A plague on both your houses!
The spectacle of our politicians going into the general election just gets ever worse.
Last week, not unexpectedly, the chancellor gave us the pampers budget: a bit of superficial feelgood, but absolutely nothing to stem the disastrous effluence of ten years of monetary and fiscal incontinence. Modest election bribes for key interest groups pensioners and motorists, confirmation of previously-announced tax rises, absolutely nothing to surprise.
But then he goes on to say we’ll need cutbacks a great deal tougher than those Mrs Thatcher introduced to dig us out of our last major trouble. Another stroke of PR genius: everyone’s in favour of savings in the abstract, but as soon as a future government turns that abstract into real proposals, they are inevitably horribly unpopular. All hell breaks loose amongst – at the very least – relevant interest groups and their representatives in the meeja, and now Labour is positioned to point and say “it wouldn’t have been so bad under us, but they killed the recovery.” Worse, noone is even challenging the notion of “the recovery”: they’re all complicit in the “feelgood” encapsulated in the pampers budget.
A while ago I wrote that I’d hold my nose and reluctantly support the tories. That was on the supposition that they’d at least be better than the current lot. Since then, they’ve done nothing but disappoint. We desperately need a credible programme of substantial cost savings, but instead they’re giving us exactly the same as labour: more pampers! And looking back, they’ve been complicit in many of Labour’s worst deeds, from the Iraq war to Bank bailouts. A thoroughly dismal prospect.
Then finally today a real policy: they’ll reverse one of Labour’s tax rises. Except … not reverse it, rather tinker with it, to affect different people differently. WTF? More labyrinthine complexity for the poor taxpayer to wade through. This is the very mindset of rampant Big Government and a principal root of what’s wrong with Brown. For ***** sake, choose one or the other; either keep it or abolish it, don’t tinker! Obfuscation and complexity serve the corrupt: should we take this as an announcement ahead of time?
Or, far better, get rid of the NI designation altogether, and replace it with honest taxes. Best would be radical reorganisation, but failing that they could at least fold NI into income and corporation taxes. But that’s another rant.
So I reluctantly conclude that I can’t support the Tories, not even as a less-bad option than Labour.
What else can one hope for? There isn’t another option for our national government. There is, as usual at election time, lots of media speculation about Libdems holding the balance of power, so what about them? Alas, yet another unpromising prospect. A couple of years ago they caved in to meeja pressure dumped a leader I liked on the grounds that he was too old(!) in favour of a chinless wonder. They include an alarming element of “Old Labour” style ideology, and until recently had by far the most unaffordable spending plans of any national party: the luxury of someone who won’t have to govern. To their credit, they’ve gone much further than the main parties in identifying specific policies they’d have to abandon (or postpone) in view of the economic disaster. But a look at their website (in composing this post) tells me they’re still hugely pledged to tax-and-spend at utterly innumerate levels. Oh dear.
Shall I change my name by deed poll to None Of The Above and stand for election? On a central platform headed by the abolition of the Westminster parliament.
I’d’ve thought maybe the Greens would’ve been up your street? (I have a fair policy overlap with them, but am vehemently opposed to their anti-motorist idiocy.)
Labour: big, reactive government.
Tories: people like Christopher Chope who objected to an anti-Vulture-fund bill at the last minute thereby keeping third-world nations in debt, who supports the death penalty, … (see el guarniad if you missed that)
LibDems: total failure to oppose the Digital Economy bill
I have the option of SNP up here, should I so desire; they claim basically liberal-leftie policies with the whole Independence thing as well. Not sure that I’d want to vote for them again, though.
Jury Team? Some other fancy independent system?
Yes, greens look like the least bad option in many ways, though with some big issues too (leftie leanings mix things I can support with classic unaffordable disaster areas). I’ve steered clear of mainstream green politics because of that, but above all because of anti-nuclear idiocy.
But I wasn’t considering them, nor the xenophobes, because this was a bit of moaning about the realistic prospects for our future overlords. Locally yes, if we get the same candidates as in 2005 then the green gentleman is clearly the least bad option, though that’s ignoring the tactical issue of being a marginal seat (that’s tory/libdem, so at least we don’t risk the ultimate shame).
SNP – yes, I thought of mentioning them along with the libdems. After all, if parliament is hung then it’s not just libdems who hold the balance. The SNP could (deliberately) provoke a constitutional crisis. They’re in a strong position: power they never asked for over England, and not even a real “gentlemens agreement” not to abuse it. I happen to support their call for independence (we don’t have to be partners in a bad marriage; better friends, as we are with other neighbours such as the dutch), and they might get a great deal of English support if they can tread the right line.
That’s an interesting angle on the SNP – I’d not thought of it quite that way so much as “wtf would’ve happened if we’d gone separate ways just before the recession?”, but that boosts their chances a little with me again, I think.
Doesn’t help you much, for geographical reasons, though 🙂
Oh – last time I checked, the Greens are loonies about homoeopathy too.
There was a site, around the time of the last elections, where you answered questions and it did the best match thing against various parties’ stated policies, to suggest for whom you should vote. Can’t remember the domain-name, unfortunately…
I think the antinuclear stance by the Green’s is unsupportable. I don’t see how I could vote for a party that doesn’t have a credible energy policy.
Realistically to meet their own agenda they need a dash to nuclear. Whilst I don’t like nuclear, I dislike not having electricity even more.
I’ve never understood the unambitious targets for fusion power. I believe the plan is to start generating fusion power circa 2033, appreciate one can’t force the progress of science, but one can try harder.
If I were there, I’d probably vote Tory – for the first time in my life – on the single-issue grounds of cancelling the National Identity Register. Yes the Tories are scum, but my theory is that less harm gets done, in total, by alternating the kind of scum you have in power, so each gets a chance to reverse the others’ policies periodically.
Parties in opposition develop policies that they think will be popular. Once in government for a couple of terms, they run out of compelling ideas and start coming up with (a) stupid stuff like the poll tax, and (b) more damagingly, purely reactive stories based on this months’ tabloid hysteria, like the Dangerous Dogs Act or Extreme Porn or the Vetting For People Who Walk Their Kids To School Act. My theory is that if we enforced a maximum term, say eight years, in office for each party, they wouldn’t degenerate into this phase.
Previous time the Tories were in opposition they came up with Monetarism so I’m not sure ideas are a good thing for politicians to have.
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