Monday, 4 January 2010

On a personal note...

I’m reminded of the character Russel Casse in Independence Day.

He’s the alcoholic Vietnam veteran pilot and crop duster whose neighbours enjoy a laugh at his expense about his ‘alien abduction’ ten years earlier that, along with the death of his wife, turned him to drink.

They rib him for his far-fetched tales of his capture and torture and torment him about its supposedly sexual nature: somehow managing both to imply he was indeed sexually humiliated and at the same time that they don’t believe a word of his story.

It’s a common thing, denial.

The battle lines for the general election were drawn today as the prime minister declared that the coming contest would be a "big choice" for the nation and attempted to clarify the difference between the main parties' approaches to handling the economy.

Declaring that Labour would fight "every inch of the way" for victory, Gordon Brown returned to a strategy of insisting that cutting public spending was not necessarily the way to tackle the deficit.

Once again attempting to cast Labour as the party of investment versus Conservative cuts, Brown's approach marks a shift following an autumn in which both parties appeared to accept the need for spending cuts. Next year public borrowing will hit £178bn and many within government had worked hard to persuade the prime minister to accept spending cuts would be as vital as tax rises to bring this down.

Brown told BBC1's Andrew Marr show that his plan to halve Britain's debt over four years was the "moderate course".

But he refused to concede that his party would have to make significant cuts.

We’ve been here before, to say the least.

So, on the one hand, the public debt has to be reduced (for some unspecified reason most assuredly unconnected in any way with the Labour government’s tax and spend policies: no siree Bob) but that whole spending element need not be touched.

So, argues Gordon Brown like the gormless Secretary for Defence and paid cover-upper of the existence of alien life Mister Nimziki, if the huge great big public debt problem exists (and fallen, as it were from the alien and hostile skies of American economic mismanagement and the machinations of the Banking Clans), what we’ve clearly got to do is nuke our cities in the hope of taking out this unfortunate problem that was in no way caused or exacerbated by decades of official governmental secrecy and denial.

The plan is to ignore everyone outside the wise inner circle of professionals who have it all in hand despite unevacuated Washington, New York and Los Angles lying in ruins (I know, I know) and carry on in the old managerialist , Statist style:

Singling out the TV presenter's salary, Brown said: "Our deficit reduction plan was the first in the world. It is halving the deficit in four years. We are raising your [Andrew Marr's] taxes to do it.

"You will have to pay more in the top rate of tax to do it. The pension tax reliefs that were very generous in the past have had to be removed. We are raising National Insurance by 1% to protect our public services so that we can still spend more on health and more on education and more on policing."

Though the prime minister stuck to the same three areas of policy earmarked in November's pre-budget report for increased spending - education, health and policing - he dismissed analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that the ringfencing of these areas meant other non-ringfenced policy areas would see cuts between 15% and 20%.

… the children's secretary, Ed Balls - the fiercest proponent of the government's Labour investment versus Tory cuts strategy - was equally defiant. Writing about one of the areas Brown has said will receive an injection of funds, Balls said: "Don't let anyone tell us that this election is simply about change. Our country faces hugely important choices.

"On education, the Tories have made theirs: to pursue a reckless free market experiment with the state system; and to cut the frontline schools' budgets relied on by millions to give an inheritance tax cut to the wealthiest few."

Poor Mr Casse: arrested and jailed for papering the town hall with anti-alien propaganda after the TV news stations show the hostile spaceships hovering menacing over the great coastal cities of the USA.

Fans of the film will remember that, even though Mister Casse is recruited to take part of the air attack on the triumphant alien fleet over the shattered and defeated world, when he mentions his abduction experiences of a decade ago even some of his fellow pilots and the military who are training him raise their eyes to some Psych-ward heaven at this obvious loon’s imaginary abduction experiences.

Alien abduction – who’s got time to worry about such Fortean Times fantasies as the civilised world faces conquest from outer space?

Expenditure cuts asks Labour – what kind of a fruitcake suggests expenditure cuts at a time of massive public debt?

I’m pretty sure that Mister Cameron hasn’t got the right stuff to deal with the magnitude of the problem, but I’d be happy to join him this morning with Mister Casse’s gallant battle cry:

“In the words of my generation, up yours.”


JuliaM said...

"It’s a common thing, denial."

It certainly ain't just a river in Egypt, anymore...

James Higham said...

What a circus.

North Northwester said...

Of course, the intellectual class neither notice nor expose the monstrousness of this counter-factual illusion. That just leaves us frothing Right-wing bloggers.

Woo. More work to do.


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