Tuesday 5 March 2013

Tory Doubt - Rare but Potent

So, here's a funny thing.

A while ago some Tory MPs got in touch. A few of them. They were distinctly uncomfortable about the direction welfare "reform" was taking. Some had disabled family members. Contrary to popular myth, some simply cared a bit. Some were just increasingly nervous about the anguish filled sacks of misery thumping into their inboxes weekly. In many constituencies (the Tory shires are not immune, I assure you) Majority - DLA/ESA claimant rate = Political unemployment in 2015. Whether naked ambition or genuine compassion, it was getting harder and harder to dismiss me as a shrill leftie harpie when the evidence was right in front of their noses day after day.

Then there was a list of more Tory names. More good men and women, unprepared to allow evil to flourish by doing nothing.

Then the Atos debate in which every speaker - Labour, Lib AND Tory denounced the mess that is ESA and WCAs.

Then they backed off on PIP. For over 70% of cases, nothing will be done until after 2015. Rumour trickled my way that parades of "genuinely disabled" people stripped of their means of eating and heating their homes was not popular as a pre-election image. I'd add more, but my fear of breaking hard won confidences forbids it.

At the same time, we in the know who pay unhealthy attention to everything welfare, started to notice very odd behaviour from IDS himself. Well, odder, to be scrupulously accurate. Never a man fully in control of his temper or nerves, he got progressively twitchier, ever less reasonable, less rational. He lost his temper even more, (famously with Owen Jones on Question Time) lost the "Look, this is for everyone's good" appearance of sanity of 2010 and started behaving more and more irrationally. Shouting in debates, insisting figures were accurate when interviewers proved conclusively they were not, rudely laughing and chatting through committees and debates.

McVey, Hoban and even Freud The Dark Lord himself got more.... compromising. (Just typing that seemed surreal)

But on the outside, the Tories seemed MORE right wing, MORE determined the poor would pay ever greater slices of the MessleftbyLabourThatWasn'tReally. Hammond, the defence secretary, called for more welfare cuts, Osborne insisted on a further 10 billion, even Cameron wasn't above a little workhouse-rhetoric in major speeches to sound Grrrrringly rootin-tootin Tory.

So we all see a Euro obsessed, immigration befuddled, irritated, hating-everything, out-of-touch Tory party waiting with fangs bared to rip Cameron to shreds sometime around November.

But quiet little mutterings suggest this is only a minority - if a rabid and vocal one, backed by the equally rabid right wing press.. Somewhere in there is a fabled, humanised form of the Tory species and they are tying Cameron in a whole set of chains of their own. Chains to the left of him, jokers to the right.... Refusing further welfare cuts, worrying enormously about the NHS car crash playing out, utterly sick of Plan A and wondering ever more vocally how the boy with the 2:2 in History came to run the economy.

Crucially, they often hold the marginal seats. Those requiring more nuance to win. No safe Witney's and Hogwash-Under-Jam. Conservatives forced blinking into at least the fringes of the real world. In power terms, the right wingers might think they hold all the cards but Thou Shalt Not Lose Marginals is an incredibly strong political force.

Either way, I recommend popcorn and watching very carefully how this unfolds. Like the early nineties, I can only really see rifts and destruction. Cameron has killed any last vestiges of nerves the left may have about his "leadership skills" - he seems to have almost actively spent 3 years proving he has none.

Even most of the main players are the same. IDS is on the edge, the '22 committee are restless, the slightly more modern, slightly less ridiculous are nervous, UKIP are snapping at their heels. I predict by about 5th of November, we can simply light the blue touch paper and stand well clear.


  1. Absolutely right as usual Sue! This whole scenario is appalling & so scary for all those on benefits and the relatives of disabled, unemployed people. The word "people" is largely ignored by Cameron & co who dehumanise by speaking of skivers, shirkers etc. IDS is certainly on the edge but have you caught the glimpse of mania on Osborne's face during PMQs? That combined with the complacancy on Cameron's face spells disaster for the UK.

  2. I LOVE you :) I can ALWAYS understand everything you write about anything political. You speak my language and I get to play catch up on the current positioning. (of course the cutting humour helps immensely) Its so wonderful to see you writing again sweetie xxx

    Its an interesting eye opener ... the door is ajar and now we need to shove it open and yell GOTCHA at Cameron!!

  3. Can we persuade them to cross the floor ?
    Before the destruction gets to the stage that it will take ten years to repair.

  4. I think you'll find both major parties will split and reform with neoliberals in one party and their opposition in the other. I remember you saying, Sue, no new party could succeed but it would be different if there were no more Labour or Tory parties but instead two new parties with clear distinction between them. This is a time of change. The decks, centuries old, are being reshuffled. Expect the unexpected and, above all, stay alive!

  5. Nice writing and good points mate

  6. Political parties are part of the problem - not the solution. We need a paradigm shift - the future is female - or there won't be one...

  7. the likes of IDS are never going to change and he is the powerful person in the government and you cant sack him
    he will either come to his senses and say sorry for all of the untimely deaths that are down to him or he'll bring the whole government down in a backlash

  8. I am - slowly but surely due to chronic illness - creating voodoo dolls of Mr. Cameron & pals (selling for charity). It is my intent to organise a co-ordinated psychic attack on these twonks. This is planned for around halloween 2013...

    If anyone would like to join me please like my new page on fb - Voodoo La Revolution!

  9. The sooner more spectacularly this lot implode, the better. I want a ring-side seat, and popcorn.

  10. One thing I admire about your blog, Sue, is that you treat people as individuals. You don't encourage a "them and us" mentality, or perpetuate stereotypes. When people contact you, you listen to what they say, without being blinded by their background.

    Too many left-leaning commentators seem to have an automatic "Tory = Evil" reaction, which weakens their position. Your open-minded attitude means that your words carry more weight.

    Glad you're home again - here's hoping for a nice long good spell. Keep on keeping on, and keep that open mind! Help can come from the most surprising places sometimes. :-)