- The Tories subjected Britain to their ‘Austerity’ program for 5 years, in the face of growing evidence and expert opinion, that austerity measures were counter-productive to economic growth, and were only forced to abandon their program after the result of the EU referendum exposed the weakness of the British economy because of the Tories’ gross under-investment and, in effect, emptying of the economy.
- The Tories promised a referendumb on Britain’s membership of the EU to shore up Tory votes during the 2015 general election. At no point did the Tories believe that the option of leaving the EU was in the best interests of Britain but they went into the 2015 election believing they were so unpopular with the public, as a result of their austerity program, that they would not be able to form a majority government and that the best they could hope for was forming another coalition government. As such, they would not even have to deliver on the promised referendum.
- When the Tories won the majority, alarm bells should have started to chime. In hindsight, the promise of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU was a key rallying point for voters to the Tories, not unconnected to the xenophobic and racist anti-Scottish sentiments that the Tories had riled up towards the end of the 2015 election campaign. The Tories were the accidental architects of the ugly English Nationalism that would later come back to haunt and dominate the EU referendum.
- Without understanding the implications of their stoking of English Nationalism, the Tories convinced themselves that they had won the 2015 general election because they were able to manipulate the public. Their arrogance led them to believe that they controlled the sentiments that they had riled. When the Tories set the timetable for the EU referendum they still believed that Britain would not vote to leave and they believed that they could steer the debate to their own outcome.
- Such was the belief within the Tories that Leave could not win, characters like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove jumped ships from the government to the Leave campaign, with the intention of using the EU referendum as a proxy war for the leadership of the Tory party (a vacancy that was guaranteed by the fact that David Cameron had already announced that he would not lead the Conservatives into the 2020 general election). It is an example of how deeply that the Tories did not understand quite what they had stoked up in their casually used racism and xenophobia that they were focused on their own internal party politics instead of making the case for what they actually believe with regards Britain’s membership of the EU.
- Even before Leave had ‘won’ the Tories had a wake up call. Before the 23rd June 2016, it was clear that support for Leave and Remain was very close, the arrogance that had led us to that point was gone and the government had a genuine sense that the voting could go the wrong way. There was a moment when the Tories could have salvaged the situation. Johnson and Gove had led a campaign based on outright lies and one that directed the blame of the faults of the Tories in government onto the EU, they were too committed to their proxy war for the Tory leadership to risk admitting the truth and simply hoped that the signs that Leave was close could be ignored. David Cameron could have debunked Gove and Johnson by simply admitting that, indeed, all of the things that they had been accusing the EU were, in fact, the faults of the Tories in government. Like Gove and Johnson, Cameron decided to bury his head in the sand and simply hope that the signs of Leave’s support were wrong.
- Once Leave had won, the Tories finally woke up to the fact that they were not the artful political strategists that they imagined themselves to be. The faces of the ‘winners’ Gove and Johnson at their press conference on the 24th June should hang around their necks. Not conquering heroes, two criminally stupid men whose hubris and ambition should forever cast them as enemies of the British people. It says a great deal that both men are still MPs and still ensconced in a Tory government.
- But what of Labour? Where was the Labour leadership during the EU referendum campaigns? Ask the BBC. Ask the media who ignored Corbyn. Corbyn had a clear message on voting in the EU referendum, it has its faults but the things it is being accused of are the faults of the Tory government, not the EU. The EU referendum was not the time or place to decide to leave the EU. Very simple message, very clear, very substantiated by actual facts and actual experts. If you weren’t/aren’t aware then you’ll need to ask why the media chose to ignore or under-report him. My opinion is that, like the Tories, the media did not believe that Leave could win and so decided to focus on the Tories’ proxy leadership war. Apart from the media’s obsession with trying to oust the opposition leadership, and not wishing to give any reason for the public to form anything remotely like a positive opinion about Corbyn, the media simply did not want a distraction from what they deemed was the real story.
So what now? The British public should be apoplectic with rage towards the Tories and feel a sense of betrayal towards the various media outlets, including the BBC, but, instead, we are all directed to target our frustrations towards the opposition, towards Labour, towards Jeremy Corbyn. How old does that tune have to get? Theresa May stands in Parliament and jibes that Corbyn is leading a protest (the protest in question being one challenging May using Britain to legitimise the abomination of Donald Trump’s Presidency and a protest against the Tories continued carving up and giving away of the NHS), where she is leading a country. I have to ask, when does Britain wake up to where the Tories are leading us? Do people not wonder why, in the face of all that they know about the Tories’ responsibility for the current state of Britain, they are directed to blame the Labour leadership? As with debunking the Leave campaign in the EU referendum, Labour cannot stop the Tories from triggering Article 50, only Conservative MPs can do that.
Whether you are Leave or Remain, the Tories are not serving your interests, never have, never will. The Tories need to be subjected to oversight; I hope, for all our sakes, that Labour retain the Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent Central seats because the hubris, arrogance, and lack of oversight of the Tories in government has already screwed us over more than we can afford.