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Despicable Him: All the puff pieces* in the world won't save David Cameron when ordinary people can use their computers, look up what he and his government have done, and tell other people about it. *A puff piece is a newspaper article written for no other reason that to promote or advertise its subject; an article with little or no real news value. Like today's Telegraph editorial.

Despicable Him: All the puff pieces* in the world won’t save David Cameron when ordinary people can use their computers, look up what he and his government have done, and tell other people about it.
*A puff piece is a newspaper article written for no other reason that to promote or advertise its subject; an article with little or no real news value. Like today’s Telegraph editorial.

Whoever wrote today’s editorial at the Daily Telegraph doesn’t realise that we can debunk these articles faster than he (or she) can write them.

And if you’re working at the Daily Mail? That goes for you too.

The article to which I refer is headed with the overly-optimistic line ‘A year for the Tories to restore their reputation’ and goes downhill from there.

The thesis is that the Conservatives, in government, have failed to deliver the “competence and compassion” that they promised in 2010 – competence in putting the government, especially its finances, back on the right track; and compassion in ruling not just for the rich but the whole country – “not least via far-reaching reforms to education and welfare, intended to benefit the most disadvantaged in society”.

The piece is riddled with nonsenses, most of which have long-since been dismissed by anyone of modest intelligence who can use an internet search engine. So:

“The Tories are grappling with a truly toxic legacy (both fiscal and otherwise)” – and yet it is still business as usual for the banks, nearly three years after the election. Why have we not seen the reforms we have been promised?

“It was always going to be a tall order for an administration led by polished public school types to lead the nation through an age of austerity.” For “polished public school types” read “rude, uncultured oiks with over-inflated opinions of themselves”. Oh, and there’s a typo. Between “an” and “age of austerity”, the missing word is “unnecessary”.

Here’s the bit that made my blood boil, though: “In fact, the Tories still have a strong story to tell. Their education and welfare reforms, together with the raising of income tax thresholds that the Lib Dems insisted on, represent a genuine attempt to help the poor.”

Did the author seriously think they were going to get away with that? I couldn’t let it go unchallenged and wrote the following into the article’s ‘Comment’ column: “The education and welfare reforms do NOT represent any kind of attempt to help the poor. Welfare in particular is an ongoing disaster, with thousands of those on sickness or disability benefits already dead, having either suffered terminal worsening of their conditions thanks to the heartless regime inflicted on them by an apparently-psychotic Iain Duncan Smith, or given up and committed suicide just to break the cycle of harassment and intimidation.

“It’s as if this government is deliberately trying to kill off those whose health prevents them from working.

“And I should know – not only am I a carer for a disabled person, I write a blog that regularly focuses on this subject. If any Telegraph readers want to know what’s really going on, I suggest they take a trip across to mikesivier.wordpress.com and read some of the comments from people who have actually been through the system. It might be a bit of a shock!”

I wonder if it has been moderated out of existence yet?

You noticed, I hope, that one area of government that didn’t get mentioned as a “genuine attempt to help” in the article was health? Is this an admission of guilt, I wonder.

Moving on, the article harks back to what the author clearly considers the Tories’ glory days, when Margaret Thatcher led the party during the 1980s: “Mrs Thatcher herself was not universally liked; nor was the party she led. The Tories won then because they promised to do tough but necessary things, which would give voters the chance to build a better life – and delivered.”

I was just trying to get my career started when Thatcher’s government was in power. “Give voters the chance to build a better life”? I can assure you, that didn’t happen unless you were a member of an exclusive club. For most of us it was oppression as usual.

The only difference now is, with this lot the oppression is worse, and so is the incompetence.

It’s impractical to expect the Conservative Party to change its ways at the moment because it is doing precisely what it set out to do: Shrink the state and sell off the most profitable bits to its friends in the private sector. Sorting out the economy has nothing to do with what’s actually happening, other than being a smokescreen.

The worst tragedy for the UK in 2015 will be if the Conservatives win.


Dire though it may be, the author of this article does have a point when turning to Labour’s tactics. “Labour’s announcements on welfare this week show a party devoted to double-counted, sock-the-rich gimmicks rather than the serious business of rescuing the public finances.” While this is almost indigestible, coming from someone who has just been extolling the hidden virtues of a party that has been pursuing a hidden agenda behind a smokescreen of nonsense justification narratives, I can’t see the point of Labour’s latest idea, either. Getting a six-month job for the long-term jobless? That’s just as pointless as the Tories’ current make-work schemes.

No, what we need to build up the UK economy again are some solid foundations. Gideon George Osborne missed his opportunity to make a start on this in his Autumn Statement, when he said he was cutting Corporation Tax again. It’s gone down by a huge 25 per cent since this government took office – why has he not attached a condition to it – that firms must use the money they save to employ extra staff and build their businesses back up to positions of strength?

At the very least, why did he not attach a condition that firms should build up the average salaries of their workers, to ensure that nobody in full-time employment need ever claim a state benefit? Remember, 60 per cent of the benefit cuts Osborne announced in the same Autumn Statement will affect working people just as much as the jobless.

If those workers were properly paid, then the benefit bill might be smaller and the cuts might not be necessary. Doesn’t that make sense?

The Tories are starting 2013 in the way to which we have all become accustomed: Omnishambles.

But now it’s time for Labour to raise its game.