Friday, 17 May 2013
It’s a rum old game of deception, is politics. Spoof, poker and real-life liar dice all rolled into one but with human stakes. The consequences of getting it wrong are enormous, but it’s simpler than you think and no qualifications are needed. Actually, no qualifications would be preferable; in the days when most MPs came from the world of work you at least had some idea of what they stood for, right or wrong.
Now, however, in the age of the professional hot-house grown, mass-produced political clone they all look and sound the same and you have to work much harder to work out whose side they are on. Not, it would seem, the side of the masses who supposedly vote for them but who are kept in the dark by obfuscation, hedge-betting and the wielding of power as if it were just a big game. Line up the population, shoot as many lies at them as you can before being found out, then just press re-start, no harm done.
Just as it is in a holistic healing centre’s interest to keep you on the books and sell you yet another bottle of costly snake oil to complement all the crap you’ve already swallowed, every politician wants you to believe only his side have the magic solution to everybody’s problems. But everybody is of little concern when the battle is no longer fought on the welfare of the many but on the rights of the few.
Why else was the vanishingly small issue of single sex marriage hyped up into a matter of national urgency? It affects so few people in proportionate terms yet raises the blood pressure of some groups in alarming ways. Me? I couldn’t care less so much it hurts, except insofar as being agog at all the fuss. But of course that was the point; stir up a mood and challenge the other fella’s view. SSM had nothing to do with liberty for gays and everything to do with establishing credentials and probing for weakness – an opportunity to use a modern hate crime – homophobia – against the opposition.
Another hate crime – racism – the weapon du jour of the committed Marxist troublemaker, was deployed against one of the least offensive persons in politics, Nigel Farage, in Edinburgh yesterday. In an outstanding display of irony, a baying mob of anti-English, National Socialist, student agitators hurled abuse at him, suggested he fuck himself and tried to tar him with dirt of their own fevered imagination. Mobilised not by principle or by policy, they were nothing more than a hired hate mob. I expect Alex Salmond is delighted at their sterling effort to present the rational argument for a separate Scotland – the English would welcome it after that.
What I smell is simple desperation. The profligacy of pursuing ideological dreams without worrying about paying for them has brought us to the situation where the UK credit cards are all approaching their limits yet some flavours of politician are still pretending all will be well. It’s like carrying on the commute after losing your job and hoping the family and neighbours won’t notice as you spend your days in the library. It doesn’t actually achieve anything and it’s not good enough, is it?
In two years we have to decide which band of fools we want to lead us out of the darkness of the European recession – because most of the rest of the world is quietly getting on with it while we rend our garments in the street. The trouble is, I no longer know what they stand for and I think that’s important when it comes to a vote, don’t you? With just two years to go is it too much to ask that colours are nailed to masts and manifestos are mocked up? Because there are voters out there with no idea where to place their ‘X’.
What THEY think WE don't know...
Running a political party really can’t be too much unlike running a business. You need products that people want, at a price they are prepared to pay and then you need give them the clear reason and opportunity to buy. Oh and you need to keep your costs down too, if you want to profit by your labours, so people want to know what return they will get on their vote. Margaret Hodge can bang on all she likes about corporate responsibility but if I was a political party I’d be looking for a business model a lot more like Google and a lot less like Woolworths.