The Olympic opening ceremony was a spectacular representation of the progress from industrialism to, well, Dizzie Rascal apparently. I adored it. There cannot be many more years go by without Danny Boyle not becoming Sir Danny Boyle. Boyle’s opening ceremony expressed progression. He not-so-subtly directed the audience left ward. Though it seems to have angered the Right Wing. And rightly so. It was a kick in the teeth to everything they stand for. It was a display of the achievements of the Left in this country. Tory MP Aidan Burley tweeted during the opening ceremony with the following:
This is the same Aidan Burley who was sacked as Parliamentary Private Secretary after attending a Nazi themed stag party, in which he himself hired Third Reich outfits and toasted the groom with nazi salutes. Burley’s credibility as a political commentator to be taken seriously, is hardly rousing.
Unfortunately for Burley, the NHS (opposed by the Tories), Welfare (opposed by the Tories, at every level), and union advancements to fairer work conditions (opposed by the Tories), minimum wage(opposed by the Tories) and maternity pay(opposed by the Tories) is modern Britain for the majority of the people living here. It isn’t champagne, nazi themed stag do’s and taxpayer funded moat cleaning for the majority. It is multicultural, it is black, white, gay, straight, female, male and everything else. It is dole queues, and a lack of hope – largely the result of the policies of his Party. It isn’t just a golf course is Kent with wealthy businessmen and a group wank over their new yacht. I cannot imagine Burley is going to last much longer as an MP.
Boris Johnson has said there was nothing left winged about it, Cameron has called Burley an idiot for suggesting it. They are both wrong. Burley is right. It was left leaning in nature. That’s why I loved it. To suggest the glorification of the NHS, of union advancements and of the suffragettes were not left leaning, is to suggest that the Tory Party had either supported all of those things, or played a part in them. This would be disingenuous and they know it. It works to the Tory Party’s advantage if they show how much they just love the NHS, if they keep quiet and reluctantly support the show of union advancement. Why let them have that? They achieved none of it. They fought it at every opportunity. So yes, the Olympic Opening Ceremony declared what every decent Brit cherishes; and none of it came from the Conservative Party.
So everyone from the far left to the Prime Minister weighed in on this, attacking Burley for his tweet, and telling us all how wrong he was. That he should apologise. An embarrassment to the Tory Party. And I think that’s a mistake we on the Left make far too often.
Burley is a Tory that has contempt for anyone that isn’t like him. But he isn’t alone. He is a regular Tory. They all think like him, the rest of them just have the sense to stay quiet. Or, Burley just has the balls to say exactly what he thinks. This is troubling, because come election time (as in 2010) the Tories can present themselves as new, cuddly, loving, ‘compassionate conservatives’, that the NHS is safe in their hands, that their budget will deliver growth and help for ‘hard working families’, that the likes of Burley do not represent the whole Party; because any outward display of their true colours is quickly silenced, not just by their Party superiors, but by the left. We demand apologies. This is in fact the British Left shooting themselves square in the foot, because it allows the Tory Party to engage with mass thought and mould communication around it. If we did not complain so loudly, the Tory Party would doubtlessly show themselves for the awful bigoted bunch of over privileged toffs that they have always been, rendering them unelectable. We now know that the NHS was not safe in their hands. We now know that listening to the advice of Britain’s biggest businesses when they supported the Chancellors plans to cut, cut, cut, was a massive lapse of National judgement in collectively believing they wanted to actually help the country rather than line their own pockets…. we know this, because it has failed miserably. We now know that they had planned to raise VAT yet cut Corporation tax and other wealthy taxes. We now know that many of their associates working for them keep their money in offshore accounts whilst shamelessly attacking anyone on welfare. The attacks on welfare are easy. These people do not fund the Tory Party, so they are unneeded; the country hates benefit cheats, because the media completely over hypes the situation, whilst the biggest cons – the tax avoiders who fund, work for, and appear in the cabinet (see George Osborne) sit comfortably dividing and conquering. But…. let them speak, their one weakness, their regressive attitudes to absolutely everything, and they will fall.
Burley later attacked the decision to allow Dizzee Rascal to perform. He wasn’t sure why we allowed rap music to feature. A further attack on multiculturalism. Clearly Burley isn’t aware that Dizzee Rascal has four number 1 hits, a Mercury Music award, NME awards, BET awards, has worked to encourage youth voting, and is internationally known. This isn’t an obscure musician. This is a guy who epitomises a certain age group, a certain social and economic background, and has shot to the top. He is also from the East End, not far from the Olympic village. A global musical star, from that area. Seems like the right choice to me. Who would Burley choose instead?
The two fundamental belief that drive everything the Tory Party stand for, that I despise are:
1) The rich are ‘job creators’.
2) Unless you are white, heterosexual, English born, and have a mind for business, wearing a suit the moment you were born; you are different, and different = wrong.
Give them the opportunity, and they will express both of these dangerous ideas time and time again. They will play on prejudices to make sure their obvious bigotry is somewhat clouded – i.e- mention constantly how awful people on welfare are. Deflect the negativity onto those who have no real political representation. And it works, because a pessimistic population has no time to look into these claims, as everyone is working more, for less, thanks to Tory economic policy.
The Tories are rather good at covering their inherent prejudices. If we take the case of Chris Grayling, the Minister for Work and Pensions; this man is a compulsive liar. But he backtracks. Or his lies are just forgotten; glossed over by the Tory spin machine. Usually compulsive liars; those whose lies become a sort of way of life, are nothing to worry about. But when they hold incredibly important offices with the responsibilities of those of Grayling, we must all be concerned. I would go so far as to suggest he has one of the most profound records of fabrication in any government of the post war era.
As shadow minister for work and pensions, Grayling pushed the lie that £2.5bn was lost to benefit fraud in 2006 by stating:
…billions of pounds are still being lost to fraud.”
– Actually, less than a billion was lost to fraud in 2006. The National Audit Office who actually released these figures said that £690m was lost to fraud. Chris Grayling has never admitted his mistake here. It is also extremely odd that he seems to take offence at the morality of misspent taxpayers money, given that his Parliamentary expenses receipts show that he bought a flat in Central London, less than 17 miles from his constituency home, using tax payers money, and then renovated said flat, with tax payers money, claiming almost £2000 alone for refurbishing the bathroom. One wonders what taxpayers are getting out of the fact that he can have a more luxurious shit every morning? Or what taxpayers are getting out of his lovely new £1,341 kitchen And one wonders how this is any different to a single mother getting a few £ extra out of the system every week. In fact, it is worse, because Grayling is on a salary of £64,000 and has a house that was worth £600,000 in 2000, and two buy to let properties in London. Grayling spread the cost of the renovations on his flat over two years (one year would have gone over the maximum allowed by Parliament) claiming:
…..decorator has been very ill and didn’t invoice me until now.
Grayling, is a hypocritical, lying turd.
After saying that he supported the right for B&B owners to not allow gay couples to stay in their B&B, he backtracked, stating:
I am sorry if what I said gave the wrong impression, I certainly didn’t intend to offend anyone… I voted for gay rights.
– Humble apology. Though a complete fabrication. If we look at his voting record on gay rights we find that….
Civil Partnerships – Grayling voted against.
Fertility Treatment for Gay Couples – Grayling voted against.
The Repeal of Section 28 – Grayling did not show up to vote.
The Right for Gay Couples to Adopt – Grayling voted against.
– He couldn’t have lied more if he tried. There are more examples of Chris Grayling’s lies, blogged several times. The most prolific, and where I started my research is here.
We know where their hatred lies. Burley disliked the left wing attitude that the Olympic opening ceremony took on. That includes the trade unionism. Is it any surprise a Tory Party member – whose current cabinet is made up almost exclusively of millionaires – dislikes a movement that protects those who do not have a voice in Parliament? We are all playing the Corporate game. They want you to work longer, for less pay, whilst the guys at the top do less, for more. Here is a government that have led the country into the biggest double dip recession in decades. They have blamed the unions, Labour, the snow, the royal wedding. All whilst giving the wealthiest a huge tax cut. It is easy. There aren’t many public services – Sure Start, libraries, youth centres – that would ever likely benefit Conservatives, so swap them for a wealthy tax cut, and they’re all happy. It seems we have become a country that judges its success on how well we treat the wealthiest. The balance is tipped in the wrong direction and it has all but destroyed the economy.
In two short years the UK has gone from signs of growth and recovery (1.2% in the first quarter of 2010 – Labour’s last few months – staggering given the recession that we’d just come out of), to a shocking -0.7% drop in growth. There is no one left to blame. The economics of ‘businesses and rich people create jobs’ is a myth. Demand creates jobs, and by stripping the economy of demand as part of their unfortunately named “Budget for Growth” in 2010, the Tories have been given the harsh reality of making sure they only look after the people who fund them. Because let’s not forget that as part of Grayling’s flagship ‘back to work’ programme, the company Deloitte Ingeous was awarded 7 out of 40 contracts to get people back to work…… this comes after the same Deloitte Ingeous donated £28,000 to Grayling in 2009. The same back to work programme that found a certain Mr Stephen Hill fit for work.
Stephen Hill had been referred to a Fit For Work assessment by the private healthcare company Atos, after signing up for Disability Living Allowance whilst waiting for tests on his heart. Despite the fact that doctors had diagnosed him with heart failure, he was still found “fit for work”. He appealed, and won. But the Department sent him another letter demanding a second assessment, this time whilst he was waiting for heart surgery. The assessor commented:
“Significant disability due to cardiovascular problems seems unlikely.”
Stephen Hill died a couple of weeks later. Atos have just won £587mn worth of new contracts to carry out assessments.
Welcome to Corporate England, and the joys of private healthcare companies.
A country works best with a healthy national health service to ensure healthy members of an economic community. It works best with a safety net to catch those who fall, or who cannot help themselves. JK Rowling famously defended the welfare state with this rather beautiful summation of how it works:
I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism.
It works best when those who benefitted the most from a healthy public sector – roads, health, education – do not burn the ladder up which they climbed for future generations, as the Tory Party is doing now. It works best when we fight to protect the most vulnerable, not to force them to work in order for unemployment figures to look better on tomorrow’s newspaper. It works best when we focus on how our Nation treats our poorest, and not how many yachts our richest can now afford.
Back to Burley. He is not alone in his contempt. Along with Grayling’s apparent dislike of homosexuality (and the disabled, claiming 75% of those on disability, were “skiving”), and the entire policy of forcing those with quite blatant disabilities back into work just to improve employment figures, whilst using the new found revenue flow to fund tax cuts for wealthy donors, other Tory’s have been quick to show, and then hide their true colours these past few years.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, a noble post, stood up in Parliament, and referred to gay Labour MP Chris Bryant as a “Pantomime dame”, followed by a sickening smurk and a barrage of laughter from his pompous back benchers.
“There is a real danger that the abolition of section 28 will lead to the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle as morally equivalent to marriage.“
– Theresa May, the Equalities Minister. Seriously.
“if there’s anybody who should fuck off it’s the Muslims who do this sort of thing.”
– Tory MP Philip Davies, after an act of vandalism which was later proven to have not involved any Muslims at all.
“Feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots.’
– Tory MP Dominic Raab.
This is the same Dominic Raab who complained about tax payers money should not be spent on Government staff who are working on union projects. And yet, doesn’t seem to have a problem with millions of £ in taxpayers money being given to previously mentioned companies like Atos. Raab appears to rabidly dislike Unions marching, but has no problem with a company like Care UK majorly benefiting from changes to the NHS at a time when they donated £21,000 to the private office of the health secretary. Raab seems to have no problem with his party choosing Philip Green to head the “efficiency of government spending review” despite himself keeping his multi-millions in offshore accounts, being accused of excessive pay by awarding himself a dividend of £1.2bn, whilst his company avoided £125mn in tax payable to the UK, whilst also being accused of treating workers poorly by using sweatshops. By the way, the money spent on union planning that Raab is so angry about, came to £6mn. That’s about 20 times less than Philip Green’s company alone avoided in taxes. We see where Raab’s priorities lie. Alongside the rest of the Tory Party; with Corporate England.
So you see, it is wrong of us to insist on silencing Tory prejudice. It is inherent to them. They are the party of big business and bigotry. The nasty party. They haven’t changed, nor will they. Shouting abuse at Aidan Burley will not make him change his views that multiculturalism is anti-British, or that the NHS, the suffragettes, and the union movement are all disastrous. He, and his wealthy colleagues are simply playing a Corporate game with the lives of ordinary people. We should leave them to spurt their occasional venom at anyone who isn’t like them. It does the right wing no favours, and can only turn voter after voter off ever voting for these putrid little scumbags ever again.
And maybe, just maybe…. the ‘left wing’ aspects of the Olympic opening ceremony were used, because they are the things the British are most proud of.