Thursday, April 15, 2010

david cameron scripted by monty python

It is true that there are no really significant differences between the big three parties fighting the general election. They all base thier vision on the literally insane belief that we can have perpetual economic growth on a finite planet. They ignore the problems of attempting this even as limits are being reached and alarm bells are shrieking.

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.


Anonymous said...

No real difference between the big three…

The Lib Dems scrapping Trident, proportional representation, Robin Hood Tax, and Green New Deal type policies are, I would respectfully suggest, is closer to the Green Party of England and Wales position than the Tory or Labour Parties.

The Tories cutting the public sector policies and cutting benefits and wages to save the banks , I would respectfully suggest, is closer to the Green Party of Ireland position than the Lib Dem or Labour Parties.

merrick said...


I'm slightly bemused by why you want to compare which is nearer to assorted Green Parties, but anyway.

The things you cite are certainly differences, but nothing really substantial. The LibDems would scrap Trident but retain nuclear weapons. They would continue the PFI giveaway of public funds and the expansion of market capitalism into public services. Same as Labour and Tory.

And all three stick their fingers in their ears and go lalalala about resource depletion and overconsumption, passing on the problems of our profligacy to those who come later. Which is the act of a gang of psychopaths rather than people who claim to having the best interests of the nation at heart.

Anonymous said...

“We believe that each generation is responsible for the fate of our planet and, by safeguarding the balance of nature and the environment, for the long term continuity of life in all its forms.”

“…a sustainable economy which serves genuine need, public services of the highest quality, international action based on a recognition of the interdependence of all the world's peoples and responsible stewardship of the earth and its resources.” Liberal Constition.

Not really sticking your fingers in their ears and going lalalala about resource depletion and overconsumption.

BTW I’ve just read the Green Party manifesto, they seem to be concerned about ‘casino capitalism’ rather than capitalism generally, I can’t find the word ‘socialism’ or ‘socialist’ so I guess the Greens are eco-capitalists.


merrick said...


again you baffle me with your references to the Green Party. Do you have the impression that I am a supporter or member of a Green Party or something?

The governments of the world
sign up to how important it is to keep below a 2 degree global temperature increase. And then they bail out their car industries, build new coal power stations and expand their airports. It's not the imprecise words of aspirational statements that matter, it's policy.

And when it comes to policy, like Labour, Tory, and almost every party in power anywhere on earth, the LibDems are going lalalalala very loudly indeed.

The Liberal Constitution quotes sound very nice.

How can they have a 'sustainable economy' that is perpetually expanding?

Where's the policies that will get us off oil within 20 years, or of reducing our carbon emissions by 90% in a similar timeframe?

How is a party whose prime priority is the restarting of economic growth - ie increasing consumption from our present profligate levels - 'safeguarding the balance of nature and the environment'?