"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Friday, 7 May 2010

Friday Post

It was a toss-up between John Redwood and Give 'em hell Pike! Guess who won:

The Rizla Election

Rizla? Because one can only approach it stoned? No, because you can’t get a fag paper between the main parties on any issue of any significance. They all agree with Nick, because they all agree with each other. This isn’t a sudden change of course, we’ve been heading here for half a century, but it’s undeniable today. The media focus on ties, wives and gaffes isn’t the cause of the superficiality of this election and surrounding debate, it’s the result of it. British politics is discussed in a superficial way because only superficial differences are tolerated.

Why? Ah well, there it becomes more uncertain. Some would blame the end of ideology, as if we now agreed on everything which, palpably, we do not. I was sitting in a pub last week with a crowd of raving commies from the Institute of Ideas and associated shadowy conspiracies, and we disagreed fundamentally on almost everything except our shared fondness for talking bollocks and drinking lots. Ideological differences persist, outside of government – so can it really be true that the only parties of certain middling, muddled views can ever be elected? I don’t buy it.

Is it then the triumph of superficiality? Have politicians ditched difference, because they believe that only soundbites can reach the public, and you cannot embed fundamental policy difference in a soundbite? Well if they believe that, they ignore the entire history of political movements which demonstrate that the power of a good slogan - a soundbite by definition – is more than enough to rally support, rally troops, or even storm ramparts. So that ain’t it.

Is it then that they believe we all agree? Or that the only portion of the electorate worth chasing all agree? Perhaps they think that the largest single minority of the population all agree on everything of significance? Clearly, we don’t. To take an issue as heated as our relationship with the EU, they know full well, from the last Euro elections, that a large chunk of the electorate simply don’t agree with the project at all. They know we are split on support for the Iraq war, on immigration, on education, on policing. They know this as fact – yet they take, apparently, no notice.

Is it then that they figure they can win an election on pure personality, with no need to flesh out policies, indeed that personality is more important? If so, why on earth would labour put forward Brown, a man with no positive personality traits whatsoever? But along those lines, are they simply deluded, over-confident? Convinced they will each win because it’s “their turn”? Nope. A stupid suggestion.

Could it be instead that perhaps, this time, none of the parties want to win? This is plausible. As we see from Greece, the measures required to right this applecart are not going to be popular. Whichever party wins, deep cuts are required, no matter what delusions the prat Brown still harbours. Some might feel victory this year is a poisoned chalice, that long term prospects are best served by remaining in opposition. Can it be true? Are they all trying to throw the fight? I don’t’ think so – and I take the Clegg example again; for a third party, the eternal see-saw back and forth between cushy government and cushy opposition isn’t on offer; the slew of quango jobs and nepotistic opportunity isn’t there in the same degree. For the LibDems, I’m convinced that they’d grab that poisoned chalice, no matter what. Why then are they not tearing up the consensus and offering radically different polices?

Why...?

Why ...?

Why ...?

I could go on ... "

And he does.  You can read it in full here  .
Election UPDATE @ 6.14pm:  Cons: 307; Labour: 258; LibDems: 57; Others: 28. One seat has yet to declare due to the death of the UKIP candidate mid-campaign: Thirsk & Malton will be contested later this month.  Share of the vote:  Cons: 36.1; Labour: 29.0; LibDems: 23.0; Others: 11.9.

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