Originally posted on LabourList
As the 2015 general election approaches, it is becoming more obvious by the day what the Tory strategy is: there are no new ideas, policies will continue much as they are now, with the emphasis on denigrating Labour proposals and the Labour leader. If Labour announces details to increase income or corporation tax, Tories are ready to pounce.
The Tory propaganda machine has successfully convinced the more gullible that somehow the Labour government’s spending on schools and hospitals caused the 2008 economic crash, and that as a result, they cannot be trusted to manage the economy. It’s upon this, rather than their own proposals, that the Tory election programme is based.
Tories do not shout from the rooftops what their aims are: shrinking the state back to 1948 levels, a further reduction in social mobility and, of course, immigration, and more cuts in government spending. They will claim their “long-term economic plan” is successful, but will worry their assertion that more people than ever in Britain are working, with most new jobs part-time, on zero-hours contracts and very low pay, will be found out. On their “achievements” like the Bedroom tax, the continued tax gap of at least £50bn, the unregulated banks complete with bonuses and scams, the austerity policies that failed to kick start the economy or reduce borrowing, and the infamous tax reduction for the very rich, there will be silence!
Education, Tories will tell us, has improved exponentially. But they will ignore the fact that academisation has taken place because most schools are fearful of financial problems, and has not always brought examination success, despite heads having more freedom to expel problem students. Even more worrying, perhaps, is the fact that academies and free schools do not come under the auspices of the local authority, sometimes with worrying consequences. Similarly absent from the Tory manifesto will be the recent figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which indicate the largest cut in public spending on education over a four year period since the 1950s has taken place since 2011.
With so many other no-go areas, like the NHS and Royal Mail, for the Tories to dwell on, the main focus of their strategy has, and will continue to be, the fabrication of the idea that Miliband is not prime-ministerial material, because of his “weirdness”. Has the Labour leader changed since becoming leader of the Opposition? No, of course not, but a sudden awareness of his “strangeness” has recently emerged, just months before the election; according to Tory propaganda, which is supported to the letter by Tories` allies in the media, Miliband’s looks, eating methods, speech, teeth, and geekiness make him out to be more like a cartoon character than a prime minister-in-waiting. They are so bereft of policies which can attract new votes, they will attack Miliband with anything they can dig, or make, up.
With humour and self-deprecation, Miliband defended himself well last week, but that should be it. He is no weirder or more geeky than other politicians. For goodness sakes, until a few months ago Gove was touted as a future PM. Yes, Gove!
Miliband’s “weirdness” is a Tory myth, created to divert voters’ attention from the fairness and validity of Labour policies, and the unfairness of theirs. Sadly, the few left-wing elements of our media have fallen for this Tory con-trick – articles by Toynbee, Rawnsley and Richards, and such like, have only added unnecessary gravitas to the issue. It’s time for all Labour supporters to rally around their leader, and when asked about his “geekiness” or whatever, to reply with the same response, learned off by heart, word for word: “The only difference between Ed Miliband and any other politician is that he is the leader of the party with the policies to transform this country, and create the just and fair society we all want”!
Repeat it, if asked again, robot-like if necessary, and the penny will soon drop!