‘False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us while we walk in the sunshine but leaving us when we cross into the shade,’ wrote the nineteenth century American author Christian Nevel Bovee.
With darkness falling on Cameron-land, and Nigel Farage grinning manically and looking more and more like the Joker about to take over Gotham City as he floats the prospect of a new coalition without Lord Snooty, His Lordship’s friends and allies are beginning to stick their eager little heads above the parapet and stake out their positions as possible candidates to take his place.
First up was Theresa May, a politician who has made her name by pandering to the most xenophobic anti-immigrant sentiments of the electorate and making sensational, eye-catching and dishonest claims about the ‘abuse’ of the Human Rights Act. In a speech at the ConservativeHome’s ‘Victory 2015 conference‘ over the weekend, the Home Secretary went beyond her usual brief to offer her thoughts on how the Tories might win the next election:
‘We have to become the party that is tireless in confronting vested interests. The party that takes power from the elites and gives it to the people. The party not just of those who have already made it, but the home of those who want to work hard and get on in life.’
These ‘vested interests’ included both the private and public sectors and also – somewhat bizarrely – the ‘ organised abuse of vulnerable young girls in Derby and Rochdale’. Needless to say, the main ‘vested interests’ that May promised to confront were those to be found within the public sector, which she argued should be opened to even more competition through an intensification of the Coalition’s ‘ reform agenda’.
All this was diplomatically accompanied by praise and declarations for Lord Snooty and his pals, but Cameron would probably do well to get a taster for his meals, if May serves them to him. And now Liam Fox, the former defence secretary, has entered the fray, with promises to cut benefits even further in order to reduce the ‘bloated state’. What cuts would Foxy like to implement that his lousy government hasn’t already introduced?
According to the BBC these include ‘ an end to the ring-fencing of budgets for the NHS, schools and international development and as well as of universal benefits such as the pensioners’ winter fuel allowance.’
Well that’s right, you can’t have all those elderly people just getting winterfuel allowance, can you? Whatever next? But never mind: Fox is also calling for an end to capital gains tax, so those pensioners with second homes can sell them and pay for their fuel that way.
It’s worth reminding ourselves that the reason Fox is no longer a minister is because he was forced to resign as a result of the activities of his dodgy ‘friend’ and advisor Adam Werrity, who accompanied him on ‘defence’ ie. arms selling trips abroad, and apparently used them for his own commercial purposes.
This is a man who once declared that he was ‘proud’ of Britain’s role as the world’s second largest arms exporter, and posed for photographs like this:
So no one will be surprised that Fox, like his successor Philip Hammond, does not include the MoD in his attack on the ‘bloated state.’ This tubby Rambo was also the founder of a thinktank called ‘Atlantic Bridge’ that connected Tory rightwingers like himself to American free marketeers and hawkish lobbying groups such as the Heritage Foundation.
Registered as a charity in 2003, Atlantic Bridge was dissolved in 2011, following criticisms from the Charity Commission that it did not do charitable work and acted essentially as a vehicle for promoting Tory policies.
Given this record, it’s amazing that Fox even has a job as an MP at all, but such are the types that modern politics has lumbered us with. On the one hand, the fact that he is still considered a significant figure within the Tory right is another indication of how much the Conservatives have become a carbon copy of the Republican hard right.
But coming after May’s self-aggrandising proclamations over the weekend, his speech may be an indication of the possible future that awaits us all, when Lord Snooty falls beneath the truck of history and a UKIP-Conservative coalition forms a new marriage made in hell.