Socialist Worker

The nasty party’s campaign is incompetent but vicious

The Tories have fought the election by playing on people’s fears. But the strategy doesn’t guarantee their success, writes Alistair Farrow

Issue No. 2557

Theresa Mays party doesnt always stand behind her

Theresa May's party doesn't always stand behind her (Pic: Number 10)


The Tories’ election campaign has pushed the most reactionary policies. But it has also been a mixture of incompetence and fear.

Beginning with a lead of more than 20 percent over Labour in the polls, the gap has narrowed sharply.

The disastrous Tory manifesto saw Theresa May’s ratings slump.

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Combined with her evasiveness, robotic speeches and refusal to debate there has been panic in the Tory high command.

May said she wanted to meet voters, but her campaign “events” have been designed to minimise the chance of meeting anyone who might challenge her.

But whenever possible people have come out to hound the Tories and demonstrate against them.

The Financial Times newspaper wrote last weekend, “Polls suggest the more people see of Mrs May, the less popular she becomes.

“Some Tories claim the campaign has exposed not so much the prime minister’s hidden depths, as her hidden shallows. ‘The Empress has no clothes,’ says one senior Tory MP who backed her in last year’s Tory leadership contest.”

If May doesn’t significantly improve on the Tory majority at the last election there will be open civil war within the party.

The pro-European Union (EU) wing of the party smells blood. They see a chance to either mitigate or even reverse Britain’s exit from the EU, staying in the bosses’ single market at any cost.

Scathing

Former chancellor George Osborne, now editor of the Evening Standard newspaper, has published scathing front pages attacking May.

Its first issue under his editorship attacked her campaign as “little more than a slogan” over Brexit, which he called “an historic mistake”.

As they come under pressure from the campaign for Jeremy Corbyn, the Tories are increasingly falling back on their staple diet of racism and myths about the need for nuclear weaponry.

Last week May attacked migrant workers saying, “Too high uncontrolled migration puts pressure on our public services”. There’s no evidence whatsoever for her claim.

And the Tories have seized on recent horrific attacks in Manchester and London to push their Islamophobia.

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But it gives no guarantee of their success.

The “dementia tax” as well as the attacks on pensions and the winter fuel allowance showed that they can’t even successfully reach out to one of their key target groups.

And, not content with contradicting the party’s manifesto once, defence secretary Michael Fallon declared that the Tories would “absolutely” not raise income tax.

But the next day May refused to back Fallon up. “Our position on tax has not changed,” she said. “We have set it out in the manifesto.”

The Tory campaign has been farcical, but it has also been vicious—giving a taste of the racist onslaught we’ll see if Theresa May wins.

They are in trouble and the final days of the election campaign will be crucial.


Housing minister wants to kill off council housing

Hapless Tory housing minister Gavin Barwell let the mask slip on Saturday. He revealed the Tories’ manifesto promise to build more “affordable” housing did not include any council housing.

Theresa May promised “a constant supply of new homes for social rent” and that the Tories would build “a new generation of homes for social rent”.

When asked if the Tories’ “new generation” of “social rents” would include council tenancies, Barwell replied, “No, I think the idea is that they are what you’d call affordable rents in housing terminology, but they are social housing”.

“Affordable” rents are set at 80 percent of market rent, which is completely unaffordable for the vast majority of people. And the definition of “affordable” housing includes the Tories’ infamous “starter homes” which cost as much as £450,000.

The Tories have hammered funding for housing since they came into office in 2010 when then-chancellor George Osborne stopped funding social rents through government programmes.


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