The Conservative government has been having a bad time of late. Not only has David Cameron become the laughing stock of British politics for inserting his penis into a pigs mouth, but the Tories have also been slammed by the United Nations on two counts.
Under Tory leadership the UK has gained the unenviable prize of being the first nation to ever be investigated by the UN for “grave violations” of the human rights of disabled people. Thousands of people have died because of cuts to disability benefits and other such initiatives implemented by Iain Duncan Smiths’ Department for Work and Pensions, all of which have been enacted to drive through a needless austerity agenda. An agenda which has been broadly supported by all major parties (until Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party) and by the mainstream press (who vilified Corbyn for his anti-austerity stance amongst other things).
The condemnation from the United Nations and the related investigation hasn’t gained too much traction in the mainstream media, nor has it provoked much of a reaction from David Cameron or his party, who continue to defend their ideological stance on austerity in the face of facts, figures and humanity.
Ian Duncan Smith is likely to continue to push forward with his reform process and defy any criticism, regardless of its source. This is because even if the UN enforced sanctions on the UK, they would unlikely have any real impact. It would undoubtedly be embarrassing but with the UK’s position on the Security Council the government still has huge influence over the debates at UN and can veto any resolutions it dislikes.
Yet this is not the only bad news coming from the UN concerning David Cameron and his party. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, stated that Britain’s rhetoric regarding refugees (“swarms” and saying they prevent “social cohesion”) was not dissimilar to the language used in the build up to the 1938 conference prior to the Holocaust.
This is a damning condemnation of the Conservative Party and of the current status quo in Britain. An incredibly xenophobic and at times racist, anti-refugee stance is being promoted, so much so that this has been likened to pre-Holocaust levels of scare mongering. Were these comments directed at Russia and Vladimir Putin, or if China was being investigated for violating the rights of disabled people in Tibet, the British media would be having a field day, jumping on any chance to promote Britain as a beacon of morality, whilst talking down at a “rival” government.
Instead there is a lot of silence. The reason for this is that the idea of Britain as a great, moral country has long been eroded away. War after war abroad and now a war against many of the most vulnerable, including the disabled at home, is making Britain lose any moral high ground it once claimed to have. How can David Cameron talk about human rights abuses abroad when his government is committing abuses on its own citizens?
The Tories are abusing human rights at home in order to justify an austerity agenda that is based purely on their ideological drive to cut the size of government. An austerity agenda that incidentally has made the rich richer whilst impoverishing society’s most vulnerable. So when will the media begin to scrutinize the policies in more depth and look at the human cost of austerity? When will we stop pretending that the UK government is a bastion of morality? Not until those in positions to critique power no longer resemble those wielding it.
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