A Nazi, a homophobe and an old Etonian walk into a bar... not a joke, merely a likely scenario at October's Tory Party conference. Well, I was wondering how long it would take for them to revert to type and show their true colours, if not policies. All this cuddly "caring" conservatism must have really been sticking in the craw of the dyed-in-the-wool bigots and reactionaries who make up a large proportion of their voters. They probably dozed off at party conference a few years ago and woke up wiping drool from their palsied gobs to think they'd joined the Liberals. "Next they'll be saying we can't beat the servants! What do you mean we can't have servants any more? Hired help? I thought that was what Jeffrey Archer got in trouble for. Well I tell you I didn't fight and die in two world wars and have my buttocks used as a toast rack by my house master at Eton to put up with this kind of thing!" But this week the hang 'em and flog 'em brigade will have had cause to celebrate. Yes, the Tories have shrugged off their caring, sharing facade and reverted to the vindictive reactionaries we always knew they were, having sensed blood as a gravely wounded Labour Party limps towards defeat, having chewed its own leg off in a bid to survive.
And the most galling thing for the new Labour project is that the Tories are doing it with their policies, just with an added injection of malice like a schoolyard bully giving a Chinese burn to someone whose dinner money he's already stolen. This time the Tories brought pals from eastern Europe to make sure the message really got through. Michal Kaminski, who looks a bit like Alan Carr on steroids - but with fewer knob gags - was on hand to support his new best friend Dave. The right-wing MEP has publicly referred to gay people as "fags" and his party is rabidly opposed to same-sex marriages and has some rather dubious views on the Jewish race. So something for the Middle England voters there then. And if that wasn't endorsement enough, the Tories also wheeled out Roberts Zile of the uber right-wing Latvian party - there's a clue in the title here - Fatherland and Freedom. The FF, which appropriately sounds a bit like a Gestapo officer with a lisp, holds annual commemorations for the butchers of the Waffen SS. It tries to justify it by saying that the Latvian members of the murder gang were merely "following orders." Just like every defendant at the Nuremburg Trials. I can't wait to see who the Tories invite next year. The recently disinterred corpse of Adolf Eichmann perhaps? It takes something special to make David Miliband look like a principled defender of our nation's morals. This is the man who as Foreign Secretary is so up to his neck in human rights and torture litigation at the moment that he's probably been given a season ticket for the Courts of Justice. Yet, remarkably, this week the Tories made him look good.
It is perhaps then no coincidence with such dubious partners listening in that they wheeled out the race card, condemning Muslim extremism, but not the home-grown variety of Islamophobia, and pledging a "fortress Britain"-style immigration policy. But perhaps the most sickening aspect of the whole pantomime was when both Osborne and Cameron spoke about the pain which was necessary before the economic gain. Whose pain would that be then? Not theirs certainly, with their trust funds and multimillion-pound incomes. Its takes a real genius in hypocrisy to be lecturing us on realism and responsibility while quaffing £140-a-bottle bubbly and erecting a Potemkin village-style shopping mall in the conference centre so as not to have to slum it with the oiks outside. The Tories feel our pain all right - like a sadist tightening the thumb screws.
A blog for the socially and politically conscious, written by a young, gay activist who strongly believes in equality and justice.