Monday, September 29, 2008


I’m sitting here in the late September sunshine looking out over the garden drinking a perfect cup of coffee, which is EXACTLY at the right temperature. The dogs are sprawled on the deck and the birds are chasing each other, pulling 7g synchronised turns for my benefit. I’ve just moved on a level in my piano playing. Actually what I mean is I’ve just played something which can now be recognised by someone other than myself – that’s progress in my book. So the world looks a nice place at present.

And I’ve just started to trawl though last week’s newspapers.

Oh Dear, back to Earth.

In this country, it’s the season of Annual Political Conferences, and we’ve suffered the turgid vision of the Rest of the Country’s Prime Minister (he’s not mine) trying to worm his way cravenly back into the public’s mind, and possibly affections. You can say what you like about American Politics, but the President (Dubya excepted) can say that at least the voters voted for him. Here we’ve ended up with someone nobody chose. A dour, ex-Communist, Scottish, Micro Managing, Second Lieutenant, Control Freak whose main virtue, it seems to me, is that he’s the only one in his party who can add up. And how did we all get him – Blair and he tossed a coin across a restaurant table in north London some time in 1993, and Blair won. Is this really the Political system the world envies?

P G Wodehouse could clearly have had Brown in mind when he wrote - "It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine." But you can put up with the utter lack of charisma, if the guy gets the job done. But he has to get the job done. And here we have the problem.

We have here a man who preens himself and presents himself as Mr Prudence, the Iron Chancellor, the man who tells us that he pulled the levers and presided so brilliantly over the UK Economy for 10 years. And yet how many of the causes of the current unraveling of the nation’s financial affairs can be laid directly at his door. We now have a higher tax level than Germany, lower disposable income per household than in 1997, rampant and uncontrolled banking deregulation that seems hell bent on bringing us all to our knees, Government borrowing sky-rocketing off on a totally unprecedented scale, lack of control of Personal debt which has been allowed to climb uncontrollably to totally unsustainable levels, the destruction of the Pension system in this country (except, that is, if you are an MP or a Public Servant)…. and…. and … and.

The common factor here is a Chancellor with zero positive vision, who seems incapable of playing business chess, of seeing even one move ahead. If being serially caught out by The Law of Unintended Consequences was an Olympic sport, he’d be the England (or maybe the Scottish) team Manager.

So along comes the Labour Party Conference, with Brown presumably looking to stand up and give us his personal, grand vision for The Great Escape, and what do we get? We moan and pour scorn and derision on David Cameron for using his children in the political image game, and then the good Mrs Brown, who I don’t seem to recall having been elected to Parliament, walks onto the stage to drum up the sympathy vote - is that two or three faces the man has? He then has the utter cheek to claim that, to pilot the Ship of Britain in these rocky times, what the country needs is not a novice (Code for Cameron and the Boy Milibrand), but his Good Self.

Pardon me, but who precisely spent the ten years of his Chancellorship leading us into the state we’re in? You can understand why politicians vie with Used Car Salesmen and Second Class Estate Agents in the Totally Untrustworthy Stakes. And he doesn’t even have the grace to blush.

For reasons I can’t explain, a couple of quotes from Voltaire come to mind –

He shines in the second rank, who is eclipsed in the first.

The best government is a benevolent tyranny tempered by an occasional assassination.

Just a thought.

1 comment:

Whitenoise said...

We have our own version, complete with an election nobody can get excited about on October 14th. The only man who seems like a leader belongs to the party at the far left. Normally, I vote Conservative, but there's something about Steven Harper I just don't like. The centrist Liberal party has Stephan Dion... a man who's english is almost as bad as Chrétien's, and who wants to impose a "carbon tax" on top of all the other exorbitant taxes we already pay. Never have I felt so apathetic about the process...