The Conservatives are so clearly unfit to govern that it would surely be a kindness to them as much as to us if we threw them out now. It’s become an embarrassing situation for everyone. Toe curling. Why should we be made to wait another eighteen months just because Cameron et al decided, seemingly out of the blue, to fix the term of a Parliament. This was framed as a rational reform, designed to relieve politicians of strategic advantage. And rational it is except for the fact that a government could, traditionally be forced to call an election because public and media outcry demanded it. But this public advantage has evidently disappeared, too. It would have been a more palatable change had something like a People’s Veto for the dissolution of Parliament also been written in – well, some mechanism by which the balance of power can be sought, anyway. But, of course it wasn’t. Incompetence or wilful neglect? Hard to tell.
This is a big deal. Time is a funny old concept. It can rush along or crawl within relative space. In some respects, the General Election is fast approaching but the campaigning has started in earnest and it’s going to seem an interminably long way away on occasion. A government can do a whole heap of damage in eighteen months. Look at the carnage of the last three and half years and imagine what the Coalition will get up to, in front of our faces and behind the scenes, now they see an almost inevitable defeat looming – barring unforeseen catastrophe, of course. They will now redouble their already considerable efforts to grab what national assets/treasures they can for themselves. They will insure their own futures and ensure that Labour has such a quagmire of shit to untangle that we will likely all be complaining again within the same year. Obviously we might anyway: Labour is not wholly convincing, after all. See how quickly the panic erupted last week over benefits and the under-25s. The fact that everyone demanded clarification over whether Labour may not – or not yet – have any intention of adopting the IPPR’s advice is testimony to the experience of an electorate which feels terrified by ‘Modern’ Conservatism and justifiably, deeply suspicious of Labour, the only viable electoral alternative. This was an understandable panic.
But Compassionate Conservatism in the 21st Century is all about twinned Santas and win-win-for-self methodology. Modern (read neoliberal) Conservatives have little appreciation for history or ‘national interest’. They understand how to do favours for themselves. For all the harping on about traditional values, they have little capacity – or inclination – for recognising that history should not predict but should merely inform the future. We are only slaves to our past if we keep repeating it. And they do. They are a one-, or, at most, a two-trick pony. They think a continuum is a compulsory blueprint rather than a thread of choices linked to consequences. They think making connections means networking at parties and, while there is – was – whatever – undoubtedly an element of this in Labour, it has not been maintained as the actual ethos with which to actively drive the Party. Ed is appearing to make inroads into a more ethical style. He has at least noticed that TINA is a bunch of crap; that the road has forks. We can take this at face value or with a big, healthy grain of salt but, even if it turns out to be short-term cynical popularism more than an honest effort, we certainly can’t afford another year and a half of callous, self-serving cretinism, let alone a whole other fixed Parliamentary term. And yes: that is a cold comfort.
Eighteen months of rabid messiahs, mouthpiece ostriches, don’t-give-a-shitters and all their opportunist hangers-on. All either colluding with or being bullied by the corporate organ grinders. Eighteen months of shady deals that shaft the populace. Eighteen months of meaningless promises, empty rhetoric, emotional blackmail and missing the point. Eighteen concerted months of disparagement: immigrants, ethnic minorities, the disabled, the poor, the young, the left-leaning thinker – anyone that’s considered politically expedient. If a week is a long time in politics, then what is the potential in a year and a half?
On one level, I look forward to observing the antics. That’s the bit of me that relishes satire. On another, I am bored already with the Right-wing Media’s and the Tories’ tediously predictable tactics. I endured Thatcher: I’ve seen the show; it’s shallow, bitchy, dirty and deliberately obfuscating. And, it is rarely very witty – yet another act of criminal incompetence to add to the list.