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How many of the Conservative Party’s policies do you actually agree with?

The Conservative Party have now been in power for nearly an entire decade, and it’s unquestionable that the UK has gradually descended into an unprecedented level of political chaos and social upheaval during this time. However, despite being the very architects of the disastrous mess the UK finds itself in, the latest polls show that the Tories are still able to command a significant amount of support from the British population.

Whilst the Tories’ policy to simply ‘Get Brexit Done‘ is clearly popular with a large proportion of Leave voters, a vote for Boris Johnson’s party in the upcoming General Election would mean far more than just leaving the EU. If the public hands Johnson’s party a Parliamentary majority on December 12th, the Tories would have free rein to implement five more years of their disastrous domestic policies – all of which would only exacerbate the very social destruction that the Tories themselves have caused, and which huge swathes of Brexit voters are still understandably furious about.

The vote for Brexit in the 2016 referendum was the result of a huge number of social and political factors, but one of the main reasons given by Leave voters was that our country desparetely needed an urgent change of direction, and that leaving the EU would effectively hand back complete control to UK voters so they could decide the policies and the overall direction the country was headed in.

However, despite pitching themselves as a supposed party of ‘change’ in their pledge to deliver Brexit in the upcoming General Election, the Conservative Party’s domestic agenda clearly shows that, under them, the UK would see absolutely no change of direction – it would simply be more of the same, but this time on steroids.

Therefore, if you’re thinking about voting for Boris Johnson’s party based solely on their Brexit policy, or if you have friends or family who might be thinking of doing so, it is very much worth asking the question: ‘Apart from Brexit, which Tory policies do you actually agree with?

Supporting Insecure Work and Low Wages

You only have to take a brief look back at the history of the Conservative Party to understand why they continue to support the hugely unpopular and socially destructive policies of insecure work and low wages.

The current Conservative Party was founded in 1834, and became the successor to the Tory Party – whose sole purpose was to represent the interests of wealthy business owners and the establishment elite.

After ordinary people fought and won for the right to vote in elections, the Tory Party essentially became redundant and the rich were forced to try and popularise their ideology.

Yet, despite changing their name and attempting to cloak their true agenda, the ideology of the Conservative Party remains largely unchanged from their Tory Party days.

As an ideology, Toryism’s explicit aim is to ‘uphold the supremacy of social order‘ – or, in other words, to put forward policies which conserve, or indeed increase, the amount of wealth and power that those who already hold it have got.

The Tories claim they support insecure work – or the “gig economy” as it’s more well-known – because workers somehow benefit from the “flexibility” and “freedom” that zero-hours or low-hours contracts provide to them. Furthermore, the Tories also continue to support businesses who exploit bogus self-employment practices in order to con their way out of having to pay a minimum wage or provide workers with sick pay or paid holiday. Unsurprisingly, despite the Tories’ attempts to justify their position, the vast majority of people working on such contracts think they’re awful and know that the only beneficiary of such policies are the profiteering business owners and their shareholders.

The past 10 years has seen an explosion in insecure work, with 3.7 million people now estimated to be on a low-paid self-employed contract, in casual or agency work, or on a zero-hours contract. The direct consequence of this increasing gig economy is that more and more people are being pushed into poverty and unable to make ends meet.

Despite the dire effects of the policies, the Conservative Party have no plans to changes their support of insecure work or low wages in their 2019 General Election manifesto.

Ignoring the Housing Crisis they created

Numerous factors have led to the UK’s housing crisis over the past decade, but the overriding reason is Tory policy.

In 1980, the Tories introduced their Right to Buy policy which allowed Council House tenants to purchase their property at a knock-down price – a policy which effectively privatised much of the social housing stock with the taxpayer taking the hit. This policy could have been justifiable had the Conservative Party simply built more council houses to replace the ones they sold off. But they haven’t come anywhere close, meaning that council house numbers have now dropped to their lowest level ever – halving from four million to just two million since 1980 – and resulting in more than one million people now being stuck on council house waiting lists.

The Tories’ Right to Buy policy, and their subsequent refusal to build anywhere near enough social housing stock, was intentionally designed to force tenants – and therefore their money – into the hands of private landlords and property developers.

But it’s not just social housing that the Tories are refusing to build, they’ve also completely failed to build anywhere near enough affordable homes.

Indeed, in 2015 the Tories pledged to build 200,000 new starter homes in five years to try and meet increasing demand. How many did they manage to get built? None. Literally zero.

The main effect of the current housing shortage is an increase in demand, which – as anybody in business will tell you – leads to an increase in prices. And, of course, the Tories are very happy for landlords and property developers to reap the rewards of extortionate rents and house prices – mainly because the Tories are the party of the rich and this is the precise intention of their housing policies.

Unfortunately for ordinary people, however, we’re now left having to spend more than half of our monthly salary – or far more in many cases – on simply ensuring we have a roof over our head.

This dire lack of housing has also allowed the Tories to play their trump card: divide and rule – with many people falling for the myth that the housing crisis has supposedly been caused by ‘too many foreigners’, ‘too many benefit claimants’, or believe that Britain is somehow overcrowded despite literally only 8% of the UK’s land being actually built on. As with everything the Tories do, it’s not minorities who are to blame, it’s the Tories themselves.

The Tories are extremely unlikely to propose anything substantial to resolve the housing crisis in their 2019 General Election manifesto. And, even if by some miracle they do, their past failures on housing and their pro-landlord, pro-greed agenda clearly shows they can’t be trusted to deal with the issue in the interest of ordinary people.

Ignoring the Homelessness Crisis they created

The homelessness crisis currently engulfing the UK is a direct result of the previous two Tory polices listed in this article. If more and more people don’t know where their next pay cheque is coming from, and their wages are too low to make ends meet and their rent is too high to afford, what is the likely result? Yes, you’ve guessed it: more and more people being forced out onto the streets.

Since the Tories came to power in 2010, the number of rough sleepers on the UK’s streets has skyrocketed by a staggering 250% – and, partly due to the difficult nature of providing precise figures, homelessness charities actually believe the government are severely underestimating the scale of the problem.

Furthermore, literally hundreds of rough sleepers are now dying every year, with the number of deaths estimated to have increased significantly since 2010.

The Tories’ ideology, and their subsequent policy decisions, are key factors causing and further exacerbating the homelessness crisis. If people are made to feel deeply worried about the prospect of losing the roof over their head, they will be forced to take on whatever job they can find and work for whatever pitiful wage they are offered – a major benefit to exploitative bosses. Subsequently, this system of fear can then be used by the government to further drive down wages in order to provide wealthy business owners and their shareholders with more profits.

Ignoring the Poverty Crisis they created

If you’re *lucky* enough to have a roof over your head in 2019 Tory Britain, but are also afflicted by the Tories’ disastrous support for low wages, insecure work and high rents, you may be one of the 14 million people currently living in poverty.

Yes – that’s right. Fourteen million UK citizens now live in poverty in the fifth richest country in the world, including 3.7m children.

Poverty is defined by numerous different metrics, but those living in poverty are generally considered to not earn enough to make ends meet, consistently cannot afford to purchase essential items, and are often forced to forgo meals or even heating their home just to be able to survive.

Furthermore, extreme poverty – or destitution – is also said to be increasing significantly, with 1.5m people estimated to be destitute in 2017.

Making the lives of disabled people hell

Another factor in the increasingly dire situation ordinary people find themselves in has been the government’s choice to drastically decrease support for those in low-paid work and for those who are unable to work due to illness or disability.

Since 2010, the Tories have slashed a staggering £38billion from welfare spending – with a whopping £16billion of this being taken from in-work benefits, meaning that working people are now significantly worse off and increasingly struggling to make ends meet.

However, the Tories’ intentionally degrading treatment of severely disabled people must surely rank as one of their most grotesque policies – with numerous reports of terminally ill people, paraplegics, and people with lifelong chronic disabilities being forced into humiliating, degrading, and entirely unneccesary “work assessments” having hit the headlines since 2010.

Cutting taxes for the rich

In 2010, the Tories were elected on the basis that they would get the country’s finances back in order following the global financial crash of 2008.

However, after making sweeping cuts to essential public services – which have resulted in near-total catastrophe for the NHS, schools, the police, the fire service, youth services, libraries, local councils and people reliant on welfare – the Tories duely decided to spend the savings on something they thought was *actually* essential: tax cuts for their wealthy mates.

Yes, after effectively decimating the public services that ordinary people rely on by slashing funding, the Tories thought it was a good idea to spend the savings on reducing the top rate of tax for the highest earners from 50% to 45%.

In 2016, Cameron and Osborne then went on to hand out even more tax breaks for their wealthy chums – pushing up the top rate threshold by thousand of pounds, and slashing Capital Gains Tax from 28% to just 20%.

Furthermore, since 2010, the Tories have also slashed Corporation Tax from 28% to 19% – meaning that the wealthiest businesses now pay far less into the public purse and there is less money to spend on public services.

The Tories have also consistently raised the threshold at which all workers pay tax. At first glance, this policy seems like a good idea as it provides the lowest earners with a much-needed income boost. However, the policy is provided across all income grades, meaning that the very wealthiest benefit also pay less tax as a consequence.

In addition to Cameron and Osborne’s tax giveaways to the super-wealthy, Boris Johnson also wasted absolutely no time in deciding whose side he was on. Johnson hadn’t even been announced as the new Tory leader before unveiling an extraordinary, and widely-derided, pledge to reduce taxes for the very richest even further by a staggering £9.6billion.

If there’s one thing the Tories are known for, it’s making sure their super-rich mates don’t have to pay much tax. And, if they don’t like paying the meagre amount owed by law, the Tories will even keep their famed tax-havens and tax-loopholes open for them.

NHS Privatisation

The British public overwhelmingly support the NHS. Indeed, the NHS was once even voted as Britain’s most cherished achievement ahead of defeating Hitler in WWII.

Furthermore, nearly everyone agrees that healthcare should be run in the public interest and not for profit. It is therefore deeply concerning that a huge proportion of the public are completely unaware that the Tories have increasing privatisation in the NHS by a staggering 75% during the last decade.

This means that private companies are now siphoning off public funds worth almost £10billion – with the only beneficiaries being their owners and private shareholders rather than the British public.

If this wasn’t worrying enough, the Tories have already been exposed discussing the NHS with officials from the USA regarding a post-Brexit trade agreement.

A startling documentary for Channel 4 Dispatches revealed that Tory trade envoys had discussed drug pricing with their US counterparts which could see the NHS being forced to pay extortionate prices for medicines – all to the benefit of hugely wealthy US pharmaceutical companies and their shareholders, and at huge cost to the British taxpayer.

The Tories have absolutely no plans to cease privatisation in the NHS in their 2019 General Election manifesto – and, frankly, if you really trust the Tories with our NHS then you’re an absolute idiot.

Ignoring the Climate Crisis

Whilst the Tories proudly and consistently boast of their supposed achievements in tackling the climate emergency, the reality is that they’re doing everything in their power to try and avoid confronting the issue.

There have been minor steps forward during the past 10 years – including record investment in renewables and the phasing out of coal power plants (which aren’t really Tory decisions, but because cleaner technology is now cheaper!) – but it is clearly still the overwhelming policy of the Tories is to support wealthy fossil fuel companies and to downplay the necessity for increasing green energy and technology and reducing emissions.

Indeed, not only have the Tories withdrawn support for new onshore wind turbines and solar panels, withdrawn subsidies for plug-in hybrid cars and raised their vehicle tax to £140 per annum, they have also consistently voted against setting targets for carbon emissions and in favour of fracking.

It was also only a few days ago that the Tories were proudly boasting about how they had supposedly “banned fracking” – only to be forced to admit that their “ban” was actually only a temporary measure and fracking could be reintroduced after the General Election.

Furthermore, just yesterday a leaked internal document revealed that Tory HQ was instructing Tory MPs and candidates not to sign any pledges whatsoever to do with climate change.

The Tories are expected to pay lip-service to climate change in their upcoming General Election manifesto, but – given their despicable voting history and entirely anti-green ideology – the only factor in deciding their climate change policies will be whether the rich and powerful can make more money or gain more power from them.

Supporting Animal Cruelty

A large proportion of the British public are fully aware that the Tories are the party of the rich, but not so many know they are also the only major party of animal cruelty.

Yes, despite the overwhelming majority of Brits supporting the ban on fox hunting, this fact didn’t deter Theresa May from making the astonishing promise to give MPs a free vote on repealing the ban during her disastrous 2017 General Election campaign.

Also during May’s campaign, an Evolve article exposing the fact that the Tories’ 2017 manifesto had quietly scrapped a proposed ban on elephant ivory went viral. Our article was subsequently cited by both the BBC and BuzzFeed as having forced the Tories to change the policy and reluctantly ban on the antique ivory trade.

In addition to supporting foxes being ripped to shreds and poachers profiting from butchering elephants, the Tories have also been consistent in their support for wealthy toffs shooting birds for absolutely no reason other than they seem to get some form of sick pleasure out of it.

If you really love animals, you’d be an absolute fool to vote Tory.

Supporting Tuition Fees

The Tories are well-known for their hilarious inability to relate to young people – a failure most notably summed up by their truly dreadful attempt to counter the hugely successful Jeremy Corbyn-supporting organisation, Momentum, by setting up their own, entitled Activate.

However, what the Tories have so far failed to grasp is that it’s not groovy memes and hip viral videos that makes Momentum so popular, it’s the fact that they actually support policies which will benefit young people rather than intentionally stripping them of their life-chances like the Tories. Strange that, isn’t it!

Yes, in 2010 during the infamous Tory-Lib Dem coalition, they had the bright idea of massively increasing tuition fees from £3,000 to £9,000.

Under the policy, rather than being seen as a benefit to society and the economy, graduates were essentially being told that their further education would somehow only benefit them, and they would have to rack up around £50k worth of debt for the privelege. Taking the position that doctors, nurses, teachers, scientists, engineers, artists – and all highly educated professionals – are of no benefit to society really is an utterly ridiculous position to take.

Whilst Labour have consistently pledged to scrap tuition fees entirely, both the Tories and the Lib Dems will keep them at £9,250 a year.

If you vote Tory, absolutely nothing will change

It is completely understandable that those who voted for Brexit want to see the result of the referendum implemented. However, what the Tories are offering with their Brexit deal – in addition to all of their past, present, and future policies – is not designed to benefit ordinary people, but the rich and powerful.

If you voted for Brexit because you wanted things to change, why on earth would you ever consider voting for the Conservative Party?

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