by Rab Bruce’s Spider

Byline Times continue to provide some of the best journalism around. They recently produced an article about healthy life expectancy in the so-called Red Wall constituencies. You can read this at:

Healthy Life Expectancy has Fallen in 80% of ‘Red Wall’ Areas Since Conservatives Took Power – Byline Times

What this article demonstrates once again is that far too many voters fall for Tory lies and will elect Tory MPs even if a Tory Government will act directly against the best interests of the voters who elected them. Indeed, under Boris Johnson, we have seen unprecedented levels of Tory greed and corruption which has resulted in them and their friends being enriched at the expense of pretty much everyone else.

So why do so many people actually think that the Tories will do anything to improve their lives? It’s a puzzle, and there is no doubt that the media has a large role to play in delivering the sorts of messages that the Tories want delivered. After all, the Tories are the main Party of the Establishment, a social order which is underpinned by the class structure and which teaches ordinary people that they are better off letting their social betters run things. This social order includes such things as adoration of the monarch, respect for wealth, militaristic bombast and, of course, unhealthy lashings of British Exceptionalism.

The Tories do not only rely on the social order , education system and media to cultivate this world view. They dangle carrots such as the proven lie that hard work can lift people out of poverty. A handful of individuals will be celebrated for this, but they are very much the exception rather than the rule, but a great many people still seem to think that they can join the wealthy elite if only they would work a little harder. Inherent in this outlook is the belief that anyone who is successful will leave the ordinary plebs behind. There is no aspiration towards lifting society as a whole, simply an aspiration to join the ranks of the rich and famous.

Then there is the belief that taxes are bad and must be kept low. Not that most people would complain about paying less tax, but the Tories combine this with a low wage economy which ensures that workers have little power and can be exploited by employers, as well as giving them every excuse to close down public services and privatise things like the Health service.

The question of where power lies is one reason why Universal Basic Income will never become reality under a Tory Government; it places power and decision making about employment in the hands of workers. The fact that it also reduces poverty, improves mental health and wellbeing is entirely beside the point. For Tories, it is power and control that matter, and those things must never reach the masses.

In many countries, notably the Nordic countries, the model is very much high wage and high tax. This allows them to provide first rate public services and pay high levels of Old Age Pension and other social security benefits. Whether Scotland could ever reach that level is doubtful even if we were to become a normal, self-governing country. Too many of us have grown up accepting the UK way of doing things that this would be an enormous change which will take generations to implement. Yet it is the sort of model which would give us the sort of public services and pensions that most of us want. And yet, the threat of higher taxation is wheeled out whenever any economic discussion of Scotland’s future is under discussion. As far as the media narrative goes, taxes are bad. End of discussion.

The entire mindset of the Scottish population needs to alter. That isn’t easy when the media constantly reinforce the Tory perspective, but at least the proportion of Scots who do realise that there is a better way is considerably higher than the equivalent number of people in England who seem so thirled to the Tory way of thinking it is impossible to see how the situation will ever change. If people are prepared to vote Tory even when it has been demonstrated that this will result in poorer health and earlier deaths, then what hope is there? At least Scotland has a choice. It’s about time we made it.