I recall writing a column almost a decade ago, in the early days of the Conservative Government, in which I wrote that one of the worst things about austerity was the way it was being used to play-off different parts of society against one another, dividing communities at the exact time a stagnant economy meant people increasingly needed to rely upon one another.
A decade of Conservative economic policy finds Britain’s economy no better off and the Government continuing use divide and conquer tactics to cling to power at any cost. Nowhere has this tactic been more heavily used than in their attempts to divide older and younger voters along culture war issues and spending priorities.
Yet, over recent months the mask has begun to slip, with the Conservatives now so secure in their belief older voters will support them no matter what that they can break manifesto promises made at a General Election just two years ago, removing the triple-lock pension guarantee.
It should have been obvious this was coming when the Government announced their plans for social care earlier in the year. At the time these plans were rightly criticised for once again shifting the burden of taxation from the wealthy onto average and low earners in the form of a National Insurance increase. Yet, what was missed in the debate around National Insurance was how bad a deal it was for most pensioners.
Are you a pensioner or likely to retire soon? Do you have £86,000 in the bank? No? Then Boris Johnson’s social care plan won’t do a thing to help you keep your house. Whether or not you believe in inheritance, the fact that the Government has created a scheme which will ensure that the assets of millionaires are protected, while most people who have worked hard their whole lives to get what they have lose out is clearly wrong.
The dividing line has never been between young and old, or any other division the Conservatives have tried to carve out. It’s between people who believe in fairness and decency and Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.