Something About England: Welcome to the Tory Reich

by Charlie_East_West on July 9, 2015


They say immigrants steal the hubcaps
Of respected gentlemen
They say it would be wine an’ roses
If England were for Englishmen again

There was masters an’ servants an’ servants an’ dogs
They taught you how to touch your cap
But through strikes an’ famine an’ war an’ peace
England never closed this gap

The streets were by now deserted
The gangs had trudged off home
The lights clicked off in the bedsits
An’ old England was all alone

> Something About England | The Clash

Joe Strummer’s social and political commentary on the state of England was years ahead of its time. It pointedly looked at a historical context in which England was slowly rotting on the inside. A little nation consumed by imperialism, bathing in the glories of former glories, old wars and misplaced fears about immigration and a society battered into apathy by right-wing political fear and loathing.

These words still resonate today. Ladies and gentlemen, be afraid. Be very afraid. We are now marching headlong into this old song. We are now living and breathing the age of austerity. We have entered into our own political matrix. England has something of a Tory reich stench about it.

Scotland continues to showcase an enlightened and progressive form of left-wing consensus led by Labour through the 1970’s-2014, and now hoovered up by a ruthlessly exploitative SNP – who have now stolen Labour’s thunder in Scotland. Scotland may not get the Westminster government of their choosing, but at least they get the government of choice at Holyrood, and potentially a medium term path to either Full Fiscal Autonomy or even independence.

Northern Ireland and Wales have a similar situation and a quasi-autonomous pathway – through their own devolved parliaments, despite dealing with Tory governments at Westminster.

We are therefore left with the rotten old husk of England. There is no federalism on offer and therefore, the North of England are left to rot in a state of sheer helplessness at another Tory government. “We will create a Northern Powerhouse” shriek the Tories. Toothless rhetoric. Patronising bullshit. If anyone believes that, then I strongly urge them to look at what is happening in the North East – with extreme cuts to local authority budgets, huge pockets of poverty and a massive increase in visits to foodbanks across the region.

We now have huge thumping Tory majorities sweeping across the South of England. The entire South West from Gloucestershire to Weymouth to St Ives is covered in Tory blue with the notable exception of a little oasis of Labour red in Exeter.

Yesterday’s budget encapsulates how the South of England has now developed a locked-in syndrome of Tory neoliberalism. Just look at how the media are lapping up and endorsing a massive Tory budget con-trick of outflanking Labour on the minimum/living wage:

Family with 2 kids & 1 adult in a minimum wage job:
– Living wage: £255 more (after tax)
– Tax credits: £1612 less
Do the maths here. Go figure the law of diminishing returns.

Yes, the living wage may go up, but this is offset and then offset again through the destruction of fair tax credits. Basically, millions of financially stretched “hard-working families” will now feel the pinch even more.

It was great budget for core Tory voters. Screw everyone else. As long as you are a well off pensioner, have healthy savings, own a house, are about to get a hefty sum through inheritance, have a well-paid job, live in the South East, run a hugely successful business, and aren’t ill, poor or disabled, the budget is good news for you. To all those Tory voters out there – be careful what you wish for. Cross your fingers and hope that you don’t get ill, poor or unlucky.

The South (apart from areas of London) have completely bought into a false narrative of Labour recklessly “spending all the money” and now truly believe that the Tories are the real party of the mythical centre-ground.

Because of the huge numbers of seats in the South of England; because of the number of Tory MPs in the South of England; because of Labour draining support in some of its core heartlands like Scotland; because big business and big media will consistently find ways to ensure a maintenance of a Tory dynasty; because quite frankly, the likes of Cameron and Osborne are strategically miles ahead of anything Labour can rustle up – we now face the endless prospect of a Tory reich. 15 more years of Tory government? Quite probably.

Something about England? There is something rather nasty about England’s political landscape. Welcome to the Tory reich. Joe Strummer must be turning in his grave.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John Stone July 9, 2015 at 8:09 pm

It’s a cultural thing now. And Labour hasn’t a clue how to talk to these people.


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