Johann Hari writes:
The year 2010 began with David Cameron looking into a TV camera and pledging to the British people: “If any cabinet minister comes to me and says ‘Here are my plans’ and they involve frontline reductions, they’ll be sent straight back to their department to go away and think again.” The year ended with him pushing through the most severe cuts to frontline services in living memory.
It is now clear that David Cameron systematically lied to the electorate. He said it was “sick” and “frankly disgusting” to say he would end the NHS guarantee for cancer patients to be seen within two weeks – and then scrapped NHS guarantees, so that the number of patients waiting months before their cancer is detected has doubled. He said hospitals were “my No 1 priority” to be “totally protected” – and then slashed 20 per cent from the budget of specialist hospitals across the country. He said he would “protect the poor” from cuts – and then slashed the income of each poor family by £1,000 and began forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes.
He said he would make affordable childcare his “top priority” – and then slashed the childcare tax credit by 70 per cent. He said he “absolutely” supported the Educational Maintenance Allowance that gives £30 a week to the poorest kids to stay on at school – and then abolished it. He said he would lead “the greenest government ever” – and then began selling off our national forests and introducing deep-water drilling off our coasts. Each time, he promised he would not introduce whiplash austerity before the election – and then did it the moment he seized power.