Not since the Childcatcher in Chitty Bang Bang has there been a more shameless attempt at misrepresenting true intentions than we saw in Manchester this week. However a complete disregard for evidence, facts and a desire to milk applause from the slavering crowds of party faithful meant that these intentions were laid bare for all to see.
Cameron talked about supporting hardworking families whilst the evidence indicated that 3 million of these would be over £1,000 per year poorer by changes to working tax credits and 200,000 pushed into poverty by welfare cuts in this year’s budget. Theresa May tried to present herself as the heiress to Thatcher but evoked the ghost of Enoch Powell with her shameful and totally baseless claim that immigration pushed down the pay of British workers. Jeremy Hunt resurrected Tebbit’s father’s bicycle when he said how we must all work harder like the Chinese but the reality is that it is the fact that we lag behind the French and Germans in productivity at work which is much more significant. However productivity is linked to things like investment, training, professional development and security which are not part of the Tory vision of the sweatshop workplace. It went on and on relentlessly with attacks, with no evidence, on young workers and throwaway remarks about elderly voters who would see their fuel allowances being cut not being a problem as many would be dead before the next election.
At the conference the Tory party showed their true face and it was an ugly site. It is more important than ever that we can present an alternative; the stakes are getting higher and higher.