Just deserts at Conservative Conference

Last week Ed Davey called on the Conservatives to cancel their Conference and sort out the economic mess they had created.

After days of rebellion, doom and u-turns, I bet they wish they had listened to him.

They aren’t getting the best press, that’s for sure, but then they don’t deserve it.

Kwasi Kwarteng’s feeble attempts at humour in his speech belie any contrition. And I doubt many of those who are now condemned to years of high mortgage payments will feel that either he or Liz Truss truly do get it.

The u-turns on the 45p tax rate and the publication of the OBR forecasts, although major events, are not the only things that need to change.

The Conservatives are showing themselves up as way nastier than they were when Theresa May gave her warning to Conservative Conference a whole twenty years ago.  This generation of leaders seem to have taken it as encouragement to become even worse.

For example, party Chairman Jake Berry had this to say to people struggling to pay their bills this Winter:

People know that when their bills arrive, they can either cut their consumption or they can get a higher salary, higher wages, go out there and get that new job.

That’s the approach the government is taking so households can afford their bills.

This is on top of reports that Liz Truss is planning to cut billions from benefits to balance the books, news that will terrify people on the lowest incomes who are already struggling to make ends meet.

And then you have Jacob Rees-Mogg, the business secretary who makes Ebenezer Scrooge look like a philanthropist, threatening to remove business regulation from all businesses employing fewer than 500 people. The thing that worried me most about Brexit was that it would lead to a bonfire of workers’ rights and that looks exactly what is about to happen, despite reassurances to the contrary at the time.

One of the things that has annoyed me the most is the fact that Michael Gove is positioning himself as the voice of reason. I was particularly livid to see him sitting on Laura Kuenssberg’s panel on Sunday like he had nothing to do with the horrible situation this country is in.

Let’s never forget that he was responsible for bringing Dominic Cummings into Government. Then he fronted Cummings’ deceitful, distasteful and downright nasty Brexit campaign and was a key player behind the scenes during the excesses of the Johnson years.  That he and Grant Shapps now appear to be the closest thing to a voice of reason in the Conservative Party is indicative of just how bad things have come.

The Conservatives are getting the poll ratings and the media coverage they deserve at the moment. It is the job of progressive parties to make sure that at the next election they are sent into the political wilderness and never return. Even with the current poll meltdown for the Government,  this is not something that we can take for granted. We have lots of work to do.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • ” Just desserts”: was the pun intended, Caron? I understand that the Chancellor was at dinner, and had not reached his main course, when he was summoned to the PM’s presence to be told that it was time to make a U-turn.

  • ……..They aren’t getting the best press………

    Although the Daily Express is doing it’s best to keep Tory spirits up with the headline, “We will reward your trust’: Liz Truss sticks with tax-cutting plan as PM pledges growth”..

    Let’s be honest, we can all do with a good laugh at the moment..

  • nigel hunter 4th Oct '22 - 10:11am

    The right wing papers also need to go into the political wilderness never to return,

  • Barry Lofty 4th Oct '22 - 11:00am

    What a totally discredited government this one has proved to be already, coming on top of the previous discredited bunch how long can it be before the British people demand a change, going by previous experience they will probably vote them in again with the help of the right wing press and money from their wealthy backers??

  • Katharine Pindar 4th Oct '22 - 11:07am

    The threat to keep benefit and pension increases related to wages rather than inflation is truly shocking. This dying Tory government is threatening again to impose austerity. Our own policies to try to reduce poverty, as set out for example in the Fairer Society policy paper for our cancelled conference, will need to be publicised and campaigned for, not least through our contacts with the Labour party. I hope those will be developed at all levels. Thanks for the article, Caron, rightly setting the scene, and suggesting the mighty tasks we should undertake to protect our fellow citizens in the next 18 months.

  • Neil James Sandison 4th Oct '22 - 1:26pm

    We need to take full advantage of their terrible management and use our up and coming regional conferences as a spring board to promote our solutions and not ape Labours comments . What is abundantly clear is that families do need a safety net ,a basic income we will not allow our citizens to fall below . We need a real push and investment in renewable fuels and reject fossil fuels like fracking . We should be proud and shout out loud we will protect liberties and freedoms whilst supporting devolution and power to local councils and bodies who stepped up to the plate during COVID and will probable do the same in this economic pandemic .

  • Paul Barker 4th Oct '22 - 1:35pm

    The next Election will produce a Labour Government with a substantial Majority & probably a larger Libdems contingent. The question is how can we bring that Election forward ? One thing we could do is promote the Petition calling for an Election – put a link on our Party Webpage for example.

    Mostly we are shouting from the sidelines

  • Paul Barker 4th Oct '22 - 1:40pm

    The next Election will produce a Labour Government with a substantial Majority & probably a larger Libdems contingent. The question is how can we bring that Election forward ? One thing we could do is promote the Petition calling for an Election – put a link on our Party Webpage for example.

    Mostly we are shouting from the sidelines – only Tory MPs can bring down their Government. The most likely trigger in the next week is a number of Polls giving the Tories an “unacceptably “low score, what that score might be I don’t know but its been going down & is probably still falling. I am a Poll nerd so I will keep you informed.

  • What’s the latest on whether we’re going to have a conference? I know the scheduled one was cancelled because of the Queen but I recall there was talk afterwards about us possibly having a virtual one instead. Is that still under consideration or has it been decided that we won’t do it?

  • Paul: surely the lower the Tories poll the less likely they are to call a general election and the more likely they are to cling on as long as possible hoping for some sort of reverse? The low poll numbers might encourage them to remove Truss as they removed Johnson – the press seem to be trying to line Gove up again – but I can’t imagine there’s ever going to be 40-80 of them willing to abstain or vote against the Government on any confidence matter.

  • Mick Taylor 4th Oct '22 - 2:17pm

    The only person who call an election is the King, acting on the advice of the PM. So as long as Ms Truss holds her nerve and keeps her cabinet together, there’s nothing any of us can do except prepare in the seats we might win.
    The only other scenario- and it’s about as likely as the moon being made of green cheese – is that 35+ Tory MPs defect and a vote of no confidence becomes possible.
    So, yes, keep shouting and protesting, but prepare for 2024.

  • I don’t hold out any hope of mass Tory defections but the way they are tearing chunks out of one another at their conference shows that they are not a government capable of governing…
    Every minister and MP seems to be rushing to the media to put their personal opinion on policies and persons; not a way to run a whelk stall let alone a country..

  • Kevin Hawkins 4th Oct '22 - 3:46pm

    Re: Tory Party Chairman Jake Berry’s suggestion that people struggling to pay bills need to get a higher salary. Is he advocating that they should go on strike?

  • Nick Collins 4th Oct '22 - 4:37pm

    The Independent is reporting that the “government” (can we still call it that?) has U turned on a U turn. Having said this morning that it would bring forward the date of its fiscal statement, it has now apparently reverted to its original timetable it would seem that they are not so much turning as spinning. And they haven’t even got a competent spin doctor

  • Nick Collins 4th Oct '22 - 4:45pm

    @ Kevin Hawkins

    Sounds like it: either that or, to paraphrase a song that was popular when I was a child, in the 1940s, he thinks moonlight becomes them.

  • Jenny Barnes 4th Oct '22 - 6:22pm

    I think the king should get on and call an election then. Clearly this mob shouldn’t be in charge of the proverbial whelk stall.

  • Those who are struggling should, ‘Cut (their) consumption or get a new higher-paid job’ says Conservative Party chair Jake Berry….

    What is so sickening is his absolute callousness towards those who, already, are having to choose between ‘eating and heating’; how do they ‘cut their consumption’?
    As for getting a ‘higher paid job’; many of our lower paid jobs are those that provide the most neccessary services..Let us see the results when our ‘health and care workers’ leave an already understaffed sector..

  • David Evans 4th Oct '22 - 10:09pm

    Ed calls on the Conservatives to cancel their Conference, and we point out they aren’t getting any good press. However, we chose to cancel our Conference rather than postpone and rearrange it and we aren’t getting any press at all. Until we start to focus on our problems and not simply expect the Conservative’s problems to somehow benefit us and not Labour, we will continue to drift aimlessly.

  • Ruth Bright 5th Oct '22 - 11:47am

    An amazing reminder from Caron that THAT nasty May speech was a whole two decades ago.

    Truss is on now and has just furnished us with a preposterous conglomeration of Labour, Lib Dems, XR and all woke folk as the defenders of the status quo with her as the insurgent. Poundshop version of the Thatcher playbook. Won’t work.

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