If they've achieved anything in this election campaign, the Conservatives have proved just how alert they are. As soon as Labour’s manifesto was launched, the Tories sent out mobile phone messages saying: “The cost of Corbyn – you will pay £37.50 extra each week at the supermarket. And an extra £5.75 every week at the café.” That’s because they’ve seen through his plans to build 100,000 council homes: it's just a way of sneakily making it cost £6.25 for a slice of fried bread.
There will be daily bulletins like this, so tomorrow everyone will receive an e-mail that says: “Fact: Labour’s free broadband will come from China where broadband is made of drain cleaning acid and will make your skin catch fire. Fact: Labour’s plans to reduce the voting age to 16 will encourage paedophiles to live in polling stations – many of which are schools. Fact: Labour’s plans to tax oil companies has angered oil, which will move abroad if Corbyn wins the election. You will fill up your car, then the petrol will flow back out and move to Japan, so you’ll have to walk everywhere.”
Home secretary Priti Patel can’t agree with these figures, though, as she suggested governments don’t make any difference to your finances. In particular, she said, her government can’t be responsible for the levels of poverty.
This makes sense, because for most of the last nine years this government’s policy has been what they proudly called "austerity"; it would be ridiculous to suggest austerity might result in anything becoming more austere. For five years they told us three times an hour it was essential they cut benefits, or funding to councils to spend on social care or anything for the poor. But only an idiot would believe this cut in funding for the poor would cause the poor to have less funding.
The use of foodbanks has gone up 3,772 per cent since the Conservatives came to power, which proves how dramatically the standard of food banks has risen – a popular night out for happy couples, who can enjoy traditional street food in a rustic setting, with dishes such as Tin of Peas served while sheltering romantically under a tarpaulin.
If you were lucky enough to have your payments stopped altogether and be thrown out of your house because of the bedroom tax, maybe you got a little message on your phone saying ‘Congratulations! As you now have no money you’ll spend £5.75 a week less at the cafe’.
This is the simple economics at the heart of the Conservative message, that if a government freezes your wages and scraps your benefits, you’ll be better off. But if a government raises your minimum wage and scraps your tuition fees, you’ll be worse off, and on top of that, everyone will have to pay extortion money to the local café that will be taken over by the Mafia.
But it doesn’t matter whether this is true or not, because truth is dated and so 20th century. This is why the Conservatives set up a Twitter account, during the election debate, called @factcheckUK, designed to look like an independent fact-checking site, that gave out facts like “Johnson wins. Corbyn lies.”
This is an exciting and novel idea. Instead of the rigmarole of other people checking whether something we’ve said or done is right, we decide for ourselves and pretend it’s official. Schools will be more successful than ever, as students finish an exam, then write out their own certificate, granting themselves an A*. The local chip shop can produce its own five Michelin star certificate, stating "each battered sausage personally crafted by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall."
Football managers can announce at their press conference that they won 4-0, and certainly didn’t lose 5-0as they would have done in the days when the referee counted the goals.
You don’t even apologise for lying anymore; the new method is to be proud of it. There’s hardly a mention of Boris Johnson awarding public money to a company, whose founder he was having a relationship with, without registering any interest. But if it turned out Corbyn had arranged for 35 pence from a parish fund to buy a cauliflower from his mate Alf at the allotment, every headline would read “CORBYN SLUSH FUND ROBBERY VEGGIE HEIST SCANDAL.”
Johnson is so adept at lying, a High Court judge ruled that he lied, and that he didn’t even make much effort to hide his lie, meaning he lied about something of national importance to the Queen. So the next time Johnson sees her, she’ll say: "At least Andrew makes the effort to dream up an implausible alibi, you lazy bastard."
Johnson won’t even answer the question of how many children he has, saying it’s unfair to bring family members into the public. This could be true, if you were asking how they’re doing at school or whether they’ve got a boyfriend yet, but it’s not usually seen as too intimate a question to ask whether they exist?
The Conservatives have announced a new housebuilding scheme – though their 2015 manifesto included a commitment to build 200,000 starter homes and so far they’ve managed to build zero. I suppose we shouldn’t sneer, because at least this is a start, and zero is better than nothing.
But it’s all so much simpler now. Instead of dribbling on explaining things, you just make things up, or behave like the Conservative supporters at the debate, who jeered "here we go again" when Corbyn mentioned the poor.
Traditionally, many Conservatives go to church, so it must be fascinating to be with them during a service when the vicar says, "Jesus spake unto his disciples that blessed be the poor," and the Tories all shout: “Here we go – lepers lepers lepers, boring old Samaritans, just GET CRUCIFIXION DONE.”