Where are the challenges to Tory misrepresentation?
In the 1970s I found my political will, affiliation and belief; socialism, as expressed by Karl Marx and the Labour Party.
During the 1980s and 90s I saw that will and affiliation demonised, not just by the enemy, mainly the Tories, but by my own party as the Labour Party failed to effectively argue their- and my- case and slowly morph, finally emerging with the Blairites into Tory Lite.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, while I understood the cause, the general population were being convinced by Thatcherite sound bites and false promises.
I maintain that in 1997 the electorate had had enough of the Tories, and Tony Blair did not need to destroy the foundations upon which the Labour Party had been built; the electorate were ready for change so much so that I often quip that Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin or even Marx himself might have stood with a reasonable expectation of electoral success! The alternative was more of the same or Tory Lite- Blairism.
Which brings me to my point; having just watched Thursday evening’s Question Time, I was, to say the least dismayed. Nobody, in my opinion took Iain Duncan Smith to task; I expected better from Ian Hislop.
Salma Yaqoob did, in my view successfully challenge him on his benefits reforms, pointing out he labels poor people scroungers, claims £39 for a breakfast he could well afford to pay for himself, lives on his wife’s estate and has taken £1.5m of taxpayer’s money and commenting “…that’s what I [Salma Yaqoob] call scrounging…” all of which Iain Duncan Smith dismissed with his typical denial, “what a load of old nonsense” and an unconcerned wave of the hand. There are those of us who know Salma was telling the truth; there are those of us who know Iain Duncan Smith, a government minister with whom we trust the running of the country is blatantly lying when he denies such charges.
But Chris Bryant’s failure to destroy the Tories case for the Bedroom Tax was abysmal and can only lead to one conclusion; despite the rhetoric to the contrary, New Labour support austerity.
Chris Bryant challenged Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt on the Bedroom Tax; Iain Duncan Smith interrupted repeating the lie that Labour introduced the Bedroom Tax, referring to Labour’s Local Housing Allowance which is categorically different in concept and practice, the concept being to prevent private landlords from increasing rents on the basis the taxpayer would pick up the bill the practice being it did not relate directly to the number of bedrooms one had, although I concede its effect was to make larger properties with the possibility of having spare bedrooms subject to the legislation.
His failing was to only challenge Iain Duncan Smith on the retrospective aspect of the Tories Bedroom Tax and not to clarify the fundamental differences explained above.
This has been Labour’ and the Socialist movement in general biggest failing in not getting their message across effectively and fully; the electorate hear and empathise with right-wing sound bites which have a ring to them- despite their being half truths and sometimes downright lies. And socialist responses are often to challenge ineffectively as did Chris Bryant on Thursday’s Question Time.
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