Tuesday, 23 November 2021

They weren't supposed to take him seriously


It seems as though the PM is finding some of his backbenchers increasingly restless over what he has labelled as his ‘social care plan’. In reality, it is no such thing – it does nothing at all to address the current gaps and failings in social care. It is, in fact, more of an inheritance protection plan, targeted in particular at the wealthiest in society. Under his plan, those who have least stand to lose it all if they need social care, whilst those who have the most will lose just a small part of their accumulated wealth. And the main beneficiaries will be the adult children of the most well-off in the richest part of the UK, namely the south east of England.

It’s easy enough to see many opponents are unhappy with the proposal, but I can understand why the PM might be puzzled by the opposition coming from within his own party. After all, isn’t protecting the wealth of the richest what Tories do? What else are they for? The problem for his whingeing minority is that they were silly enough to stand for election – and win – in constituencies where there are many fewer wealthy people, and to do so on the back of a very unconservative promise (and one of the many which the PM never had any intention of actually doing anything about) to ‘level up’ the country. It’s a promise which, if it meant anything at all, could only ever have been achieved by spreading wealth more evenly.

It’s a sort of ‘Brexit bonus’ in reverse for the PM; having purged the traditional Conservatives from his party prior to the 2019 election and replaced them with people for whom the only thing that mattered was Brexit, he now finds himself leading a party many of whose MPs aren’t even proper Tories, and don’t understand that their sole mission in life is to protect the wealth of the wealthiest. Whilst it’s true that they were supposed to convince the less wealthy electors in their constituencies that they would look after them as well, they were never supposed to believe it themselves. Johnson himself probably can’t even begin to understand what’s going wrong for him. After all, someone who doesn’t believe a word of what he says himself must find it very strange to discover that anyone else might take him seriously.

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