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How to survive in Tory Britain


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This will not endear me to those scores of people who believe I’m some Tory-funded Goebbels, but I actually agree with one or two points in the May manifesto.

Moving from a triple to a double lock on pensions, for example. There’s an internal logic and integrity to the proposal, a certain verisimilitude, for it very much affirms the MayBot’s commitment to govern ‘for the whole country’. Having taken things away from children, poor people, students, middle-class people, military people, ill people, mentally ill people, disabled people, energy companies and Hugh Grant, the MayBot has done what none of her forebears dared do: she’s pilfered something from the larder of the grey redoubt. She’s taken something from old people.

It allows us to look back with a certain degree of fondness on the Cameron years, for we really didn’t appreciate just how good we had it. Back then, if you managed to navigate the hazardous rapids of British life, dodging the missiles hurled at you by a madly cackling George Osborne, and survived into pensionhood, you were rewarded. You’d be old, ergo you’d vote,  almost certainly for the Conservatives, and you’d have beaten the game. Quest completed.

You could sit back in relative comfort, watching endless reruns of Poirot and Murder, She Wrote, secure in the knowledge that the meritocratic system was paying you back for your years of toil and hard work. For the peculiar fact of the matter is – or was – this: because you were old, and voted Conservative, you were rewarded with Socialism.

Curious, isn’t it? But true. You have your heating paid for, your bus passes covered; you might have relief on council tax, you get free prescriptions; defecating is a smooth, easy process, et cetera, usque ad mortem.

And you were guaranteed a true living wage. The triple lock, introduced in 2010, ensured that pensions would rise with the higher of inflation, average earnings, or 2.5%.

The MayBot has pledged to scrap the latter of these, and for sound economic reasons. After all, if the treasury were to screw up the British economy – which it inevitably will, as its forecasts are reliably absurd – it would be impractical and expensive to guarantee the entirety of Britain’s grey mass a 2.5% increase in their pensions. It’s actually an egalitarian approach, for if everyone else is to be reduced to abject beggary it would be highly unfair to exempt almost 20% of the population for no better reason than their stubborn refusal to pass on.

In fact, one can easily read the entire Conservative programme as a canny attempt to address the problems of aging and overpopulation, morally justified on utilitarian grounds.

Take the decision to swap free school lunches for free school breakfasts. True, a small box from a Kellogg’s multi-pack is undoubtedly cheaper than a full meal with multiple ingredients, but it is also the case that underfeeding the young is a vital part of the long-term economic plan.

Take also the cuts to the Disability Living Allowance, the imposition of the dementia tax, the inevitable (and inevitably rebranded) rise in NICs, the tedious repetition of deathly dull mantras like ‘strong and stable leadership’, the free-rein given to mad and tasteless architects, the callous carelessness with which it would treat the environment; all of these things are, I’m sure, intended by the Conservative Party to encourage euthanasia. We will soon have a healthy trade surplus with Switzerland. Perhaps Dignitas could bid for NHS contracts. Perhaps Richard Branson could set up Virgin Death.

Cutting immigration ‘to the tens of thousands’, which remains in the Conservative manifesto, can only be understood with reference to this grand plan to kill of much of the population. It would otherwise be utterly insane, borderline impossible.

Now, I have some sympathy with those who distrust and dislike unlimited, unchecked mass-immigration. Nevertheless, the Tory policy is a parody of itself: at present, they say, it is simply too easy to care for the elderly, to staff the NHS, to prop up failing industries and institutions with cheap people from Over There. There are too many of them, prolonging our lives and making them pleasant. We need less of that sort of thing.

And, of course, there’s fracking, which is a crude but effective way of killing people. It has its own triple lock guarantee; it can get you by poisoning the water supply, by polluting the air, or by shaking the ground so much that small babies die in their cots. Strong and stable leadership for weak and unstable foundations.

All of this, as I say, is clearly intended to redress the problems of an aging population by making it as difficult as possible for people to grow old. Managed population decline, over the next three or four parliaments (or until the death of Jeremy Corbyn, which looks to be the only way he’ll be dethroned), should Make Britain Great Again. The MayBot will create a stable, sustainable, efficient nation, populated by one or two million services workers who prop up the City, and a few thousand cleaners to maintain the sleek, empty, expensive houses and mansions and apartments so beloved of Saudi and Chinese and Russian oligarchs.

All the rest will be green and pleasant lands, though scarred with the legacy of folly and forced decisions. Milton Keynes, for example, or Luton; places built to satisfy the stupid idea that, though we can make it difficult and unpleasant for them, people should still be allowed to live. Thank goodness we’ve done away with nonsense like that.

Ah, but I have strayed from the premise of the headline. How to survive in Tory Britain? Well, you can either bugger off, by plane or train or ferry (or suicide), or you can stand up and take pleasure in being a bloody obstinate arse. I think I know which I prefer.

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