I've been saying all along on this blog that Labour will win the next general election and I still subscribe to that view, although its beginning to look like Labour's majority could be quite small. If the Tories do win - or do a lot better than I expect - it will be in no small part due to the successful misleading propaganda that they have been churning out since May 2010. This is a government built on misleading statements and the chief protagonists have been David Cameron and George Osborne. Cameron is a perfect front man for a hard-right party like the Conservatives, and he effortlessly projects a sort of common-sense-bloke-next-door persona which seems to chime with a large section of the electorate. However, David Cameron has almost nothing in common with the overwhelming majority of the electorate, he is definitely not the bloke next door. He is a millionaire who inherited wealth from his tax dodging father and has never done a proper job in his life - I mean that in the sense of having had to go out and get a job in a competitive job market like the rest of us - see my previous post on him. The same is true of Gideon 'George' Osborne, though Osborne is much less smooth than Cameron and not much liked by the electorate.
There are the three great Tory whoppers that I would like to feature in this post because they are likely to have a significant impact on the election:
1. Labour was responsible for the economic crisis: the Tories were quick off the mark with this one. They used it during the election campaign and almost as soon as the Coalition was formed the mantra of Labour's economic incompetence and responsibility for the crisis was repeated endlessly while Labour, shell-shocked by the election result, footled around with its leadership campaign. By the time Milliband was elected the electorate had largely bought it. Of course its not true. How could even Labour be responsible for what was a global economic crisis? Of course they had some culpability in crawling to the banks with 'light-touch' regulation but responsible - no. In fact, under Labour's response to the global economic crisis the UK's economy was doing better than when Osborne subsequently got his hands on it.
2. Austerity is necessary: this is George Osborne's specialty. After the election Osborne tore out of the starting blocks to embed austerity as quickly as possible - for political reasons. His 'emergency budget' in June 2010 cut £81 billion from public spending, doing real harm to the poorest and most vulnerable people in the UK. Osborne's great claim was that the UK had 'maxed out its credit card' but he knows that UK debt is not the same as credit card debt. Analogies about government borrowing and household budgets and people's debt and spending on credit cards are misleading as economists know quite well. Nonetheless, a combination of relentless repetition about UK debt and the 'structural deficit' and Labour's spineless non-response have embedded this idea in the minds of many in the electorate. Austerity isn't a necessity its a political choice, undertaken to make the 99% pay for the failures of the 1%. It is classwar. The 2010 Green Party manifesto showed how the UK could re-vitalise our economy and pay down the deficit without austerity.
3. The NHS is safe with us: the 2010 Tory manifesto claimed there would be 'no top down reorganisation of the NHS' and Cameron claimed it would be 'safe' with them. And what did the Coalition do as soon as it got into power? It introduced the Health and Social Care Bill which was intended to break-up and privatise the NHS. Lets be clear a privatised NHS is no longer the NHS. The NHS has not been protected from cuts as has been claimed by the government and now the NHS is in crisis, just like it was when the Tories were last in power in the 1980s and 1990s.
Of the three whoppers it seems the last one is the least likely to be believed by voters, but the first two are likely to have the greatest impact overall. Could this be the most dishonest government ever?