Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rainy Day Woman

Larrikin's End trying to be miserable by Pants

Rainy days are an invitation to stay in bed and think. Not that I need an excuse mind. I thought I might spend a moment or two with The Times this weekend as Rupert Bore is planning on charging for access to it from next week. So far I've confirmed that I won't be missing much. The question Why and I console ourselves with the certainty that we'll always have The Daily Mail if we really want to keep up with the latest posturings by and about handbags.

Speaking of which, we enjoyed this piece by Matthew Parris in which he laments the absence of an ethical upgrade in Her Majesty's Parliament with the incoming Tory-dominated coalition. It is amusing to us that anyone could think the same group of people would profoundly alter their behaviour simply because they are sitting in a different spot in the same room. We particularly liked this,

“No,” I moaned. “Just when I thought it was over. Just when I’d started to believe. Please, not another five years. Not media-manipulation — crass, cack-handed media manipulation — starting all over again.

“Just when we thought we’d got a real government at last, and not another flipping ‘project’. Just when we thought we’d finally found someone to run an administration, and not another sodding five-year election campaign. Just when we’d started to hope that the image-management creeps had been put back in their box . . .”

And a little part of my belief in David Cameron’s new politics died.

The question Why and I are really quite baffled by this. Does Matthew Parris believe that his Tory ex-colleagues were concealing a political mastery that they have miraculously kept hidden these last thirteen years and planned only to reveal upon partially achieving government? Did it not occur to him that, if they had had the trumps, they might have waved them about a bit well in advance of the election and saved themselves the bother of having to manage a potentially suicidal ideological mismatch?

The question Why and I are old cynics. We don't believe there are any leaders left in the free world who are game or even know how to run things in anything but an audit-directed way. We began to notice the term 'real people' enter political discourse around the turn of the millennium. We think this may be related to the flavourless stew we now think of as politics.

Politicians became obsessed with locating these real people and herding them into focus groups so they could be listened to with unprecedented earnestness. These real people acquired amplified realness if they were put into rooms with other real people who were just as real but in significantly different ways. This disparate realness was called 'diversity'. When all of these diverse people were corralled into focus groups, they came up with a great many unrelated ideas and views which sounded rich and comprehensive when they were being taken down but didn't make much sense if you were trying to work out how to manage the economy or avoid getting caught up in foreign wars.

So dependent have both sides become on keeping the buck spinning over the last decade or so, it's unlikely that there is anyone left in British politics who has any idea how to catch it when it falls, much less repair it and get it moving again. The only thing they know how to do, or even have time to do is keep on doing what they're doing the way they're doing it. There is no new politics in the same way that there is no old politics. There is just politics.

The question Why has just gone off to see how Barney is getting on with preparing our cocktails. My goodness we've earned them today...