Monday, 20 April 2015
Nobody knows what will happen in the General Election. Nobody. Nobody knows how whatever ruling coalition emerges will govern. Nobody. Nobody has any clear, over-arching vision of how an economy and a society needs to be run in an age when the servant-master hierarchy has disappeared and in its place is a faux-egalitarian mish-mash of ‘rights’ with an ill-defined sense of responsibility. Indeed, individual responsibility has vanished in some sectors altogether and corporate loyalty has been replaced with a nebulous sense of entitlement and individualism. Oddly and contradictorily it is in those on the left, who persistently preach about the power of solidarity, where some of the lowest notions of true common cause reside.
Boris Johnson is right to talk of a new Battle for Britain but entirely confused if he genuinely believes our progressively watered-down version of Conservatism has the answers. Because people have been told for so long that the world is theirs by right they have come to believe it. There is no stigma in the things which would once have been frowned upon – able-bodied worklessness, single teen parenthood, gambling, drinking and cavorting to excess with the expectation that somebody else would always pick up the tab. Neither a borrower nor a lender be? When Labour’s Liam Byrne signalled that there was no money left, the coalition should have begun to really turn the screws, not just fiddled about, ring-fencing this and freezing that.
Of course the profligate administrations of town and county and health and education, faced with necessary budget cuts did what? Did they preserve so-called frontline services for those in most need? Did they maintain the flow of traineeships and steady recruitment at the bottom, while exploring true efficiency savings from their bloated budgets? No, their overpaid non-job leaders went into a union-like huddle and decided that such authorities were run for the benefit of the staff before the users and instead opted for short-termism. Keep the top jobs and non-jobs, come what may and cut provision to make a point to government. “See what you did to the poor and sick” said the £200,000 a year image consultants and performance indicator manipulators, while doing exactly what they blamed the bankers for.
In defence of immigration, the oft-touted statistic that 40% of NHS staff are from overseas should not be praised; it is a damning indictment of the way in which much of the country and its population has been mismanaged. Poor educational outcomes, coupled with unrealistically rising aspirations, lowered moral principles and a perverse belief that recruiting an ever lower paid workforce will somehow result in a limitless flow of funds for public services has left us with a generation poorly equipped to cope with the main fact of working life – that we don’t always get what we want. Except now they don’t even have the option of starting from the bottom.
And why do we have all this? Because we let the children decide; it is the job of a parent to decide how their kids turn out… and it is the job of leaders to lead, not to follow. A fifty-year succession of populist governments has given the people what the focus groups said they wanted, instead of taking the tough decisions and saying no. And the election campaign is too short a time to even begin to educate an electorate to search for the truth and vote with their heads.
The ship of state sails on...
So, come May 7th we will trot off to the polling booths and we may as well vote blindfold because whatever we call them we’ll get the same indecisive, spineless, vote-whores we always do and if anybody tries to enact real reform they will be ushered out of office before the approval ratings dip a percentage point.. Somebody said that democracy is the least-worst system for governance. But when you realise how democracy usually ends up – government elected by the average; dumbocracy – nobody responsible would ever countenance it. But what’s the alternative?