Is The Tory Party Insane?
The Westminster government has been giving gifts to the Independence movement recently, with for example, the Minister for Westminster in Scotland saying one thing for it to be contradicted by the woman who holds, but does not fulfil, the office of Prime Minster of the UK and also claiming that there is no way Scotland could be in the EU after Brexit thus telling anti-EU YES voters they can safely vote for independence.
It is hard to tell whether this is deliberate, perhaps trying to provoke Scotland to declare UDI in order to get rid of a thorn in their side, the result of arrogant incompetence, poor management and coordination or just because Scotland is seen as irrelevant, too scared to grasp Independence and can be taunted without fear of reprisals. But there is another possibility: they may be collectively insane.
The Madness Of Crowds
A week in which a phone poll showed 50% of all Scots would vote for Independence in a second referendum, it was revealed that after Brexit England would try to develop trade deal with its former colonies, an effort labelled Empire 2.0 by various civil servants and likely to be received well by those former colonies only because they see a chance to screw the UK the way the UK screwed them in the past showed that the government is a collectively insane assemblage of individuals each too sane to be sectioned.
Whom the Gods would destroy they first send mad and this week’s budget, while largely banal to the point of being an insomnia cure suggests that the Westminster government are suffering from the hubris that destroyed Tony Blair and the real Margaret Thatcher and is likely to destroy the imitation Thatcher parading as a Prime Minister.
The Westminster budget, presented by technocrat chancellor Spreadsheet Phil Hammond dealt a blow to the Scotch Whisky sector which supported a NO vote in 2014 by raising the tax on Whisky to 80% and broke a manifesto pledge by attacking another of their constituencies, the self employed, when he raised National Insurance contributions: which would cost most small businesses £240 a year more and the bigger small businesses £1000 a year, while reducing the amount of money an investor could receive in share dividends before paying tax from £5,000 to £2,000 something that would mainly affect those self employed who run their own limited company and take at least some of their drawings in the form of dividends. These two measures are expected to raise £1 billion, or approximately 1/700th of Government spending.
This continues the trend of alienating Tory core constituencies, which started with attacks on pensioners and raising the retirement age for women, safe in the belief that Labour does not really want be in power and will continue to vote with the Tories in the House Of Commons for ever. The attack on the self employed continues the onslaught started by Labour when they passed the infamous IR35 modification which meant that contractors who ran a limited company or worked through management companies have to prove they were not “disguised employees” while their clients, had no obligation to prove they were not “disguised employers” and liable to pay employers National Insurance contributions. IR35 was cited as increasing fairness.
Theresa May then rubbed salt in the wound in a speech where she spoke of fairness, a concept alien to the rainbow Tories in Westminster but useful in speeches then essentially branded the smaller self employed, previously lauded by the Tories as entrepreneurial self starters and go getters and the sort of person the UK needs, as tax dodgers eroding the tax base. The larger corporations, the ones that donate large amounts to the Tory party, provide sinecures for worn out politicians and pay a smaller rate of tax than a car park attendant on minimum wage, implicitly being told not to pass GO, not to go to jail and collect £38 Billion pounds and rising and please pass your party donations in plain brown envelopes.
The Madness Of Austerity
The budget is not the only indication of Tory insanity. We have a Westminster government that is enforcing a Benefit Sanctions regime that costs more to run than it collects, a sign of their fanatical religious devotion to the cult of employment and the religion of Austerity, a devotion shown by their repetition of the mantra Making Work Pay, carefully omitting for whom they are making work pay. In Scotland the Tories are demanding the reintroduction of prescription charges which were abolished largely because they were costing more to collect than they raised, the abolition of free bus travel for pensioners and other concessions, which is an effective use based subsidy for bus services, much more efficient then giving money to a rich party donor who then spends it on boardroom bonuses, and with no chance any one company can take political advantage of this. The Tories also want to reintroduce university tuition fees, an investment in the future, thus limiting university education to the children of the rich and wasting the talents of those they regard as serfs.
The roots of this condition go back a long way, perhaps as far back as Margaret Thatcher who typically took an idea, the Free Market, from some academic hack, misunderstood it, failed to see its weaknesses and went overboard with her blinkered misunderstanding of Neoliberal Economics. Today’s Tories have however added political irrationality to the already existing economic irrationality.
Tories Fighting Tories
There is opposition to the Tory government apart from the SNP: other Tories who, while hating the self employed as serfs plebs and oiks with ideas above their station, realised that their constituency had a disproportionate number of self employed people, or will have once the Polish influx of recent years returns to Poland, began to worry about their own jobs. Within 24 hours implementation of the National Insurance hikes was delayed till the autumn, presumably to allow time to bring pressure on the rebels.
One of Aesop’s fables concerns a scorpion who begged a tortoise to carry him over the river, promising not to sting. Halfway across the scorpion stung the tortoise and condemned them both to drown. The tortoise asked why the scorpion broke his promise and the scorpion argued that to sting was his very nature. Similarly one cannot condemn the Tories for breaking their manifesto pledge not to raise National insurance contributions as breaking promises is their intrinsic nature.
One can however note that Tory policy, supported by a Labour party happier with intrigue than opposing the Tories, has been, and with this budget continues to be, about moving the burden of taxation from business and the rich to the poorest workers and those middle class aspirers who enthusiastically supported the Tories in 2015 and the rich middle class socialists who supported Tony Blair.
The Chancellor Trashes Brexit Optimism
The chancellor’s casting the budget as a way to build up a Brexit war chest implicitly trashes Brexiteer claims that life outside the EU will be a land of milk and honey with the former colonies, having regretted fleeing the benevolent bosom of Britannia’s Empire 1.0, flocking to join Empire 2.0 while singing Rule Britannia and God Save the Queen. Their attack on the whisky industry has lost them the support of another sector, while the farmers and fishermen who wanted Westminster to promise to replace the EU funds they will lose after Brexit will, disappointed by the silence from Spreadsheet Phil, continue to swing to support for Independence as their only hope of staying in business after Brexit.
Westminster are unconcerned about the risk of Northern Ireland rejoining Eire, do not care about Scotland, believing that Scotland will bend over forward at Westminster’s command whatever they do, since their Scottish branch manager and Labour’s branch manager say that there is no appetite in Scotland for a second referendum, let alone Independence. They are also arrogant, incompetent, torn by internal civil war, lack the political competence to steer the United Kingdom through the choppy Brexit waters and are collectively, insane, suffering from a Mad MP Disease and Ignorant Brexit Syndrome.
Against Stupidity The Gods Themselves Fight in Vain
The vote to leave the EU may be a game changer for independence: support for independence would otherwise have taken ten years to get to the 50% in the latest poll – which could still be a fluke – the next few polls should settle matters.
The YES movement must not be complacent and must remember that against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain. The Tories are cunning but not unintelligent, stupid and greedy and ruthless with no scruples, as well as collectively, but not individually, insane, a lethally unpredictable cocktail.