Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dreary but true

Malcolm Stevas

"'If you think that Labour is currently performing even tolerably well as an opposition, stop reading now - because this column is based on a premise on which we might as well agree to disagree. As I see it, Ed Milliband has yet to set out his stall - on anything... lacuna of an effective English narrative of democracy and ... There ought to be an identifiable alternative national narrative... the most important arguments of the ...It is always bad when that adversarial challenge is lacking...there are legitimate, fundamental...The Loyal Opposition has a part to play. I think we should all hope that they soon start playing it.'

How important is all this? Arguably it ought to be fundamental, but really, how important is it in practice? Earlier this week a couple of major polls (assuming one believes their findings to be accurate/useful) confirmed yet again that Labour is doing remarkably well, apparently outstripping the Conservatives in support. This suggest to me yet again that an awful lot of one's fellow citizens have either very short memories or a complete inability to appreciate very basic economic facts of life; that the entrenched voting bloc for the State and its handouts has become exactly the impermeable barrier to economic liberalism which we all predicted & feared; and that the political idealism inherent in Alex Dean's post is all for nothing. Reason and rationality are redundant; psephology consists now of pushing the right buttons to see which policies will provide short-term comforts to that lowest common denominator rump of the electorate whose mindless self-interest governs our lives: the Party offering these will win. Easy. I'll tell my son and his friends to dump their A-levels, get a girl pregnant, sign on, move into a council flat – and vote Labour. Along with many millions of others. Last one to leave the country, etc."

That is effectively a summation of where I am at the moment. The last election showed that for a huge lump of British people, there is nothing to public policy but what I can squeeze from the public exchequer, and by extension my fellow citizens. I will get via the ballot box what I am too lazy to get by honest work or endeavor.