Anti-propaganda for the UK general election 2017

Assorted Facebook posts I wrote aimed at combatting online conservative propaganda. Feel free to copy any of them anywhere you think they might be useful (no attribution required). If you have any corrections, or suggestions for additional ones, let me know.

 

General points

Don’t let the conservatives con you with advertising slogans. It is your future, and your children’s future, that you are gambling with. Use your vote wisely.

We don’t need to let the conservatives rob our granny’s house to pay for her care costs. We don’t need to let them steal the food from the mouths of infants. We don’t need to let them take from the poor and give to the rich. We don’t need to let them double the national debt every five years to pay for their austerity scam. We don’t need to let them bring back fox hunting. And we don’t need to let them cripple the economy by taking us out of Europe without a trade deal and into a war with Syria.

There is another way. We can invest in the future. We can kick-start the economy instead of crippling it even further. We can raise the living standards for everyone. We can reduce homelessness and child poverty along with the national debt. We can have a trade deal with Europe that benefits everyone, rich and poor alike. And we can look after the elderly and infirm, the sick, the disabled, the children who live in poverty.

All these things can be ours. Labour’s manifesto is fully costed, and has been verified by independent economic experts. The only people saying it isn’t viable are the conservatives and billionaire media moguls who dodge paying their fair share of tax. Ask yourself what they would have to gain by lying to you in this way.

If you earn less than £80,000 a year you will be better off under Labour. Even the conservative newspaper The Spectator has confirmed this. If you earn more than £80,000 a year and don’t want to contribute to society, you need to remember one key point – the conservatives are refusing to reveal how much they will raise taxes and national insurance by until after the election.

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This is the first election where the poor and disabled have been given a clear choice between prosperity or torment. As for the rest of us, we just can’t afford to go on doubling the national debt every five years to pay for austerity programmes while the rich and greedy syphon off all their money into tax havens. it is time the elite started paying their fair share instead of sponging off the rest of us.

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Some of the more observant here may have noticed that certain combinations of words are repeated over and over again. These are called trigger phrases, and are commonly used by advertisers to manipulate the minds of consumers. They work by being repeated so many times that they become ingrained in the listener’s mind, and eventually become accepted as the truth, even though under more considered examination they are anything but.

Here are a few examples you may be familiar with: Washing machines live longer with Calgol (they don’t). Guinness is good for you (it isn’t). The goodness that’s in Milky Bar (there isn’t any).

So now we have “Strong and stable leadership” to add to these. See if you can work out for yourself where the falsehoods in this statement lie. To make it fair, just base your reasoning on the last two years of Conservative government. Have those years been stable for the country? Has the leadership been strong? Is there anything to suggest it will be any different in the next few years, with the chaos that a hard brexit will bring?

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You would think, with all the extra warning they had before the announcement, that the conservatives would have come up with a better election campaign strategy than just saying “pooh pooh you smell” to all the other party leaders. But I suppose increasing national insurance (aka the jobs creation tax), increasing VAT and crippling the economy, and re-classifying pensioners as scroungers who deserve to have their benefits cut, were never going to be vote winners.

 

Brexit

If May isn’t even strong and stable enough to debate the country’s future with Corbyn, or even take unscripted questions from the voting public, how is she going to stand up to someone like Merkel, who has already dismissed her as a fantasist? We need someone with a clear vision for the future to take over Brexit negotiations. Not someone who has flip-flopped so many times she doesn’t even know which way up she is. And we need a foreign secretary who isn’t a world-wide laughing stock.

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If you ignore the propaganda and lies, this election boils down to one key point. Who do you trust to come up with a bill of human rights to replace the ones we will lose when we leave Europe?

On one side we have the Conservatives, a party condemned by the United Nations for the way it treats the disabled. A party whose idea of tackling homelessness is to erect spikes on every flat surface people might choose to sleep on, then fines them for being too poor to afford anywhere to live and confiscates their blankets so they will freeze to death. A party whose attitude toward mental health is to ask people with depression why they haven’t killed themself yet.

On the other side we have Labour, the party who gave us the NHS, minimum wage, bank holidays, social housing, and lots of other things we take for granted. All of which, it is worth pointing out, the Conservatives voted against.

 

The ecomomy

Conservatives can’t be trusted with the economy. All they have ever done is sell off our national assets at rock bottom prices so that they and their billionaire donors can line their own pockets. But don’t take my word for it, do your own research. Look up how many conservative MPs became private landlords after Thatcher caused a shortage in council homes. Look up how many conservative MPs made a huge profit from selling off the nation’s assets. And look up how many of the current batch of conservative MPs have a financial stake in companies that will profit from a fully privatised NHS. Then look at a list of their top donors, and see where they make their money.

http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2016/03/13/the-conservatives-have-been-the-biggest-borrowers-over-the-last-70-years/

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Labour’s plans won’t just be funded by a small increase in tax for the wealthy elite. They will be funded through savings to the benefit budget caused by increasing minimum wage, and the extra boost to tax from the resulting increase in consumer spending and corresponding company profits. Plus by saving money on nonsense projects like testing the disabled to see if their doctors are lying or not, cutting subsidies to opera houses and private schools, etc, and by investing in the education of our own citizens instead of importing skilled labour from elsewhere. It’s a long term economic plan, something the conservatives have never had.

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How can the conservatives possibly justify increasing National Insurance (aka the jobs creation tax, which according to Cameron will lead to mass unemployment and cripple the economy)? With all the cuts to social security for the poor and disabled, and the rationing of NHS services and huge waiting lists for essential operations,  it should be reduced to reflect the lower level of safety net it provides.

 

Benefits / Social Security

Labour’s rise in minimum wage will drastically cut the social security budget, lifting people out of poverty, and freeing up that money for other things that every member of society will benefit from. It will also increase consumer spending, which will be good for businesses. Just like it did when Labour first introduced the minimum wage. Even the conservatives eventually agreed it was a good thing, despite all of them voting against it at the time. The conservative rise in tax and national insurance for low and middle earners will cripple the economy even more.

 

Tax and National Insurance

All you people who earn more than £80,000 and don’t want to contribute to society need to consider one key point — why are the conservatives keeping their tax and national insurance policy a secret until after the election? What are they hiding?

 

National Debt

Conservative voters —  I get that you are rich. You live in a nice home in a nice area. Either you have inherited wealth, or you have a nice job with a very high salary, and you want to keep every penny of what you have earned. You certainly don’t want to waste any of it on scrounging cripples who can easily support themselves by begging in the streets like they did in the good old days. Or the children of parents living in poverty because they weren’t as lucky as you. We could always bring back the workhouse to sort those people out. Get them doing odd jobs in return for what they get from food banks. I get all that, really, I do. But what I don’t get, is why you are happy for the conservatives to double the national debt every five years to pay for all this torment they are inflicting on people.  It is your own children and grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren, who will need to pay that debt off.

Don’t you even care about them, either?

 

Health / Social Care

The real scandal of this conservative government isn’t that NHS staff need to use foodbanks, it is that ANYONE needs to use foodbanks in a country as wealthy as this one. We all pay national insurance so that the more vulnerable members of society can be looked after — the poor, the disabled, the elderly and infirm, etc. And yet we have record levels of homelessness and child poverty, a crisis in care, and rationing of NHS services. So if the conservatives are not spending our national insurance money on the people it was designed to help, what are they spending it on instead? Where has all that money gone?

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The new policy on care for the elderly and infirm in their own homes shows how callous the conservatives are. The people affected don’t matter because they won’t be able to make it to the polling station on election day.

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Why are the conservatives pretending they care about people with mental and physical disabilities when they have spent billions in tax payer money doing nothing but tormenting them and causing  them mental anguish for the last two years? If they have somehow developed a conscience because there is an election coming and they want to make up for what they have done, just give them back the £30 a week they stole from them to fund the cut to corporation tax, and leave them alone. Otherwise they should just admit to everyone that the money they spend will go to pen-pushers who will carry on asking people with depression why they haven’t killed themself yet.

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The tory attitude to mental health is best summed up in the question “why haven’t you killed yoursellf yet” being asked at disability assessments. If they are still alive, they are obviously faking it and don’t need any help from the state. If they are dead, maybe they were telling the truth after all, but at least they won’t need any help from the state. It’s a bit like how if you drown you weren’t really a witch.

 

Self Employment

Something to consider if you are self employed. And remember — we all go through rough patches that we have no control over, it goes with the territory.

Under Conservative plans for the self employed, as published on the Universal Credit website, you will need to file your accounts on a monthly basis, so there’s no annual averaging of income if your work is seasonal or if you have months when you make less for whatever reason. There are no more allowances for capital expenditure, either. Only day to day running costs can be counted as a business expense.

You are also assumed to be making at least the equivelent of minimum wage, ie about £1200 a month, so even if you earn less than that in some months your top-up social security credit will be based on the full £1200. And in the months when you do well, you will obviously get lower credits or nothing at all because of that.

On top of that, the DWP can call you in for job centre interviews whenever they like, and you will be sanctioned if you don’t attend or if you can’t prove you are actively seeking more customers. They will also have the power to close down your business and force you to seek employment instead if they decide you are not running your business effectively. But you won’t be able to claim any jobseekers allowance because you were self employed and therefore gave up your “job” voluntarily.

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Every business owner knows that the planned conservative increase in National Insurance will hit them a lot harder than any nominal rise in corporation tax. Corporation tax is paid on profits they make, whereas National Insurance is paid for every employee they have, regardless of how much or how little profit they make. It will cost profits, and it will cost jobs.

 

 

 

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About Marcus Blakeston

Ex-shouting poet, ex-fanzine writer, ex-angry young man (now growing old disgracefully). Living in sunny Yorkshire with his wife, children and motorcycle, Marcus still has a healthy distrust of all forms of authority.
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