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Tories struggle to fight on many fronts

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Issue 2528
The Tories
The Tories (Pic: Number 10/flickr)

Theresa May’s ministers this week scuppered some of their predecessors’ key policies.

The bill to force schools to become academies was dropped—perhaps in order to concentrate on grammar schools.

Grammar schools put elitism at the heart of the education system. But they sidestep a slow and damaging school-by-school war over academies.

A consultation was announced on the future of the hated and permanently mired in chaos “fit for work” tests for sick and disabled benefit claimants.

Instead the Tories are looking for easier ways to hound them into jobs that aren’t suitable or aren’t there. But it’s a sign that this symbol of Tory cruelty is becoming impossible to defend.

May’s own policies, announced amid fanfare at last month’s Tory conference, are no more secure.

The Financial Times newspaper reported that top ministers are already trying to water down her pledge to put workers on company boards.

It could follow the rapidly abandoned idea of making firms provide lists of foreign workers.

The Tories are nervous. They have to see through a Brexit that many didn’t want—and neither did the ruling class they represent. That means walking a tightrope.

First May emphasised cutting immigration even if it meant leaving the European Union’s single market.

Threw

Then she threw cash at Nissan car bosses in a pledge to keep single market access in all but name. She may not be able to keep both promises—or indeed either.

The Richmond by-election triggered by the resignation of Tory MP Zac Goldsmith in protest at Heathrow airport expansion brings this to a head.

Running an official Tory candidate against him would mean war with local party branches and the potential loss of a rare pro-Brexit MP in May’s slim majority.

So instead they are giving him a free run at grandstanding against government policy.

It’s absurd that some Labour MPs—including Corbyn supporter Clive Lewis—are calling for Labour and the Greens not to stand either.

They call for “getting out of the way” of the Lib Dems, to kick Goldsmith out of parliament and “halt hard Brexit in its tracks”.

Fake green Goldsmith is the vile racist who smeared Labour’s Sadiq Khan during the London mayoral election.

There must be opposition. But the Lib Dems aren’t it. They were deservedly hammered for propping up the Tories in coalition.

The Brexit vote was driven in large part by the desire to give the establishment a kicking.

It did. A weakened Tory government is the result.

But if our side won’t put up a fight that kicking will go to waste—and no policies will be too nasty for the desperate May to unleash.

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