Monday, 1 March 2010

Patriots and Scoundrels

Two stories about the Tories in the last 24 hours have really made my blood boil. The first is the cheek of David Cameron saying that it is patriotic to get a Tory government elected. Second and not immediately obviously related is the news that Lord Ashcroft has admitted that he is not paying UK taxes but he will if the Tories are elected! I can hardly type I am so cross!

The two stories are related however as they expose the hypocrisy at the heart of the Tories. Its OK to demonstrate that I love my country by voting for a bunch of old Etonians to run it, but I'd rather not pay the taxes that contribute to the common good thank you very much.

As Dr Johnson said "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." How dare Cameron imply that it is unpatriotic not to vote for the nasty party at the next election. Personally I believe that another Tory government would be disastrous for the country but I wouldn't say it was unpatriotic to vote Conservative. There is of course a (not so) subtle message here. The Tories, by wrapping themselves in the flag are trying to invoke unpleasant as well as pleasant images. Which other party wraps themselves in the flag? Evidence of this was seen last week in some electoral material sent out in the name of that rather unpleasant Tory Andrew Rosindell, a Cameron Home Affairs spokesperson. From the Guardian

David Cameron's Tories were accused last night of dog-whistle politics after the Conservative leader appeared on the front of flyers saying the floodgates had been opened to mass immigration. Critics say the flyers are alarmist and misleading because they imply limits could be imposed on entrants from EU countries such as Poland.
Last night, the party's frontbench was forced to distance itself from the hard-hitting material, which was put out under the name of Cameron's home affairs spokesman, Andrew Rosindell. It bears a picture of both men, says that immigration has caused a population explosion, and declares "we simply cannot go on like this".

As for Ashcroft, well what can you say. Amazingly John Prescott had a good Tweet,
 Voters in marginal seats should remember that money that could have gone to frontline services is paying for Tory leaflets #cashcroft
Chris Huhne pointed out that Belize grows a lot of bananas and Ashcroft has bought the Tory Part like a banana republic.
The Conservatives’ biggest donor is a tax-dodger from Belize who has not paid a penny of British tax on the vast bulk of his estimated £1.1bn fortune held offshore.

“This raises extraordinary questions about the judgement of successive Tory leaders - William Hague, Michael Howard and David Cameron - whose view seems to be that only little people should pay tax. 

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