The Tories’ Election Campaign: Empty Rhetoric Repeated Ad Nauseam

Just in case you missed it, “strong and stable leadership” repeated ad nauseam is the campaign mantra of the Tory party for the incoming General Election. So just before our brains cease to function by the repetition of this empty slogan, let us unpick this mantra: strength in itself is not always good. One could be strong and wrong. Strength could be used by a bully to intimidate, and oppress the weak and vulnerable. As for “stable leadership”, well, the most stable leadership is a dictatorship. Do we want that? We, the electorate, should engage our brains, before we get swept away by these advertising tricks, that are coined to numb our senses, and overwhelm our intellect by shear repetition.

It is now clear how the Tories are going to run their election campaign, empty slogans and rhetoric. Negative campaigning, and the demonisation of a principled sincere leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. It is a campaign based on fear, telling the voters “stick with us because the alternative is worse”. They don’t want us, the voters, to examine their records of economic incompetence, meanness and cruelty to the vulnerable and the poor.

The lives of the many are now characterised by worry and insecurity in essential aspects – insecurity at work, zero-contract hours, wages not keeping up with the cost of living, debt, and fear of homelessness. That is the reality of the many, particularly our young. Yet the country seems to be paralysed by fear, hopelessness, and a resignation that there is no alternative to this way of running things.

Our public services and infrastructure are deteriorating visibly due to lack of investment. The education of our children and grandchildren is being compromised in spite of the efforts of our excellent teachers to mitigate the cuts in school budgets. The NHS is desperate for more money to keep it afloat as the need for health and social care increases with an ageing population.

In foreign affairs, this government has created an atmosphere where simply to question the wisdom of firing missiles and bombs in foreign countries is branded unpatriotic, and a danger to the security of the country.

As for the grotesque inequality between the 1% and the rest; yes, you can say it is not good. But try to suggest remedies to address it such as higher taxes for the very rich, higher corporation tax, oh no, that is anti-business and an attack on the entrepreneurial spirit. We should all be grateful to all those billionaires as they create jobs and we mustn’t do anything to inconvenience them.

Suggesting that trade unions should be strengthened to bring some balance of power between bosses and workers is considered too left-wing and radical. The whole thing then boils down to, yes, you may criticise inequality but don’t take any action that may help to reduce it. Anyone who suggests such things is a dangerous, Marxist lefty that should be demonised and ridiculed at every opportunity.

The media is not helping to promote another vision distinct from that of the Tories. Let us put the tabloid press aside, our broadcasting media is not being fair either. Every utterance by the Green Party or the Labour party is forensically examined and scrutinised while the Tories are given an easy ride. Journalists, please be fair and do your duty. The defeatist talk, combined with doom and gloom expressed by many Labour MPs and grandees, is sapping strength and morale from the enthusiastic young who joined the Party, energised by Jeremy Corbyn leadership, who passionately believe a better Britain is possible.

This alternative vision of Britain is articulated by the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn and the Green Party. It envisages a Britain that can truly work for the many and not the privileged few, with policies to make it happen, a Britain that works to reduce the nationalistic aggressive tendencies that are ratcheting tension worldwide, a Britain that concentrates on the rule of law, negotiations, and discussions to bring understanding and peace between nations and within nations.

We must hope that the British electorate is sophisticated enough to see through the empty xenophobic rhetoric of the Tories, and to embrace the alternative, and with it hope for a better future for all.

Adnan Al-Daini (PhD, Birmingham University, UK) is a retired University Engineering lecturer. He is a British citizen born in Iraq. He writes regularly on issues of social justice and the Middle East. Read other articles by Adnan.