The Tory poster campaign for the 2005 General Election was hardly subtle:
Wherever you went across the country, two months before the expected (and eventually declared) date, these posters appeared. All with the same “closed question”: Are you thinking what we’re thinking? Fortunately Michael Howard’s attempt at mood-management didn’t work. The Tories had bought in Lynton Crosbie, who had been the political strategist for John Howard’s four election victories in Australia. Britain was thus introduced to the dubious benefits of “dog-whistle politics”.
In 2013 the Tories are just as desperate — and even more blatant. There’s a short, bottom-of-the-page piece by Marie Woolf in the Sunday Times. Well, they had to squeeze it in somewhere: much of the rest of the issue is devoted to “Maggie Thatcher still dead! Official!” Here it comes:
Poor countries should be paid to process asylum seekers who are trying to get to Britain to stop them “disappearing” onto our streets, says a plan published by a group of influential right-wingers within the Conservative party.
Now Malcolm reckons he’s read that opener at least three time — and still doesn’t “get it”. Why the “disappearing” bit? If people immigrate, and then are indistinguishable within the whole population, have they not assimilated successfully?
The rest of the pieces is very much “tell me the same old story” — all the predictable terms are there: the Tory fret over a surge in support for the UK Independence party, the need for harsh immigration controls; deportees should appeal only after they being deported …
There has to be a Wizard behind the mask of this Oz nonsense. Step forward the plan’s begetter:
Julian Brazier MP for Canterbury [who] claims that housing, schooling, the welfare state and even the sewerage system are creaking under the strain of immigration.
Gids Osborne has been baling the failure of his economics of the previous government (until that one was laughed down), the weather, snow, floods, drought, the royal wedding, the Olympics and anything else that came to mind. That set the pattern:
- Now the housing crisis in the South-East (and it is mainly in the South-East and where the bourgeoisie buy their second and holiday homes) is the fault of immigrants! Not, as most realists thought, because the privatising of social housing has been a disaster.
- The schools crisis is not because Gove pulled the plug on the previous government’s plans — no, no! it’s all down to immigrants who don’t speak English.
- The social security system is also stretched because of the number of immigrants who are unemployed … three of the top five nationalities for settling in Britain — Bangladeshis, Nigerians and Pakistanis — “have well above average unemployment rates”. Actually, as other statistics show that’s more a function of social class than ethnic origin. And what are the determinants of class — and so employability? Education, perchance, for one?
The blockage in the pipes
Sitting on the 299 bus, en route to a liquid lunch at Ye Olde Cherry Tree in Southgate, it was the Lady in Malcolm’s Life who spotted the killer: the creaking of the sewerage system.
It’s got to be vindaloo.