IT’S now a question of us and them.

One of Margaret Thatcher’s favourite questions to her flunkeys was “Is he/she one of us?” when considering someone for appointment or preferment.

“Us” meant rich, sound, Tory, dry, monetarist, right wing, etc, etc, etc. It was understood that “them” meant the rest of the country.

Now we have us and them incarnate. If you’re not one of “us” then you’re not worthy of basic human rights as far as they are concerned, you’re not worthy of a pension, you’re not allowed to stay in this country, you’re not enabled to feed your children over the summer holidays.

This hard-right government is making flesh of the comment that defined Thatcherism – “there is no such thing as society”. The elderly and infirm, the “foreigners” or “others”, the vulnerable, the disabled, even children, those who most need our protection and support, are to be sacrificed at the altar of Brexit. Those in power see these groups as a burden on the state, a state they’re desperate to diminish, to deregulate and destroy so they can pay less tax and have less responsibility while growing their own personal coffers.

Let’s start with raising the pension age to 75, as recently suggested by the uber Brexiteer and former Tory leader, Iain Duncan-Smith. It’s been well discussed these past few days about the life expectancy for men in Glasgow being 71, four years before this supposed retirement cut-off, a fact that I’m sure IDS and his thinktank buddies are well aware of, that just means less money to pay out. Simples.

READ MORE: People will not have to work until 75 in an independent Scotland

READ MORE: It’s every man for himself after a No Deal. Let the Brexit Games begin!

The hard truth is that this government doesn’t want to have to pay any pensions at all. It refuses to value those who have worked hard, paid their taxes and contributed to society the whole way through their working years, just look what they’ve already done to the Waspi women.

In their individualistic mind set, in their wicked selfishness, none of any of this matters, as long as the books get balanced. Mr Duncan-Smith doesn’t need to worry about changes to retirement age, nor do most of the Conservative Party membership, who are overwhelmingly white, male and in their late 50s and have made plenty of provision for their own financial security.

The National:

They also don’t need to worry about feeding their children. They’re past the age of having toddlers or hungry teenagers, and when they were up to their necks in childcare, they had good jobs and opportunities, they had access to reasonably priced food and the means with which to ensure a healthy diet, holidays, fun activities that cost money during the long summer break, even trips abroad. The absolute antithesis of these families targeted by Tory austerity, often working families that have to resort to food banks and holiday clubs set up by volunteers.

What a disgrace. This is a government led by people with no empathy and even less humanity. Because it’s not happening to them, or the narrow circles they mix in, its not important. They’re not even pretending to care anymore. They’ve been emboldened enough by the current rise in right-wing populism and narrow, self-centred politics to say out loud what they’ve been thinking privately all along – if you’re not one of “us”, then hell mend you.

And that brings me on to our EU nationals and the latent racism behind the latest pronouncement from Johnson’s dream team of right-wing crazies. Priti Patel, the new Home Office Secretary, wants to end freedom of movement on day one of Brexit, October 31. This is hard-right ideology at its most irrational and immoral as no replacement system is ready to be put in place to navigate this complex legal area.

Patel, who has already shown she cares little for correct procedures when she previously courted the Israelis during her holidays and lost her job over it, even wants to ensure that her noxious proposals bypass scrutiny in the House of Commons. Democracy? Hardly. Humanity? None. Patel is flexing her muscles, she wants to show she means business on taking back control of borders, whatever the human or economic cost.

This is threat and gesture politics at its worst and is a direct contradiction to what her PM said only two weeks ago on “unequivocal guarantees” on the rights and protections of EU citizens in the UK. So why is Patel pushing this hostile environment? Is the tail wagging the dog? Or is the Johnson administration so out of control and so driven by hardliners that anything goes in terms of announcements that are designed to put the frighteners on the EU, create dramatic tabloid headlines and whip up prejudice and bigotry across the country.

This chaotic government is certainly making hay in the summer recess in terms of horrendous announcements. When we’re not being manipulated by supposed leaks, we’re being bombarded with new policies and bad news and a series of interviews with government high heid yins like Michael Gove trying to reassure and normalise this hell-scape Britain with his fingers crossed behind his back.

This gang would keep a ward of psychiatrists busy for years. Gove evinces the eerie calm of someone who mislaid their marbles some time ago. Cummings is balanced on the very edge of reason. Johnson looks like a bad actor playing himself. Patel and Iain Duncan-Smith are just taking advantage of these insane conditions with their extreme ideas.

But it’s this collection of ghouls that are in the driving seat while the clock ticks on, remorselessly towards Halloween. After that, expect the horror show to climax in total madness.