Last month Crawley Borough Council voted to condemn David Cameron for breaking his pre-election commitments on tax credits, something which will have a huge impact upon the finances of thousands of working families here in Crawley, changes which Crawley’s Tories wanted it on the record that they support.
Too often I’ve heard it said politicians break promises. With the exception of EU referenda and tuition fee commitments I’ve usually thought these claims a little unfair. Certainly, locally we’ve bent over backwards to not only honour the commitments we actually made but those people thought we’d made. Democracy cannot function when it is filled with cynicism and we’re determined not to be another reason for people to be cynical.
Yet Cameron has not simply broken a promise. In haste you can commit to much you repent at leisure. No, for the Conservatives to turn around the Emergency Budget so shortly after the election having made a precise commitment to cut £12bn from social security, they must have known what they were going to cut before the election. When Cameron made his pledge on TV, he already knew it wouldn’t be kept.
Never before in British political history have election commitments been broken in such great quantity and at such speed. From tax reform, child benefit and rail improvements to social care, affordable housing and government transparency, it’s staggering.
Before the first 100 days of Conservative Government were through a dozen election commitments had already been broken, this time without the guise of coalition government to use as a cover, and the clock has only just started running.
Clearly I’ve never voted Conservative, but if I had cast my vote for them three months ago, in the belief that they intended to honour all that they had said before the election, only to have it rebound in my face days later, that’s not something I would simply take lying down. The question now is: with a Government that has built up such an appalling record on honesty, how can the public believe another thing the Conservatives put their name to ever again?