Analysing The Political Economy

Capitalism And Conservatives: The Biggest Lies

By Graham Vanbergen: Actually, there are so many lies coming from the lips of Conservatives, both MPs and PMs; it is extremely hard to create a top ten chart of the most egregious, flagrant or scandalous.

There are the blatant lies, those delivered simply to deceive those who know no better. However, I think most people would agree that the gold medal winner for blatantly lying through their back teeth, of all politicians throughout the annals of British political history, has been Boris Johnson, of course. But what was really the biggest lie of them all?

Johnson’s disgrace and humiliation was sealed in a damning report that found he deliberately lied and lied again to Parliament over Partygate.

In a sensational verdict, a cross-party group of MPs said they’d have recommended a 90-day suspension had he not already quit the Commons in September 2022 to spite their sanction. Johnson was about to be stripped of his Commons pass, the privileges committee ruled, when he called their conclusion “deranged” and “the final knife-thrust in a protracted political assassination”.

The report found that there was “no precedent” for the scale of the lies espoused by Mr Johnson and that he had misled Parliament in numerous ways. But there were so many other lies as well that had nothing to do with Partygate. Johnson is known to have lied 13 times in the House of Commons or at PM’s question time in just one month (January 2022). But then he lied to The Queen about why he was suspending Parliament and illegally did so. Who could forget the £350 million for the NHS on the side of a bus? Or when he unequivocally stated that leaving the EU would solve the housing crisis, and many, many other utterances of complete nonsense. But this is now history.

However, they are now all at it. PM Rishi Sunak, Deputy PM Oliver Dowden, Grant Shapps – Secretary of State for Defence, Steve Barclay – Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Robert Jenrick – Minister of State for Immigration – and more, are listed as those who publicly lie about policy, performance or whilst attacking the opposition.

Things have got so bad in the Conservative Party that Sky News headlined last October with ‘Dishonesty Epidemic Infecting Tories.’ The thust of that article was how our so-called political leaders now had a distant relationship with the truth that clearly didn’t end with Johnson’s ousting from office. There had, as the Sky News went on, been – “an escalation of fabrications, falsehoods and downright lies from Rishi Sunak’s government.”

The Political Editor and political correspondent of The Mirror newspaper published an article listing the – “Five most insane claims from actual Tory ministers at Conservative Party conference” last October. Amongst them was Transport Secretary Mark Harper’s endorsement of a conspiracy theory about 15-minute cities, and Claire Coutinho’s lies about meat taxes that Labour was planning.

And it is not just ‘lefties’ saying it. How about the Daily Mail, the paper that has been the mouthpiece for hard-right populist politicians of the Tory party? Only last month, they wrote – “The Conservative Party is in a death spiral. Its MPs are divided and lost. Its activists are demoralised. Its voters are utterly bewildered. What started in 2019 as a masterclass in how to reinvent a political party – has turned into a masterclass in how to ruin one.” As they say, truer words were never spoken … even by the Daily Mail, who are looking for a scapegoat for their own failed ideological lies about Brexit.

It is not just the breaches of standards in public office or the clampdowns on democratic principles or attacks on the judiciary that have all featured in the last few years of Tory rule; it’s a lot more and a lot worse than that. It’s the woeful lack of oversight on matters affecting the public at large, such as the privatisation of our water and public transport systems and others, like the under-selling and subsequent mismanagement of the post office. We now have a crisis in just about every area of civil society – public health, housing, immigration, and so on. And all this is made worse by the stoking of the culture wars, designed to divide us as a nation, that does the same in our communities and even in our own families.

Perhaps all this is topped by the real sense of a climate of injustice – a feeling that enrages us all. From the scandal that is Windrush, still acting as an open wound to thousands due to the failure of the government to compensate as intended (racism), and HMRC’s hunting down of the victims of loan charge schemes to the Post Office Horizon scandal (the self-employed), rapidly rising child poverty (the defenceless), victimising the homeless (the vulnerable), delayed court trials (the innocent and guilty) and much more.

Then, there is another injustice sitting there in plain sight, engorging itself on public misery. Corporate ‘greedflation‘ – profiteering from significantly boosted prices with record gains from what is, for the rest of us, a cost of living crisis.

Much of what has been written here masks the greatest con of them all. That capitalism has raised all boats. It has, to a certain extent, then for us, in Britain, it went too far with Margeret Thatcher’s neoliberal model that emulated Reaganomics.

In Britain, 1 in 5 of the biggest corporations now pay no corporation taxes. Tax dodging, also known as the tax gap, is between £40 billion (HMRC estimates) and £100 billion (independent tax experts).

As I warned in 2020 – capitalism was on the brink, and it only just survived its last health check when, in 2008, the bank-led financial crisis was administered back to life through a hefty dose of publicly funded CPR. By 2009, the cost of bailing out the failure of capitalism was estimated to be $9 trillion to the world economy. By 2012, it had risen to $15 trillion, and a year later $22 trillion – then they lost count and stopped telling us out of fear.

All the way from 2008 to 2020, near zero interest rates stole from hard work stacked into savings and pensions for a rainy day. This huge transfer of wealth from working and middle-class families has made the rich (and I mean the very rich) even wealthier by increasing asset prices, especially stock and property prices. It is estimated that savers in the UK alone lost £200billion of interest rate returns in just five years from 2008. The money went somewhere, didn’t it!

Over the last decade, I have also consistently warned that corporate and political malfeasance and what amounts to little more than anarchy by the rich and powerful have demonstrated that voting means little if the change voted for never materialises. Just as important, it is that through this and other economic deceptions that our shared prosperity and shared values are diminished to the point of worthlessness. The breakdown of social cohesion is its first victim. Examples such as Brexit are a master-class demonstration of this. Once delivered into the political and economic dichotomy that they become, they cannot be easily solved, much like a maze with a constantly changing exit, but one that is managed by those with the deepest pockets. When they sell you freedom, they don’t mean your freedom – they mean theirs – freedom from paying their dues, from rules, regulations and protective laws.

The greatest con of them all – a policy model that encompasses both politics and economics, really just favoured private enterprise and sought to transfer the control of economic factors from the government to the private sector. It was called neoliberalism. It went too far and then failed. If it was so successful, why has government debt ballooned, and why can’t an average working person buy an average home?

The result of this con was to punish the poor, the working and the middle classes. Subsequently, democracy has been eroded, governments have fallen, and populists now reign over half the world as democracy recedes and the very rich are laughing all the way to their sun-kissed beachside mansions.




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