From Tony’s Cronies to Chumocracy

Tory Cage-Fighting2

Watching the awakening of Iain Duncan Smith’s conscience is a jaw-dropping live event, like OJ on the run in his Bronco or the Iranian Embassy siege. It’s compelling car-crash TV that’s made for the 24 hour news cycle. “Tory Death-Throes Live”: like cage-fighting with suits.

Let’s take a brief moment before returning to the Blue on Blue Carnage to double-check we’re all paying attention here because there’s a worrying trend for us to pretend that somehow “One Nation” Tories exist or can somehow to be distinguished from the Full-Bloods. Such a distinction is a false. If you are involved in the wholesale re-ordering of the social contract you’re all culpable. Close the doors, no-ones getting out.

Let’s start with the IDS epiphany.

His Damascene experience wasn’t a flashing moment of self-honesty, waking and with a blue light-bulb flashing above his head realising: “Oh shit I’m a total bastard.” For which you could have given him a grain of credit, though perhaps reflecting that he was on a bit of a slow-learning curve.

No. It was his “sudden realisation that the government was bearing down on the weakest in society, those who were never going to vote Tory anyway, has woken him from his slumber.”

This from a  man who’s own welfare reforms warranted UN investigation and were described as ‘Grave violations of human rights’.

3000Slumber Party

So wait a fucking minute. We know Iain’s not the sharpest tool in the toolbox but there were a few clues kicking about.  You might have thought presiding over a country that designs anti-homeless architecture, views the exponential rise in food banks as a good thing, or witnesses people living in bins might have been a wake-up call. You might have thought the rioting students, striking doctors, or the one in five young people unemployed  might have interrupted his wee snooze. Or, as we reported last year – the fact that as many as 13 million families lost an average of £260 a year from the 2015 Budget as Child Poverty Action suggested.

But why would it? If the simple reality that death has become a part of Britain’s benefits system didn’t rouse the Quiet Man, what else would?

Today, as government ministers scramble about like a nest of vipers under a hot sun we are told that they will not explain where it will find the money lost by the £4bn Personal Independence Payment U-turn until the autumn statement. Delay, dodge, distract. It’s not as easy as you think while you’re trying to bite each other to death.

Show Trials

Okay, it is a fun sport watching the Conservatives at war, and Labour are relishing every moment. John McDonnell commenting: “Looks like Gauke standing in for my UQ. I appeal again to @George_Osborne to do the honourable thing & personally come to defend his budget.”

That was never going to happen.

Once again, as with the momentous EU referendum, the latest bout of in-fighting makes your realise that government in this country is dictated not by policy or principle but by the ruthless egotistical power-mongering of a handful of public school-boys. That would be bad enough but it’s worse than that.

For the past few years we’ve been governed by a clique of Old Etonians who were pals at school and have now given each other all the best jobs running the country.

David Cameron, his chief of staff Edward Llewellyn, Boris’s brother Jo Johnson (head of Cameron’s policy unit), Oliver Letwin, Jesse Norman, Rupert Harrison, and the Government’s Chief Whip, Sir George Young — who you might remember he was the guy who once complained he hated tripping over beggars when he came out of the opera – ALL went to Eton. That’s not a government, that’s a school reunion.

So Iain Duncan Smith’s ball-crushingly hypocritical talk of a Chumocracy isn’t wrong. What you’re watching isn’t just a massive ego-trip – it’s a public schoolboy spat. Here’s the reality bite: we are ruled by a failed elite we didn’t elect from an absurdly narrow and privileged sect of of English society.

It goes without saying that we live in a country characterised by vast social inequality, political centralisation and cliquish mob rule, which is designed to retain power in the hands of those who profit most from this arrangement. But occasionally the carefully orchestrated deception falls part and this is one of those choice moments. As Suzanne Moore points out today: “Austerity no longer makes sense even in terms of his own logic. This is an ideology of callousness. And it is brazen.”

But it’s been brazen for a while. What gives? Something about the relentless build-up of public hatred combined with the naked self-interest of politics actors has combined in a perfect storm. While this can be seen, and is often framed by the media as a matter of individual battles, there is now a real chance that the government will face defeat tomorrow.

This is a seismic fail for Cameron’s government and presents a golden opportunity for Corbyn and the combined opposition.

856877_10151829818218300_897518002_oPIP PIP

Never faithful, Tory vultures like David Davis are circling as they sense blood, and in a wonderfully timed statement a spokeswoman from the Prime Minister’s office said, George Osborne “still has full confidence of the PM”.  You’ve also got to love the viperous semi-coded dismissals coming out of the top team. Amber Rudd, the woman single-handedly responsible for effectively destroying the Scottish renewable sector said: “I don’t really understand it, I am perplexed but I have sat at cabinet with him every week, and then to launch this bombshell at the rest of us, it is difficult to understand and is really disappointing.” While Priti Patel said: “Iain has spoken very passionately today, with great conviction and dignity in terms of making his case.” Ouch.

This is a political class at each other’s throats and it’s a spectator sport. But while we should enjoy the spectacle don’t kid yourself that it’s the individuals who matter. This is about structural endemic institutional economic inequalities and injustice. This is Broken Britain. As the SNP’s Stewart Hosie said:

“Iain Duncan Smith’s crocodile tears are a distraction from the real issue at hand – while the deep divisions at the top of the Tory party widen and the mud-slinging continues, disabled people and those on low-incomes are still expected to bear the brunt of the Tories’ obsession with austerity.”

This may have the look and feel of The Thick of It meets House of Cards as directed by The Onion but it’s worth separating pausing from the glee to consider this: the level of trust, solidarity and comradeship we are witnessing amongst the upper echelons of the Tory party is a mirror of the politics of hate they have been foisting on this country for years. It’s a doctrine of semi-eugenics that’s been exposed by their own self-serving brutalist lust for power. Let’s hope the rest of the country wakes up and we can make the most of the present crisis.

Comments (21)

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  1. Dougie Blackwood says:

    It’s fun while it lasts but all this feuding and squabbling will be swept under the carpet very shortly. All of this article is accurate but what we must remember is that, for example, The Scottish Daily Express did not carry IDS’s resignation on it’s front page on Saturday; it had more important stories to tell. The BBC will have IDS as a non-person before the end of this week and then it will be as though it never happened for most of the unionist media.

    1. John Page says:

      A belter of an article! Well done, Bella.
      I do however have some sympathy with your comment, Dougie…….there are some folk who are impervious to this evidence of how crap London rule actually is………we can only hope that there are others who were in two minds during IndyRef1 who will look at this debacle and the poison it exposes and will look differently at the idea of Better Together or whatever it will be called next time round

  2. Shane says:

    “It’s a doctrine of semi-eugenics that’s been exposed by their own self-serving brutalist lust for power. Let’s hope the rest of the country wakes up and we can make the most of the present crisis.

    Well Said.

  3. Surrey Scot says:

    Certainly agree with the sentiments expressed in this article. I don’t watch or read the MSM but from the little I see and hear in passing the focus is on the in-fighting in the Tory party and not the impact of their policies on the disabled and the poor.
    One query – I assume the reference to “25 million unemployed young people” is a typo?

    1. aargh, yes, sorry, fixed now

  4. Confused of Camberwell says:

    Wait a minute…I eagerly read this thinking you were going to talk about the rot starting under ‘New’ Labour and Tony’s cronies perhaps mentioning all those ‘socialists’ like the Kinnocks warming their backsides in the House of Lords. But no. Yawn. Just another rehearsal of the boring old Etonian stuff.

  5. John Mooney says:

    Great article,but where has the “Ruthie” gone?It seems the “Tank Commander” has retreated to her bunker in the hope that the present Tory fiasco blows over.Davidson’s inaction shows her up for the pathetic and disgraceful coward she is,roll on the May elections when she and her Tory S**** can be consigned to the electoral oblivion they so richly deserve!

  6. Dougie Blackwood says:

    I hope to get out canvassing this week and Helensburgh is pretty much a Tory town so we shall see what we find on the doorsteps.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      There is one thing which Tories grasp instinctively: “unless you have power, you can do nothing. “IDS can go, George Osborne can go, even David Cameron can go. We will find someone to fill the gap.” These are only politicians, front men. The real power lies in the financial sector, in the higher echelons of the civil service, the security services, the armed forces, the law, the big media players. These are the privately educated, the Oxbridge and Sandhurst educated, plus the international oligarchs who use London as a money laundering centre, where they are above the law.
      They need an under layer of middle class people to buttress them and they are to be found in places like Helensbufgh, Lenzie, Morningside, Barnton, Tunbridge Wells, Whitney, Wentworth, Harrogate and all these agreeable places around London.

      1. Dougie Blackwood says:

        You’re right. Places like Helensburgh instinctively support Tory values. The good news is that those values have been exposed for the of nonsense that they are. Some entrenched Tories will now see the light and maybe stay home on Election Day. It’s too much to hope that they will switch to the only sensible party standing.

      2. David Sangster says:

        You’re right. And everyone you cite in your reply appears to be intent on remaining in the EU. The SNP are campaigning to remain in the EU. Funny that, eh no?

  7. Duncan MacRae says:

    gordon brown, that famous ex chancellor, let’s not forget that when he messed up he did not go to the commons to defend or make reparations, he sent dawn primola to take the stick from the opposition.

    brown and osborne have a lot in common, both cowards, inept at steering the economy and have flawed personalities. Could you see yourself having a coffee or beer with either of them?

    As for Iain smith, did he not realise that when you take away a service for disabled people, e.g. funding to pay for a personal hygiene cleaner, that those people are likely to deteriorate cleanliness wise. For those of us with heart and consciousness this is the absolute personification of tory selfishness, sleaze and moral abdication.

    A society should be judged on how it treats its poor and vulnerable!

    I used to watch Rick Mayall portraying new young tory mps as caricatures and laugh, these weren’t caricatures, this was straight acting and it is not funny.

    I believe people in Scotland can see the cuts to benefits, living standards decline, increase in retirement age, public investment cuts and an elitist attitude emanating from uk politcal parties at westminster – and can not – reconcile this with renewing trident and pumping money into Lomdon and the South East of England to keep it a float. One of many reasons change is in the air in Scotland.

    Lastly, let’s not forget that the labour party walked through the voting lobby in westminster with the tories that heralded in the basis for this round of cuts.

  8. punklin says:

    Very good – “That’s not a government, that’s a school reunion.” (But Damascene?)

      1. vagabondo says:

        “Damascene” yes, but where did “Damascan” come from — certainly not smelling of roses!

        1. Ah – I stand corrected – thank you

  9. JohnEdgar says:

    The Westminster regime has now a gap in its budget. Where does it get the money from? The black hole in its fiscal plan could be met by abandoning Fallon’s folly – Trident replacement, for example. It could scale ba k on punching above its puny weight in international wars and interventions. Vanity projects could be abandoned and replaced with improving existing transport networks across the country.
    Structurally, it could move to a full federal structure to include England with full fiscal autonomy across these islands. That would stop de facto EVEL drawing down at will UK tax receipts for parochial English projects. Then England would have to keep within its “budget”.
    The present fiasco is another example, not of Tory incompetence or infighting, but a glaring example of the blight in “Blighty” which makes a fallacy of better together. The present farce in Westminster is a sign that the dominant English parties are causing paralysis at the heart of this pooling and sharing union. Time to leave the incorporating union with England.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “Time to leave the incorporating union with England.”

      I rather doubt that Scotland’s 56 ‘roaring lions’ are quite that courageous. Pity.

  10. Broadbield says:

    Cameron, Osborne and the rest of the Old Public School Boys are the front men in a network of similar types extending to the military, judiciary, media, professions, civil service and so on, and especially, Business who call the shots and have captured politicians and government through their wealth, contacts and lobbyist poodles and their tentacles have spread into the heart of government being co-opted to form policy and write legislation.

  11. john young says:

    Same will happen as did with “Chilcott” and the “establishment paedophilia”inquiries,after a while they slip off the horizon it is then back to business as usual.

  12. MLL says:

    “Let’s hope the rest of the country wakes up and we can make the most of the present crisis.”
    Don’t hold your breath. Never underestimate the power of inertia…

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