Some of the noises coming out of the Conservative government and party are chilling. The idea of ‘crushing dissent’, the slip-up that the intent of the election was to ‘silence the SNP in Westminster’, the increasing authoritarianism of surveillance culture and the coming undermining of human rights through Brexit, should all be alarming for people committed to defending democracy. May’s talk of the need for ‘strong leadership’ and the demand for ‘unity’ should be sounding alarm-bells. This comes in the context of criminal activity:
“At present, up to 20 sitting Conservative MPs are the subject of criminal investigation by 16 police forces. If any of the candidates are charged and found guilty of an election offence, they could be barred from political office for three years or spend up to a year in prison. The whole case is unprecedented: this is the largest number of MPs ever to be investigated for violations of electoral law.”
The Guardian, 23 March 2017
The Conservatives’ proposal to reduce the number of MPs in the House of Commons from 650 to 600 is likely to boost the Government’s electoral advantage for many years to come.
You could be looking at a permanent Conservative Govt, an elected dictatorship with an in-built majority of 150 seats.
All of this comes with a backdrop of privatisation, deregulation and the sell-off of the public sector. Scotland is not immune to this but across England the situation is critical:
“This is an inhumane government,” said Paula Peter, spokeswoman for Disabled People Against Cuts. “Thousands of people are seeing their health deteriorating, they’re having their care packages cut, they’ve lost their Pip, lost their Motability Cars – they’re imprisoned in their own home.”
“This is an ideological policy designed to remove the welfare state and just leave us at home, unable to take part in society.”
New Statesman, 9 March 2017
“A total of 33 casualty units could face closure or being replaced with minor injuries units, according to documents drawn up across the country.
The plans are part of efforts to close a £22 billion hole in the health service budget by 2021.”
The Telegraph, 6 February 2017
““Tory privatisation” of the NHS has been condemned by Labour after new figures showed that roughly half of new cash pumped into the system was spent on private sector treatment.
An analysis by the Health Foundation think tank found that £900m of the money promised before the 2015 general election was spent on buying care from independent and other non-NHS “providers” – compared with £800m spent on the same treatments from NHS trusts.”
Huffington Post, 27 March 2017
In this context Scottish self-determination becomes an act of solidarity with the people of England.
This is about regime change and given the kind of statements challenged by Lesley Riddoch here:
… the tactics taken to oust the Conservatives, should be bold and imaginative and should include electoral alliances (already being agreed), direct action and voter registration on a mass scale.
As Ben Wray writes: “We should build a #indyref-like atmosphere around this general election:- a movement-style campaign to boot the Tories out of Scotland.”