In the run-up to the 2010 General Election David Cameron managed to convince many people that the Conservative Party had changed. David Ellesmere, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Ipswich shows they haven't.
He said that they were no longer the party of slashing public services, “greed is good” capitalism or devil take the hindmost individualism. Instead they now believed in society, cared about the less well off and were going to run the “greenest government ever”.
Some of us were unconvinced at the time and the record of this government since 2010 has borne that out.
If anyone was still unsure, this year’s Conservative Party Conference will have torn away any shed of doubt: the Tories haven’t changed one little bit. If David Cameron was ever serious about changing his party - if it was ever anything more than PR spin - then he has failed.
Announcements at the start and end of the week showed what will be in store from another five years of the Tories. The combination of spending reductions and tax cuts mean that if you are a low paid working family the Government will take more money from you while David Cameron and the rest of the millionaires in his cabinet will receive a big tax cut.
Cuts to working tax credits completely fly in the face of Tory rhetoric about “making work pay”. Under David Cameron, if you’re in a low paid job he’s going to make you even worse off.
Tories favouring the rich over ordinary working people probably isn’t too much of a surprise but the sheer recklessness of David Cameron’s proposed tax cuts has astounded many people.
The Tories have completely failed on their promise to cut borrowing to zero this Parliament. Even if they hit their current targets they will borrow £95billion this year. Unfortunately even this doesn’t look likely. Borrowing is actually up this year compared to last. There are further unspecified cuts of £25billion to come after the General Election.
On top of that, the tax cuts announced by David Cameron would cost £7 billion.
And after the Prime Minister’s speech, not a single Tory minister has been able to say how this is going to be paid for.
Economists are scratching their heads about where the money would come from. The Financial Times has called it “electoral gimmickry” and say that the Government now has “an economic strategy of questionable coherence” and that “they have staked out a fiscal position that is neither sober nor realistic”.
David Cameron himself, before the last General Election said:
“If you’re going to cut taxes you’ve got to show where the money comes from. It seems to me that’s a very simple and straightforward rule that we need to obey.If you pretend as a politician you can wave some tax cuts at [the public] and not tell them how they’re going to be funded they just won’t believe you … the public aren’t stupid.”
There are three possibilities: the Government are promising tax cuts they know they can’t deliver; that they are going to throw financial responsibility to one side and let borrowing rip; or that they do know how they are going to fund this but they know it would be so unpopular that they’re keeping it secret.
My guess? Every Conservative Government has raised VAT after saying they have “no plans” to raise VAT before the elections. Tory Chairman Grant Shapps has refused to rule out raising VAT after the General Election. It’s the Tories’ favourite tax.
The clue is in the name. You can’t trust the Conser-VAT-ives.