I’d like to preface this by saying I don’t have, or I don’t believe that I have, particularly strong political beliefs. I think I’ve voted Tory before, because I thought John Major was actually a decent chap. I voted Labour in 1997, along with most other people. And I’ve voted Lib Dem as well, when I thought they were offering the best view of the future / there was no realistic alternative. So I don’t think I have any strong preference for any particular political party.

I’ve heard the Tories justify their policies with the line that the nation have voted for these policies, that they won the election and they are only carrying out the wishes of the majority. I don’t think that’s quite true, and I think that the Conservatives have cause for concern.
In the General Election in May 2015, 30.7 million people voted out of a possible 46.4 million registered to vote, or deemed eligible to vote. That is a turnout of 66.1%, or two thirds of the voting public. Of those, 11.3 million people voted conservative, or 36.9%. So out of the voting public, 11.3 out of 46.4 million voted Tory. That’s less than 25% of the voting population. And in addition to that, the Conservatives only have a twelve seat majority. 
Now, I am not saying that the other 75% would vote against the Tories. I think a large percentage of the UKIP voters would vote Tory, if UKIP disappeared, and they may vote Tory tactically next time around, seeing that even though 3.8 millions voted UKIP, they only got one MP. And the DUP and UUP would probably also vote Tory or support the Tories in a coalition if needed. 
What I am saying, though, is that with a majority of only 12, and only having support of less than 25% of the population, I think the Tories are following a high-risk strategy in cutting tax credits two years before the new “living wage” (which isn’t the same as the living wage promoted by the Living Wage Foundation) comes into effect. And I think it is a little rich for people the likes of Osborne and Cameron to keep banging on about “living within one’s means”. That’s easy enough for them, when one is likely to become a Baronet, and the other is a well-paid leader of nations. I can live within my means, and I am actually managing to pay down some of my debts, albeit slowly. But even for me, payday can’t come quickly enough. For those people who earn less, who qualify for working tax credits, life in 2016 is going to get a lot more bleak. They are going to be in work, but not earn enough to live on. 
A constant stream of MPs have lined up to stress that with all the other changes, actually people won’t be any worse off. But I don’t believe them. In order to get the sums to add up, you have to add in extra childcare allowance, when there is no guarantee that they have kids, higher tax thresholds  – which we all benefit from – and other benefits available to everyone – not just those on working tax credits. I will benefit from higher tax thresholds. So will George and David. But they, and I, don’t need their wages bumped up with tax credits. Nor do they rely on that income to buy necessities like food or gas or electricity or travel, so that they can live. They don’t need to worry about how they are going to replace that income stream for the two years before the minimum wage rises to £9.50. And even then, that won’t be the “living wage”, because the living wage (as recommended by the LWF) takes into account tax credits.

I started writing this article before last week’s Question Time, and it seems that the same has occurred to other people. I heard on the news this morning that this could be another poll tax moment, and now it is being reported that up to 71 tory MPs in marginal seats could lose their majority at the next election.

The Tories came to power promising that they would balance the books, and pay down the deficit, but I don’t think anyone was expecting them just to stop paying benefits to the poorest among us. Now that people have seen the plans and assessed the impact, they’re not happy. I am not saying I know what the answer is, but to be so brazen about this is not the way forward. 

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