This week the Tory lie machine has been working overdrive. For one hour only their official twitter account was re-branded as a “fact check” service in order to dupe people into believing they were seeing a genuine investigation into what Boris Johnson and most importantly Jeremy Corbyn were saying during the ITV leaders debate. Surprisingly they concluded that Johnson won the debate. When Labour launched their manifesto Tory candidates mass tweeted the lie that Labour’s spending plans would cost every household over £2,000.
So imagine my surprise when the article I wrote last week around the lost decade of Tory rule and the ironically conservative figure that it has cost us 130,000 lives attracted criticism from the executive editor of the Conservative Home website, Mark Wallace. You can read that again here and feel free to share it because it certainly hits a nerve.
The twitter profile of Wallace includes the phrase “free people, low taxes, small states, free markets”. He is also connected to the Taxpayer’s Alliance, the Thatcherite think tank that cheered austerity at its height.
Having disliked the article he then took a look at my own twitter profile and noticed that I do a bit of A-Level tutoring in Government and Politics in order to make ends meet.
Naturally that roused his followers into similar nonsense about whether I could possibly be fit to teach and hold anarchist views at the same time. Perhaps you can only teach if you come from designated ideological positions decided by the state, or something.
Obviously this is a bit of a daily hazard when you are openly an anarchist and I can understand why so many of us stay hidden, as I did myself for many years. Cries of hypocrisy abound and the oft-mentioned phrase self-proclaimed anarchist” gets trotted out as if it’s something to be ashamed of. Cheers Proudhon.
I do my tutoring online which means that free broadband could mean the difference between beans on toast and a quinoa salad so I have tweeted in defence of that policy. I’m quite clear on Labour that their policies represent an obvious material benefit to the working class. I’m also realistic that they also pose a new form of crony “socialism” where Labour movement figures and hierarchies get to supplant themselves into and over the infrastructure of the state. Labour might use the phrase public ownership but ownership implies a say in the decision making process and there’s little indication that democratic control will feature much in their plans. I am a libertarian socialist and I consider all other forms of socialism to be defunct. I bet Wallace calls himself a libertarian too, without understanding the true meaning of the word.
I’m an anarchist but only in inverted commas then. I’m a teacher but only one that indoctrinates their students with left wing ideas, according to one tweet by a follower of Wallace that has since been deleted. The idea of indoctrination is interesting. As if we need or want any more anarchists. We’re all a bloody nightmare to work with. I’m much happier when my students can confidently answer a question on conservatism or any other ideology because that means I’ve taught the subject well, which is kind of important if I want new students.
Thankfully the irony of Tories moaning about facts was not lost on people, including comrades here.
So maybe Tories would like to fact check the following, which I found on a facebook post of a friend.
“2010-2019, in case you missed it…
1,000 sure start centres closed.
780 libraries closed.
700 football pitches closed.
Food bank use up 2,400%.
Homelessness up 1,000%.
Rough sleeping up 1,200%
Bedroom tax caused mass evictions.
Evictions are running at record highs.
35% of U.K. kids live in poverty.
Student fees up 300%.
Student debt has risen 150%.
Eradication of EMA (education maintenance allowance).
National debt has risen from £850billion to £2.25trillion.
Emergency Brexit stimulus from BoE in June 2016 of £175b.
Brexit related fall in national revenue £500b.
GDP fallen to -0.1%.
GBP fallen by circa 15% versus EUR and USD.
Manufacturing in recession.
Construction in recession.
Services close to recession.
25-30% cuts to all govt departments.
25-30% cuts to all councils, mainly centred on Labour councils.
Half of councils facing effective bankruptcy.
185k extra deaths attached to the political ideology of austerity.
25,000 less police.
20,000 less prison officers.
10,000 less border officials.
10,000 less firefighters.
10,000 less medical professionals.
25,000 less bed spaces for people suffering mental illness.
OECD calculate 3 million hidden unemployed, rate is really 13%.
Creation of 1.3m jobs, mainly temporary, self employed, gig economy and ZHC.
Only 30k full time work positions created.
Close on 50% of workers are self employed, ZHC, or part time precariat.
80% of the 5.3 million self employed live below the poverty line.
35% of self employed only earn £100 a month.
25% cuts for our disabled community.
80% cuts to Mobility Allowance.
40% of working households have practically no savings.
70% of households have less than 10k savings.
60% of households can only survive 2 months without a wage.
Household debt reaches a new peak, despite emergency base rates.
Increase of 50% in hate crimes.
Increase of knife crime by 150% to 22,000 per year.
Increase in teenage suicide by 70%.
Suicide up 12% in the year 2018.
Self-harm among young women up 70%.
Life expectancy down 3 years.
NHS satisfaction level at lowest recorded rate.
Council home building down 90%.
200k social homes lost since 2010.
Zero starter homes built, despite Tory flagship programme.
Council home building down 90%.
200k social homes lost since 2010.
One million families on council home waiting list.
100,000 increase on the council home waiting list since 2010.
36,000 teachers have left the profession.
Six form funding cut by 25%.
33,000 nurses leave the NHS each year…
Tories; killing our people and society while stealing our assets, since 1834.”
That should be enough for them to be getting on with. It claims the deaths from austerity are at the 185,000 mark so I apologise for being so wrong last time, if this is the accurate figure. I did ask Mark Wallace to tell me how many thousands it actually was but he failed to do so. He also failed to elaborate on how many austerity deaths he would consider to be justified.
There’s plenty to disagree with in that list and I’m not going to go through every last bit of it as most of those figures could be disputed in one way or another. It certainly shows the direction the country has taken though. There are also things I wouldn’t argue against. I don’t want an increase in cops on our streets or at the borders. I don’t want more prison guards. The last thing we need is more scabs and class traitors. But the fear for the Tories is that the reality of that facebook post is that is shows what austerity means to large sections of society. The figures can be argued with, the devastation can’t be. It is a fact. Conservatives don’t see it because the fact takes place away from them in the communities of people they don’t care about.
This election has so far been characterised not by the normal bullshit of politicians but by the outright lies of Conservatives, headed up by their Chief Liar, Boris Johnson. Every time he opens his mouth it seems that he is willing to allow only a smattering of the truth to flow out. But the lies are also institutional and deliberate. It shows not confidence but weakness. It is happening because they know they might not win. Conservative Home is an independent website. They seem happy for a lying prime minister to carry on lying if only it means their favourites get to be in power.
Photo: Guy Smallman