Caution, u-turn up ahead

The Conservative Party continue to surprise everyone and no one as they repeatedly turn their backs on the electorate and reverse pre-election pledges used to gain their trust and their votes.

The past week has been of particular embarrassment to the Conservative Party after a Tory voter broke down on BBCQT following David Cameron’s announcement that the government would be cutting family tax credits, having pledged only six months earlier not to. This was swiftly backed up by a maiden speech by Cambridge SouthTory MP, Heidi Allen, who made scathing remarks about the governments decision to cut tax credits, only to vote with the government when the moment came.

This phenomenon of Conservative’s saying one thing and doing another is precisely what they should be known for and they are working hard at erasing these comments from the internet.

In 2010, David Cameron, as leader of the opposition, said there would be no frontline cuts and that any minister in a Conservative government that came to him with such proposals would be ‘sent back to the drawing board’. The Canary this week reported how our frontline services have been decimated by the Conservative Party austerity agenda, revised figures from the Fire Brigades Union this week paint an even bleaker image showing that the number of firefighters lost as a result of government cuts now stands at a staggering 7,000.

The policy reversal culture of the Conservatives continues to affect families the length and breadth of the country and it now transpires that the government have been economical with the truth regarding the Redcar Steel Factory aid fund. Having at one time promised the £80m to assist workers in finding new jobs, it now transpires that the aid fun is also to be used to pay final salaries and redundancy packages.

Workers and unions have been finding ways other than industrial action to challenge the decisions being made at Westminster using statutory instruments such as Early Day Motions, the latest of which has been tabled by the FBU in reference to the up coming comprehensive spending review to ring fence future funding. The last such action by firefighters at Westminster came following a period ‘Occupy’ style of direct action in central lobby, holding weekly vigils during PMQs and green carding their MPs to discuss a range of issues from pension reform to the independent living fund. This eventually led to a debate on pension reform on a stormy night in December 2014.  A record number of MPs signed the EDM in support of opposing the pension reform legislation. This did not stop some MPs changing their mind at the last moment and vote with the government but it did let them know that the people are watching and willing to act. This is what is feared most in the halls at Westminster, more so following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the opposition.

A change is growing in parliament. Parties and devolved governments are working together to ignore or oppose Tory legislation and if coupled with the despair of the public in watching the Tories continually backtrack on pledges used to gain their trust and their vote, we could see their downfall and the start of a fairer society for all.