“If you want to raise a family, …we will support you.”
Yeah, because for twelve years the Labour Party have been doing their level best to dissuade us from raising our families. Since 1997, prospective mothers and fathers have become social pariahs all across the country, spat at for wanting children, reviled for keeping a pet… And all those various tax credits and benefits that Labour have implemented for working families (and that the Tories want to take away come 2010), they have been designed specifically not to support families under a Labour government.
Meanwhile, let us not forget, it was eighteen years of a neo-liberal Conservative government between 1979 and 1997 that brought us to our current situation, where it now requires two wages per family to bring home the same amount of real-term money that just one wage would have brought in during the 1970s. Ah progress, don’t it taste sour?
“If you risk your safety to stop a crime, …we will stand by you.”
Because the running theme of the past twelve years has been the Labour government jailing and condemning those who risk safety to stop a crime? Under David Cameron’s new government, I can only assume that this means he is condoning carte blanche for Watchmen-style vigilantism.
“I injured my arm hitting a cricket bat into the hoodie’s skull after he terrified our neighbourhood by…gasp…riding his bike!”
“We will stand by you! No jail! More cricket bats!”
“If you start your own business, …we will be right behind you.”
Ignoring how sinister that sounds (right behind you…lurking; right behind you…ready to skim off our 10%), again, we have the false impression that somehow the Labour government are not right behind small businesses.
Every government in living memory has paid lip service to the idea of being “behind” small businesses whilst, in reality, helping to finance the mega-corporations that crush them. The Tories did just this from ‘79 to ‘97, and Labour have continued from ‘97 to the present.
The stuff about high taxation, etc is all a misleading red herring – the real reason small businesses often fail is not because of the overheads they couldn’t afford, but because of the monolithic competition they have no feasible means to defeat!
“If you risk your life to fight for your country, …we will honour you.”
Great. Because Labour have spent the eight years of the war on terror publically spitting on soldier’s graves, haven’t they?
Any idiot can honour the dead (Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, and John Major all did it last week – callously placing poppies in “honour” of the innocent people they knowingly sent off to die in unnecessary wars to protect the economic interests of a small minority of powerful elites); the trick is keeping these people alive, not unnecessarily sending them into harm’s way.
Yes – the war on terror transpired under Labour’s watch. But let’s not forget, it was with the full, unwavering support of the Tories. And as for Iraq – we would not have been there in the first place had it not been for the Tories’ original invasion back in ‘91. A war which, technically, never ended until the 2003 invasion.
A lot of dead soldiers have been “honoured” by Conservative and Labour governments alike over the years…few have been spared their unnecessary sacrifice in the first place, and that’s the real missing pledge.
“We will reward those who take responsibility, …and care for those who can’t.”
If you’re interested in how this pledge pans out, see UK History, circa 1979 – 1997. At its heart, the guiding Conservative philosophy is simply incapable of achieving this goal. A more likely scenario, therefore, is: “we will reward those who take responsibility, …and demonize those who can’t.”
Remember kids: those who don’t remember their past are condemned to repeat it. And those who are taken in by David Cameron and his empty, meaningless pledges, will be condemned to experience a brand new, 21st Century version, of one of the 20th Century’s last great living hells.