DAN WOOTTON: Boris's agenda has proved he's a Tory In Name Only

DAN WOOTTON: Boris’s Corbyn-lite agenda has proved he’s a Tory In Name Only and if his Cabinet want to prove they aren’t too they need to grow a backbone and tell him his plan to raise National Insurance is a total non-starter

Donald Trump famously branded his internal party critics as RINOs – Republicans In Name Only.

Today I am prepared to label Boris Johnson and his toothless cabinet TINOs – Tories In Name Only.

Under his leadership, the PM has overseen the complete demolition of Conservative policies and values, many under the guise of a global health emergency.

Brits’ civil liberties and freedoms have been stripped, in favour of draconian regulations, police powers and a disturbing march towards a biosecurity state.

Our ability to drive diesel and petrol cars, travel at will and even have a gas boiler are under threat because of the so-called ‘climate emergency’ pushed by extremists like Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion.

Today I am prepared to label Boris Johnson and his toothless cabinet TINOs – Tories In Name Only

Even freedom of speech is being stamped out through a series of nanny state laws.

Pledges to clip the wings of the out-of-control BBC are a distant memory and Channel 4 remains government owned.

But this week is likely to see the biggest betrayal of all.

In what could amount to signing his political death warrant, Boris is planning to break his famous 2019 election promise on tax rises.

You know, the promise that got him elected with a huge margin against all odds, destroying Labour’s Red Wall in the process.

Back then Boris pledged: ‘I guarantee we will not raise the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance.’

No ifs, buts, or maybes. It was a cast iron promise.

In his first speech as Prime Minister he had previously claimed: ‘I am announcing now, on the steps of Downing Street, that we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared.’

Forget the threat of a reshuffle, that minister and all those that feel the same way should offer their resignations tonight. The chancellor Rishi Sunak must tell the prime minister he will go, too.

But there was no ‘clear plan’ and that’s why the PM and his new health secretary Sajid Javid have cajoled the reluctant chancellor into agreeing to a 1.25 per cent National Insurance hike, which could be announced as early as tomorrow.

The extra money raised from hardworking British workers via increased National Insurance won’t even be initially used to fund social care, as is eventually intended.

Instead, for the first three years the £10 billion raised will go down the blackhole that is the NHS budget, with the stated aim of clearing the post-pandemic waiting list. That’s on top of an extra £5.5 billion Boris is expected to commit to the NHS this week.

Three former Tory chancellors – Philip Hammond, Ken Clarke and Norman Lamont – have spoken out publicly against the increase.

No wonder given it will see the burden on families soaring to highs not seen since the 1960s, as the Tories take a socialist approach to tax policy.

And that’s not the only pledge to be broken, with Sunak also set to backtrack on the triple lock on state pensions.

What the hell happened?

Astronomical tax rises; the state interfering in all aspects of our lives; a sprawling and inefficient National Health Service that sucks up billions and billions more each year; and a desire to damage the British economy to achieve net zero before comparable western democracies. If we wanted that sort of hellscape, we would have voted for bloody Jeremy Corbyn

Yesterday the vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi would not even confirm in an interview that the Tories remain the party of low taxation. Instead, he said they were a party of ‘fair taxation’.

That sounds like the type of line Labour would usually wheel out.

I’m also sick of hearing Cabinet ministers anonymously brief the newspapers about their horror at Boris’ plans – but then do absolutely nothing about it.

Take the minister who described the move as ‘morally, economically and politically wrong’.

Forget the threat of a reshuffle, that minister and all those that feel the same way should offer their resignations tonight.

The chancellor Rishi Sunak must tell the prime minister he will go, too.

Do you really believe Boris will allow a situation where his highly popular rival to the throne is let loose on the back benches?

Boris might think he’s in ‘invincible mode’, as The Times reported today, but he should have developed a way to fund social care by making cuts elsewhere, rather than torpedoing his tax promise.

This is not a minor issue that will be forgotten by voters and it is likely to come back to haunt him.

Boris could look to recent political history to see the electoral consequences of breaking such a significant tax promise.

One-term US president George Bush would forever rue his promise to Americans: ‘Read my lips: No new taxes.’

Like Boris, he thought he was invincible following huge popularity gains on the back of the Gulf War.

But he was beaten in an upset by the upstart Bill Clinton in 1992, largely because he broke his promise and did increase taxes.

As Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg warned Boris in the Sunday Express yesterday: ‘Voters remembered these words after President Bush had forgotten them.’

Like so many, I believed in Boris Johnson.

And I wanted to believe he would be a prime minister who would stick to his long-held public persona as a low tax libertarian Tory who wanted the government to butt the hell out of our lives.

Many folk excused the creep away from those values as a realistic cost of a global pandemic.

But it’s gone far too far now.

Astronomical tax rises; the state interfering in all aspects of our lives; a sprawling and inefficient National Health Service that sucks up billions and billions more each year; and a desire to damage the British economy to achieve net zero before comparable western democracies.

If we wanted that sort of hellscape, we would have voted for bloody Jeremy Corbyn.

Boris needs saving from himself – before it’s too late.

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