So now we have the Tory manifesto for next month’s General Election, dressed up as the triumph of Theresa May’s will. It is a product not of the Conservative Party, but is solely about Theresa May For Britain. We mere mortals are promised “strong, stable leadership in the national interest”, which is an easy claim to make, given that “national interest” is one of those hard-to-define ideals that usually vary, depending on the claimant.
But unlike the manifestos put forward by Labour and the Lib Dems, the Tory one has a significantly sized gap where the beef might be expected to be: it is largely uncosted. Yes, the party that leaps upon every costed proposal of its opponents has failed to do what it demands of others. We should, instead, take the imperial progress of the Empress Theresa on trust, and truly believe in her regal omniscience.
I'll support who I f***ing want, c***
The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, so often the target of complaints about her coverage of the Tories, has spelt it out: “The Tories are vulnerable to claims their plans would hit millions of people, because they will not give out the details of how their plans would actually work”. Like on the winter fuel allowance.
“Experts like the Resolution Foundation believe the only realistic way to introduce means testing is to limit the benefit to pensioners who get pensions credit … But using that system, and five out of six pensioners would lose out, which translates to 10 million people - yes, you read that right, 10 million”. The Tories say they’ll do something different.
“Without being specific of course, they do leave themselves open to suspicions about their true intentions … The same is true on their plans for social care”. And it’s the same on those immigration targets, as another Beeb post notes: “The Conservatives would ‘aim’ to meet their manifesto pledge to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, a cabinet minister has said … Sir Michael Fallon said the policy was not yet costed as the government did not know when it would be achieved”. No deployable dead cat, then.
So how does Ms May propose to move forward with sufficient success to see off any opposition? Simples. It is down to good, old-fashioned, blatant, shameless, premeditated and calculated corruption. You think I jest? Consider today’s Daily Mail front page, with its propagandist apologia of “AT LAST, A PM NOT AFRAID TO BE HONEST WITH YOU”.
Now consider the more honest mock-up: “AT LAST, A PM NOT AFRAID TO DO WHAT THE PRESS TELL HER … No press regulation in manifesto … Fawning adulation offered in return … Private strategy meetings with Paul Dacre … Attacking of political opponents guaranteed”. The Tories’ pledge on press regulation could have been written for her by the press barons - and most likely was.
We hear so often of other countries’ problems with corruption. It used to be a regular occurrence to laugh at the ridiculous front page headlines of Soviet-era Pravda and Isvestia. The Newspeak of Nineteen Eighty-Four would never happen here.
Well, it is happening now. Jeremy Corbyn is the present subject of the ritual Two Minutes’ Hate. Reality is being reimagined via a corrupt relationship between Government and the Fourth Estate. And tens of millions of Britons stand to be royally screwed over - but, you understand, screwed over in the national interest. Welcome to the banana republic.