As we run into the last weeks of election campaigning one thing is very obvious, the Conservatives think that the UK public are idiots. They are performing a sustained campaign to fill the media with scare stories and offensive attacks to prevent any serious debate. They do not believe we, the public, will see past it.
The Conservative campaign against Labour has used the same strategy for a long time. Move the focus to nasty personal attacks and scare stories to reduce any discussion and analysis of policies in the media. This is because they understand that proper discussion and analysis would result in Labour winning.
Over the past two weeks we have seen a huge step up in aggressive attacks, including scare stories on the economy (here), on a Labour-SNP coalition (here), personal attacks on Ed Miliband (here) and Nicola Sturgeon (here). A casual glance at any of the right-wing press will show you lots of similar stories. It appears though that this is not enough, with Rupert Murdoch berating his Sun journalists for not attacking Ed Miliband enough to stop him winning the election (here).
Personal attacks on Ed Miliband’s love life, and Nicola Sturgeon’s masculinity, have nothing to do with this election. Neither do the sensationalist claims that a Labour-SNP coalition would tear our country apart. This strategy only works if it successfully fills the media and distracts the public.
Conservative attacks have focused on personal insults, overspending and the threat of dividing the UK. These are all areas, that when investigated, they fail miserably in. Which is why their strategy of distraction is so important to them.
The current Conservative coalition has added more to our national debt in 5 years than every Labour government since 1900 (IMF). This is during an economic recovery and after enacting harsh austerity cuts to the NHS, local government and social care.
Another line of attack on the economy is claiming that a Labour-SNP coalition would borrow over £160 billion more than Conservative plans. Not only is there no evidence of this (it is entirely calculated by the Conservatives) but they themselves managed to borrow over £200 billion more than planned during this parliament.
Conservative claims that a Labour-SNP coalition would break up our nation is a shocking case of scaremongering. Scottish support for the SNP exists because of how badly successive governments have performed in Scotland, we should be addressing this issue not pushing them further away.
The Conservatives know Scotland is not going to vote for them, so they have given up entirely and are attempting to use the SNP as a political weapon. This behaviour is only pushing Scotland further away from us. The Conservatives don’t care though because if they lose it won’t be their problem and would reduce Labour’s support.
This forms part of a common pattern whereby the Conservative strategy is to divide the people in our nation. The hate campaign towards benefit claimants, despite official statistics painting a completely different picture (here). The lacklustre campaign before the Scottish referendum almost backfired, resulting in David Cameron pleading to not “Vote Yes to give the ‘effing Tories’ a kick” (here). They have also frequently been found withholding pro-EU reports to further their anti-EU scaremongering (here) (here).
It is time to prove that we are not the idiots the Conservatives think, to give proper discussion and analysis its place in politics again. We need to show that baseless media attacks and distraction tactics are not acceptable in UK politics. We all want a better, stronger and united country, one that will give our families and children the best opportunities possible. The first stage of that is by ensuring that political campaigning is based on discussion and analysis, not petty attacks and scaremongering.