Please vote. But please don’t vote Tory

The Tory Party are in the Trump Zone. Just as Donald Trump famously claimed he could shoot somebody in the street and people would still vote for him, the Tories think there is nothing they can do that would stop them winning the General Election on June 8th.

They’ve got some justification in this belief, despite running the most abjectly awful campaign of any major UK party in living memory. Despite the PM careering from one campaign gaffe to another, if she even deigns to show herself at all, the Tories do look on course to emerge victorious, perhaps even increase their majority.

But it is not all over yet.

It’s up to you. If you stay home, if you don’t vote on June 8th, the Tories will win. But if you vote, you can make a difference. Here’s a few reasons why you might choose to try.

This may be your last chance

The Tories plan to bring in new voter ID registration rules, supposedly to cut voting fraud. But ID fraud is in fact almost non-existent, and the only effect these rules have is to exclude millions of people from being able to vote, predominately the poor and disadvantaged – exactly the groups that are least likely to vote Tory, as chance would have it. Voter ID rules are very popular in the US among right-wing Republican groups as a way to cement their grasp on power, and they are nothing to do with protecting democracy.

Another import from the US is the gerrymandering of constituencies – reshaping the voting areas to lump all your opponents’ supporters where their votes have the least effect, and this is also on the way.

In future, if you can vote at all, your vote may not count for anything.

Another 5 years of the Tories will be the irreversible death knell for the NHS

This is the last chance for the NHS. The Tories have been chipping away at it for the past seven years, carving off pieces for privatisation and starving it of vital funds. Now we see the end in sight.

The Naylor Report – which Theresa May supports – recommends forcing the selling off of hospital lands and other assets. Resources we’ve paid for and built up over decades will soon be gone.

Never mind the effect of Brexit on NHS staffing and budgets. The NHS will soon be gone, and we’ll be left to fret over whether the expensive health insurance we’ll have to buy covers us for the illnesses we get. The US shows us how unfair and profiteering untrammelled health markets can be, and this is exactly where we will be within a few years.

And then, at the end of your life, they’ll come for your home too.

As your health care goes, so will benefits, social care, education and pensions

The Tories witter on about helping the many people left behind by Government, apparently not realising it’s been them for the past seven years. And all the while, they’re planning to put the squeeze on again.

Brexit is going to leave a massive black hole in the nation’s finances anyway, but the Tories are ideologically wedded to the idea of permanent austerity, and the triple lock which protects pensions is going to be removed.

Every area of public spending, from health to policing, social care to pensions, education to research, is going to be cut again. If you thought the cuts had been bad enough already, it’s going to get a whole lot worse yet.

They cannot be trusted with the economy

During the past seven years, the Tories have repeatedly promised to bring the nation’s finances under control. In 2010 they promised to eliminate the deficit by 2015. By the time 2015 came, they’d pushed that back to 2017, then to 2020. Now it’s going to be 2025.  In the meantime, they’ve added half a trillion pounds to the national debt, borrowing more money in the past seven years than every previous Labour Government combined while still vacuously promising they will somehow pay it back, soon.

At the same time, they have crashed the value of the pound, making all our imports – from food to fuel – more expensive. They’ve caused a downgrade of the UK’s credit rating, and their plans for Brexit (such as they are) will leave a huge uncosted hole in the nation’s finances.

The Tories deride Labour for what they claim are poorly-costed manifesto promises, but the Tories haven’t bothered to provide any costings for their manifesto at all.

They’re hiding from us how bad it is

There’s a new report on raising the pension age. The Government has delayed it until after the election.

There is a report on the financial black hole in hospitals. The Government has delayed its publication until after the election.

There is a report on the funding of terrorism. The Government has delayed its publication, perhaps indefinitely, because it reportedly mentions Saudi Arabia, a regime the Government is trying to keep onside with, and to which it sells a lot of weapons.

Spotting a pattern? Theresa May’s Government are systematically keeping information from us that would show us how well or badly they are doing. They are avoiding challenges to their claims, for example the cuts to policing. They are using targeted ads and campaigning methods that make it very difficult for the Electoral Commission – the body charged with ensuring elections are fair – to keep track of the claims they make or the money they spend.

Couple this with May’s refusal even to turn up to debates…

They won’t even discuss their policies properly

Theresa May claims she is a strong and stable leader, and the person we need to lead us through the difficult Brexit negotiations. But she is afraid even to debate her own policies in the campaign for this election. Instead, she speaks in soundbites to hand-picked audiences with pre-approved questions and answers. This Government is becoming more and more secretive.

If she cannot defend her own policies to us, how can we trust her with Brexit, when the very future of the nation is at stake?

One of the key policies they won’t properly discuss is Brexit, and the reason is…

They have no idea how to do Brexit

It is hard to get our heads fully around the enormity of this problem, but the Government quite simply have no idea how to do Brexit in a way that doesn’t enormously damage the country. They know that they are going to hurt everybody, in a thousand ways. A hard Brexit will decimate whole swathes of industry, from farming to manufacturing, from aviation to technology, from medicine to social care, but this is what they intend.

The Tories cannot admit this, so instead they mouth platitudes about getting the best possible deal, while knowing even the best possible deal will be ruinous. They utter dire warnings about being prepared to leave the EU with no deal, which would be calamitous. The right-wing press put them in this position with repeated lies about immigrants and the EU, and the right-wing press now pushes them forwards towards the cliff-edge.

We’ve written at length about the problems of Brexit on this site, so we’re not going to repeat ourselves now. But everything we wrote has been reinforced by subsequent events – the problems we highlighted are many and ruinous, and they are upon us. This could be the Government that presides over a breakup of the UK.

When we leave the EU in March 2019, we don’t just cut ourselves off from the trade arrangements we had with the EU, and from the frameworks that allowed us to operate internationally on everything, on terrorism and crime, medicines and research, aircraft and nuclear technology. We also cut ourselves off from every agreement the EU has with every other country.

The Financial Times has identified at least 759 agreements that will need to be remade, and quickly. Without them, our planes can’t fly, we can’t sell products overseas, we can’t get approval for new drugs or share intelligence and crime data. These agreements can each take years to negotiate individually, and all the time we’re without them businesses will be going under, shelves will be emptying.

But the Government has done almost nothing to prepare. Brexit Minister David Davis reassures us he has more than 100 pages of detailed notes on Brexit. This is laughably, woefully inadequate. It’s less than a paragraph for each of the 759 agreements the FT highlighted.

The Tories criticise other political parties for wanting to have more control over the Brexit runaway train, but the Tories’ approach is simply to set the thing in motion and wait to see where it ends up. It’s going to crash, they know it’s going to crash, and when the dust settles they’ll try to blame it on somebody else.

The best we can hope for is that Theresa May is lying when she says she will leave without a deal, as she was lying when she said she wouldn’t call an election.

What many Tories are looking for, and this is their backup plan when Brexit negotiations falter, is to turn the UK into a low-regulation, tax haven. The EU is planning to introduce rules to combat tax avoidance by big companies, and so this is why the free market freeloaders want out. It’s nothing to do with immigration, or sovereignty. They want out because they want to avoid paying their share of tax.

This is great for tax-avoiding billionaires, such as the owners of most of the right-wing newspapers that are behind the push for Brexit. It’s also probably good for you if your surname is Putin. It’s terrible for the rest of us.

But anyway, whether you are for Brexit or against Brexit, it must be clear to you now that the Tory strategy of sending incompetent idiots to bluster and threaten a bloc of 27 countries which are all united and very organised in their goals, is not going to work. We need a different approach, and we need the possibility of an escape route. The Tories will not give us these things.


They’re going to make us less safe

As for Brexit, so also for our relationships with the rest of the world. The Tories are picking away at the threads that have bound us in relative peace, prosperity and stability for the past 70 years. They don’t understand why those threads are there, so they cut them away, thinking they are unnecessary. At some point, it will all fall apart.

This goes beyond cutting police numbers, cuts which police and security figures say contributed to the recent terror attacks, through threatening to pull out of anti-terrorism and policing co-operation with the EU. The very act of pulling out of the EU at this critical point, with Putin in the East and Trump in the West, makes us less safe, makes the whole world less safe. There is no room for complacency. The point at which we stop believing war is possible is the point at which we stop making any effort to avoid it.

Our Government’s behaviour has left us isolated from our long-standing allies and forced us into the arms of corrupt or anti-democratic regimes, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the US. When Germany’s leader, Angela Merkel, says that the UK is no longer a reliable ally, she is echoing a view held across the world since our Brexit self-immolation.

When Donald Trump pulls the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, he is criticised by almost every other nation. The UK says nothing. When Donald Trump launches extraordinary and repeated verbal attacks on the Mayor of London in the wake of the London terrorist incident, our PM refuses to come to the Mayor’s defence. She can’t, because corrupt, unstable world leaders are now our only allies and our only hope for future trade.

Right at the point when we need to negotiate those 759 new agreements, when we need the co-operation of more than 160 other countries, any one of which could throw a spanner in the works, we are sending Boris Johnson out to be the most boorish, thuggish oaf imaginable, and alienating everybody. This is not helping.

Also not helping…

Tearing up Human Rights laws and banning cryptography does not prevent terrorism, and doesn’t make us safer

Right after the London attacks, Theresa May was back on her old stamping ground, calling for us to get rid of human rights laws. This is so absolutely wrong, we’re not even going to waste much time on it: there’s so much evidence to show that taking away human rights is a good way to hurt the general population and a bad way to fight crime. The UK already has some of the most draconian surveillance laws on the planet, far beyond any other democracy. We don’t need any more.

We don’t need more rights taken away from us. We don’t need to ban privacy on the internet. We need the 19000 police officers the Tories sacked returned to us. We need to continue to co-operate with other nations over crime intelligence, not step on their fingers in our haste to shake hands with the likes of Trump and Erdogan.

This is all the Tory party’s fault anyway

Brexit happened because of an internal Tory battle that spilled out into the rest of the country. David Cameron gave the Euro-sceptics in his party the fig-leaf of a referendum in exchange for their support. Before 2015, the UK’s membership of the EU hardly registered as a concern for voters. Now it threatens the very union of the UK.

This latest election is again about the Tories fighting their internal struggles across the battlefield of the UK. Theresa May claims she wants this election – and the big majority she was convinced she would get – to strengthen her hand in negotiations with the 27 other EU nations. This is nonsense. They don’t care what her majority is, whether it’s six or sixty.

What Theresa May actually wants is a stronger hand to defy factions in her own party. If she has a bigger majority, she has to worry less about the opposition of individual MPs. She’ll also be far enough away from Brexit at the next election – 2022 – to be able to distance herself and her party from the train-crash she caused.

So please vote

Given the website we’re writing on here, you’ll be unsurprised to hear we’d prefer you to vote for a pro-EU candidate. But, short of that, please go out and vote for somebody other than the Tories. Obviously not UKIP either, but since most of their policies have now been adopted wholesale by the Tories, we’re not sure why you’d consider them anyway.

The Tories have treated us with contempt, calling an election they can’t even be bothered to turn up and fight for, on the lazy assumption we’ll still vote for them. This whole affair has been a distraction we didn’t need and a delay at a time when we need not to be wasting a single moment of preparation for the Brexit negotiations.

But even if we can’t persuade you to vote for a pro-EU candidate, still go and exercise your democratic right to vote. And if you came here looking for reasons to vote Tory, while we may not be the best people to ask, we’ll still give it a try since you’ve stayed with us this long.



They’ll bring back fox-hunting and ivory trading.

So there’s that, at least.


 Theresavoir Dogs image by Alexis Taylor

The UK left the EU at 23:00 GMT onFriday 31 January 2020
As of 23:00 GMT on 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a third country with respect to the European Union.