Home > Tories > The Great Imaginary Socialist Coup

The Great Imaginary Socialist Coup

In truly breaking news, the Tories have this week come out with an honest statement. Well, an inaccurate statement. Well, a series of inaccurate statements. But they did say what they actually thought for once.

I must admit, I prefer them when they’re whooping boisterously over budget cuts to when they are pretending to wring their hands over the same cuts. It takes up less mental space to despise something for just what it is, rather than have to mentally calculate the hypocrisy and then add the appropriate amount of dislike for the hypocrisy to the substantive dislike for the thing itself. So much mental arithmetic.

In any case – honesty! A new and exciting development!

“The great socialist coup of the last decade was making wealth an embarrassment. It is not. It is the prize for aspiration and hard work, and its side effects are higher tax revenues, more jobs and more investment.”

A great socialist coup, and I missed it! Where wealth was a matter of deep personal shame! I can’t think how I missed this. Maybe I was distracted by the ten years of rampant, childlike enthusiasm for Buying More Shiny Shit, with money offered on a daily basis by the institutions that then turned out to be too big to fail when this all went wrong. I think maybe I missed the great socialist coup while I trawled through spam offering near-unlimited credit. If you lacked a modicum of sense during those ten years, wealth didn’t seem like a prize for aspiration and hard work, it seemed like something banks were trying to sell you at a rate you’d be mad to refuse.

But no! Wealth is a prize, says Liam Fox. It is a prize for hard work.

A prize is something you win, not something you earn. A prize is not guaranteed. A prize is shot-in-the-dark luck.

I know the rent’s due at the end of the month, and I’ll definitely pay it, just as long as I get a prize for working hard this month. That’s what landlords and bank managers and shopkeepers and debt collectors like to hear.

I’m not sure how great a socialist coup is required to at this point to equate ‘hard work’ with ‘a wage’.

But these are petty asides. Wrong-headed, inaccurate, hyperbolic and revealing, it is however an unusually honest insight into this Tory government. They will deny it next week, and pretend that all cuts are an unfortunate and regrettable necessity caused by Labour, who spent all the money, gave everyone a unicorn and ushered in a secret socialist empire. The press will not remind them that they said something honest this week: current policies are not purest mathematics, they are an earnest attempt to repeal a decade of imaginary socialism.

Well, it’s either honesty or political posturing designed to shift the rhetoric to the right and gear up for a leadership challenge. So I guess everyone’s a winner.

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