Azara Blog: Tories subverting British values

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Date published: 2005/04/15

The BBC says:

Tony Blair's government has allowed the special interests of a "politically correct" minority to subvert British values, Michael Howard has said.

During a speech on immigration and asylum, Mr Howard said those who dared to criticise groups that bent the rules were "intimidated into silence".

But no one stood up for British values which were "being trashed", he added.

Mr Blair said Mr Howard was playing on people's fears. The Lib Dems said he had a problem with his own Britishness.

It's always amazing how second generation immigrants, like Howard, try to pretend to be more British than the British. He is the one subverting British values.

Which brings us to the Tory manifesto, which is several days old now. There is this puerile handwriting throughout the document (Howard's own?). But ignoring that, what does it say.

The Tories say "Britain is a great country. But today it is heading in the wrong direction." What on earth are they talking about? The main thing wrong with the country today is the dreadful attack on civil liberties by the government and, in the recent past, the awful unprovoked attack on Iraq, and the Tories are pretty much in league with Labour on this. Indeed, Michael Howard was the worst Home Secretary of all time, until Jack Straw and David Blunkett in turn took that title away (and Charles Clarke is on his way).

The Tories promise "value for money and lower taxes". They say "People who work hard, pay their taxes and do the right thing should be rewarded, not punished". This is all just meaningless spin. They say "All new regulation will have to have benefits exceeding costs", but all political parties say that before they come to power, and once they are in power they do the opposite.

The Tories say "What is wrong with a little discipline in schools?" Not many people have suggested the opposite.

The Tories say "How hard is it to keep a hospital clean"? It is hard, when you don't spend enough money on cleaning, and that is something which the last Tory government ensured when they privatised the cleaning of hospitals.

The Tories say "It's not racist to impose limits on immigration". No, but it is racist to launch unfounded attacks on asylum seekers, and to try and create a link between immigration and asylum seekers.

The Tories ask "Why can't politicans be more accountable"? Because they are people like Michael Howard.

The Tories say "The Right to Buy for council tenants extended home ownership, transformed many of Britain's housing estates and expanded our property-owning democracy." This was one of the worst decisions by the last Tory government (and there is a long list of competing claims). Why is it right for a council tenant to receive a huge discount on buying their house? Most of them make tens of thousands of pounds instantly. Free money from the State. There are many hard-working people (oh, the kind of people Michael Howard claims he represents) who have to save and scrimp every penny they have in order to afford to get on the housing ladder. They receive no golden handshake from the government.

The Tories say "A Conservative Government will end Labour's war on the motorist". Unfortunately it was the last Tory government that started the war on the motorist.

The Tories say "A Conservative Government will call a halt to Labour's plans to concrete over our green fields. We will promote development on brownfield sites and establish more Green Belts with tighter development rules." Unfortunately it was the last Tory government that encouraged this to happen. And it to some extent it needs to happen in order to provide enough housing where people want to live. And many "green" fields are more brown than some designated brownfield sites. Cambridgeshire is full of examples (e.g. the new Northstowe development will be centred on a disused airfield, which is allegedly a "brownfield" site, but most of the area being developed is green field by any criterion).

There is more of the same. So all in all, there's not that much in the Tory manifesto. It's mostly spin. A grade of C-.

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