Tory noun Conservative, Reactionary (from C17 Irish, meaning outlaw, robber or brigand).
The current Tory government is certainly the worst in my lifetime – and that’s saying something. Examples of shameless, brazen corruption, abuse of office and outright criminality are so numerous and come so thick and fast that it has become virtually impossible to track them. Here’s a small selection of some recent noticeable outrages.
£12billion worth of pandemic-related contracts were awarded without the requisite competitive tender process to completely unqualified and inept Tory supporters, donors, friends and families, and the government subsquently refused to publish the obligatory register of ministerial interests to try to cover up the destination of all those lucrative Covid contracts. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick allowed an unlawful luxury property development in Tower Hamlets so that major Tory donor Richmond Desmond could avoid paying £50million in local taxes to London’s poorest borough. Home Secretary Priti Patel refused to resign after being found guilty of flagrantly breaching the supposedly binding ministerial code and Johnson then refused to sack her (the serial liar had previously declared that “the precious principles of public life enshrined in the code must be honoured at all times”) or release the report into her behaviour, which meant that it was Alex Allen, the independent adviser on ministerial standards, who resigned instead.
Public offices are being systematically stuffed with Tory chums and cronies as the independent, the impartial and the expert are driven out: card-carrying Tory activist and ex-candidate Tim Davie was installed as Director General of the BBC and Richard Sharp, Johnson’s ex-adviser and a major Tory donor, was made BBC chair, to ensure the corporation becomes even more compliant and rightwing; clueless Tory peer Dido Harding was put in charge of the disastrous ‘test-and-trace’ programme; media barons run Ofcom, private education zealots run Higher Education, private health companies run more and more of the NHS, property developers run planning policy, white supremacists run equality bodies, climate change deniers run environment agencies, and the taxpayer-funded civil service is degraded into an indistinguishable branch of the Tory Party and Big Business, filled with ideologues, moonlighting corporate carpetbaggers and obedient drones. Far-right think-tanks, cranks and lobbyists are given a VIP fast lane to Johnson, his talentless cabinet and his atrocious MPs and peers, the better to determine policy and fill Tory coffers by purchasing influence and preferment – as exemplified by last week’s revelations of the Greensill scandal where ex-PM Cameron used his status to tart via text message to the cabinet on behalf of one of his many paymasters, an Australian finance company so dodgy it soon collapsed.
The long-delayed report on Russian interference in the 2019 UK election concluded that the government deliberately enabled it, welcoming the oligarchs’ dirty money as a means of recycling vast amounts of illicit finance through London and giving Putin’s thugs privileged access and connections to the highest levels of government in return for the swamping of social media with pro-Tory propaganda – and Russia is just one of the many vicious authoritarian states the Tories make friends with, sell weapons to or undermine democracy with, such as Australia, Brazil, China, Hungary, India, the Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Trump-era USA.
Then there are the countless serious breaches of international law, UK law and the laws of the devolved nations (prorogation of parliament, internal market bill, international aid commitment, Irish border, nuclear proliferation, Geneva convention, tax havens etc, etc). The reckless disregard of the climate emergency and the destruction of the natural world, nodding through new coal mines, oil platforms, roads, airports, vanity projects and speculative greenfield developments even as they indulge in meaningless greenwash posturing. Not to mention Johnson’s disastrous handling of the pandemic, responsible for the highest death toll and the deepest recession in Europe, followed by his characteristically cowardly and contemptuous refusal to hold an official enquiry – as ever preferring to cover his back and avoid scrutiny rather than learn any vital lessons from his multiple mistakes for when inevitable future pandemics strike. The news that he was advocating “let the bodies pile high” last March in defiance of expert advice to enter lockdown neatly encapsulates his political philosophy in the same way that “there’s no such thing as society” did for Thatcher. In a civilised, decent democracy that murderous statement would also be his political obituary.
But this is the uncivilised, indecent UK, an artificial rogue state built on planetary plunder and the highest death count in human history, where there is no democracy whatsoever. The Tories won a huge majority in Westminster in 2019 with the support of just 25% of those eligible to vote; 30,000 votes are enough to return a Tory, it takes 50,000 for Labour to get an MP; and the House of Lords, the second largest legislature in the world after China’s People’s Congress, is entirely unelected, acting as a vast trough where nepotism can thrive and superannuated Tory placemen can feed.
Any state that could even contemplate putting a man like Boris Johnson in charge is, by definition, rotten to the core. The predatory philanderer, sexist creep, cheating sleazebag, golf-club racist, prolific breeder, treacherous con-man, greedy narcissist, infantile clown, hooligan hooray-henry, over-entitled ignoramus and Old Etonian billionaire is actually a supremely appropriate representative of all that is so very very wrong about the despicable UK. He is in power thanks to the rightwing’s absolute monopoly of the media, from the toxic Murdoch empire to the giant American tech corporations, aided and abetted by the epic ignorance of the ‘British’, the most under-educated and servile people on Earth. Britain deserves him – but Wales does not.