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Eyes Left The death of the Tories? Let us pray

If the Conservative Party does indeed find itself reduced to a pitiful rump at the election, it is not just comeuppance for the last 14 years but a crumb of justice for two centuries of utter disgrace, writes ANDREW MURRAY

WHOSE heart does not skip a beat at some of the poll-driven parliamentary projections emerging from the election campaign?
 
The Tories down to 70 seats! Or 53! Or even two! Even the top end of forecasts, about 150 Tory MPs, does not sound so bad.
 
Of course, there are the unavoidable caveats. It may not happen. Farage may be a beneficiary. And anyway, the monumental Labour majorities predicted will not lead to a much-improved country under Keir Starmer’s direction.
 
But still … for that vast historic engine for the imposition of human misery, the Conservative Party, to be laid so low is a silver lining without really the hint of a cloud.
 
It is the just reward for not just 14 years of miserable and inept class-rule government, but for 200 years of reactionary, imperialist, bourgeois, selfish, racist, bigoted politics.
 
The self-styled “most successful party in the world” might finally get its comeuppance, not just defeated but crushed; possibly reduced to such a rump that recovery is far distant and perhaps impossible.
 
What might come after is an interesting question, but for now we should just enjoy the moment.
 
Never has a political punishment beating been so richly merited as the one the voters look likely to administer to the Tories on July 4.
 
Start with just the last 14 years, the Cameron-May-Johnson-Truss-Sunak administration. It has done unforgivable damage to the public realm, to the most vulnerable, and to the life and prospects of all working people.
 
But where to, in fact, start? Half-a-million local authority staff have lost their jobs since Cameron and Osborne set to work. Spending on social care for the elderly fell by 35 per cent during their years in charge, which may have on its own led to 45,000 excess deaths.
 
Nearly a quarter of women’s refuge places have been lost; 1,400 Sure Start centres have been shuttered, impacting on millions of children; 800 libraries, 1,000 swimming pools and 200 museums have been closed.
 
Capital spending on schools is down by nearly a third, while teachers’ pay has been cut back to 2001 levels. Forty-three per cent of courts have been closed, and 14 councils have declared bankruptcy with many more teetering on the edge.
 
The prison population has soared to record levels with massive overcrowding and an indifferent impact on crime rates.
 
Doctors and nurses have endured swingeing real pay cuts while waiting lists for everything from a doctor’s appointment to cancer treatment have lengthened.
 
Real wages for working people have not advanced since 2007, public investment has slumped, regional inequality has widened and at least 1.5 million more people are living in poverty. There are more than 3,000 foodbanks across the country, whereas in 2010 there were almost none.
 
The pandemic was a riot of government incompetence and officially sanctioned corruption, with tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths while friends of ministers waxed fat.
 
Libya, Syria and Yemen were bombed and despoiled, the Ukraine war stoked and the Israelis enabled in their assault on Gaza.
 
And against all this? Only a Brexit which the Tory government of the time did not want anyway and subsequent governments have been unable to exploit to the advantage of working people in the slightest.
 
From the cruelty of David Cameron to the corruption of Boris Johnson to the madness of Liz Truss and the haplessness of super-rich Sunak, they have laid waste to the country. No wonder eminent political historian Anthony Seldon has described these last 14 years as the worst government since the second world war.
 
But this indictment — only partial in itself — does not do full justice to the Conservative Party, nor to its malevolent centuries-old role in history.
 
It was pre-eminently the party of empire, with massacres on its record and blood on its hands from India to Ghana to Iraq to Kenya to Malaya to Cyprus to Yemen to South Africa to Egypt to Jamaica — and much more.
 
It was the party of resistance to democracy, of insurrection in the interests of Ulster Unionism, of hard-faced businessmen and the General Strike, of the gold standard and depression, of high finance and low politics, the party which bears a large share of the blame for the second world war with its sustained appeasement of Hitler in the interests of imperialism and anti-communism.
 
That this beast could finally be buried is almost too good to be true — and may yet in fact prove to be. One can only hope that however many MPs it has in the next House of Commons, its agonies are only just beginning.
 
It will likely be tormented by Nigel Farage and the Reform Party, as the Braverman-Jenrick wing of the Tories seeks to reconstitute the rump as an authoritarian nationalist-populist party on the model successful elsewhere, while others will cling to the “One Nation” centrist bromides that have served it well in the past.
 
May they never resolve their disputes and rediscover amity. Should we have the good fortune to be alive at the interment of the Conservative Party, we should comport ourselves in the manner recommended by the poet Byron on the funeral of the reactionary repressive Tory of the first water, Lord Castlereagh:
 
Posterity will ne’er survey
 
A nobler grave than this
 
Here lie the bones of Castlereagh
 
Stop, traveller, and piss!

 
Reprobates and rascals rally to subvert socialism in Islington North
 
Keir Starmer is very sure that Jeremy Corbyn was never going to win the 2019 election for Labour. So he should be. It was the ridiculous “remain” Brexit policy sedulously foisted on Labour by Starmer himself that foredoomed the party’s election campaign.
 
Now all the Labour leader can do is snipe vindictively at his predecessor, who continues to haunt the Labour right’s waking hours.
 
Certainly, their mute official candidate against Corbyn, health privatiser Praful Nargund who has yet to give an interview or attend a public event, is getting a lot of help in his bid to secure Islington North for the bourgeoisie.
 
Among those crossing London to assist the drive to unseat Corbyn have been secret state associate Paul Mason, and Jeffrey Epstein associate Peter Mandelson.
 
From the turncoat Trotskyist to the “intensely relaxed” butler to the filthy rich, all the night creatures of Starmerite social democracy are mobilised to exorcise Corbynism. It is desperate and probably counter-productive.
 
Lord Mandelson, more accustomed to an oligarch’s yacht, and Mason, designer of McCarthyite organograms of the left, scarcely have the skill set to swing votes on the huge working-class estates of Islington.
 
So, keep coming flinching traitors and sneering cowards. They have nothing against the love of the masses for a man of principle.

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