One suspects the on-screen caption was more apt than the BBC intended.
David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference may go down in history as the worst drivel ever coughed up over the public by a British national leader.
I was going to write a serious article about it but, on reflection, I have decided to mock and insult him pitilessly, interspersing my disdain with some medicinal doses of cold hard truth – and a few tasty pics from Facebook and Twitter.
Where to begin? Let’s go for the biggest groaner. Yet again with your disabled son, Mr Cameron? “When I used to push my son Ivan around in his wheelchair, I always thought that some people saw the wheelchair not the boy. Today, more people would see the boy and not the wheelchair – and that’s because of what happened here this summer.” He was referring to the Paralympics but what people saw was an overprivileged toff who took disability benefits for his son when he didn’t need them and is now cravenly using the deceased child’s memory to score points, while depriving the sick and disabled of the money they desperately need in order to survive. Did he really think anyone watching that, with an ounce of sense, would not be sickened to the pit of their stomach by his bare-faced, self-satisfied hypocrisy?
It’s the sort of line that forces me to agree with the Tweeter who typed: “I’ve got a great ‘Cameron’s speech’ drinking game. As soon as he starts to speak, drink bleach.”
There was a big lie about the NHS: “We made a big decision to protect the NHS from spending cuts.” In fact, in the current financial year, his government cut NHS spending by something like £25 million, and I believe he is also rationing access to treatment. He recently announced £140 million of new funding – but neglected to trumpet to the rooftops the fact that it’s in LOANS, so any organisation taking it would have to pay it back, presumably with interest.
He said the number of doctors, dentists, and midwives has increased – and this is true. But if you factor in the number of nursing staff that have been cut (there are now fewer than in 2010) then the number of full-time equivalent, professionally qualified staff in the NHS has risen by just a fraction of one per cent since the coalition took office. Hardly a ringing endorsement of his policies, is it?
Cameron: “So be in no doubt: this is the party of the NHS and that’s the way it’s going to stay.”
Twitter: “There isn’t a god or Cameron would’ve been struck down.”
Even the BBC’s Stephanie Flanders was looking askance at this: “Cameron talks about the NHS but can they tell us how many of the Cabinet have private health insurance?!”
Cameron: “Aspiration is the engine of progress… That’s why the mission for this government is to build an aspiration nation.”
Twitter: “‘Aspiration Nation’ sounds like the title of one of Grant Shapps’ motivational courses!”
Cameron: “Line one, rule one of being a Conservative is that it’s not where you’ve come from that counts, it’s where you’re going.”
How many Conservative Prime Ministers came from Eton, then, ‘Call-Me-Dave’?
Cameron: “We don’t preach about one nation but practise class war…”
Twitter: “…says head of government of private-school-educated millionaires making big cuts to public services for the poor.”
Could this possibly be the conference pass that Andrew Mitchell famously hasn’t used this year?
He said we need businesses investing and taking people on. To do that, they need low interest rates so they can afford to take out a loan, and confidence that it’s worth investing.
Big explanation follows, courtesy of Ramesh Patel in the Huffington Post: “The real reason why our borrowing costs have fallen and remained low since 2008 is because the demand for bonds has risen and there is a an expectation that it will remain high because the markets expect the UK economy will remain stagnant.” That’s STAGNANT. Not “on the rise”, as Cam would have us believe.
“Consumers and businesses are not spending. As result, saving levels have risen, which has increased the demand for bonds [loans made for a fixed period of time at a fixed interest rate] and increased their price. There is an inverse relationship between the price of bonds and their yield-return or interest rates. Hence, if a £1,000, 20-year, bond is at an interest rate of 5 per cent, you would receive a return of £50 per annum. Now suppose the demand for bonds rises because more people are saving. Lets assume it rises from £1,000 to £1,500. With the interest rate remaining the same, the return will also remain the same at £50. Hence, the new effective interest rate falls because £50/£1,500 = 3.33 per cent.” So interest rates have dropped because the price of bonds has risen – but that won’t help anyone take out a business loan – and if you don’t believe me (as Dave repeated several times during his oration), just you go out and try it!
He said it was essential to get the deficit down, and the Tories’ deficit reduction plan is “the very foundation” of their growth plan.
This is nonsense. Back to Ramesh Patel: “A government that attempts to reduce its spending during a recession engages in a self-defeating activity. Rather than increasing its income, it increases its deficit and debt. Quite simply, cutting spending results in increased unemployment, which increases its benefit spending. As a consequence, consumption spending is reduced, which results in lower income or GDP. Austerity has never worked.”
Just so. Austerity has never worked. It isn’t like a household reducing its spending to increase the amount of money it holds; the opposite holds true in national economics. Cameron (and his chancellor,
Gideon Gordon George Osborne) knew this before they got anywhere near Downing Street and have been stringing you along for two and a half years.
Do you need more convincing? Here we go – he said “The damage was worse than we thought, and it’s taking longer than we hoped.” It wasn’t. He inherited a growing economy, with falling unemployment. It is his government that dragged the UK back into recession. Borrowing is up by 22 per cent so far, in this year alone, because of his policies. His claim that he has cut the deficit by a quarter in the past two years is nothing more than a lie.
It certainly isn’t why interest rates are at record low levels. Mortgages might be low as a result but how many people really benefit from that? Businesses don’t have the confidence to invest – or the wherewithal, since the banks are stubbornly refusing to pay out, no matter what Cam the Sham’s government does. Sadly, more than 33,000 businesses have gone bust since the 2010 general election.
On employment, he said more than a million new jobs have been created in the private sector. What he FAILS to say is that they are mostly part-time. Those people will be topping up their income with government benefits – creating more government borrowing. And what about the unemployment figures – especially among young people? More than a million are out of work. We’ve got 1.49 million men out of work and 1.1 million women unemployed as well. These are atrocious figures – the worst since, well, the last Conservative government.
His attack on Labour was a child’s argument. He called Labour the party of “one notion” (see what he did there, mocking Ed Miliband’s “One Nation” statesmanship?) – borrowing.
But wait. His government is currently borrowing £802 every second. And I repeat: Government borrowing has increased by 22 per cent since the beginning of this financial year alone.
“We’re here because [Labour] spent too much and borrowed too much.” If Labour’s record was so bad (its borrowing record is in fact better than that of the Tories), why was Osborne promising to match Labour’s spending plans, right up until 2007? I think the only conclusion we can form is that Mr Cameron will say anything if he thinks it will appeal to the masses. Truth or fact have nothing to do with it.
The vacuousness of the argument he picked with Ed Miliband, over tax, defies belief! He took issue with Mr Miliband for saying a tax cut was like the government writing people a cheque, saying “If we cut taxes, we’re not giving them money – we’re taking less of it away”. What’s the difference? They’ve still got more of it than they would have had otherwise! Arguing over semantics is not an election-winning strategy.
This was Cameron’s defence of the cut in the top rate of tax, from 50 per cent to 45 per cent. He said: “It’s their money.” Was he saying the super-rich should not pay any tax at all, because it’s “their money”, not the state’s? In that case, what about the rest of us? Is the money we earn “our money” and should we then, also, be exempt from tax?
If so, then good luck paying off that huge deficit you’re building up, Dave – not to mention the benefits bill you’ve been steadily increasing over the past two and a half years!
I sometimes wonder if he knows anything about the real economy at all.
Oh look! I just unintentionally echoed something Mr Cameron said! About Labour?!? Deluded isn’t the word. If it weren’t for the deadpan, funereal seriousness of his delivery, this could be a comedy skit.
He talked about the threat of wealthy businesspeople moving to other countries, which – guess what, Dave? – they never, ever do.
He said the rich will pay a greater share of tax in every year of this Parliament than in any one of the 13 years under Labour – but has never produced any figures to back up this claim. How are we supposed to believe him?
He went on and on about the need to build more homes but declared no new policy.
On welfare, he referred to individual families in receipt of up to £60,000 in housing benefit. Who are these people and where in the country can they possibly live? Has anyone EVER received that much? I want to see Conservative Central Headquarters produce the evidence RIGHT NOW!
He said it’s an outrage, conveniently ignoring the fact that NOBODY RECEIVING HOUSING BENEFIT ACTUALLY SEES A PENNY OF IT. It obviously goes to the landlords. But his plan to cap housing benefit won’t harm landlords – they’ll just evict the tenants for being unable to pay the rent.
Why not cap RENTS instead? That is the real solution. But then, as somebody mentioned on Twitter, this isn’t about helping people in need – it’s about turning central London into a poor-person-free zone.
Oh yes, and somebody should really make it clear to Mr Cameron that 93 per cent – the overwhelming majority – of new housing benefit claimants are in work. What does this say about the kind of work available in Cameron’s Britain? To me, it says that it doesn’t pay enough for people to survive. He should be asking why the government is effectively subsidising these employers when they should be paying a proper living wage! (A living wage? Isn’t that a… Labour idea?)
On his state-sponsored slavery Work Programme, he said, “Work isn’t slavery; it’s poverty that is slavery.” Firstly, when it’s compulsory, unpaid work, I think Mr Cameron will find it IS slavery. Especially when it’s the kind of work that helps the firm but not the worker, who can be slung back on the dole after a few weeks, and another slave – sorry, worker – pulled out of the line to do the same ‘training’. Secondly, the Child Poverty Action Group tells us that, thanks to Mr Cameron’s policies, child poverty in the UK is set to rise by 800,000 by 2020; this is the biggest increase in generations and Cameron’s comment on that was “it’s us, the modern compassionate Conservative party, who are the real champions of fighting poverty in Britain today.”
There was more – much more – of this tosh but I can’t be bothered any more. You get the idea. If you want to see what someone from Eton has to say about the state education system, go to the Tory website and read it yourself – if you can stomach it. Let’s just say the point at which Cameron started attacking teachers who choose to work in the toughest schools was the moment when one man, whose girlfriend is a teacher, gave up all attempt at calmness and started screaming swearwords in response.
There was no mention of the police at all. We know he’s cutting the force nationally by 15,000, though – let’s face it, the billboard with his face on it made his intentions perfectly clear!
The verdict? One Tweeter typed: “What an absolutely vacuous, empty tokenist deluded speech riddled with lies, mistruths and divisive barrel-scraping spin.”
My favourite is this. It’s short, pithy, and to the point: “One of the worst dictator speeches since 1945.”
But I’ll leave the last word to Ed Miliband, who delivered his critique of Mr Cameron and his party in advance, during last week’s Labour conference: