THERE is no end to the shameful and breathtaking hypocrisy of a Tory. I have just watched Matt Hancock brazenly lie and evade his way through an interview on Channel Four News denying every piece of evidence we are seeing daily from the front line of the coronavirus emergency.

The one thing that this virus has not damaged is the uniquely sublime form of British irony, demonstrated when Hancock, echoing his imbecilic master in Downing Street, berated the public for its selfishness. How ironic is it that a government of a party who have persistently preached an ideology of aggressive selfish individualism for the past 50 years are disturbed that large numbers of the population have absorbed their persistent propaganda and are exhibiting that same aggressive selfish individualism by panic buying, refusing to self-isolate, demanding their right to continue to congregate in the pubs etc.

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Like the Downing Street clown’s own father, who incidentally has just appliedfor French citizenship – in a bid, I suspect, to escape the consequences of his son’s insanity.

These are the people who have based their entire policy agenda since the 1970s on the idea that there is no such thing as society, that greed is good, that altruism is for mugs and losers, that have systematically dismantled our social institutions and communal framework.

The notion that there is no such thing as society has its genesis in the philosophy of Jeremy Bentham, who also wrote that the community is a fiction. Basing her policy agenda on such nonsense, Thatcher preached the “no society” gospel and relentlessly attacked all forms of community because if there is no society, then society has no obligations or responsibilities as it does not exist. So there is no obligation on anyone to respect anyone else or help them in any way.

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Thus there is no need for a National Health Service, social security, council housing etc. Each individual is only responsible for their own health, welfare etc. As one prominent Tory stated, “I never use public libraries, so why should I pay for them”? That is the Thatcher mentality.

The Hancocks and Johnsons of this world have reached the top by pursuing a personal agenda of selfish individualism, in a party that has promoted selfishness and individual gratification all of its existence. A group of people who have just convinced a majority of the British people that selfishness and self-isolation from the rest of our European neighbours is our destiny, now feign shock and horror that people not only listened to them, but practice what they preached.

Hancock complained that the public are not listening to expert advice, when his party have ignored all expert advice as to the consequences of austerity on millions of their own citizens from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The United Nations, and even the Pope amongst a myriad of others.

If there is any ray of light to be had from this emergency, it must surely be the end of the poisonous ideology of free-market neoliberalism, a dystopian fantasy that has systematically stripped our nation’s capacity to respond adequately to disaster, as was demonstrated by the recent floods before the viral emergency. It has demonstrably failed and is exposed as the lie it has always been.

The Conservative party is just as big a lie. The only thing they want to conserve is their own privilege. When Aneurin Bevan described them as lower than vermin, he was paying them a complement.

Peter Kerr