British Tories won’t reduce income inequality

Written By: - Date published: 6:32 am, April 10th, 2010 - 12 comments
Categories: International, uk politics - Tags:

I am an ex-pat Kiwi currently living in London which, in the run up to the May 6th general election in the U.K., is enabling me to witness the striking parallels between the Tory talking points and those of the National party. George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, in a recent interview with the Guardian spoke of ‘aspirational Britons’. Efficiency savings continue to be touted – they won’t fire anyone – but won’t rehire for vacated posts. There will be targeted tax cuts (exactly where hasn’t been outlined). Yet firm policy is nowhere to be seen, as if actually showing their game plan is anathema to getting elected. It all starts to sound very familiar… until the often repeated David Cameron line that income inequality under New Labour has increased. Improving income inequality? The Tories? WTF?

Given the similarities between Tory and National talking points (the likely involvement of Crosby-Textor) one could assume that a Tory government will look not-unlike a National government:

  • Beneficiary bashing,
  • Efficiency savings in the public sector, which amounts to massive lay-offs, further hampering the slow recovery,
  • Targeted tax cuts which will go to the rich, but deliberately obfuscated so that the general populace won’t know what is going on,
  • More ‘aspirational’ talk for hard working Brits, translated to ‘if you aren’t middle-Britain and you don’t aspire to having a bigger job/car/house/vacation/more stuff’, then you aren’t valued.
  • More choice for ‘aspirational’ Britains, letting public services fail on a market based approach (Anne Tolley knows a few things about report cards for schools).

David Cameron is leaving himself open to criticism on this point. In the unlikely event that they don’t increase income inequality, there is certainly no way that Tory policies will decrease or halt it, yet he is continuing to point this out about Labour’s record with a free pass. Somebody in the U.K. media needs to push hard on this, and stop allowing the Tories to get away with it. I can only assume that he is hoping poor and middle class voters hear this and go “gosh that is why I’m not earning as much as workers from the city, it’s all Labour’s fault. I’m going to vote Tory”. Nonsense!

Billboard courtesy of

12 comments on “British Tories won’t reduce income inequality”

  1. r0b 1

    Hey – you’re going to write for us too! Excellent.

    I did my time in Thatcher’s England. Dark days. The Tories will never change, and if they lie their way back in to power (“fix income inequality” – yeah right) then they’ll be a disaster for ordinary people. But nor could I bring myself to vote for Labour over there – they are fatally compromised in so many ways. If I was in England now (with their daft old non proportional system) I could only vote Lib Dem.

    • Poor choice, r0b. Nothing guarantees a Tory win more than lefties wasting their vote on third parties. Even if the Lib Dems have a fighting chance of gaining the balance of power, they are far more likely to do a Winston and go with Key, er, sorry, Cameron.

      Good post, Mummybot. I remember the ‘Labour isn’t Working’ posters Thatch used to win the ’79 election. Like the inequality meme they are fostering now, they were designed to make workers and the middle class think that the Tories would fix the problem. The reality, of course, was mass unemployment within a couple of years and an undeclared class war for a decade.

      • Quoth the Raven 1.1.1

        So vote for the lesser of two evils? If indeed it is. Guess what you’re still voting for evil. Such a principled moral person. New Labour the ones that oversaw the massive upwards transfer of wealth in the form of bank bailouts, the ones who, as already pointed out, have overseen an increase in income inequality, the ones who involved themselves in the Iraq war not to mention the Afghan war, the ones who pull shit like this on working class people, the ones who have been slowly turning the UK into a police state, they’re the ones you’d vote for?

    • mummybot 1.2

      Writing when I am in the mood 🙂

      The coming elections do pose a bit of a dilemma in terms of which party to vote for. New Labour actively courted business at the end of the 90s, and have recently been slated by those same business leaders. They are almost unrecognisable from their founding roots. That said, Nick Clegg has taken the Lib Dems economically right of Labour. One is damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      • r0b 1.2.1

        You could be our special correspondent covering UK politics!

        Gotta say though – thank goodness for MMP. In NZ there’s always someone to vote for…

  2. Marty G 2

    I think that poster is pretty poor. If requires the reader to accept it entirely uncritically. If they don’t, they see a very cynical attempt at manipulation. In other words, it’s more likely to turn people off.

    I see Cameron is talking about reviewing the abortion laws and something else in line with the US Christian Right. I would have thought that has a big chance to backfire in the UK. It would be like Key threatening a woman’s right to choose here.

  3. Peter Johns 3

    Nor did Labour, so what is the point of this post?
    Vote Labour = visit to IMF.

    • mummybot 3.1

      You are right, they didn’t (hence Cameron’s comments). But as you will more than likely know, Labour brought in a minimum wage (in 1999, only 100 years after NZ), working family tax cuts, and dramatically increased public spending, all of which have slowed the income (wealth) disparity.

      That said part of New Labour’s mantra was Britain is a ‘meritocracy’ where people would be rewarded for their competence. They wanted their cake and eat it too – championing of free markets and low taxes while increasing public spending – which is fine before a credit bubble but not so good afterwards.

      That said, vote labour ≠ visit to IMF. The real differences between Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems are too small when considering nationwide financial default. The real differences will be in which members of society pay our way out, those at the bottom or those at the top.

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