Let them play bingo

“#budget2014 cuts bingo and beer tax helping hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy” read the tweet from Conservative MP and Party chairman, Grant Shapps. Shapps not too long ago stated that the Conservatives are the workers’ party, and they have rewarded the workers with more of their favourite things like bingo and beer! All the working class people will be baffled by all the big scary figures and percentages and acronyms flying around during the budget announcement, let’s have Grant tweet a nice picture with the words bingo and beer on it.

Do you think Grant Shapps, or many other Tory MPs, has ever met a “worker” outside a staged photo-op? Or do you think he forms his opinion of the working class based on Jeremy Kyle, Benefits Street and the various other poverty safari television programmes the country loves to devour and the horror stories I assume they tell each other about families numbering in the thousands? Tories like Grant Shapps are fairly certain a working class person wouldn’t like reading, cinema, theatre or classical music or even take an interest in the economics of the budget because they believe the cultural and political interests of the working class stops at bingo and beer. So with this budget the Tories have employed this knowledge and are going to keep workers happy with bingo and beer. Sod living standards and a decent rise in wages, it’s not as if they’re important.

When I watched the evening news on the BBC (taking a break from bingo) coverage led with the budget. The BBC went out on the door steps of Britain to get some opinion of how people think the budget announcement was for them. They found these average Joes’ on a golf course. We were shown the opinions of people who have money but their money wasn’t making enough money for them so the news about savings and pensions was good for them. The budget and the coverage by the BBC is a stark reminder of how far detached Tories, Lib Dems and some journalists are from the reality of millions. There was nothing in Osborne’s Budget for the vast numbers of unemployed youth, those using food banks or a sign that the relentless austerity hitting the poorest the hardest was going to let up. The content of the budget and coverage by the BBC indicated that this budget isn’t for the working class and that it doesn’t matter that they have been left to cope with the burden of austerity. The only consideration the working class and out of work poor have been given in this budget is the “let them play bingo and drink their beer” sentiment. Very Marie Antoinette! The Tories have literally attempted to quell discontent with a penny off a pint whilst they line the pockets of those that are fortunate enough to have savings. One hundred pints in you’ll have saved a £1, why not open a savings account with it?!

Who was this budget for? George Osborne stated that it’s a budget for the “makers, doers and savers” (omitting the word “workers” there, I thought the Tories were the workers’ party?). So who are those people? Basically they’re the people that are fortunate enough to have money to save and the new budget allows them to save more. And if you’re not one of those people that has money to save then there’s a pretty good chance that you’re not going to vote Tory, are you? And in that case George Osborne doesn’t really care about you with an election round the corner. The “makers, doers and savers” are the people that will vote Tory or the people that are tempted to vote for someone else like UKIP, maybe even the Lib Dems if they’re feeling bad about all the ‘poors’. With this budget George Osborne is waving those extra savings and better pensions at them so they know that a vote for the Tories will benefit them.

As long as these makers, doers and savers are benefiting from the Tory government then why would they consider voting for someone else like UKIP and risk splitting the vote of the right and letting Labour back in? Your concerns about immigration and the European Union can wait a while longer. The news of this budget will convince a few voters who might have been drifting to stick with the Tories. And as for the poorest in the country that don’t have ISAs or pensions, the Tories have given you beer and bingo, what more do you want?!

4 responses to “Let them play bingo”

  1. Oli says:

    The idea of the Chancellor enabling people to enjoy more of what they like is fine but the way it has been expressed is pretty crude. Im guessing that Grant Schapps (stupidly) didnt realise what was going on and it was a staffer/SPAD who came up with the idea. Tory HQ should really get a grip on these kinds of gaffs!

    • Christopher McMahon says:

      Definitely. As you said, when I heard it announced in the budget I thought “he’s going for a vote winner” and I was expecting something like it because there was an MP (or MPs, not sure on specifics) campaigning to have bingo tax cut, and I’m personally not upset that beer isn’t going to be more expensive. That tweet really was something else though.

  2. Oli says:

    amazing how the ‘they’ in Schapps’s tweet is the key. its been seen in a pejorative sense.  Almost an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ thing. if he had swapped ‘they’ for ‘people’ or similar the whole thing might not have even been noticed.

  3. Tom Elliot Roberts says:

    “The Conservatives don’t have a policy problem, they have a PR problem”