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Opinion

Nothing left to steal

10 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Then prime minister Theresa May looking at livestock at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show at the Royal Welsh Showground. Photo Christopher Furlong/PA Wire

Ben Wildsmith

The death of the Tory party has been a drawn-out and undignified process. The wrecking ball that Margaret Thatcher sent crashing through society has swung back towards the party with karmic inevitability.

The short-term planning, the economic fantasies, the greed, the tolerance of corruption, the cruelty, and jingoistic refusal to face up to Britain’s place in the world have caught up with the Conservatives at last. We’ll be rid of them soon, quite possibly for good.

This week, Theresa May announced her retirement and it was telling that people saw her as a remnant of a more decent age. How quickly our villains are washed clean by the sins of their successors.

Hostile environment

May was the author of the ‘hostile environment’ and the devastation it wreaked upon the lives of so many from the Windrush generation. She bribed the DUP to support her doomed Brexit deal; hers was the first government to be found in contempt of parliament.

You could pinpoint the moment of Tory demise to be May’s conference speech in 2017.  Through a hacking cough, she tried to restore her personal standing as the letters fell off the slogan behind her and a comedian handed her a P45.

If the party possessed dignity, it would have sloped off to the potting shed with a revolver that very afternoon, but it’s not in the nature of the beast. Since then, it has abandoned the pretence of government altogether in favour of ransacking the deceased’s personal effects before the creditors arrive.

May is the latest in a long line of departed Tories at whom centrist dads look wistfully, insisting that decent conservatism is a thing. Ken Clarke, Nicholas Soames, Douglas Hurd etc. carried echoes of pre-Thatcher Toryism: a seemingly benign, paternalistic stewardship that had its roots in feudalism. There are a still a few who try on those clothes: the comically earnest ex-Security Minister Tom Tugendhat did a fair imitation.

Making money

Since the financial crash of 2008, though, there’s been no disguising what the modern Conservative Party is: a vehicle through which people make money. All the ideological talk of self-reliance, individualism, and small government was exposed when George Osborne extorted the British public to ensure that de facto bankruptcy of financial institutions didn’t interfere with the lifestyles of those responsible for them.

We weren’t treated to the story of Norman Tebbit’s father getting on his bike and recapitalising his bank from private sources, nor were bankers directed to conform to Thatcher’s ‘thrifty housewife’ economics when their cupboards were bare. Profit is private, loss is public.

The past forty years have seen virtually every UK asset hoovered up by private capital and ruthlessly monetised. The list of services we can no longer afford is now indivisible from the list of services we need to run as a functional nation state.

Suffering

The idea that the suffering inherent to this was in the service of some sunlit, libertarian future is the confidence trick of our age. We used to own things, now we don’t. It really is that simple. Find the lady…

As another Miners’ Strike anniversary passes, its significance only swells in the wreckage of what was to come. We’ve been severed from each other and individualised into powerless units.

Every Prime Minister since then has supported an economic system that has unpicked our social fabric before flogging off the threads.

Every short-term, venal financial decision they have made is playing out as starved public services go into endemic decline. The dynamic individualism of the 1980s has petered out into a lonely, frightening old age.

The Tory Party is dying because there is nothing left to steal.


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adrian savill
adrian savill
4 months ago

So horribly true

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago

The saddest part of it all is, that so many here can see how bancrupt, morally and financially the UK is, and it’s not just the evil Tory’s, and the harm it has done to us and our communities, but like Mr Drakeford, they still cling to it like some sort of a safety blanket, a “insurance policy ” that will never pay out. Please wake up Cymru, there is an alternative, just look at the R.O.I.

Last edited 4 months ago by Gareth
Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Yes Jezza offered us an alternative and he was turned down.

TBLM1957
TBLM1957
4 months ago
Reply to  Iago Traferth

He lost two general elections Too many charming and idealistic Labour leaders have been sadly adept at losing GEs since 1945. There have been only three GE-winning Labour leaders since WW2; Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson, and Tony Blair.

I am not sure what your point is, apart from bemoaning the failure of your favoured flavour of candidate. Given a choice between heady idealism and a decent punt at parliamentary power, I know which I would (often reluctantly) prefer.

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago
Reply to  Iago Traferth

Who is ” Jezza” ? I dont understand.

Drew Anderson
Drew Anderson
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

“Jezza” is a diminutive form, or nickname, for anyone called Jeremy. I’m sure you can work it out from there.

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago
Reply to  Drew Anderson

Thank you, presumably it refers to Jeremy Corbyn,
I was unaware of his pro independence stance. It has not been covered by any media in great detail, Mr Traferth, if you could send some links to his work on independance I would be grateful. I was under the impression that Labour was still a unionist party.

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

I’m pretty sure you can type “Jeremy Corbyn eurosceptic” into the YouTube search box to see the man himself speaking his very own words.

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago

I’m not interested in Mr Corbyn enough to do it myself. It was Iago traferth that introduced him into the conversation, but why he did, I dont know. Like TBLM 1957 I’m not sure what the point was, or is.

Doctor Trousers
Doctor Trousers
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

I was assured by labour activists that, in private, the sainted ‘jezza’ supported independence. nonetheless, in public, he regurgitated the old smear that the SNP were responsible for thatcher getting in, while conveniently editing out the bit where callaghan’s labour government screwed Scotland out of devolution the first time we voted for it. not that it matters a jot what corbyn’s personal views are, the supposed lifelong CND activist couldn’t stop the party he led from voting to renew the trident arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, so I’m pretty dubious how much success he ever could’ve had changing their… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
4 months ago

We’ll never know what impact, if any, Jeremy Corbyn would have had. However, his very moderate, social democratic policies are something we really need, however, despite being elected leader whilst pledging to remain true to those policies, Starmer quickly U turned on those very moderate proposals and now offers us more of the same that we have been surviving through in the past 14 years of the Tory’s ideological austerity that was specifically designed to further impoverish us than the 30 years previous to that.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

The Republic of Ireland is a very poor example for comparison. It’s just as corrupt, neoliberal and bankrupt as the UK, with only the big corporations and the supremely wealthy really owning anything. This malaise would likely be equally true in an ‘independent’ Wales, as we have our own set of grifters. They just haven’t shown their hand yet, and are loitering in the shadows awaiting their time. Better examples would be the Nordic nations, which, though not perfect, (nothing devised by humans ever is) they at least are based on the notion of fundamental human dignity where people still… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Thank you Padi, great points made by you, and yes, the nordic states would be a better choice to try and emulate. Probably me being lazy, it’s easy to point towards the R.O,I and where they are now, compared to the state of the country for the majority of the population, under British imperial rule.

Last edited 4 months ago by Gareth
Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
4 months ago

The Tory Party is dying because there is nothing left to steal.
_______

You think? The b******s will try their hardest to steal our freedoms, our human rights, our democracy, our Senedd, our health services and anything they think that can rake in the shekels for themselves and their cronies.

They will continue to plunder the colonies – because they can. And it’s because it’s what they do.

Keri
Keri
4 months ago

It’s numbing when a litany like that is set out. I really do feel that we’re beyond saving. We’ve been asset stripped into oblivion.

How did they fool so many of the people for so much of the time?

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
4 months ago

Nothing new happening here. It’s the “wash, rinse, repeat” method happening as usual: the state installs the tory party in order to privatise profits. When they’ve intentionally broken the economy Labour are then installed in order to socialise the losses.

Ad nauseum.

There’s only one way to stop this…

ci du
ci du
4 months ago

Not true, there is far more for them to appropriate. Even the act of knowing that they have taken everything indicates you still have more to lose. Also, you get to sleep, don’t you? And shouldn’t you be monetising your organs? Are you creating pornographic content using only your body and household implements? Well you should be, get onto it or we’ll have to make you…

Rebecca Riot
Rebecca Riot
4 months ago
Reply to  ci du

I look forward with trepidation to Mr Wildsmith’s Only Fans page.

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