‘Strong and Stable’: Your guide to decoding Tory spin

By Mason Boycott-Owen

So, it’s election time yet again. The manifestos are out and so too is the story spin machine – the right-wing press. Although there are popular left-wing outlets in the UK,  they never wield as much power as their rivals. As a member of Cameron’s government told Guardian columnist Matthew d’Ancona: “there can be no revival of centrism in this country as long as Paul Dacre is Editor of the Mail.” The Parker which as Alastair Campbell said is “the worst of British values posing at the best.”

If the centre has no hope of overcoming the press then Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour will not get a fair hearing. When an intervention on energy prices are reported as ‘economic vandalism’ when it is a Labour policy, but as the saviour of the working class when it is a Conservative one, the paper clearly places the survival of the Conservatives above the needs of its readers. Let’s look behind the spin.

Theresa May cares about the working class and immigrants

Theresa May has tried to put herself forward as a woman of the people. The kind of gal who you’d see playing darts in the pub or asking for extra scraps at the chippy. But her voting record on benefits, workers’ rights and aversion to letting any ‘real people’ into her events says a different story.

If we look back to 2013 while Home Secretary, she sent out two vans saying “Go home or face arrest” targeting undocumented immigrants in the UK. This policy was later banned by the Advertising Standards Authority. Clearly this is a Prime Minister who cares about immigrants feeling safe in valued in the UK.

Jeremy Corbyn will get rid of Trident

Jeremy Corbyn is a long-time opponent of nuclear weapons – we know this. But since Jeremy Corbyn has sought to ‘democratise’ Labour policy there will be a defence review of which Trident will be a part. What is Labour’s policy on this? The clue is on page 120 of the Labour Manifesto: “Labour supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent.” Seems somewhat clearer doesn’t it?

There is no way Labour will allow Trident to be scrapped. Even if Jeremy Corbyn were to bring it before Parliament, neither his own MPs, nor the Tories would back it. Let’s put this fear to bed.

Jeremy Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser

The current Labour leader has met with the IRA – he does not deny it – yet Jeremy Corbyn has a long history of trying to bring about peace. This is the man who was roughed up and dragged away for opposing apartheid – he wants an end to violence and talked to those who do the dirty work to get it done. Take from that what you will, but do not think that Margaret Thatcher took part in no negotiations with the IRA – files released in 2011 point to exactly that. And don’t forget Maria Gatland, a Tory councillor, who was an active member of the IRA in the early 1970s. The fact that MI5 once had a file on Jeremy Corbyn is of no consequence; they opened a temporary file, found nothing and moved on.

Corbyn may have had dealings with characters that don’t chime with the approval of the electorate, but when your Prime Minister jets across the Atlantic to see Donald Trump and grab him by the hand, her defendants say sometimes you’ve got to deal with people who do not represent your values so that a better world can come about.

Theresa May’s ‘Go Home’ bus was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (Picture via Home Office/PA)


Jeremy Corbyn will lead a ‘coalition of chaos’

Theresa May, in a move strikingly similar to Lynton Crosby’s campaign last year, said Labour would be leading a ‘coalition of chaos’ seeking to undermine Brexit.

So, are the other parties interested? Tim Farron has gone on record saying there would be “no circumstances whatsoever” in which his party would prop up a coalition either with the Tories or Labour.

What of a coalition of Labour and the dreaded SNP? – The campaign which saw Miliband in Salmond’s pocket used to scare would-be Labour voters. Mr Corbyn has said, “There will be no coalition deal with the SNP and a Labour government.”

The answer is unequivocally no, but those answers do not make their way onto Conservative posters.

Labour’s manifesto will take us back to the 1970s

Labour proposes a vast swathe of socialist policies that, according to the Conservatives will drag the UK back to the 1970s. These kind of policies surely are so outdated that no self-respecting country still has them. In fact policies like free university education and state-owned rail in Germany or rent caps in the USA are commonplace.

If Labour is taking us back to the 1970s then corporation tax would go up to 40% – 21% higher than it is now. Instead Labour proposes that we do not cut it to the lowest of any of the world’s top twenty economies as does Theresa May, taking it down from its lofty position as one of the lowest in the G7.

In response we have the modern, pioneering policies of the Tories such as grammar schools and fox-hunting – both big in the 1970s.

Labour doesn’t know what their manifesto costs

Labour has proposed £48.6bn of spending to pay for a renewal of public services and has also proposed raising £48.6bn in raising taxes on the highest earners, corporations and financial transactions. Fully-costed and ready for scrutiny. As for the Conservatives, their manifesto is not costed, yet according to Tory HQ it is the Labour sums that don’t add up.

Diane Abbott’s shambolic failure to recall a simple number does not mean Labour’s thoroughly researched manifesto is worth nothing. Spreadsheet Phil, our chancellor, made a similar gaff and yet the Conservative manifesto and his skills as chancellor are not questioned.

May’s Conservatives are a strong and stable Brexit government

What part of Theresa May’s party in recent years looks strong and stable? The party that gambled the UK’s membership of the EU to heal a rift in the party. The same party that had so many leadership candidates stabbing each other in the back that Ms May won by default.

But Theresa is different from that. She’s the Brexit Prime Minister, who oddly enough campaigned against Brexit – as did many Conservatives. If we put that aside Ms May is still looking for a mandate to strengthen her hand – an idea which is somewhat odd. The European negotiators do not care about her majority, she won’t get the best deal by winning a game of Mandate Top Trumps against Juncker.

Take all Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat claims with a pinch of salt. Nobody is going to tell you the naked facts – look to sources or media you trust and make up your own mind.


Image: Teacher Dude via Flickr

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