Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Bag Lady

I didn’t think I would like Natalie Bennett but who couldn’t fall for those blotchy dimples, those confused, out-of-focus, wide-in-the-headlight eyes and her engagingly tragic performance in interviews. With her Aussie twang forever blunted by her permanent head cold she stubbornly resisted Andrew Neil’s attempts to give her a lesson in rudimentary economics yesterday – much on the simple lines of Mr Micawber’s easy mantra – and instead insisted on rushing headlong into rice-and-beans homilies about the inherent goodness of people. She obviously hasn’t met many humans.

Plenty of people have commented in detail on the crazed fantasy that the Green Party Manifesto dishes up, so I’m not going to do that; no, I’m going to play the man instead. Much more fun. It’s a lovely idea that ‘the rich’ will willingly give up most of what they earn so that others can choose never to work and engage instead in ‘creative’ dabblings. But really, Natalie, you reckon that is ever going to happen outside a throwback sixties hippy hobby commune funded by the likes of Brian May and his badger army? And try asking somebody who has grafted for decades to finally reach the dizzy heights of £160,000 a year to give most of it back and what do you expect their reaction would be? (Also, apart from the odd – and I mean odd – millionaire ex-flower-child, what proportion of wealthy people with functioning brains do you reckon would be likely to be Green Party fans?)

Just because giving to others sounds nice and marks you out as a generous and kind soul it doesn’t automatically follow that everybody should be forced to do follow your example. In general philanthropists have their own agenda, or madness, driving their generosity; many of the original charities were founded by extreme puritans with obsessive beliefs in Christian dogma… sometimes accompanied by flogging and casual, ‘healing’ child abuse. And while giving may be repaid by gratitude it is often accompanied by resentment; many are those who would bite the hand that feeds them and there is little dignity in relying on charity.

Being nice is also a very poor survival tactic. Turning the other cheek; how’s that working out for you disciples of Nazareth? The meek will inherit the Earth? Maybe… when the big boys have finished kicking the shit out of it. Our national defence relies on rough men willing to do our dirty work for us. Policing relies on a sufficient deterrent to crime that most people are unwilling to risk having their collar felt. And educating unwilling youth into civilised enlightenment needs tough discipline and a refusal to bend to the whims of infants, no matter how big their eyes or chubby their cheeks. The little bastards will turn on you the moment they sense weakness.

Fancy coming to my party, darling?
Canvassing the constituency...

As a result of all this wilful blindness Nutty Natalie is now one of my all-time favourites on the political scene, but you have to wonder how long she will be able to keep it up. At every interview she has looked like a frightened mouse, blinking in incomprehension at challenges to her bizarre beliefs, then stutteringly repeating them. She obviously believes what she is saying, but are we absolutely sure she is a politician and not just some bag lady who dropped into a Green Party gathering thinking it was a food bank?

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