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.