It’s not just the PM, the entire government are authoritarian

AP groups pie renamed-01

Interesting that this YouGov study identifies a proportion of the so-called centrist “moderates” as authoritarian populists, too. It’s something I’ve always suspected, making this group the real extremists within the Labour party. It does explain a lot, and I’d bet my sun hat that those “moderates” are also neoliberals, sharing a significant patch of common ground with the Tories.

Media euphemisms have obscured the truth for almost a decade: the Tories are authoritarians.

The BBC report that Boris Johnson “has no respect for the norms of democratic policy” and that he “misled” the queen”.

The word for that is authoritarianism.

“Authoritarian” was originally a word to describe one more in favour of obedience to authority than personal liberty. I’ve been pointing out since 2012 that the Tories have all the hallmarks of an authoritarian regime. Conservatism has always been an unprincipled apology for the interests of the ruling class and elite. Conservatism has traditionally favoured authoritarian rule.

In the 1980s, the use of a new academic term became common among some political scientists when describing the neoliberal politics of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: “authoritarian populism”. This term was based on the theory that they and their supporters shared a core set of attitudes: cynicism over human rights, anti-immigration, an anti-EU position in Britain, and favouring a strong emphasis on defence as part of wider foreign policy.

Conservatives tend to treat the rule of law with contempt. The Cameron administration hammered the controversial welfare “reforms” through into legislation by citing an archaic law – “commons privilege” – despite the fact that it failed to pass through parliament, and no-one wanted the policy implemented. It was imposed, nonetheless.

The government have claimed that the provision of support for citizens from public funds – our social security – presents a “moral hazard” and “perverse incentives”. They used this rationale to cruelly cut people’s lifeline support. Apparently, lining the pockets of rogue multinationals with private profit to prevent people accessing the basic support they have paid into is acceptable, as is handing out millions of pounds of public funds in “tax breaks” to millionaires. 

This is a government that doesn’t care whether or not citizens can meet their basic survival needs. Over the last decade, we have seen the rise of absolute poverty – where people cannot afford to meet fundamental survival needs such as the provision of food, heating and shelter. We have seen the rise of unjust, punitive policies and growing inequalities.

We have also witnessed emergent expressions of eugenic and social Darwinist ideology underpinning controversial policies such as the tax credit two-child policy.  Iain Duncan Smith claimed the policy would bring about “behavioural change”, discouraging poor people from having children. This cut is particularly unkind as the result is that the state penalises children on the arbitrary basis of how many brothers and sisters they have – a decision out of their hands. The policy violates the human rights of third and subsequent children within a family.

The Tories have told lie after lie and got away with it. In the Commons, MPs are not permitted by convention to use the word “liar”. But democratic accountability should matter rather more than convention. It’s about time that changed.

Back in 2010, few people recognised the arrival of a new form of authoritarian nationalism in the UK. By 2012, it was pretty plain to some of us. But we were often dismissed as “scaremongers” at the time. 

In 2012, the Conservatives’ Health and Social Care bill was also pushed through legislation at unholy speed. We are still waiting for the government to fulfil the court ruling, and those of the information commissioner regarding the release of the policy  risk register to the public. I put in an Freedom of Information request, asking for the risk register to be placed in the public domain, and was told by government that “it isn’t in the public interest” to see the catastrophic risk assessment of the policy.

We’ve yet to see the full details of a No Deal Brexit risk assessment.

The Trade Union Bill and the Organised Crime and Police Act aimed at curtailing public protest and was a marked attack on civil liberties. The Tories ensured that private companies made profits from their unprecedented cuts to public services. They, and the vulture capitalist corporations that benefited from the Conservatives’ policies wanted to ensure that strike action and democratic protests were stifled.  In short, the Tories have always seen human rights and democratic norms as a political inconvenience – “red tape” – as have the exploitative big business political bed partners. 

Let’s not forget the multiple “grave and systematic” human right violations of disabled people because of  draconian Tory policies. The United Nations investigated the impact of policies, because in 2012, I wrote to the UN and presented evidence subsequently – along with many others. We have submitted empirical evidence of the despotic policy framework that has resulted in human rights violations, and the subsequent suffering of ill and disabled people over several years. The UN report was conclusive.

People have died as a direct consequence of Tory policies, the government should have been removed from office when that finding was reported. Especially when they refused to conduct an inquiry and continued to deny there was any problem with their draconian welfare policy. It seems that the loss of human life is considered rather less serious than telling lies to the queen and suspending parliament to avoid democratic scrutiny. However, all of these events are closely connected. 

The Tories have been avoiding democratic scrutiny since they took office back in 2010. The tactics that this government have used to cling onto power amounts to a tyrannical and despicable misuse of psychology, and in particular, behaviourism. All despots are behaviourists. 

Over the last decade, neoliberals have used what appear to be objective categories of group behaviours and measurement, which seem to fit very neatly with the pre-existing power structure. And reinforce it. Furthermore, the value-laden categories also form the basis of targeted scapegoating and justification narratives, deployed to make very punitive, controversial policies seem somehow reasonable. 

Then there is the utterly woeful performance of the media in holding government to account. That’s because the government ‘brief’ commentators and journalists regarding what they may and may not say – they have ideological control of most of the mainstream media.


Iain Duncan Smith announced in 2012 that he was “monitoring the BBC for “left wing bias”. It was plain back then what was happening. And nothing changed.

The Tories do whatever they can get away with. Authoritarianism advances by almost inscrutable degrees – moral and legal boundaries are pushed incrementally. 

Until suddenly, everyone sees it for what it is. But once you hear the jackboots, it’s rather too late.

It’s taken a decade of damage and suffering. We must not let this happen ever again. 

I don’t make any money from my work. I’m disabled because of illness and I’m often skint. But you can make a donation to help me continue to research and write free, informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others. The smallest amount is much appreciated – thank you.


17 thoughts on “It’s not just the PM, the entire government are authoritarian

  1. Every single time I get an email notification and open the article link I’ve had to refollow this blog, not sure what’s happening tbh, to get round this I’ve tried not using email link and gone straight to the reader, problem is because I’m not following I cannot find the blog in the reader, so have to goto older posts I’ve reblogged. It’s becoming a real pain, wondered if anyone else was having any of the same issues?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure, first I thought it was the adblocker but it’s not, it could be some of the new security measures WordPress have put in place because they’ve had lots of issues with hackers, adware etc and they’re throwing up these bugs, I will look deeper, I’ll let you know if I find anything of relevance. M

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You might be being ghosted I know I am – When I share your articles I have to chase them around and post on specific feeds or post directly on my own feed on both twitter and fb – Fb is worse I used to have a hundred or more commenting on my posts and sharing now not one occasionally I get a comment or share from other feeds – The only time I see anything from you on twitter is when you rt your articles if I want to see what you’re doing I have to go to your feed

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve just had to login again to post this it’s not here unless its up for you to moderate so sending it again to make sure
    You might be being ghosted I know I am – When I share your articles I have to chase them around and post on specific feeds or post directly on my own feed on both twitter and fb – Fb is worse I used to have a hundred or more commenting on my posts and sharing now not one occasionally I get a comment or share from other feeds – The only time I see anything from you on twitter is when you rt your articles if I want to see what you’re doing I have to go to your feed


  3. Unfortunately, your team were misinformed, by the DWP and my complaints against the DWP, CHDA and ICE continue. To resolve this situation, please find attached the letter from Wayne Dunkley, Correspondence Manager, dated the 28th September 2017, as requested and which states:

    “I can assure you that we have implemented the Tribunal Judge’s decision of 15th August 2017 and accept that your capability for work should not be reassessed again until August 2019”

    With no objections to the Judge’s decision and The Statement of Reasons, the “change circumstances” is another requirement of the DWP to amend their records – from Work-Related component to Support-Group.

    I have replied to DWP demands for financial information and trust this will be the last. Please also find attached the “Declaration” signed true and complete – requesting the date of my 2nd Medical Assessment.
    Once we have the 2nd Medical Report, in 5 years, we can compare the actual documents and the ICE Report

    My assets and debts have no relevance to the Support Group component. Natalie Vickers, CHDA, did not appreciate this in her “final response” of October 2016 nor Lindsay Tickle, Acting Head of ESA Mainstream in her letter of February, 2017 – wasting the time of the Independent Case Examiner and their Report.

    Isolating the assessments that are needed, your team have agreed the withdrawal from Work-Related Benefits is necessary and await the confirmation from the DWP.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Department for Work and Pensions
      4th Floor
      Caxton House
      Tothill Street
      SW1H 9DA 4th October, 2019

      Disability Discrimination by C.H.D.A.

      Dear Sir / Madam,

      Further to the letter of Mr.Matt Warman, MP, (attached), would you please advise why we are still waiting responses to the following letters:

      25th February, 2016 – Mr.Matt Warman letter to DWP, attached
      Delay of invite to Medical Assessment

      25th January, 2017 – ICE, waiting final response from DWP, attached
      “Within their own timescales”

      4th February, 2017 – to James Downton
      Telephone conversation held on Audio CD, Ref : Official 397-16

      The contents of these letters were not included in the Independent Case Examiner’s Report of 23rd October, 2018, nor any explanation why for the past 4 years I have been asked to sell assets without any written notification from the DWP.

      It is a great disappointment, I have been paid “Support Group” benefits, but the DWP and CHDA are unaware of the disabilities that forced me to take early retirement in 2012 and again these are not explained in the Independent Case Examiner’s Report.

      The Halifax Building Society is expecting the settlement of my mortgage on the 23rd October, 2019 and “payment arrangements” have been made to clear outstanding debts to overdraft and credit-card.

      Therefore, I demand your immediate conclusions.

      Yours faithfully,

      Maurice Spencer,



  4. The Sage of my Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claim started with my responsibilities towards my family and friends. If I wanted to gain employment and move to the Cheltenham area – this does not give the Department for Work and Pensions any right to tell me to finance my income, by selling property outside my authority and theirs !!

    The only “rights” the DWP and CHDA have is to know why they have paid me, Support Group entitlements for the past 4.5 years and continue to do so until I reached state-pension age.

    The answers are given to them in the Statement of Reasons, dated September, 2017, but they, the CHDA and ICE are unable to accept the truth. In collaboration they have censored and distorted this truth – this would suggest far more problems, than clerical error they declared April, 2018.

    How many rules, policies and timescales have they broken ?


  5. Facts are not included in the Medical Report of February 2016; the “final response” from the CHDA of October 2016; the letter from the Acting Head of ESA Mainstream Operations or the Report from ICE of October 2018. The Statement of Reasons over-rules all these documents. When my 2nd Medical Assessment takes place, the only reference point left is the Statement of Reasons and my application of March 2015 – mandatory evidence is no longer required.

    The DWP are wrong to annually disallow income / work-related benefits – this delays any opportunity of gaining the correct entitlements. The CHDA were also wrong to omit the selection criteria from my Medical Assessment of 27th February 2016 and the “false-statements” made.

    The DWP and CHDA do not want me to take a 2nd Medical Assessment – this applies now, like October 2015, when they first disallowed Income / Work-Related benefits.

    My family and friends have suffered my reclusive lifestyle since the Medical Assessment of the 27th February, 2016. Without their SUPPORT I would not be here now!!


  6. Nice article Sue, thank you.
    FYI there’s a typo in this para – rater not rather
    “The Tories have told lie after lie and got away with it. In the Commons, MPs are not permitted by convention to use the word “liar”. But democratic accountability should matter rater more than convention. It’s about time that changed”

    Liked by 1 person

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