In 1993, during the party conference in Blackpool, then Conservative Prime Minister John Major announced the Back to Basics campaign. The campaign was intended to appeal to the British publics nostalgic longing for traditional values of neighbourliness, decency and courtesy; however, it quickly became the subject of ridicule when several Conservative politicians were caught up in scandals. Once again, the Tories find themselves in the same cesspit.
Despite his best efforts, Rishi Sunak has been as unsuccessful as his predecessors in establishing common decency and professionalism among his Tory peers. In recent days, two senior members of the government have been caught up in two separate debacles, however there is one constant amongst these variables; the Tory party is plagued with unprofessional, incompetent, and borderline criminal individuals. The two members in question are former Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, and disgraced former Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Each displayed their disdain for hard working, decent people during the Covid-19 pandemic; from depriving school children of adequate meals and equipment to learn from home, to being caught red-handed in a conflict of interest’s affair which broke several ministerial codes and conventions.
Beginning with Williamson, the minister without portfolio has been caught up in a bullying scandal, whereby amidst a whole host of serious allegations, abhorrently he told a senior civil servant to ‘slit your throat.’ Further reports suggest that during his time in office, Williamson demeaned and intimidated colleagues, frequently shouted and raged, and repeatedly used crass language and remarks. For a minister who stood before school children and teachers, and spoke of the importance of anti-bullying strategies, to no one’s surprise he has been proven to be what many already suspected: an outright hypocrite. Many of these incidents are said have taken place during Williamson’s time in the Ministry of Defence.
Unsurprisingly, the Prime Minister was quick to distance himself from Williamson and made it abundantly clear during PMQs on Wednesday 09 November, that bullying of any nature was not acceptable. Whilst this sentiment is all well and good, in typical Tory fashion, Sunak told outright lies at the dispatch box when he suggested that he was not aware of these incidents before appointing Williamson. On the contrary, evidence suggests that Sunak was cautioned beforehand, as there existed a complaint of bullying and misogyny made against Williamson. Whilst the Tories continue to engage in the circus that is their government, serious crimes are ongoing in their own party, and the country lacks sufficient leadership.
GMB Union has a zero-tolerance attitude towards bullying and harassment and condemns all forms in and beyond the workplace. Bullying and harassment is a cancer that must be cut out of each and every environment. Through education and training, GMB Union is committed to servicing its members and their employers, with the intention of creating strong anti-bullying and harassment policies and procedures in all workplaces.
Elsewhere in the septic tank that is the Conservative government, the former Health Secretary fancies himself a Z-list celebrity. Hancock, the overseer of bogus PPE contracts and caught violating the very social distancing guidance he put in place, now insults the British public even more by joining ITVs I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! Despite the Tories best efforts to distance themselves from Hancock, the point still remains, this is a man who earns £84,144 per year, and that is before expenses and any other additional incomes. He does not need a further £400,000 whilst there are families struggling to make ends meet, who cannot put food on the table or heat their home. Hancock’s decision to enter this vanity contest is totally unacceptable.
Away from the financial cost, one of the country's most prominent politicians in recent memory is now the subject of a late-night comedy show; this makes an absolute mockery out of this country, its governance and its people. Furthermore, in conjunction with his cronies, Hancock has eroded the ministerial code, and the conventions of public life. On both the national and international stage, the British government has been reduced to a laughingstock, packed to the brim with incompetent and heinous individuals, none of whom are fit for purpose. GMB Union condemns Hancock for entering ITVs television show and seeks to remind him and others alike that the job of any Member of Parliament is first and foremost to serve their constituents, and not insult and steal from the British taxpayer, especially during a cost-of-living crisis.
In summary, Hancock, Williamson, and the rest of the Conservative Party are all contestants on a painful to watch reality TV show titled, We’re Unsuitable Tory Ministers… Get Us Out of Here!, otherwise known as the current, dire state of the British government. On a serious note, GMB Union argues that it is a downright injustice that the public are only able to vote Hancock out of a television show, and not able to vote him and the rest of this government out of office in a much-needed, crucial general election.
Neil Smith, Political Officer
Written and edited by Shaun Nash
Tories go Back to Basics