Jun 5, 2017

This Report Exposes the Last 7 Years of Conservative Rule

Got family or friends who are thinking of voting Conservative? Can't find the right words or evidence to explain why that is a terrible idea? Or just want to know more about what the Tories have been up to over the last 7 years? Look no further!
By Tyler Watts / filmsforaction.org
This Report Exposes the Last 7 Years of Conservative Rule

"A note from the authors:

After having many difficult and problematic conversations with family or friends who were committed to voting Conservative in the upcoming general election on the 8th June, we wanted to examine the truth behind the last 7 years of Tory government and condense it all into a simple, accessible and widely sourced investigative report.

The report explores the impact of Conservative government in almost every aspect of life in the UK.

We hope it can become a useful tool for anyone hoping to educate, inform and persuade their friends and family to vote in a fashion that does not condemn them and future generations to a poorer quality of life and the inevitable suffering that will arise from another Conservative victory.

The report can be accessed free online or downloaded here: https://thekidsmanifesto.wordpress.com


With love,

cropped-handprint-clipart-border-rtakybgtl.jpeg

         The KM Collective'' 

 

With perhaps one of the most important elections in a generation arriving on June 8th, Britain is preparing itself for what is sure to mark a major historical shift in the trajectory of its social and political destiny. Yet throughout the last 7 years, there is one dominant party that has implemented and executed a programme of systemic vampirism, preying on the vulnerable and the poor, draining the public sector and consistently inflicting further impoverishment upon the population of Britain – the Tories – or the party otherwise known, as the Conservative Party.

The truth of Tory Britain is the truth of austerity. It is a truth of unimaginable human cost resulting from massive cuts to the very systems of life-giving the state proclaims to provide; this includes cuts to funding for education, health services, welfare and indeed across all public sectors. Their policies have seen higher education become increasingly unaffordable, the wealth inequality gap grow further and further, the NHS begin to buckle under new pressure and the cycle of terrorism and international conflict continue.

So why do the Conservatives have such broad support? Even with working class voters? Is it simply an electorate often living in blissful ignorance or privilege, or one that has been deceived by rhetoric and false promises? It is a question many people are asking themselves; especially amongst the younger generation of the UK.

Knowing that this election will decide the fate of many generations in the UK to come, many young people – and indeed people of all ages – have likely felt incredibly disheartened at conversations shared with family or friends who have decided to take it upon themselves to support the Conservatives in the upcoming election; we all know those uncomfortable dinner-time debates, the slowly boiling rift of opinions, the side-eyes and sighs of consternation.

With many young people wondering exactly how to explain the truth of the Conservative party in such situations, beyond the shallow realm of opinions and into the deep oceans of facts, we took it upon ourselves to demonstrate how to use 'The Kid's Manifesto: A Guide to Not Voting Conservative' by offering 7 simple reasons as to why a vote for Theresa May is a vote against your children’s future and the future of generations to come.


All information listed below is compiled and referenced in ‘The Kid’s Manifesto: A Guide to Not Voting Conservative’,  available for free online or downloadable here: https://thekidsmanifesto.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/the-kids-manifesto/

 

1. Education

  education

In 2015, the Tories cut £3 billion to public education funding. Theresa May will continue with this pledge. It is also predicted that almost half of Britain’s teachers will leave their jobs due to overworking, chronic under-funding and stress.

Theresa May has also pledged to scrap free school dinners for over 900,000 children, putting greater strains on families already struggling to make ends meet. The Prime Minister claims this will save up to £3.5 million of public money. (It is interesting to note that as recently as 2015, politicians were been enjoying five-course meals in luxury restaurants and the Parliament bar at a public cost of £3.7 million a year.)

Under the Coalition government tuition fees were increased to £9000 a year, last year the Conservatives have granted permission to Universities to lift the cap with inflation. That is set to raise fees as high as £11,697 by 2025 - tipping the price of a top degree over £35,000, the price without additional living costs. Additionally, the Conservatives have scrapped the maintenance grant replacing it with another loan, adding greater financial pressure for young people from lower-income backgrounds.

This future will likely be one where any schools will be understaffed and underfunded, and where the quality of education will have drastically declined. It is also a future where young people will likely choose not to apply for university degrees and where only the richest will be educated, whilst universities will become even more of a market for private profiteering.

A vote for Conservative is a vote for the continued attack on every child’s right to learn.


2. NHS / Healthcare

elderly care

With George Osbourne already scrapping the £6000-a-year grant unveiled in 2015, with changes imposed to junior doctors’ contracts, and with severe underfunding and budget cuts, the NHS is already reaching a crisis point. Adult social care and mental health service cuts have increased pressure on many hospitals, all of which are already over-stretched and lacking in resources.

The Conservatives have promised increased investments whilst also reducing and redefining what services are provided by the NHS. This has seriously undermined what should be considered a national institution to be cherished and protected.

This is all mainly thanks to Jeremy Hunt – the current Secretary of Health – a Conservative politician who has already co-authored a book advocating for the privatization of the NHS. Hunt has also flown to the U.S.A to meet private healthcare companies and advertise the NHS, and he has already sold off and privatized sectors of the NHS, even those that were making money (whilst pocketing £17 million for himself after selling off his own private health company). The insidious privatisation of the NHS has made young people, as well as most of the adult population, fearful of the imposition an American-style health system that would leave those unable to afford healthcare to die.

For many young people, the NHS is not something to be whittled away and thrown into the fire. With the possibility of the eventual collapse of the NHS is a looming reality in the wake of a Conservative victory, a vote for Conservative is a vote for the likely destruction of free healthcare in Britain.

3. Housing

housing crisis 2.jpg

Under the Conservatives, the UK has experienced a housing crisis unlike any other in living memory. Most young people already have no hope to own a house, with home-owning is at its record lowest in 29 years. Families are now increasingly dependent on renting properties with little to no tenant protections existing and since 2010 rents have also risen by 15%. All of this isn’t surprising when we realise almost a third of British MPs are private landlords.

The Conservatives housing policy has favoured the rich and allowed private property tycoons, from the UK and abroad, to buy huge swathes of land as well as previously council-owned housing in the UK, especially in London. This is also not surprising considering property developers have contributed upwards of £3.3. million to the Conservative party between 2008-2011 alone.

The result has been a marked rise in unaffordable housing and a lack of tenant rights that have exacerbated the homelessness crisis. In 2016, over 43,000 families were made homeless. In February 2017 alone, it was estimated that the equivalent of five families an hour were made homeless. In the UK, homelessness has actually doubled since David Cameron’s election in 2010. Despite this happening, the Conservatives have continued with their austerity measures, adding insult to injury by making spending cuts to council budgets and homelessness relief bodies.

Yet if the Conservatives continue to succeed in their plans, it is likely jobseekers aged 18 to 21 will also no longer get Housing Benefit to help with their rent. According to the homelessness charity, Centrepoint, this will likely force thousands of young people on the streets and adversely affect children from abusive homes. 

Every child deserves shelter and warmth, yet a vote for Conservative is a vote for more precarious and unaffordable housing for your children. It is also a vote for the further likelihood of homelessness in Britain, at the cost of future lives.

 

4. Environment

environment

With the natural world facing a crisis unlike anything ever known, future generations are staring down the barrel of immense ecological damage and a significant impact on human and animal populations – from mass extinction, to deforestation and oceanic pollution.

However, it is man-made climate change that is likely to have the biggest consequences for human civilization and for much of life on Earth. The existence of which is agreed by 97% of scientists and the cause of which is an enormous amount of carbon emissions – primarily due to the consumption of fossil fuels as well as the production of other gases such as methane.

 The alternatives for a greener economy are available, however the fossil fuel industry is fighting tooth and nail to propagate lies about climate change and encourage countries to continue investing in dirty energy whilst also continue practicing the damaging resource extraction techniques involved with fossil fuels.

In the context of the UK, indeed, the fossil fuel industries have spent upwards of £39 million lobbying British and European policymakers. Moreover, as a party, the Conservatives have received over £390,000 from the oil industry in 2017 alone under the leadership of Theresa May.

With the Conservatives having already legalised fracking (a highly controversial and damaging method of extracting shale gas) under national parks in 2015, they continue to remain the only major political party in the UK that do not oppose fracking; with Theresa May instead describing fracking as ‘a revolution’ in energy in her 2017 manifesto.

This is hardly surprising considering the Conservatives and the British fossil fuel industries responsible for fracking are notoriously close, with many ex-Tories going onto to serve in this industry and maintaining contact with government. These ties may also explain the attack on renewable energy alternatives; with cuts to small household solar panels funding by 64% and the exclusion of onshore wind farms in a 2016 subsidy scheme.

The Conservative relationship with animal rights is also horrific. Alongside Theresa May’s recently vocal support for fox hunting, the pledge to ban all ivory products has also disappeared from the Conservative 2017 manifesto – despite many experts describing this tactic as the only way to truly begin shutting down the poaching of elephants.  Likewise, under the Conservatives, thousands of badgers have been slaughtered in a cull that has been scientifically proven as ineffective and pointless in controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

This is merely a glimpse of the legacy that will be left for young people in the UK – and it will only get worse under another Tory government. By voting Conservative, children today will be facing a future severely affected by the destruction of the UK’s natural habitats, further pollution, increased climate change and the exhaustion of fossil fuels without renewable alternatives.
 

5. Human Rights

  anti terror

The Conservatives have repeatedly expressed that they would scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with the British Bill of rights, this has been in Tory manifestos since 2010. The Tories have a terrible record in addressing domestic violence in the UK; with further austerity measures shutting down ever more refuge centres for women and also putting pressure on victim support funding for LGBT communities. We have also seen the proliferation of detention centres such as Yarl’s Wood holding refugees of all ages, whilst being run by corporate security contractors such as G4S and Serco. Many of these facilities have reported mistreatment of detained refugees, including racist abuse, sexual harassment and even rape.

Under the Conservatives, Britain has also become the world’s second largest arms exporter and their classically hard-line stance on defence has seen the ‘blowback’ (the intelligence term for unintended domestic consequences of military operations) of terrorism; especially the recent attacks in Manchester and London. Furthermore, it was only last month, that Theresa May was in Saudi Arabia. Why is this important? Well, Britain has sold up to £3.3 billion worth of arms to states such as Saudi Arabia; who are known for funding ISIS as well as conducting their own brutal war on Yemen (a conflict which has now displaced upwards of 3 million people.) Despite this, the Conservative foreign secretary Boris Johnson continued to urge the Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, to remain selling weapons to Saudi Arabia. This is one recent example of the Conservatives pathologically deranged and irresponsible foreign policy.

At home, the Conservatives have also overseen increased impoverishment – with the number of people using food banks in the UK rising from 43,000 (when Cameron came to power in the Lib-Dem coalition) to a staggering 1.2 million. The decimation of support for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities has also been the legacy of the Conservatives, with those deemed ‘fit for work-related activity’ as claimants of Employment and Support Allowance get £29.05 less every week. The Department for Work and Pensions revealed that 2,380 people died between December 2011 and February 2014 after being declared “fit for work”. This is the direct human cost of the Conservatives austerity policies – and proof that cuts cost lives.

In regards to child poverty, Conservative MP Iain Duncan also made sure that MP’s no longer have to scrutinise child poverty target figures in the House of Commons. The Conservatives also chillingly managed to erase the term ‘Child Poverty’ from the Child Poverty Act, renaming it the ‘Life Chances Act’ – just as they did with the ‘Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission’, now simply ‘Social Mobility Commission’.

If anything is more telling about what it means to vote Conservative concerning the welfare of children and the right to live a life free from poverty, war, prejudice and oppression, surely this is it.


 6. Surveillance

cctv

Under the past seven years of Conservative leadership, state surveillance has massively increased. The Snoopers’ Charter provides wide ranging powers including the right to hack devices, look at web history and infect devices with malware and spyware. With almost no oversight or any real way of holding accountability, we are handing over all of our privacy and our intimate lives - to be spied on, gathered, collected, stored and analysed.

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear’: this buzz-phrase is often used by government to justify surveillance and the violation of privacy rights. The phrase has been employed by Conservative politicians such as the ex foreign secretary William Hague, who used the phrase on ‘The Andrew Marr Show’ in 2013 as well as Tory MP Richard Graham, who caused controversy after using the phrase in Parliament – as the words have been previously associated with Nazi Minister of Information, Joseph Goebbels. This narrative that surveillance is solely for the purpose of preventing domestic terrorism becomes destabilised when we understand that in fact, bulk surveillance and Big Data processing is an ineffective way of processing information that does not actually increase any state ability to identify and pre-emptively prevent terrorism.

It is perhaps telling that just as the NSA’s decryption programme (that is; a method of breaking technological encryption that many devices use for security and privacy ) was named Operation Bullrun – after the first battle of the American Civil War - the British intelligence counterpart GCHQ named their own decryption programme Operation Edgehill – named after the first battle of the English civil war. Just the age of surveillance has manifested on the streets of the UK with CCTV (the UK has the most CCTV in ratio to population demographic in the world). alongside the increased militarisation of the police - in response to the blowback of terrorist activity on British streets - so has the draconian surveillance state manifested online alongside the creeping militarisation of the Internet.

As most young people today have grown up with a significant portion of their lives using the internet, they are the most at threat. A right to privacy on the internet is no different from a right to privacy in your own home. A vote for Conservative is a vote for the party that has most ardently attempted to curtail these rights, and it is one that will commit itself to do so for many more decades to come

7. Economy

George Osborne

After Brexit, with economic uncertainty on the horizon, the Conservatives like to pronounce themselves as the most appropriate party to manage the economy. However, under George Osbourne, the UK has actually now become the worst performing advanced economy in the world – despite the proclaimed benefits of austerity.

In fact, George Osbourne has missed or delayed his targets on shrinking the deficit again and again, at one point, even only a month after setting them. The devastating effects of austerity have not been grounded in economic science, with many experts warning that austerity actually leads to greater economic disaster and wealth inequality. Indeed, the interesting question remains as to how, even amidst this freeze on spending and the regime of austerity, Britain’s billionaires have seen their net worth more than double since the recession, with the richest 1,000 families now controlling a total of £547bn. (As much wealth as the poorest 40% in the UK)

Furthermore, during the reign of the Conservatives, the young population have faced the unfettered proliferation of ‘zero hour contracts’ that enable bosses to legally change shifts each week. Whilst they can offer flexibility, they also can risk reducing work hours to zero without notice or redundancy rights.  “Bad work” has become a phrase for the low-paying jobs exploiting legal loopholes and undeveloped regulations – such as Uber and Deliveroo – with these jobs lacking in flexibility, staff engagement, and long-term security. The growth of the gig economy and zero-hours contracts has particularly affected young people who need to fend for themselves. Indeed, for under 25s unemployment is at 18.5% and many claiming jobseekers have already faced the prospect of losing benefits under the previous Conservative initiative, The Work Programme (although this has been discontinued as of April) – a programme that also forced Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants into performing unpaid labour.

75% of young people voted to remain in the EU Referendum, and many fear the uncertain future that awaits. However with the Conservatives in charge, the economy will continue to be in the same distress used to justify their own malicious and ineffective austerity programmes that has destroyed much of the UK’s public infrastructure already. It is an integral part of their political agenda and a vote for Theresa May, is truly the vote for chaos.

In conclusion, with many young people now turning towards Jeremy Corbyn after a prolonged and apathetic feeling of disillusionment with establishment politics – it is the Labour Party that offers the most compassionate and promising vision for the future of the UK. This is clear for anyone, even if you do not believe their promises, as the alternative of a Conservative government is a prospect too dire for many British youths to begin considering. Whilst children and other young people will be adversely affected by Conservative policies, so will most of the British population for many, many generations.

Yet there is now hope to pick up the shattered pieces of history and try to reassemble Britain’s future. But it is up to the elder generation - the parents, the aunts, the uncles, the grandparents - to now take responsibility for their decisions and try to understand the material consequences that their vote will have upon the world that their children may live in. It is in this understanding that they will have to realise that the youth represent the future, and that the Conservatives represent the conservation of a toxic legacy that they no longer wish to inherit.

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