I don’t believe that anyone is capable of micromanaging something as unwieldy as an entire country from an oak-lined office in an overpriced district of London on the basis of statistical reports from the far-off provinces. Especially when their main qualification for being in a position of power is sounding plausible on the telly and being capable of trampling over family, friends and colleagues in order to reach the top of the greasy ladder in the first place.
That means I’m a Libertarian by instinct. The State should be there to provide law and order and protect people and property so they can go about their business in whatever manner they see fit, and perhaps organise the provision true but limited social insurance.
I don’t pretend to have a fully worked out personal manifesto or anything – it just occurs to me that the Man In Whitehall has never met a problem of mine he couldn’t solve better than me with a Royal Commission, a Green Paper, a geriatric ombudsman and a colourful pamphlet with people of all races smiling benignly at me from under some shrill piece of newspeak. It really fucking rankles when you’re hectored at and legislated against and bombarded with propaganda because you want a pie and a pint or to play football in the street or drive to work.
It’s a common trope these days to rail against “big business” for their evil and nefarious schemes – everyone hates Micro$oft, right? But let’s face it, the worst that Tesco has done is to try and bend planning rules and put some overpriced shops out of business. The State, by contrast, brought you such delights as the gulags, the concentration camps, world wars, empire-building, nuclear bombs, protectionism, prohibition, centrally-directed nationalism, propaganda, little men with moustaches and a messiah complex and tedious, hour-long national anthems.
As it is, there is no-one to vote for who might be inclined to my vision of what the government should be. At heart, they all believe in the aggrandisement of public offices… the steady accrual of power… the kneejerk lawmaking to every passing media panic… and (but of course!) the taxes to pay for it all and the great and terrible apparatus necessary to keep us all in line.
So ingrained is this belief that Gordon Brown can, without blushing, call the cancellation of a £6 billion tax hike as “taking £6 billion out of the economy.” For he, his ilk and his media circle, the State is inseparable from the economy. Hence Government spending is always, but always, “investment in jobs”. In that it means more people on the public payroll then his analysis is correct.
The public sector has got inexorably fatter, more intrusive and wasteful over the years until we are at the point where almost no-one bats an eyelid at the fact that taxpayers fund something as absurd as national chip week – under the auspices of (and I shit ye not) The Potato Council. A body which costs you and I £18 million to help promote potatoes.
Or the misguided campaign to get us all using cloth nappies to save the dolphins or something, a campaign which cost over £2 million of your money years until someone actually looked into things and discovered that as many dolphins would die if people switched to cloth over disposables anyway, making the whole thing pointless.
Potatoes. Nappies. Jesusfuckingchristwhyareyoudoingthiswithmymoney???
The prospect of culling this and countless similar bodies should make all of us salivate. Because in normal times that would save the Government money, meaning lower taxes for us all and hence the freedom to buy the things we like, give more to charity or (if we’re a business) hire more staff or do more advertising or whatever it is that businesses do.
But we’re actually in the hole as a nation for £800 billion. That’s not included anything built using the PFI or our pension liabilities. Throw them into the pot and we owe £1.3 trillion. Did you sign up to that at the last election?
The wider charge sheet against Gordon Brown’s Labour is a chilling indictment of incompetence on major issues.
- He sold our gold reserves when gold prices were at an all time low – costing us billions
- He removed tax relief from pension contributions – raising billions for his own programs, but decimating our pension funds for the future
- He committed us to spend £12 billion (if his figures are even correct) on a 2 week sporting event for no reason other than a vague notion of national pride
- We are 10-15 years away from the loss of 20% of our electricity supply as our nuclear power stations are decommissioned, yet have commissioned no replacement capacity – other than purely notional ‘renewable’ supplies such as wind that are fundamentally incapable of meeting our electricity needs
- He reneged on his promise to offer us a plebiscite on the Lisbon Treaty
- He permitted essentially unchecked immigration yet stymied house building in reflexive fear of local nimbyism – stoking the house price boom and driving people to take on more debt than they could afford while he smiled on at the resulting tax revenues. AND then refused to ‘fess up -handing the Nazis a free ride into the national conscious.
- He failed to increase income tax thresholds in line with inflation – dragging millions into higher tax brackets whilst claiming not to have raised taxes
- He managed to underestimate public spending and overestimate tax revenue for years before TheGreatEconomicCrisis – creating the structural deficit in our finances long before Northern Rock went south
- He did that thing with his mouth that he does
And that’s just the stuff I’ve picked off the top of my head.
Some people I know, despite this incredible record of fraud, incompetence and woe, are still planning to vote for him. Many on the basis that David Cameron, George Osborne, Boris Johnson etc are toffs and once posed for a picture fagging Stebbins from Cardwell House on the basis of being a commoner.
Well, OK – they are toffs. But one needn’t entertain any cheery notion that the Labour front benches are packed with horny-handed ironmongers or ex pithead shiftworkers.
- Alistair Darling. A one-time lawyer, educated at the Loretto School. Unnatural eyebrows.
- Nick Brown. Educated at Tunbridge Wells Grammar – the kind of school Labour wish to abolish for their elitism
- Harriet Harman. Privately educated at St. Paul’s Girls’ School, niece of The Countess of Longford, cousin to Lady Antonia Fraser. Bonkers mentalist who wants to shoot all men.
- Peter Mandelson. Privately educated at The Hendon School and, lest we forget, Lord Mandelson of Foy and Commander of The Scrolls or something these days.
- Ed Balls. Privately educated at Nottingham High School
- Tessa Jowell. Privately educated at St. Margaret’s School for Girls
- Hillary Benn. Privately educated at various schools such as Westminster Under School.
I could go on.
The point is (and I’m not being party political here) that the political class – from every part of the spectrum – is dominated by The Entitled. Lawyers. The privately educated. Sons and nieces to the Great and the Good. Those who have risen through to the top through Buggins’ turn in trade unions, party machines, business associations, media contacts and the like. In short, not people like you or I.
We are taxed, governed (and currently being ruined by) a caste of people whose acquaintance with life outside politics is restricted to statistics and stage-managed meetings with starstruck dinner ladies and toadying students who quite fancy a slice of the action. That they have had leisure and education to write enough treatises between them to fill a small – if dismal – library merely reflects their gilded existence rather than illuminating any intellectual superiority.
Gordon Brown might try to dress up his “bigoted woman” gaffe as a mistake, but there is no reason to think that it doesn’t reflect the genuinely held views of an elite political cadre who view us with mingled contempt and fear.
And yet we are supposed to genuflect before their greater judgement on matters of personal morality, lifestyle, spending choices, mode of travel, interests and individual spending decisions and be charged for the pleasure? I think not.
I’m holding my nose and voting Conservative tonight, for no greater or noble reason than I would like to see Ed Balls voted out for my own personal satisfaction. But even if I help bring that about, the bitterest pill to swallow is that, unlike for the millions left adrift by years of economic mismanagement, Balls will be taken back into the party fold, offered a position on an “influential think tank”, media engagements, a company directorship or UN ambassadorial role – gliding through any one of a thousand doors that are closed to mere mortals.
Fuck them all. In the ear.