I want to achieve on my own merit. I want to work hard and be the best person that I can be. So should I vote Tory? After all, a vote for the Tories is a vote for, ‘The Great Meritocracy’.
Hailing from a poorer family but having half a brain, I’ve always felt that the idea of a meritocracy is a good thing. Encouraging people to achieve whatever they can achieve and finding their place in society by their own endeavour. I think it’s healthy to promote values of entrepreneurship and effort. It seems I align with a mainstay of traditional Tory themes here. I tried to communicate my feelings to Collette yesterday but I was crap. “I like the idea of the Tory Meritocracy in their manifesto, but the way they’re saying it is to isolate people and make them blame-y.” I knew what I meant, but Collette just thought I was being a Labour twat, even making the good Tory things out to be bad with some poorly articulated dig. Luckily for me, Collette’s mate, a ‘Neokid’ named Hugo Macdonald Hull, who I note, has an amazingly Tory-ish name (apart from Hull, maybe), articulated exactly what I meant today without my retardation:
“We were told that we’re all equal, that we live in a meritocracy where anyone can achieve success if they work hard. When Thatcher proclaimed, when I was seven, that there; “was no such thing as society, just individual, men and women” she wasn’t just advocating an economic model, she was trying to change our national psyche. She was saying communalism was weak. Society was weak…This ideology of individualism, however, went beyond the liberation of the individual from the obligations of society. The concept of blame was introduced. Charles Murray, a hero of individualism, whose theories of the underclass were used by successive governments to support their proclamation that we now live in a classless society, once said; “I want to reintroduce the concept of blame and sharply reduce our readiness to call people victims” All of sudden it wasn’t enough to be successful, you had to hate people that weren’t. It was their fault. It was their inadequacies that led to their poverty. We were no longer responsible for the weakest in our society because we live in a meritocracy.”
What he said! I share Hugo’s perception of the Tory concept of a meritocracy. So, my main plus for the Tory manifesto is marred by my sense of its manipulative insincerity. Actually, when I consider which manifesto genuinely promises more to support my own personal journey, which manifesto is more likely to reward my endeavours, the Labour Manifesto is far more interested in supporting lower level entrepreneurship. By offering tax reductions and simpler administration to smaller business, then properly taxing the giants, Labour will help to level the playing field. Local entrepreneurs who aspire to open a café in the high street will find more support to compete with the corporates who currently dominate. The Tories will have us believe that the more we offer tax breaks to Starbucks, the more likely we are to be able to run a café ourselves. It is absolutely barm cake. Imagine if we had varied and interesting cafes, with their own personalities, who paid their taxes in our city streets? How exciting would it be if more people were empowered to achieve?
The Tory idea of a meritocracy splits us up and puts us in competition with each other. We’re all taught to pull in different directions and we are advised who to blame when we don’t have everything we’re shown we could have. Mostly immigrants, benefits scroungers and the disabled. Let’s work together. There are 65 million of us and it’s sensible to have a system of support to assist us in our aims. It’s stupid to live with an amazing chef and cook all your own food all the time. Like-wise I wouldn’t have my car fixed by a children’s party-clown. People have different things to contribute to a society and can do so in different ways with varied levels of competency. The idea is to pull in the same direction and offer a leg up for each other. We needn’t feel that if we offer help we’ll have less. Have you ever heard the allegory of the long spoons? Support the party who actually promise to support you and the people around you. Help is ok. And helping people feels good and benefits us all. And what would be a greater symbol of a meritocracy? The election of TM or the election of JC?
Seeing recent pictures and videos of Theresa May, she looks like she hasn’t slept since her picture was taken for the opening pages of the Tory Manifesto. Poor girl. Maybe she’s got round to reading her own manifesto and she’s been terrified ever since. The opening lines of her manifesto are, ‘The next five years are the most challenging that Britain has faced in my lifetime. Brexit will define us: our place in the world, our economic security and our future prosperity.” Jesus. It’s all happening. It looks like everything will collapse without her ‘strong and stable’-ness at the helm. After reading her fear pamphlet I was almost too scared to read JC’s. JC’s opening gambit is bright and hopeful: “A big part of being the leader of a political party is that you meet people across the country and hear a wide range of views and ideas about the future. For me, it’s been a reminder that our country is a place of dynamic, generous and creative people with massive potential.” When attempting to read two documents with an open mind, it’s difficult to maintain equal levels of enthusiasm when one immediately makes me feel scared for my penniless future and the other reminds me of how amazing we all are.
The Toryfesto is split into five key parts: Strong Economy, Strong and United Nation, Meritocracy, Age Issues and Security and the Internet bundled into one. Whilst addressing these five key points we are constantly reminded to consider; ‘what happens if we fail’ in relation to these points, and ‘the consequences’. It’s a fear pamphlet. Sadly too, the whole document is actually quite boring and repetitive. Marketing slogans are continually used like, ‘strong and stable’ or, ‘deep and meaningful’. It’s a shame. The Tories seem to feel it’s more important to repeat marketing slogans over and over as opposed to communicating with me, like an adult, over the issues our country faces and their plan for our best interests.
There are two incredibly alarming parts of the Toryfesto for me. The first is their clear intention to take the UK into fracking by changing planning laws. This will be a 30 year nationwide infrastructure commitment into what I have researched to be a horrific, poisonous, destructive and poorly regulated process. Fracking has proven to be much worse for the environment than other forms of gas extraction. Diabolical for global warming, terribly poisonous to our water systems, un-researched side-effects and something that we simply can not and must not tolerate. Watch the documentary ‘Gasland’ free on Youtube if you have any doubts that fracking is anything other than a disgrace. In fact, the Tory approach to the environment is merely a passing thought. In an 86 page document, ‘climate’ is mentioned 5 times. ‘Strong’ and ‘Stable’ are mentioned 108 times between them. The only suggestions of climate consciousness are far away dates and figures (25 year plan for this, 20 year plan for that) well beyond the next term, by which time this manifesto will be forgotten and buried in a river of plastic.
The other horribly alarming fact is the pledge of £178billion (this exceeds any other direct pledge by fifteen times) of tax-payers money on new military equipment. The pledge appears proudly in the first sentence related to armed forces. And the urgency and determination of the pledge is all the more striking in a manifesto that has received huge popular criticism for being largely un-costed. Ballistic missile boats, hunter-killer submarines, aircraft carriers, destroyers, armoured vehicles, attack helicopters, drones, bomb systems and fighters. The Tories plan to buy lots of weapons of death. All the things that should help me achieve what I want to, on merit. It seems like the Tory intention is to achieve by killing foreigners. They’ve pledged more to our future in bombs and guns than they have to anything else. Their argument is that we need to maintain, ‘our place in the world’. The neuroses involved in the formation of that statement are an essay in themselves.
The Labour manifesto is bigger, more adult, fully costed and details 12 key areas: The Economy, Brexit, education, work, social security, homes, healthcare, community, richer lives (culture), democracy, equality and global Britain. There is no repetition of condescending slogans and JC’s rhetoric is less aggressive throughout as you’d expect. Tories want to ‘defeat’ while Labour want to ‘counter’ and Tories add the word, ‘controlling’ where Labour discuss a policy on immigration.
Regarding Brexit, I’ll be very pleased to see a new approach here. The Tories promised a referendum on the EU and it was their agenda. During the process it seems that the right wing has managed to upset every major leader in Europe. Dodgy Dave quitting, Nigel Farage as a member of the European parliament, Boris Johnson employing Prince Philip-style tact as Foreign Secretary and Theresa May with ‘Brexit means Brexit’ managing to put the entire EU on the defensive. I have to note here, that with the fascism associated to Brexit and the current calibre of our leadership internationally, there is a level of international shame as we travel. Labour will scrap the Tory Brexit White Paper and approach Brexit negotiations with new priorities. Labour will secure rights for Britain’s living abroad and the same for EU members making their life here in Britain. Labour will protect human rights earned through the European parliament and will maintain the environmental standards established in the EU.
Where the Tories plan to frack apart our national parks, Labour pledge to invest in new renewable energy projects and turn our energy focus away from fossil fuels. Not only that, energy companies under Labour will be under public ownership with profits going back into the public purse as opposed to shareholders dividends which push fuel costs up.
Possibly the most important part of the Labour manifesto is in relation to their policy towards democracy itself. Labour believe that the Second Chamber should be democratically elected. Currently we have 800 appointed Lords. These lords are heavily weighted to be incredibly rich men. The House of Lords act as scrutinisers to the House of Commons and can delay, influence and force re-consideration of bills passed. JC plans to increase taxes to the top 5 percent and increase corporate tax to balance his books. Imagine trying to pass bills to tax the top 5 percent in the country and having these bills scrutinised by the top five percent. Impossible. JC wants to re-invent the UK’s rigged political system that favours the rich. This isn’t a campaign of hate against rich people, this is a campaign to fairly support the 95% of our population who need support to achieve their aims.
I want to get ahead in life. I want opportunities. I feel that in order for me to have those opportunities I need a system that supports my intentions and societal structures I can access. I want a political party that will speak to me intelligently and is connected to the genuine concerns I have without crappy slogans. I don’t want fear projected at me. I want hope. I am not interested in killing foreigners with guns and bombs and I don’t want the UK’s national parks broken up into a cheap-gas hell-hole. I want to feel that I am supported. I want my neighbour to feel supported. I want to be able to travel the world without being ashamed of the decisions my nation has made. I want to believe that we have a person of genuine integrity at the helm, who is considered with amity internationally. I’m interested in whether my next-door neighbour has the opportunity for an education, healthcare and has a living wage that will allow them to experience culture. I want grass roots football to be supported by the Premier League. I want to see a blossoming of lower level entrepreneurship untrammelled by global monopolies. I don’t want a trickle-down economy where the trickles end up in vats offshore. I want an economy more in line with the Nordic model: which doesn’t bend over for banks, encourages more family time and doesn’t rely on international bullying, bombs and guns.
I want to achieve on my own merit. I want to work hard and be the best person that I can be. So should I vote Tory?
I feel that Theresa May will have a few more sleepless nights before 8th June.
If the fajita is in your hand, vote Old El Paso.
Tory Manifesto2017 labour-manifesto-2017
Further relevant reading related to British arms dealing in the Middle East from John Pilger.