They all have a deep and abiding faith in freemarket capitalism, in defiance of the avalanche of contrary evidence plain to all. They all want to retain nuclear weapons. They all defend the foreign wars of occupation.They all cheer on the PFI timebomb, getting overpriced services today paid for by a massive giveaway of public money in future.
But, much as my gut wants me to say it, I can't pretend there's no difference between the parties. There is a tiny gap, but millions of people live there. Johann Hari has found someone who's put numbers on it.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies just published a long-term study of how Labour's tax changes have affected different classes, compared to the last Tory government. It found that the richest 10 per cent have seen their incomes cut by 9 per cent, to pay for an increase in the incomes of the poorest 10 per cent. A rich man has lost on average £25,000 a year; a poor woman has gained on average £1,700 a year.
I have seen these changes among my own family and friends: gaining £1,700 is the difference between struggling to pay the bills, or being able to give your kids a summer holiday. Yes, there should have been much more – but the cigarette paper between the parties is big enough to make a pretty fat roll-up.
Those of us who remember the last Conservative government know how different it was. I've recently written a couple of things pointing out they're the same old serve-the-rich bigoted Tories that they ever were. I flippantly compared David Cameron to Michael Rimmer.
For those who've not seen it, The Rise And Rise Of Michael Rimmer is a 1970 film whose writers include John Cleese (himself the star of one or two party political broadcasts) and Graham Chapman from Monty Python along with the film's star, Peter Cook. Like How To Get Ahead In Advertising and Cecil B Demented, it's two-star movie decried for being a heavy handed political rant dressed up as a fictional plot. Which is exactly the reason I'd give all those films four stars.
The Rise And Rise Of Michael Rimmer's a satire about a slick young PR exec who manipulates the media, then moves into the Conservative party. He rapidly becomes Prime Minister on the promise of giving power back to the people. Sound familiar?
He overwhelms the population with referenda on every tiny issue of state until they can't be bothered any more. Then he gives them one last referendum, transferring power to him.
David Cameron says
We want every adult to be a member of an active neighbourhood group...
This is the big society made real - devolving power to the people
Every adult. Be honest, what proportion of adults would become an ongoing member of an active neighbourhood group? As a clue, consider how you know who do anything like that now.
Doing this at the same time as cutting the number of MPs by 10% - smart move. Once the 'everyone running the country' thing flops (or, more accurately, doesn't even begin) there'll be less pesky backbenchers in the way and the power will stream directly to the top.
Life imitating art is one thing. Politicians imitating the comedians who are satirising them is a whole step further.