Sunday, 21 July 2013

Are the Tories 'Evil'?

Recently, in response to a Sunny Hundal article, both Mark Ferguson of LabourList and Owen Jones in the Independent have come out publicly to say that “the Tories aren’t actually evil”.

Yes they are dismantling the Welfare State.  Yes they are destroying the NHS.  Yes they are abolishing Legal Aid.  Yes they are wrecking the economy of the North East.  All this acknowledged, but all that – it is suggested – does not make them ‘evil’.


An Era of Cuts
Of course, it is a moot debating point – both Ferguson and Jones argue that all this does not make the Tories evil in the religious sense of the word: is
 it fair to label Mr and Mrs Deluded of Surrey ‘evil’ in a Satanic way? 

But if that is all it is to Messrs 
Ferguson and Jones - a debating point - then it shows where they are coming from.

Both of them are writers who are making their money and their status from commenting upon the political situation.  They have both become well-known, and are comfortably well-off.  

And they clearly regard the whole show as a political game – a point-scoring debate.

How do I know?  Because neither of them think the Tories ‘evil’.

Yes they can observe the Tories’ actions and denounce them. 

“Cruel? Certainly. Unforgivable? Beyond doubt,” comments Owen Jones.

But these are the observations of the dispassionate observer, not the outcry of the victims. Neither Mr Ferguson nor Mr Jones are actually suffering on account of the Tories’ policies … in fact they doing rather well out of them.


Evil as a relative, rather than an Absolute, Concept
To be honest with you, the Tories’ policies have affected my personal lifestyle only marginally. But, here in the north-east, they are devastating my community, and the lives of many of the poorest and most vulnerable local people.

What Ferguson and Owens need to appreciate is that the destruction of the Welfare State is merely objectively ‘cruel’ and ‘unforgiveable’ … until you find yourself trapped by the bedroom tax, or unable to get a crisis loan to visit your son in hospital.
It is when the issues become subjective that you start to declare the Tories ‘evil’.
Much the same can be said about the NHS, legal aid and the economy.
Try asking one of those council workers who have lost their job, or who have had their pay frozen year upon year, whether they think Tories are ‘evil’.

The abuse-term ‘evil’ is much easier to discuss dispassionately when you are wrapped into the Westminster bubble, than when you rely on the local foodbank to feed your children, knowing that you will not be allowed to make another visit for three months.

The vitriol of ‘evil’ comes then, I would suggest, much more easily to the lips.


We Need More Nye Bevans
Aneurin Bevan once got into trouble for describing the Tories as ‘lower than vermin’.
I often wonder how he would get on in today’s anodyne, oh-so-polite-and-reasonable triangulating Labour Party.

But let’s not forget that the anger and hatred that fuelled Bevan was the motivation which wrenched a Britain ruined by the War out of the Hungry Thirties and into the Welfare State.


To my mind, we need more Nye Bevans.
Are you, as I, not amazed that there is so little anger against what the Tories are doing, so little outcry - so little response, not least from the poor people affected, but also from the caring middle classes?


I suspect it is indeed because we have not yet, as a society, realised that what the Tories are doing is evil, and thus we have not come to realise - as Britain did in 1945 and 1997 - that we are morally obliged to cast them out.


And just one more point, about Mr and Mrs Deluded of Surrey.

Nye Bevan had lived through the war, and he knew that to sit back and allow evil is in effect to condone it.


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