The danger of words in political discourse

There’s an irony in the grim conduct of the past and present Home Secretary.

Back in Downing Street – Suella Braverman
Back in Downing Street – Suella Braverman

Both Priti Patel and Leaky Suella Braverman’s stance on refugees is so punishing and extreme that they’d have forbid one another’s parents from entering Britain.

Braverman’s divisive rhetoric is curious for a politician fighting for her own political life.

A woman who was returned to her job, having been forced to resign due to unacceptably lax conduct, was reportedly based around a grubby deal to get Rishi Sunak the top job.

Such are the trade-offs in politics. Yet the woman who dreams of sending those fleeing warzones on aeroplanes to Rwanda couldn’t have made a worst fist of it.

Such language as ‘invasion’ to describe those fleeing war zones has no place in our political discourse.

No beds, no fresh air, no toilet doors and no compassion, migrants are being forced to live in hell camps. Grant Shapps, who lasted about a week in the job, realised it was wrong and tried to do something about it. Braverman, however, is cut from different cloth.

Right wing commentators lap up her anti-refugee rhetoric, expressing alarm that refugees are being placed alongside other people in hotels. Another way of writing that headline is this: People placed alongside people.

Braverman is, of course, singing from a hymn sheet that the BNP used to espouse.

Though we ought not to be too surprised. Every time there’s a political problem, every time there’s an election, every time her party needs a distraction, they point to the Channel and people fall for it.

The ‘invasion’, as she puts it, has happened on her party’s watch. It’s been in power for 12 years, the crisis is considerably worse because of Brexit – and still they blame the left. Dehumanising and scapegoating is the stuff of sixth-form politics. We ought to be better than that.

Still, while Braverman does her best to leak classified information, discredit our international reputation and destroy the trust built up between our security services and politicians, the cost of Liz Truss’s disastrous month-long term are being made known.

We have a fiscal black hole of around £50 billion to fill and the only way to generate money is by raising taxes.

A Government that promised sunlit uplands, levelling up and £350 million a day for the NHS if we committed to Brexit is coming unstuck.

The chancers who got elected at the last election and spent small fortunes on decorating the Downing Street flat, or, in Truss’s case, flying around the world or partying at our expense, have left the mother of all messes.

Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt, the grown-ups left to clear it up, are aware of how bad things are and now intend to slash the effective wages of public sector workers as they impose tiny rises at a time when inflation is around 10 per cent.

The war in Ukraine has had some effect, though the disregard of profiteering energy companies who continue to be immune to windfall taxes appears to have had an even bigger impact.

In the Midlands, local theatres have already started opening ‘warm rooms’ for those who can’t afford to heat their homes this winter.

Things are about to get worse as the PM and Chancellor agree that the burden to fill our £50 billion black hole has to come from the public. It’s a simple trade-off; we either pay more tax or get fewer public services. And at a time when our NHS is on its knees – rather than revelling in the post-Brexit £350 million a day – we have little choice.

Still, at least life for MPs isn’t as tough as it is for the rest of us.

Their 30C House of Commons offices are so toasty that they have to leave the windows open, while so many MPs are pocketing severance pay having been booted out of the Cabinet recently that tax payers are facing a bill of around £700,000. Nice work if you can get it.

And so that’s where we are. A Home Secretary who can’t be trusted, public services on their knees and tax rises for all. Oh, and Matt Hancock is going into the Celebrity jungle. Just one question: Who voted for any of that?

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