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The Rizla election

Rizla? Because one can only approach it stoned? No, because you can’t get a fag paper between the main parties on any issue of any significance. They all agree with Nick, because they all agree with each other. This isn’t a sudden change of course, we’ve been heading here for half a century, but it’s undeniable today. The media focus on ties, wives and gaffes isn’t the cause of the superficiality of this election and surrounding debate, it’s the result of it. British politics is discussed in a superficial way because only superficial differences are tolerated.

Why? Ah well, there it becomes more uncertain. Some would blame the end of ideology, as if we now agreed on everything which, palpably, we do not. I was sitting in a pub last week with a crowd of raving commies from the Institute of Ideas and associated shadowy conspiracies, and we disagreed fundamentally on almost everything except our shared fondness for talking bollocks and drinking lots. Ideological differences persist, outside of government – so can it really be true that the only  parties of certain middling, muddled views can ever be elected? I don’t buy it.
Is it then the triumph of superficiality? Have politicians ditched difference, because they believe that only soundbites can reach the public, and you cannot embed fundamental policy difference in a soundbite? Well if they believe that, they ignore the entire history of political movements which demonstrate that the power of a good slogan  – a soundbite by definition – is more than enough to rally support, rally troops, or even storm ramparts. So that ain’t it.
Is it then that they believe we all agree? Or that the only portion of the electorate worth chasing all agree? Perhaps they think that the largest single minority of the population all agree on everything of significance? Clearly, we don’t. To take an issue as heated as our relationship with the EU, they know full well, from the last Euro elections, that a large chunk of the electorate simply don’t agree with the project at all. They know we are split on support for the Iraq war, on immigration, on education, on policing. They know this as fact – yet they take, apparently, no notice.
Is it then that they figure they can win an election on pure personality, with no need to flesh out policies, indeed that personality is more important? If so, why on earth would labour put forward Brown, a man with no positive personality traits whatsoever? But along those lines, are they simply deluded, over-confident? Convince they will each win because it’s “their turn”? Nope. A stupid suggestion.
Could it be instead that perhaps, this time, none of the parties want to win? This is plausible. As we see from Greece, the measures required to right this applecart are not going to be popular. Whichever party wins, deep cuts are required, no matter what delusions the prat Brown still harbours. Some might feel victory this year is a poisoned chalice, that long term prospects are best served by remaining in opposition. Can it be true? Are they all trying to throw the fight? I don’t’ think so – and I take the Clegg example again; for a third party, the eternal see-saw back and forth between cushy government and cushy opposition isn’t on offer; the slew of quango jobs and nepotistic opportunity isn’t there in the same degree. For the LibDems, I’m convinced that they’d grab that poisoned chalice, no matter what. Why then are they not tearing up the consensus and offering radically different polices?
Go back to Greece again, the failing Euro project, the struggle the EU is going to have to put political and monetary union back on track, the difficulties – all predicted – in matching northern and southern European economies; why is no mainstream party screaming about this, making capital? Why? Why is Call Me Dave not offering a simple in-out vote that would snatch back the UKIP vote and hand him a thumping majority? He knows, as fact, that this would happen – so why not offer it? Because he wants to avoid a party split? C’mon… with a thumping majority, he can handle a party split. Thatch did.
Why are the Tories not extending their policy on free schools to it’s obvious conclusion – and giving those schools the ability to select on any grounds? And why are the media not asking about that?
Why doesn’t one of the big three offer an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan? Why no commitment to scrap Trident, rather than just weasel words about a rethink? Are they afraid to be portrayed as weak on defence? Don’t’ they think they could spin a switch to sea/air/sub launched nuclear tipped cruise missiles as *tougher*? A more usable and therefore scarier deterrent as well as being cheaper and more effective? I could make that argument – why can’t they?
I could go on…
If we accept that the world of politics is as it claims to be – adversarial, aggressive, ambitious – then the consensus is inexplicable. The only benign and vaguely plausible theory is the poisoned chalice, and that doesn’t of course explain the previous election campaigns when good times were on offer. The alternative is that what we are being shown, is bogus. That the claimed reality of Westminster politics, of opposition, clashes, divided and combative politics, is a sham – a charade. That the three main parties offer identical policies on anything that matters because… that’s what they really think. That they all agree. That’s the only path they want to see put before the people. And, in turn, there are to possible explanations for this. One: basic human corruption, stupidity, nepotism, shallow ignorance; essentially that they’re all drawn from the same elite pool, and simply do agree on everything. It’s possible.
The other explanation? That they’re offering what they’re told to offer, saying what they’re told to say, doing what they’re told to do. And yes, the question then becomes, who by?


Oh, and how did I vote? I spoilt my ballot: “I WILL NOT COLLUDE IN THIS CHARADE”. Makes a change from drawing a cock on my ballot paper.

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14 comments to “The Rizla election”

  1. RT @tweetmeme Give ‘em hell Pike! » The Rizla election

  2. Good read Frank. We definitely need you back over at CiF. How do you feel about this shambles going on now?

  3. Well Diz-Man, I’m feeling a little drunk at the moment, so I’m really not that fussed.

  4. I think the current leader of the country is at the moment too. Only reason i can think of why he’d think he still has a fighting chance.

  5. That, and the fact he’s a cunt.

  6. I think I’m in love. Nice one, Frank, pissed or not.

  7. The result ..and the media knicker wetting over it , merely represents the disconnect between voters and the political media elite …

    No one won … this is the election that never was … a bland politics free zone ….

  8. Still was funny seeing The Guardians hacks desperately trying to big up Obama Clegg …. lot of egg on their faces ..the slimy twats : )

  9. Frank ; The bankers tell all those guys what to do … democracy is a sham … look at how any coalition is being referred to as being needed immediately by the media , due to the needs of the money markets …not the demands of the voters …

  10. These days I am seeing politics as onion layers of ideas from the trivial in the centre to the truly extraordinary on the outside.

    The biggest idea of all is that the global economy is wholly dependent on growth but that there may soon be physical reasons why that growth must level off – the oil running out, for example. It shouldn’t be a disaster, but the economy evolved at a time when, for all practical purposes, future growth could be assumed to be infinite, and it is now too late to change it.

    Next down is the fact of globalisation and the dead end the West is heading for. Basically we have nowhere to go, as we have entered into competition for energy and raw materials with people who can beat us on every front (or will soon learn to). This is the logical conclusion of free market economics.

    In terms of the UK itself, Gordon Brown’s stewardship of the economy for the last thirteen years will kill us dead. It is my belief that he had no idea of what he was doing, but believed that he, a history graduate, had discovered the secret of eternal growth that had eluded all his predecessors, and it was all to do with keeping ‘inflation’ at 2% regardless of outside influences. This single policy will have more far-reaching consequences for the UK than all of New Labour’s other policies combined.

    Would a PR electoral system have prevented this? Maybe. Because what has happened is that a man with some sort of personality disorder has had sole control of the entire economy with no opposition. It might be better if politicians did nothing rather than “strong, decisive government”.

  11. C’mon Frank, have the courage of your convictions. Is the word “Bilderberg” too hard to spell?

  12. C’mon Frank, have the courage of your convictions. Is the word “Bilderberg” too hard to spell?

    If I were the sort to jump to obvious conclusions, H, it’d be a much shorter word.

    Besides, the circumstantial evidence points to *some variety* of puppetmaster – it doesn’t indicate who. All we can say is, it ain’t us. That leaves quite a few suspects, known and unknown.

    David – yup, we have nowhere to go. And what happens when you herd starving frightened animals into a corner?

  13. Well isnt that strange ..The Guardian just deleted my question to Ed Milipede …Mr Ed ..have you ever been invited to a Builderburger meeting … ?

  14. In answer to your question Mr Bishop, starving frightened animals shit themselves and die. Especially animals of the modern human variety.

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