Even before the Conservative members and MPs started to arrive in Birmingham, they had insulted their city hosts. The spiral downwards just continued. Even the police, many of whom had been drafted in from other forces to help police the conference were not happy. One police officer said to me:
“Why are their policies just so unpopular that it takes so many of us to police the conference?”
How to lose friends and insult people
It seems the new generation of Tories is following in the footsteps of their senior party members. The Tory Lord Mayor, Andy Street of Birmingham, slammed David Grainger, the Chair of the Young Conservative Network for calling the city a dump in a tweet. David Grainger later apologised.
However, I was keen to revisit the city because I loved the local areas near the canal by the International Convention Centre.
There have been multiple reports of a sparse attendance for the opening sessions of the conference, which perhaps reflected the mood of the party, possibly one of embarrassment. I was there to protest and many stopped to talk to us. The Benny Hill theme tune played numerous times and vast quantities of Bollox to Brexit stickers were eagerly snapped by members of the public and some delegates.
The Chancellor and tax cuts
Without doubt, the key talking point of Sunday was the Chancellor. He is a very sociable man apparently and loves attending drinks parties with hedge fund managers. Many media reports say that guests at these sumptuous champagne events apparently made tens of millions from shorting the sterling on the financial markets. Of course, they would have toasted him with mighty high fives when their tax bill was suddenly reduced. I do wonder how they will cope with the shock announcement that the tax cut has been reversed.
Ahead of Liz Truss winning the race to be PM, the pound had been falling and the price of government bonds had been rising reflecting concerns about how all the tax cuts would be funded. The mini-budget has seriously eroded international confidence in the financial credibility of the new government and we can expect a very bumpy ride during Liz Truss’s term in office, which of course could be cut short by a collapse of her government and the calling of a General Election.
It’s not funny
It’s not funny anymore. The UK is turning into the laughing stock of the world and who is going to pay for all this incompetence? We are the 99% of the population that has been forgotten by this government. Make no mistake here, we are all going to be so much worse off. For those on a mortgage like myself much higher interest rates are on the way. How will we pay for the cuts in corporation tax, the reduction of income taxes and the national insurance being cut? In the short term. some will be a little better off but government services are being cut, benefits increases will not match inflation and salaries for the NHS, teachers rail workers, the armed forces, and civil servants will be offered insulting pay rises. It’s no wonder nurses are leaving the profession because they cannot afford to survive on their wages.
Mick Lynch and the RMT
Travelling home on the train to London, my companions in the carriage for the journey to London were Mick Lynch and one of his colleagues. They had been in Birmingham for a big demo outside the Tory conference centre. I have rarely seen such genuine anger and placard messages from a vast range of trade union members all asking for the same thing. To earn enough to maintain their dignity. Mick told me of a planned demonstration by the trade union movement on Saturday 5 November in London.
It’s clear that the new Tory leader, Liz Truss has zero credibility. Her days should be numbered, although the Tory party MPs may be slow to push her out.
I say bring on a General Election as soon as possible. We must restore hope and dignity in our government and to our nation.
It’s time to be active and we must all say “Enough is Enough”.