After their disastrous polling in last month’s General Election, the Tories’ manifesto pledges are coming apart at the seams. They can’t even agree over the one policy that was supposed to be the central pillar of their programme – to reduce public spending.
And now Justine Greening, the Tory Education Secretary, has called for Theresa May to abandon plans to cut per pupil funding over the coming years.
Education experts at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) were quick to point out that this means injecting another £1.2 billion a year just to prevent further cuts (many billions more would be needed to reverse them).
Green was correct when prior to the general election she said:
You don’t make this country better by taking away opportunities from children who deserve them
But she was correct for all the wrong reasons.
The “opportunities” Green was talking about were for children to go to Grammar Schools, not about her own Government’s hateful policy of reducing funding for state education.
But now it seems she has changed her tune.
One wonders whether Green’s newfound opposition to austerity was influenced by her own electoral fortunes in Putney, which saw her 2015 majority over Labour reduced from 10,180 to just 1,554 votes.
The Tories are in disarray on all fronts. Hapless cabinet members now seem to be in meltdown, going back on everything they have said over the last decade.
For years, the Tories have used the corporate media to repeat the bizarre mantra that austerity is necessary and that we (the workers) have to tighten our belts. Corbyn’s election campaign put the lie to such outlandish claims.
When Corbyn proposed scrapping the pay cap for funding public services last week the Tories responded as they always do – with derision.
But in the space of a week everything has changed.
Cabinet members have changed their minds and are saying that they do care about workers after all; and that they want Theresa May to stop cuts to education and to lift the pay cap for public sector workers.
This government is weak. One sturdy push from the trade union movement and it will fall.
A hundred thousand marched in London at the weekend to demand an end to Tory misrule, and many more will march again in the Autumn. Corbyn’s anti-austerity program is inspiring more and more support by the day, and is succeeding in sowing further divisions within an already tottering Government.
Strong and stable the Tories are not.
What their continued retreats makes clear is that the Government has no electoral mandate for continued austerity.
A General Election beckons, and if Britain is serious about healing its wounds of division, it must ensure a landslide for Corbyn’s Labour.
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