WEEKLY WANKER #051: DAVID CAMERON

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Writing about why David Cameron is a wanker could take more time than any of us have, so to avoid having to serialise this and release a few thousand words every day from now until the end of time, I thought I’d instead try to focus on all the terrible things he’s done in his first week back in the job but he’s been such a wanker, it’s taken a fortnight.

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Having secured a landslide/historic victory/support from less than 1 in 4 people, the first job of the PM was to select his new cabinet. While a lot of the big names remain in their cushy jobs, here’s a quick rundown on some of the movers and snakers:

  • Michael Gove has been moved to the Justice Department, where he’ll oversee the scrapping of the Human Rights Act, presumably while trying not to draw attention to the fact that, as a supporter of the death penalty, he can’t even claim to be in favour of the right to life.
  • As well as Equal Marriage opponent, Nicky Morgan, remaining Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, she’s also joined at the Department for Education by a new Minister for Equality, Caroline Dinenage, who said she saw “no legitimate reason” to allow same-sex couples to marry.
  • Ticking both the pro-death penalty and anti-equal marriage boxes, Priti Patel has been appointed as Employment Minister.
  • John Whittingdale will oversee attacks on the license fee and the concept of public service broadcasting in general, in his new role as Culture Security.
  • Since the Scottish Tories have only 1 MP, David Mundell was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland.  With no way to appoint a deputy from the Commons, Andrew Dunlop was given a peerage instead.  Welcome to Democracy.  Keen viewers may remember Mr. Dunlop as being a senior adviser to David Cameron during the referendum, in which support for the union plummeted, and as an adviser to Thatcher when the Poll Tax was introduced, which saw support for the Tories in Scotland all but disappear.
  • Sajid Javid is our new business secretary, expected to implement anti-trade union legislation to ensure no strike can (legally) take place without at least a 50% turnout in a ballot and over 40% of the total membership voting in favour. His party secured the votes of 24.4% of the electorate last week, if we’re counting.

With the new gaggle of goons in position, all that was left was for Chancellor Osborne to pop up and declare we’d get a “Special Summer Budget” – because it’s best to go around decimating public services, attacking the poor and the vulnerable and forcing more people into destitution before the nights start drawing in. Current estimates are that the Tories plan to unleash a further £12bn of cuts to the welfare budget alone. As if to demonstrate just how extreme their economic policy is, they are even expected to outlaw increasing income tax and VAT. Of course, any future Government could simply reverse that law, but it says a lot about how ideologically driven these plans are, if the Tories are claiming there can NEVER be a time when we might need to collect a higher proportion of revenue via tax.

With no increase in tax take, the only way to balance the budget (which thus far, has meant an increase in both the debt and the deficit, which may be accelerated by deflation) will be to slash benefits and services. Child benefit could be one of the first to be further reduced or axed and the Tories are already trailing a scheme to ensure more forced labour for young people, paid at a rate of £1.91 an hour. The aim of these changes is to create precarity for people, making us all feel lucky to have a job, even one we’re being paid less than 2 quid an hour for. There is no incentive for the huge companies who engage in this grim form of exploitation to hire young people (or anyone else) on a non-compulsory basis, so the biggest beneficiaries are those least in need. Obviously.

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[CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of suicide]

Benefit cuts and the continuation of the brutal sanctions regime, which removes income from people deemed to have broke the rules, will only “benefit” queues at foodbanks. The Trussell Trust estimated around 47% of all referrals were as a result of either changes or delays with benefits, as the state forces starvation on citizens. Over a million sanctions were handed down in 2013 for everything and anything. After years of people campaigning for the DWP to investigate the impact of their decisions on people not dying, they finally confessed to be investigating 60 cases involving the suicides of benefit claimants. A Freedom of Information request revealed this week that 10% of cases subject to review involve the suicide of those subjected to benefit sanctions. Make no mistake, this Government will continue to champion policies which result in starvation and destitution.

Not content with their war at home, the Tories are now free to focus on their eternal war against our close proximity to people who’re probably foreigners, first up, the bloody EU. The humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean has many causes, exactly none of which involve bendy banana bureacrats in Brussels but Cameron seems keen for a stand off. And what better principle to battle against the EU over than the principles you don’t give a fuck about human life and would rather people drowned? Don’t confuse my tone for glibness, it really isn’t. It’s beyond vile than the Tories can’t even countenance the UK playing its part. Syria and Libya are just the most recent in a long line of states Britain has played a more than key role in shaping, until exactly the point that had consequences. One of the consequences of promoting a never ending series of war is refugees.

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Instead of being vaguely human, the entire crisis will be used to grandstand about “Europe“, which is really bad…until the referendum where David Cameron will be campaigning for the, erm, “right outcome.” Whatever that is. My faith that this Great British voting public will save Cameron from himself and vote not to be dragged back to the dark ages has waned in the last week or so, if I’m honest.

And if the public do get out of line, the Tories are well prepared. As well as new anti-strike powers, Cameron made plain that the new “anti-extremism” legislation would deal with the “full spectrum of extremism” and not just those who break existing laws. As if to reinforce the fact they aren’t even pretending this has anything to do with terrorism, Theresa May had a go at people who were “harmful” and those who “divide society” – who could now find themselves on the wrong side of “Extremism Disturbance Orders.” Divisive, harmful extremists, like Tory Home Secretaries are presumably exempt. All joking aside, it’s handy to criminalise resistance before it’s even started. Extremism Disturbance Orders could be to activists what ASBOs were to weans 10 years ago.

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Disturbing extremist, Theresa May.

But resistance will happen because it must. There have been various welcome moves by the Scottish Government, like making clear they wouldn’t give legislative consent for the repeal of the Human Rights Act and signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the STUC, confirming a desire to work to tackle inequality, invest in public services and improve trade union membership and participation.

But we can’t defend ourselves from the British state by hiding behind the Scottish state – we must demand further devolution of powers and demand the SNP put their anti-austerity rhetoric into practice as the governing party of Scotland but we owe it to everyone in the rest of the UK to stand by and with them, like we said we would, whatever the outcome of the referendum. If Scotland had voted Yes, would we want to be the kind of society which actively works to stop people drowning in the Med or starving in the Midlands? If we oppose attacks on human rights because we’re Scottish, not because we’re human, we’re probably doing it wrong.

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Tempting as showing the Tories our Scottish arses always is, it won’t be enough to defeat them.

The Tories are not going to make our lives better, David Cameron not only won’t help us, the policies he will pursue will actively harm working class people, for the benefit of his rich pals. The only hope we have is to build independent alternatives: political, economic, social and cultural and fight to defend ourselves. The various movements which evolved during the referendum gave us a tiny glimpse into how much power we can have and how utterly terrified our rulers are of that power. There can be no “we’re alright Jock/we were just leaving anyway” because despite how much we nagged about it, more people vote No than Yes last year. We are where we are, we fight where we stand, this isn’t the first time people have faced obstacles trying to take more power, that’s what politics is.

We may feel like we’ve packed our bags, like the results of the election show Scotland is now on an irreconcilably different political trajectory but what better time to swing our packed bags at these total sacks? David Cameron might be the last Tory to run Scotland but if the only way to make that happen is to make sure he’s the last Tory to run Britain, so be it.

Every single Weekly Wanker failed to win or hold their seat at the last election. We don’t intend to stop cursing now. David Cameron, you are the worst wanker – and we’re coming for you.

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Further reading:

Banking on Handouts: Food Poverty in the Big Society

WEEKLY WANKER #041: SIR ANDREW GREEN

Yes we (still) can: 6 things Holyrood can do now

WEEKLY WANKER #036: DAVID MEIKLE

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