Obviously, I am a little bit late to write about the Conservative Party Conference (CPC for short in this article) and its immediate aftermath. Quite frankly, I shouldn’t write about it all, because it fills me with rage and disgust. But I have to get it out. Apart from the headline, I will try to keep it somewhat civil.
Most of my Twitter followers and the few readers of this blog will have heard the masterpieces of political brainfartery that have transpired from the CPC. To me personally, the current Tory government has lost the last remaining (albeit tiny) shred of credibility. The very same can, and must, be said about the mainstream media. (We can now see what you did in New York when you met your new buddy Rupert, Theresa.)
So here we go then: The Tories claim the new centre ground, is what we hear and read. When -since Germany in the 1930’s- has the centre ground been so far to the right that a right wing politician -Nigel Farage no less- would claim credit for Theresa May’s speech, and that a UKIP MEP could contemplate joining the Tories? Side note: He subsequently got assaulted by a fellow UKIP thug, though that’s obviously not the Tories fault.
I know, the keen observer will have noticed that I’m not doing this in chronological order at all… To be perfectly honest, too much dangerous nonsense has been spouted at the CPC; keeping that in perfect order -and anger in check- isn’t an easy feat.
For whatever it’s worth, a step back then… Theresa has kicked off the CPC hinting at a very hard Brexit. We’ve heard that before; but so far we haven’t heard any date or plan. Now we have a date, March 2017. A plan, you ask? Who needs a plan when we can be a world leader in free trade, right? Yeah, never mind.
While the Brexiteers were drooling on the short boost of the FTSE100 (which says little about the strength of the UK’s economy), all those who gave up wearing rose-tinted glasses long ago noticed that the Pound Stirling hit rock bottom again… The lowest of lows in 31 years against the US Dollar; and a 5-year low against the Euro. The markets did not like the lack of plan or the time-frame within which Article 50 is going to be triggered.
Now I hear the ones who still do wear rose-tinted glasses (nice look there mate!)… Low Pound is good for export. Yes, it is, if -and only if- no part of your export product has any components that have been imported. And to put it on a wider scale: An economy such as the UK which is a net importer (meaning that we import more than we export, mostly because we don’t really produce much these days), will lose if the Pound goes down. Also, any money owed to foreign entities, suddenly becomes much more expensive to pay back.
Now let’s add to that the exit from the Single Market. In practical terms, this means we will at least initially -for however long it takes to negotiate anything different- pay tariffs on exported goods. That makes all British products more expensive abroad. It offsets, or even negates, any perceived benefit the devalued Pound may have.
On top of that, economists worry that some 80,000 jobs and close to £40bn may be lost early in the process. Most of the jobs are obviously in the service sector, which the UK so heavily depends on. And they require passporting rights, which will soon be history.
You still wearing those glasses? Man, you’re hopeless. By the way, Britain is no longer the 5th strongest economy in the world. Almost immediately after May’s speech, it dropped to rank 6.
So let’s move on from a complete lack of economic strategy (or even hint of a grasp) to what Brexit apparently really is about: Bloody foreigners! (Mind, I can call them that with tongue in cheek, because I am a foreigner myself.)
I think Jeremy Hunt, probably the worst Health Secretary in British history, made a start suggesting that all EU doctors be replaced by home grown doctors in the near future. But it would be okay for EU doctors to stay until then. Well isn’t that generous? Those doctors have saved lives in Britain! You should be fucking grateful and welcome them with open arms; instead you make them feel tolerated, at best, until their time is up. It’s absolutely outrageous. On top of that, you are sending a signal not only to doctors, but to all EU citizens: If even doctors are merely tolerated, who work their arse off under terrible conditions, thanks to you Jeremy; what about any EU citizen doing less “noble” jobs?
Oh, of course, according to Liam Fox (former GP, later disgraced Defence Secretary, now somehow all clued up on international trade), EU citizens are merely bargaining chips. How could I forget. How do British citizens living in EU countries feel about that? The 300,000 in Spain for example, a majority of whom are retired? Spain has already asked for the UK to shoulder the bill, and damn rightly so, if we’re all just “cards” to play with. Presumably you don’t want to bring them back, because a) they won’t vote for you ever, b) they will want pensions paid, c) they will make use of the NHS, which will then be even shorter of doctors. I wonder why no politician has even mentioned them yet?
EU citizens in Britain currently enjoy the same rights as Brit expats in the EU. Limit rights in one country, and the other will retaliate. If it really comes to that point, it should be interesting to watch more than 1.2 million British voters return; voters for any party but the Tories then, obviously.
In other news: Amber Rudd just weeks ago praised Theresa May as the most successful Home Secretary the UK has ever had. It’s completely unclear to me by which measure, because the Tories’ own net immigration target for 2015 was missed by some 330,000 under her watch. Not that I care. Not that anybody should care, because EU immigrants in particular are net contributors to the UK economy, meaning they pay more in taxes into the Treasury’s coffers than they take out in benefits or healthcare, whereas for British nationals it’s apparently the other way round. Given Amber Rudd’s track record in business (several companies she ran and owned owed millions when they were closed down), she’s obviously not referring to numbers. I’m guessing she found the hugely offensive “Go home” vans a success. Or maybe she just felt like licking May’s arse for no reason.
Oh numbers… Yeah well, as I pointed out, they are not Amber Rudd’s strong suit. No surprise then that she wants to “crack down” on the number of foreign students in the UK. The lack of income from tuition fees would then probably be paid by… no, I’m not going to mention the #VoteLeave bus. Nope.
Another absolutely fantastic plan, which Adolf Hitler would immediately approve of (in fact he did have something very similar in place), is that all businesses should be reporting the number of foreign employees they have. Why, you ask? To “encourage” -name&shame to you and me- businesses who don’t employ enough Brits. Let that sink in for a moment. No honestly, think about it. For me personally, the lunch was almost on its way out where it entered my body minutes before, when I heard that. Absolutely disgusting and disgraceful!
Unsurprisingly, a huge number of businesses were in arms as well and essentially told Amber Rudd to fuck right off. They were not going to comply. As far as Scottish businesses are concerned, Nicola Sturgeon has said today that she would support any business that didn’t comply, too.
It doesn’t really matter that Amber Rudd attempted to row back saying “it’s not something we are definitely going to do” in an interview. Well I’m not sure what that statement actually means. Probably not a lot. Anyway, the damage is already done. Unfortunately, it’s not just her, who has revealed a deeply racist mindset. Somebody in the Department of Education, by order of the government apparently, has requested already (some time last week or so) that all pupils be profiled by nationality and -wait for it- country of birth. Parents are receiving letters from schools to do just that at the moment.
What is the legal basis for this shit? Profiling for nationality is a bit rich already; but profiling for country of birth? You can’t be fucking serious. Tomorrow, we (all foreigners that is) will be wearing tags? Front doors are marked? And then what? Seriously, where is this heading?
Hitler would be proud of you. And this is not a comparison I draw easily, because being German myself, I have been exposed to more than enough education about our gruesome history. It must not be repeated; not in Germany or anywhere else in the world! How politicians and news editors, who are usually relatively well-educated, can use racist language and actively incite hate, is beyond me.
In 1920/1930’s Germany, it started exactly the same way. The vastly simplified summary: Economy hit rock bottom; all strangers were blamed; simultaneously Germans declared themselves superior to everybody else. Slowly and steadily it became the norm to hate Jews, and anybody opposing it would be considered not patriotic, or a traitor even. Then it became a crime to support Jews in any way, shape or form.We all know, hopefully, where that ultimately led to.
Racism and xenophobia develop on a sliding scale. The EU referendum got the slider into motion (as a surge in racially motivated hate crime confirms), and it keeps moving to the far political right, if we don’t speak up against it. All of us!
Any form of racism and xenophobia must stop. Right now. Especially in politics and the media!
The question is how the fuck we got here? I have no answer to that.
The UK has problems, no doubt: A widening gap between the rich and the poor; declining NHS performance in England; unaffordable housing (too much demand, too little supply); to name only a few. None of that is the fault of immigration, though. If you want to put the blame on anybody, take a close look at policies of Austerity. Take a look at how money is wasted on completely useless nuclear weapons. Take a look at foreign mega corps who, in some cases, pay less corporation tax in the UK than most one-man Limited company contractors. Take a look at how the Tories have managed to increase the deficit. Take a look at how foreign investment, like Hinkley Point C, benefits nobody in this country. Take a look at how British banks have spectacularly burnt taxpayer’s money. None of that has anything to do with the EU or immigration. It has everything to do with putting the blame on somebody else to deflect from issues and mistakes.
Please, Scotland, let’s get out of this! Remaining part of the UK means that Scotland will have its voice heard, and then brutally trampled upon. With 59 seats, we can never get a majority. Westminster knows that. The Tories, who currently have no actual opposition in the House of Commons, know that. They won’t take Scotland’s opinion seriously, ever.
“A country that works for everyone” is never going to happen. Westminster will drag us out of the EU, whether we want it or not (and we don’t). They will dictate the terms of Brexit for Scotland, whether we like them or not (and we won’t). They will make us part of a country that isolates itself in the world and lets xenophobia take the new “centre ground”.
Does that sound like a Union anybody would want to be part of? Bring on Indyref2!