Sunday, 30 December 2012

Looking forward to 2013 from under the covers

Now that we have had the New Year's "Keep Calm and Carry On" from the Head Hamster, pulling every false Etonian face that he can possibly manage, and the uncharacteristic silence of Mister Ed in response, life can continue much as before.  Clearly Cameron continues to believe that his monstrously-incompetent set of policies will deliver some form of payback for the Tories.  It's much more likely that his combination of ineptitude and arrogance will produce a Labour-led government and give the risible Farage yet more media exposure.

2013, assuming that the USA does not decide to set the entire global economy firmly into reverse, will not be any better than 2012.  Actually, that doesn't stack up, as there will be no Olympics, no Golden Jubilee and only the arriviste sprog to divert attention away from the Bullingdon Massive to the Royal Family.  The economy will not recover, inflation will continue to be high, as it is about the only policy that Gideon has left that might reduce the real value of debt.

Meanwhile, the Tories appear to be deciding that their only way forward is to have another bloodletting on Europe - merely proving my hypothesis that Cameron is the new John Major (albeit without the gumption or interest to attract Edwina Currie).  The dog-whistles of the right are all working perfectly, and the reality that Britain would be more marginalised, more prone to economic decay and outside major markets is not something that the lunatics would wish to be considered.

So, for a displaced Liberal, the compliments of the season are accompanied by a somewhat worse case of dyspeptic scepticism.  Doubtless the New Year will be a time of interest, but in the meantime it is probably better contemplated from underneath several layers of warmth and irony. 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The march of the plebs continues

As a supporter of the second Gulf War, it would be interesting to hear Andrew Mitchell's opinions on being convicted by dodgy dossier.  Even if he has been stitched up, he has merely lost an undistinguished right-wing career rather than been guilty by association in launching an illegal war that has resulted in the suffering of millions.

Mitchell's defenders, including the ludicrous and overblown peroration of former Minister Nick Herbert, make out that he is a victim of a combination of police vitriol against the Tories and a trigger- happy Bullingdon Dave.  These may be true, but as Chief Whip he had to have a thick hide and be as prepared to dole it out as he was to receive it, and the fact remains that he swore at police who were attempting to remonstrate with the smug, bumptious pillock.

The low-class, low-rent school of Toryism that Mitchell epitomises is happy to dish it out to the rest of society, especially if it can't answer back.  However, the only response to his current apologists and his ranting at the police is the utterly seasonable "Bah! Humbug!".

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Osborne and Alexander's clueless double-act

It would be easy to dissect the problems with economic policy if there was anything to describe as such.    Ironically, the Autumn Statement was delivered on a day when a light sprinkling of snow paralysed the South-East of England - but in order to discern the mentality of Gideon and Beaker one would be better off ingesting other white powders.

Midway through the austerity project, the scourging and the tokenistic attempts to portray the rich and the corporate sector as making any meaningful contribution to the country are becoming not merely tedious but so utterly devoid of credibility that even an inveterate liar would be open-mouthed in admiration.  It gets surreal - the response to reduced corporation tax yields is to reduce corporation tax itself, rather than setting up the system in such a way that it cannot be avoided.

At the same time, Osborne plays to the misguided gallery through his constant refusal to do anything about property tax - while at the same time capping benefits.  Most rational people would argue that the best way to reduce the benefits bill would be to ensure that they were only claimed by those who needed them - reducing dependency cultures and getting people to work - rather than making the genuinely-distressed even more penurious.

This set of proposals are the early fruits of the odious Lynton Crosby's return to Tory service.  About the only dog-whistle that Gideon didn't reprise was the immigration card - doubtless this will be up their sleeve in time for the election.  The discredited myths of trickledown and the sovereignty of the "entrepreneurial" class are alive and kicking, despite all the evidence that a better route to recovery would be kicking the bankers, the City and pump-priming through genuine investment.

What would have been interesting is if a genuine left-liberal alternative had been put forward - for example compelling pension funds to invest in infrastructure bonds (a long-term asset for long-term businesses) or a review of outsourcing and privatisation.  However, Osborne is too much of the diseased spaniel to the carcases of the Tory grandees, and this would have required genuine radicalism.

Labour had an undefended wicket, but persisted in bowling off-stump - so the challenge has been muted.  A selfish, mean-spritied and totally gutless response to economic crisis has been ongoing, and the common sense test should be applied - but there is no real opposition.  Beaker and George will be sniggering until they reach puberty together and can discover the pleasures of male adolescence.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Waiting for the tumbrils

Nobody would wish personal ills on the Duchess of Cambridge, unless they have a total lack of humanity and proportion.  However, there is a sense of desperation around the sycophantic scribbling and monarchical maunderings that is an encouraging omen for those of us who are sceptical about not merely the role of the Windsors but the bread and circuses that we are fed as a substitute for rational thought.

Where does this new-found optimism spring from?  There appears to have been much less acceptance that the travails of the second- and putative-third in line to the tainted throne are as important as the incompetence of the Government, the traumas of the wider world or any of the myriad news events that have been edged out by news media exercising their forelock-tugging "discretion".  I discount the mid-market rightist drool-rags on the basis that they will never reform themselves, nor will they ever underestimate the necessity of maintaining their readers' lack of any brain-stem activity, or indeed aerobic respiration.

At the end of a Jubilee year, with a gold medal in cant and hypocrisy with Cameron and Johnson wrapping themselves up in Livingstone's Olympic folly, there is a limit to the credulousness that can be assumed.  The interest in the personal doings of a bunch of social-climbing chancers and the flotsam of former absolutist monarchies is neither healthy nor necessary - and a declining prurience.  If it does not achieve newspaper sales, website hits or audience ratings it will become even less manifest.

That is a necessary precondition for adult debate on constitutional governance.  Whether or not this convinces more people that a republican option is desirable, downplaying personal voyeurism and the ad hominem fixation on the charade may actually allow some progress to be made out of the 17th century.