Fringe Comments at Conference

By: A.C.

The Tory party Conference 2015 did attract some fringe groupings, though one lobby group with lot to say for itself was the Taxpayers Alliance, which at fringe meeting, its Chairman stated an unsettling policy proposal for Hard–Right Tories to savour and enjoy.

The Chairman of this group was quoted by the BBC as saying: “ Ministers should waste no time to make unpopular cuts to pensioner benefits “Many of those hit by a cut to the winter fuel allowance might “not be around” at the next election, said Alex Wild of the Taxpayers’ Alliance. And others would forget which party had done it, he added.”

It is hard to comment on statements like that without commenting on the granite–nosed self–interest of the Taxpayers Alliance and their apparent allegiance to Tory Policy. What next: remove health care so that all disabled elderly and the sick die off early and thus make the NHS more affordable? Maybe in this lobby group’s vision of the future there might be a time when the disabled or disadvantaged are all suitably processed by ignoring human rights, and in that dystopian unequal society favouring the young, rich and powerful, the weak, poor, and unwanted elderly frail, or disabled, will all have memory loss and have forgotten that they paid for their NHS care through taxes and National Insurance. Maybe in that dystopian world the elderly and disabled will be quietly euthanised, as maybe the DWP of that future world would declare not enough NI Credits are available for healthcare or nursing?

Saving money, and promoting a youthful society seems to be more important to the Taxpayers Alliance than saving lives.

Maybe Alex Wilder is a Sci–Fi fan and has seen the film Logan’s Run which is based on the novel by William F Nolan. For those who have not read the book, or seen the original film, as I did around forty years ago, the story revolves around a seemingly idyllic society of young people, who all go into the quasi-religious Carousel ritual at 30 years old. It becomes clear that the ritual is a death rite to remove everybody above that age –except the policy–makers who are all older .

To return to the Taxpayer Alliance Fringe Meeting in Manchester, former defence secretary Dr. Liam Fox is quoted by the BBC and other media organisations as saying “we can never go back” to the “historically high” levels of public spending seen in recent years and the government’s public spending cuts must be for keeps. This is the time to fix the roof. He said. “We have a broken opposition. We have just won a general election and we need now to take the tough decisions we believe are right. Now that Labour was not such a “great threat”, this was a “great opportunity for us to do some of the more difficult things, however unpalatable they will be in the short term, are what we need to do for the country”

Mr Wilder for his part was forced to reply due to the public outcry. He is quoted at the BBC as saying:

“Yesterday I made some comments at a fringe event for which I want to apologise. “They were crass, offensive and made ‘off the cuff’ – I made a mistake and I want to say sorry for that.

“Not only did I let myself down, but the result has been that most are overlooking the point I was trying to make: that by means testing pensioner benefits we can end the perverse situation whereby wealthy pensioners receive winter fuel payments and potentially target money instead at those who genuinely need it – be they poorer pensioners or young people who are losing out.”

In public life before associating oneself with a fringe group advocating such policies, it would be wise to read or understand what that group represents before sharing a platform. Unless of course Dr Liam Fox hopes that the public have now all forgotten the reasons why he was forced out of the Ministry of Defence and his friend who travelled with him in such luxury was investigated by the Charity Commission. At the time in 2011 these stories were in most of the press. This quote is from the Guardian:

“Adam Werritty checked in on at least one trip to Dubai this year when travelling, in the words of the Ministry of Defence, “in a private capacity”. And travelling in a private capacity is what the MoD says the close friend and best man of the defence secretary, Liam Fox, has been doing when he has shown up again and again, all around the world, at the side of the defence secretary over the past 18 months.”

In the words of Fox at the Taxpayers Aliance meeting “we can never go back” to the “historically high” levels of public spending seen in recent years”. Was that a reference I wonder to the luxury living and travel he lavished on his high–living friend who went everywhere with him? I did not forget that.

Many of us oldies have still got functioning memories, albeit that my head sports a rather fetching thermal hat, and as the days get colder, I will type with fingerless mitts. I have not quite got to the duvet or tartan blanket stage.

That’s usually February.

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