Monday, 6 January 2014
Ah, politics, eh? What a game. No rules, a variable number of sides, no referee, no goalposts, no way of keeping an accurate score, no real league table and the preferences of the fans ignored completely. In fact, those on the sidelines rarely know which team any player bats for, who is winning, or what their strategies are. It’s a win-win-lose-win-lose situation with all to play for in the last half hour.
Statistics for previous matches reveal little of the truth when both sides of the main political divide can claim success or victory on the basis of the same events. Labour, for instance, closed more coal mines and much earlier than did the Conservatives, yet it is Thatcher who always gets the blame for dismantling the coal industry. Margaret Thatcher – and I was there and remember this well – was genuinely determined that people should not become helpless wards of the state but should have freedom and dignity and aspiration, but to listen to some of the under-thirties you would think she personally snatched food from their mouths.
People are laid off from work all the time, but when it’s under a Tory government it is due to evil cuts, while Labour administrations lose jobs due to unavoidable international pressures. The Conservatives, they say, work for the bankers and business owners, while Labour work for the people. This of course, ignores the inconvenient fact that bankers and business owners bring in investment and create wealth, whereas ‘the people’ forever hold out their hand. The truth in politics is immaterial when all that matters is power – for many of the new breed power is all and policy is simply a matter of popularity – and the outcomes can be spun anyway.
Perception, as Lord Ashcroft said last year, is all. So, instead of reading up on economics, supporters of a left-wing agenda instead blame the plight of the idle and uneducated not on the years of idleness and poor education brought about by state interference in people’s lives but on the industry and vigour of those who ignore the state’s moribund meddlings and go out to create wealth for themselves. Themselves, they cry, how dare they? Then set about drowning entrepreneurialism in a sea of red tape and tax.
Few people genuinely believe we can do without government altogether, but almost everybody seems to disagree about how much government we need and of what type. The cosy inclusion of the original welfare state was based on a nation of hard grafting labour where nationalised industries could employ every unit of muscle available and more besides. And as long as physical labour was in demand and the steel mills rolled the burgeoning population could be absorbed by the massive state machine which actually reinforced the class system very effectively; while there was a genuine ‘working class’ you had somewhere to belong.
State socialism, however, relies on a form of mass hypnosis, the reassurance that the work will always be there, that the state is great and that Big Brother’s only concern is your welfare. Don’t worry your pretty little heads about silly things like paying for it all; we will tell you what you want to hear and we will love you and keep you warm no matter what. You don’t need to hear the truth – don’t listen to those nasty people calling for restraint. We’ll borrow a bit more to get us over the slump.
Capitalism, on the other hand, makes no such cosy promise; you’re on your own. Taken to extremes that spells the discarding of the unprofitable with all the consequent misery it would entail, but of course it won’t be the capitalists who deal the blow. They will be long gone and their wealth gone with them. Because that’s how it works. Socialism refuses to own up to the truth and keeps on trying to milk those who can to give to those who can’t or won’t. It needs the capitalists to pay the taxes to keep the literally [in economic terms] worthless in a state of indolence, rather than revolt. The capitalists don’t rise up against the government; they simply get on with it and go where the political weather suits their clothes.
My experience is that whenever you rely on the endeavours and promises of others there is a chance they will let you down, with all the crap that entails. Some people of course have no choice but to depend on outside help – I’d rather that help not be diluted by the massive resources poured into maintaining the fairy tale of universal welfare. Britain has been a socialist country for many, many years now and the notion of entitlement is deeply entrenched so it’s no longer a case of Labour or Conservative or [if you have no idea] Liberal Democrat or Green, or even UKIP because none of them can materially alter that unhappy state in less than generations.
Ed Marx - Still the easiest to parody
Nope. It’s not a choice of red or blue or mauve or yellow scarves, so much as which party has to lie the least to maintain its illusion. Right now, on welfare, immigration, the economy and climate change, that party would appear to be UKIP and they are certainly the one to watch in 2014. I know they can’t gain power - they may not win a single seat - but boy have they got the spin-bowlers in the red and blue camps working overtime.