Some of the promises the Tories are trying to delete from the internet:
1. No cuts to front-line services.
2. “We have absolutely no plans to raise VAT”.
3. Cameron said “I wouldn’t means-test child benefit”.
4. “No more top-down reorganisations of the NHS”.
5. On Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA): “We don’t have any plans to get rid of them”.
6. Cameron on Sure Start: “Yes we back Sure Start. It’s a disgrace that Gordon Brown has been trying to frighten people about this”.
7. On the Future Jobs Fund: “We have no plans to change it”.
8. Cameron on green taxes: “[They] need to go up”.
9. Osborne on bank bonuses: “Totally unacceptable”.
10. And finally, Cameron’s commentary on transparency in 2007: “It’s clear to me that political leaders will have to learn to let go. Let go of the information we have guarded so jealously”.
“The throne was golden and the lectern was golden and the speech was very clear: austerity will not be temporary policy in Tory Britain. It will last forever. Addressing a roomful of diplomats and business leaders who had just dined lavishly at the Lord Mayor’s banquet, the Prime Minister this week promised a “leaner, more efficient state”. “We need to do more with less,” said David Cameron, looking comfy in his white tie and tails. “Not just now, but permanently.”
But he hadn’t counted on Ruth Hardy, a journalism student, who was working as a waitress that night. “The contrast of the two worlds was striking; someone said it was like a scene from Downton Abbey,” wrote Hardy for the Guardian.
“Maybe Cameron didn’t see the irony; perhaps he forgot about the army of waiting staff, cleaners, chefs and porters who were also present at the banquet. Perhaps he thought he was in a room of similarly rich people, who understood the necessity for austerity. Perhaps it didn’t occur to him that this message might not be as easily comprehended by those who hadn’t just enjoyed a four-course meal. Perhaps he forgot about those of us, disabled or unemployed or on the minimum wage, for whom austerity has had a catastrophic and wounding effect.”
The steep cuts to higher education funding were amongst the first austerity measures that the coalition imposed, in direct violation of their election promises, after taking office in 2010. It didn’t take the government long to raise VAT, cut front-line services, radically reform the NHS from the top down and close down Sure Start services. Child benefits are now means-tested, and child tax credit payment is to be restricted to only two children per family.
The government are also planning on restricting Freedom of Information disclosures. The many rebukes for telling lies from the Office for National Statistics, amongst other organisations, indicates very clearly that this is not a transparent and democratically accountable government at all.