Tories identify the ‘squeezed middle’ and then find an inventive way to squeeze them just a little bit harder.

That rugby tackle, eh? Boris’s way is the old Etonian way. Coming through and winning, and it doesn’t seem to matter who gets hurt. Even Tory voters, apparently…

Kate Malby, with a Tory take on the matter

…last night’s former Tory voter was heavily on message, until suddenly, she wasn’t. ‘I work bloody hard for my money to provide for my children, to give them everything they’ve got… and you’re going to take it away from me and them.’ It was supposed to be redistributive Jeremy Corbyn who was accused of raiding the family kitty, not the sensible men in suits.

It’s a moment that encapsulated every dark association still lurking around voter attitudes to the Tories. They’re out of touch. They lack empathy. They’re on the take and have nasty friends. But worst of all, they lie as easy as blinking. Last night’s questioner wasn’t just a problem because she disagrees with Tory policy.

She’s a problem because she voted Tory at the last election, and now she feels betrayed. ‘You’re about to cut tax credits after promising you wouldn’t.’ (Largely true). Focus group after focus group continues to show that the Tories lose on empathy, decency, moral vision. You just can’t trust them.

This is effectively abolition of the old Family Income Supplement, and it’s predicated on the ambitious target of abolishing credit transfers from the state to individuals. Trouble is it takes immediate effect and cannot compensate with the staged arrival of the ‘living wage’.

Gaby Hinsliff writing during the Tory Conference in Manchester…

Meanwhile the new and most influential player in the battle to stop George Osborne reducing the tax credits on which low-income families rely turns out to be … the Sun. In an editorial this morning it warned that a “living wage”, which isn’t really anything of the sort, won’t compensate for cuts in benefit paid to working people and rightly suggested this undermines Osborne’s attempt to portray himself as a blue collar hero.

The new politics was always supposed to mean that millions of people outside the charmed circle – graphically represented in Manchester by the secure “ring of steel” surrounding the conference – would make themselves heard within it. [Emphasis added]

In other words, identifying and naming the ‘squeezed middle’ and then finding a nicely inventive way to squeeze them just a little bit harder.


  • Greenflag 2

    The CON servatives have let the mask slip and aare just showing their true colours.

    To them that hath shall be given and to them that hath not -even that which they haven’t yet got -will be taken from them for that is the doctrine of the City of London and Wall St and their slavish defenders.

    When RIchard the Lionheart had squeezed everything he could from the British peasants and no more was forthcoming- he then squeezed the Jews until he owed them so much that he could’nt repay them and had 300 hanged from the walls of the city of York and the rest deported . Thats how he solved Britain’s debt problem in the 13th century . There is a statue of the Lionheart outside Westminster presumably to honour his debt reduction /austerity accomplishments ?

    Osborne the First wears a suit not chain mail and RIchard the Lionhearts modus operandum is no longer socially or politically acceptable despite the former Mayor of London Ken Livingston’s financial crisis solution of hanging one City bankster a week until they improved .

    Having decimated the old working class there’s nothing left to screw the dosh from except those in the middle . The UK is not alone in this respect . It is neo conservative economics 101. With a diminishing middle class in relative income terms and demographically in number in the UK and elsewhere the focus is on selling to or getting investment income from the likes of China etc and of course selling whatever the rising hundreds of millions of new ‘consumers ‘ are in China , India etc .

    Jeremy Corbyn’s not to be written off just yet .

  • Greenflag 2

    All political parties left right and centre make promises at election time . When elected they muddle through if they’ve promised more than they can deliver . Voters in their 50’s and 60’s and older may recall the FF great giveaway in 1977 which saw the then FG/Lab coalition defeated .

    BTW I did’nt say Corbyn was THE answer . What seems clear is that the neo conservative right don’t have the answers either to the huge underlying financial problems facing not just British but western society generally – a combination of low economic growth rates – less people working to support the aging population and low birth rates which ‘force ‘ capital to import immigrants etc etc etc.

    Corbyn I believe was elected because New Labour was seen to been converted to the Tory lite party . Even Mrs Thatcher was a Blair fan ?. While her economic policies wreaked havoc on British industry , coal mining , textiles , ship building. Many others including the mid sized engineering sector were decimated as they relied on the old traditional industries for their business .

    Quite the opposite was the case in Germany . Whereas both sectors were comparable in size in the 1970’s allowing for population difference by 2000 that sector -mid sized engineering was double the size of it’s British counterpart and growing faster .

    Globalisation , robotics , the internet , Moores Law etc etc have all combined to present challenges to what we still call democracy but which to my eyes anyway seems to have morphed into almost corporate statism where the largest financial corporations are kow towed to such a degree by the elected politicians that many have become mumb to any attempt at real reform . Another Bretton Woods is inevitable the only question is when either before the next economic crash or world war or before . The latter would be I’m sure everybody’s first preference .

  • mickfealty

    Greenie, I cannot remember how we parted last time, but before you get too comfortable let me just stop you there.

    “CON servatives”. Apart from not being that funny, you are abandoning the one rule that keep discourse on Slugger both sane and a cut above other sites, ie you are playing the man and then giving yourself carte blanche to ignore the ball…

    Save us the abstractions (entertaining or otherwise) and get down to business?

  • Mer Curial

    Playing the man? As the conservative party isn’t exactly an individual person, I think you need to lighten up a bit. You may think it, but slugger doesn’t inhabit a higher intellectual plane.. 🙂

  • mickfealty

    Probably. But GF has form. Just putting down a clear marker. 🙂

  • Gopher

    Just filled in the Child tax credit form and if I had two 15 year old kids I would get 2500.
    The system is complete nonsense why should I subsidize lifestyle choice?

  • Gopher

    As for the nail bar owner on Question Time and her 4 kids!

    “the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggested that because Ms
    Dorrell does not make a profit she is unlikely to be hit by changes to
    the income threshold for working tax credits”

  • Paddy Reilly

    England, Greenflag, not Britain. Richard the Lionheart was only king of England.

  • Greenflag 2

    True Paddy . My apologies for the inaccuracy . In the words of the Great Klopp of Liverpool which might have some relevance for a small part of an island that did not enjoy the reign of the Coeur de Lion .

    “History is only the base for us. You cannot carry it in your backpack every day.”

  • Greenflag 2

    Neither can I Mick . I’ve heard of Orpington man , Essex man and others that dot the political landscape but never Conservative man .
    I agree with Mercurial below in this instance .

  • Greenflag 2

    You could say that -i.e re all parties and you would be right much of the time . But not all the time . If western politics is a charade then its still an improvement on what has gone before.

    Yes I’ve heard of the “Fighting Quaker ” and yes war is a racket . Some might say religion is an even greater racket . And then there was Joe Stalin’s racket , Pol Pots , Mao’s , Hitlers etc etc . Some would say that the current global currency war is another racket 😉

    Greed is ubiquitous we know and wars endemic and history did not end with Fukuyama . From Magna Carta to the American Revolution to the present time there has always been the question of how much power the monarch /government should have . Parallel and often in conflict with the above has been the growth of individual liberty and freedoms . The latter outcome one hopes will decide the fate of the world . But there are no guarantees .

  • MainlandUlsterman

    My prediction: like the failed “eliminating the deficit” debacle, they will quietly U-turn on it by introducing enough exceptions and caveats that the changeover is smoothed.

    It’s dawning on them belatedly how many – and what kind of – people they are sending over a financial cliff, i.e. lots of swing voters. They gambled on this being early in a parliament and worked-through and forgotten by 2020, but that only works if the damage is containable. It usually is, but a Poll-Tax-style situation can catch fire quickly and burn out of control.

    From their own self-interest, it’s hard to see the point in Osborne digging his heels in over this. Not that much to gain, a lot to lose. All he has to do is convert the change into something longer term, and introduce short term smoothing measures, problem politically detoxified. Hard to believe he won’t do that.

  • Gopher

    Question Time Shill. The fact is 1.8 kids dont want to be paying for 4.5 kids.

  • chrisjones2

    Even better is the Living Wage
    Its going up from £6.50 to £9.00
    Hooray!!! But pause a moment. For every hour the worker gets £2.50 more
    On that they pay tax of say £0.55 (22%)
    NIC of say £0.275 (11%)
    then their employer pays an extra NIC of say an average of 11% so that’s an extra £0.275

    So for every hour worked the Treasury take is
    FROM EMPLOYEE £0.825
    FROM EMPLOYER £0.325

    So George’s giveaway if actually a tax INCREASE of £1.15 an hour on every low paid job in the UK Nice work if you can get it. He such a GENEROUS man

  • chrisjones2

    Damn!!! I forgot …when the sell it on they often charge VAT on the service or goods so its £1.38 / hour to the Treasury