Lies, condescension, repeat – the new mantra of the Conservative Party

In 2016, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove claimed that Brexit would allow us to cut VAT on energy bills.

On Wednesday 18th May, the Tories voted against the Liberal Democrat motion to cut VAT on energy bills, highlighting yet again, the lies that Brexit was built upon. The claim by Johnson and Gove that Brexit would allow us to cut VAT on energy bills implies that being an EU member didn’t allow us to do so previously; despite Belgium cutting VAT on electricity bills while being a member of the EU. Another Brexit lie propagated at the time of the referendum was the “removal of red tape”, later proven to be false by the rising administration costs facing British businesses.

This has highlighted how out of touch the Tories are with the British people.

Despite pensioners feeling abandoned by the government, Sir Ed Davey making clear that tax hikes are the last thing Londoners need and Sir Keir Starmer stating that Johnson is “choosing to let people struggle”, the advice from Home Office minister Rachel Maclean for citizens dealing with the cost of living crisis is… get a better job.


When turning the attention to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, her advice is… to get a “high-paid job”.


With so many having to choose between heating and eating, having to skip meals and some even having to leave their heating off entirely, the advice from the government is simply to “get a better job”. This echoes the now infamous, heartless speech from former Conservative Employment Minister Norman Tebbit, who told the Conservative Party 1981 Conference that when his father was faced with unemployment in the 30s, “he got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking till he found it”.

Perhaps we can look away from the cabinet and towards the backbenches of the Conservative Party. Take the MP for Ashford, Lee Anderson, that offered advice to citizens reliant on food banks – by stating those using food banks don’t know how to cook, and can “make a meal that just costs 30p”. A top chef said that is impossible. George Eustice, the cabinet minister for food and farming said people should buy value brands.

Policing minister, Kit Malthouse denied the cost of living crisis will trigger an increase in crime, branding it “old-fashioned” thinking. He has told officers not to let shoplifters off if they are stealing food out of desperation.


The Conservatives have peddled lie after lie regarding “Brexit opportunities” and have had the gall to tell people suffering from poverty how to save money, and that they can solve their issues simply by “working harder” and “getting better-paid jobs”.

And on top of this, while they are given opportunity after opportunity by opposition parties to lessen the impact of the cost of living crisis, they vote the motions down and then claim: “They’re doing everything they can”.

It is beyond disgraceful.

Lies, condescension, repeat. That is the new mantra of the Conservative Party.


* Jack Meredith is a Welsh Liberal Democrat member.

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  • Tristan Ward 20th May '22 - 4:23pm

    If I recalled correctly EU legislation allowed cuts in VAT on anything, but no lower than 5%. It was Gordon Brown that decoupled energy VAT rates down to 5% after which they could go no lower.

  • Michael Berridge 20th May '22 - 5:02pm

    “Take the MP for Ashford, Lee Anderson… stating those using food banks don’t know how to cook, and can ‘make a meal that just costs 30p’.”
    Was he looking at appeals like this from the Faversham Foodbank (tweeted 6 hrs ago)?
    “When you go shopping, these are the items the Foodbank needs most urgently:
    🌟 Long life milk
    🌟 Tinned fruit
    🌟 Rice pudding
    🌟 Dog food
    🌟 Long life fruit juice
    🌟 Tinned cold meat
    🌟 Canned peas
    🌟 Tinned potatoes
    🌟 Cans of tuna
    🌟 Shampoo & conditioner
    Thank you!”
    My generation ate a lot of tinned food after WW2 but not rice pudding (made from scratch) or potatoes (peeled and boiled).
    My point: Those comments may be heartless but they have a basis in fact. If people lived on takeaways when they were in work, when do they learn to cook?

  • @Michael. Food banks ask for goods that will keep, as they can’t hand out anything that’s past its sell-by date. Hence the tinned potatoes rather than fresh.

    And if you make rice pudding from scratch, you need to use electricity or gas, which people using food banks are struggling to afford.

  • Peter Martin 20th May '22 - 10:43pm

    “In 2016, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove claimed that Brexit would allow us to cut VAT on energy bills.”

    I’m no supporter of either but this wasn’t a lie.

    I doubt that either said that we should cut them. ‘Should’ and ‘could’ aren’t synonymous.

    There is often an unfortunate tendency to mistake what others have said for what we think others might have said or what we would have preferred them to have said.

  • David Evans 21st May '22 - 9:55am

    Jack, Just one suggested amendment – the Conservatives have always followed the mantra of “Lies, condescension, repeat.” It honestly isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s a standard approach of any propagandist of the left or the right, wherever they are in power.

    Liberals have been fighting it for a great many decades already, and hopefully will continue to do so for a great many more.

  • David Garlick 21st May '22 - 11:10am

    @Peter. You are correct but the point of the statement was that the EU did not allow it…

    Schools no longer teach cookery to more than a cornflake cake level and delicious though they may be they have not turned out a resilient population able to sustain its self. A dependent population can become independent with effort from Government and the Voluntary sector upskilling them. (I say voluntary sector because there is no way the prepared food businesses and the supply chains can be put at risk by a Tory Govt.) So let the Lib Dems in local Govt set up cooking skills classes for their communities. There are wealth of people and organisation champing at the bit to do this and with a minimum of funding they could change the lives of thousands.

  • George Thomas 21st May '22 - 11:44am

    “My generation ate a lot of tinned food after WW2 but not rice pudding (made from scratch) or potatoes (peeled and boiled).
    My point: Those comments may be heartless but they have a basis in fact. If people lived on takeaways when they were in work, when do they learn to cook?”

    I think the issue was that Lee Anderson implied the main reason people use foodbanks was not knowing how to budget and/or cook. I don’t doubt that for some people it’s a contributory reason but it’s either far down on the list or not on the list for the majority of people. Your generation were more likely to have one member of the household (almost always the mum/wife) dedicated to caring for the house whereas that’s less likely to happen now due to external pressures (expensive childcare, rise in single person households, situations where both people need to work longer hours etc.) and changing attitudes.

    I still think the best idea is for all of us in the UK to go work for the Tory party. What other job has better chance of getting onto higher pay, such good job security and all for doing such a bad job? All one needs to do is stoke up fears of foreigners and communism then 5 minutes later you’re an MP and 5 minutes after that in the House of Lords… no wonder each Tory MP thinks getting onto a good wage is so easy.

  • Jason Connor 21st May '22 - 11:48am

    Some local authorities of all shades already do offer cooking classes and how to use food leftovers in future meals so as to save money and not waste. Domestic science was cookery when I was at school but am not sure if it is still on the national curriculum? The difference then was gender stereotyping when it came to who attended domestic science or woodwork lessons, the choice in my school back then. I would only hope this no longer applies where these subjects are taught.

  • Jenny Barnes 21st May '22 - 5:06pm

    There are basic cookery skills instruction on-line. “learn to cook” gives several very basic – starting eg with “How to chop an onion”. I haven’t seen mentioned the need for equipment. Sharp knives, pans – and the shopping list above doesn’t mention herbs, spices, salt, pepper, garlic, oil etc. Add cumin, garlic & chilli to a boring stew and you have a tasty curry!

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