Sunday just got better with Dumb Jon’s thoughtful 7-word précis of Her Majesty’s current ministry.
Cameron's not the fireman, he's the arsonist.
That’s one word for each midden-like two month period.
But I’m a simple-minded chap and I like to spell things out for myself so there’s no misunderstanding.
Here’s what the often right and then again often staggeringly deluded Matthew d’Ancona (why do I think of a saintly snake squeezing a coffee pot to death when I see that name?) writes about iDave’s little local difficulty with The UK Sixty Million:
By empathy, I mean the visceral connection between politician and voter, the strand of communication that makes the latter believe – or half-believe – that the former grasps what life is really like for him.
You know, speeches that nations wait months to hear and then respond to and thereafter change or confirm their actions and beliefs accordingly aren’t properly made by democratic politicians in peacetime at all.
You might wait for a Pope or a philosopher or a panel of the wise and the good to speak and give a pronouncement on some moral matter such as, sorry, abortion is a big nix now and forevermore ( or okay if the mother’ life is threatened as here in Britain) or we’ve decided that slavery is just so totally poo and we’re going to do X, Y and Z about it, or you might just about eagerly await the speech from some learned government-backed science committee’s chairman (back in the days when it was reasonable to expect a government-backed science committee to produce actual science rather than government science) pronounce on some important and manageable discovery, such as expectant mothers taking Thalidomide caused their babies to be born limbless, or that post-natal sepsis in mothers was indeed the result of microbes passed from infected mother to a doctor’s hands to the next uninfected mother, or that all the evidence indicates that the speed of light is it: so it’s get to Pluto and stop or cryostasis or multi-generation ships between solar systems for the human race from now on. Or some fictional hyperdrive gizmo.
In war there’s nothing so befits a man as to say how we got in this mess and what the stakes are and what it’s going to be like clearing it all up, so pledge to one another your lives, fortunes and sacred honours, and bring on the “fight them on the beaches” and the “evil empire” thing and actually do it… and people did, mostly, buckle down and cooperate or at least go along without actually shooting their leadership because it was obvious that the bad guys were a few miles of by sea away and resources would by God be found to do the job. It was possible to argue with this detail or that policy (and it was allowed, within reason, to dissent from it without prison or other official persecution) and a place allowed for you if you didn’t entirely go along with the programme and shut up. But the big stuff: the principled stuff: the make-a-difference-to-our-lives-followed-by-concerted-action is centred around some really very simple choices such as we govern ourselves or we’re serfs or we’re dead.
In peacetime, now, democratic politicians nned to speak about the present and what the future will hold for policy and the lives of the governed. Dissent is endless, often confused, mendacious, wholly unconnected with the lives of other people, and society is so splintered and atomised thanks to cultural Marxism that not only can’t the BBC allow nation to speak unto nation, it won’t allow farmers or soldiers or victims of crime to speak at all. But despite media bias council house residents just can’t understand what private homeowners are going on about and hospital patients awaiting the wrong treatments (or none) in dirty wards or in beds on corridors simply can’t understand what the anti-immigration lot mean, and the jobless can’t imagine life being better for them outside the EU because, well, it’s nothing to do with them. Or Earthlings in general.
New Labour’s repeated electoral triumphs was in large part due to this; when they spoke (often insincerely) the big abstracts about love and fluffiness and caring and whiskers on kittens and it confirmed peoples’ prejudices about how loving they all were and especially if it personally benefitted them in the short term then fine; they’d go along with it and millions of others would join the queue waiting for their own hand-out, whilst also feeling both warm and cherished for the raindrops-on-roses loveliness that they shared with New Labour.. .along with higher house values, natch.
“Education. Education. Education” was believed and voted for and its awful results were endured by parents of ignorant and bullied pupils despite New Labour cabinet Ministers’ children from Day One heading for the selective and private educational sector like lemmings heading for the hills after being given Satnav gear and having been shown the two-hour Director’s Cut of I Know Where The Other Lemmings Went Last Summer because folding money was available for other stuff, such as a lifetime on benefits for one’s own kids and their kids, and giveaway laptops and jobs self-motivatingly coordinating proactive outreach initiatives for the offspring of the middle class parents who were too stupid to get onto Art history degrees.
Cameron can’t do any of this, and he can’t do this for two reasons: one is that he’s dafter than a jelly frisbee and the other is that he doesn’t mean any of that Tory smallish government stuff anyway. Smaller than the Solar System, at least.
Which is his quandary. Now many of those houses aren’t worth so much and the Council’s laying off secretaries and clerks and some previously indispensable £30K+ middle managers and not hiring replacement bin-men. Today all those funny shops and warehouses and pharmaceutical companies and farms and ghastly fast-food outlets and the mine and both of Britain’s factories and that lovely comfortable bookshop where nobody ever grubby-commercially pressured you into actually buying anything and where they always had lots of copies of the latest Will Hutton (isn’t he simply marvellous?) that government didn’t notice (except by the Inland Revenue and health committees recommending that they be regulated to hire health and safety professionals in organisations larger than basketball teams) or painted with skull-and-crossbones health warning signs) aren’t hiring either so much. Nor are they sending out for coffee and sandwiches so much. Or buying furniture at British ‘living wage’ production cost prices or taking interns for the Business Studies to do their ‘work experience’ years signing for the coffee and sandwiches.
So Cameron could hire Orpheus and consult the shade of William Shakespeare. He could come up with Big Society and broken society buzzwords and ‘passionate about’ all in this together slogans that would make Draco weep and cuddle puppies to match new Labour’s snake-oil and stakeholder and liberal imperialism and glasnost and doodledandy and whatever, but the The UK Sixty Million aren’t capable of understanding or learning the worth of any big new abstracts because they haven’t been taught how to think in abstracts much more mature than the cosy, sensuous platitudes necessary to the work of infant school teachers and dinner ladies. How do you connect viscerally to that and take theri pocket money away?
It’s going to be impossible for him, given the Liberal ball and chain, to dig up the big old Tory abstracts of patriotism, respect for the law, prudence, civic responsibility and so on on their own, even if he could speak them with a straight face. It’s not that the instincts or the appetite for such things have completely gone – they are still there in the hearts and imaginations of more than a few of us. But. They’ve been demonized or so-opted by the Left as to be unrecognizable and anyway explaining them may take a little time. He doesn’t have much time before those who write our opinions decide it’s time for him to go where his pal Hitler went, and go he will; with a weakened Tory press and no chance of a UK Fox TV from the defeated House Harkonnen, ie, Murdoch, to speak for him.
He could show them, though. People can see, and think, a bit, and act accordingly. Not after some speech the BBC will show at 4.30 on a Friday afternoon and spend the weekend asking Labour and human right activists and Greens and trade union representatives to interpret.
He could do a thing that people liked and explain it as a Tory idea or belief. Simple
He could do it all, and save money he hasn’t got, but he won’t :not on this planet.
“Respect for law is a Tory ideal, which I followed when I ordered that the immediate resumption of all suspended and reduced sentences in full to be the mandatory consequence of further convictions for crimes of violence, theft or property damage.”
“Parental control over their children’s’ education, including the disciplining of bullies and other troublemakers, is a Tory ideal, which is why from next September funding will follow the choice of school contracted between parents and head teachers and why local education authorities have been abolished.”
“Defence of the realm is a Tory ideal, which is why I have reversed the spending and personnel cuts in the armed services and will be stationing much of the then-existent Royal Air Force on the two new aircraft carriers when they are built, and ordering more combat and intelligence aircraft and sacking the defence procurement bureaucracy in Whitehall.”
“National sovereignty is a Tory ideal, which is why I am to hold a referendum on European Union membership and making the Party’s resources available to the Get Out camp.”
“The notion that idleness breeds crime is a Tory idea, which is why I am backing work for benefits for all able-bodied adults from next April. Why should there be a single dirty street or dangerous wasteland in any of Britain’s cities and towns, and why should prisons not be built cheaply and any of our city streets remain unrepaired?”
Picture from here.