I’m supposed to be covering politics for this organ – and have been doing my best to keep up on a daily basis with what’s been going on in the campaign the better to do it in a General Election year – but, to be honest, with only about four weeks until 7th May I’ve begun to lose the will to go on.
As my dwindling number of readers will know, the political class has never been my favourite group of people and the antics of both the candidates and those few parties that have enough money to mount coordinated campaigns and employ ‘professional’ election consultants, spin doctors and policy wonks have totally failed to impress.
Yes, I know it’s all too easy for people like me to take a cynical, sneering attitude to a topic that is really rather serious and important, but it really is like shooting fish in a barrel … and as about as interesting.
One overall conclusion I’ve reached on this 2015 campaign is that, for all the apparent acknowledgements of the internet, social media and other ‘modern’ means of communication, the traditional main two parties are still campaigning as if it’s about 1964. At least, that’s how it feels they’re treating we the public as they try everything they can think of to get us to part with our vote.
Once that’s done, of course, they’ll forget about us until 2020.
In the meantime – if it’s Thursday – it’s a photo op in a fish and chip shop … followed by one in a car factory wearing a hard hat … and then at home in one’s kitchen … ad absurdum. It’s an announcement about legislating to force employers with over 250 employees to give them three days off per annum (in additional to their holiday entitlement) to ‘volunteer’; or freezing rail fares; or putting another £8 billion in to save the NHS; or getting rid of ‘non-dom’ status [oh, and by the way, chaps, what are tomorrow’s announcements going to be? … Really? But that’s a completely ridiculous idea … still, never mind, the others are putting out two, so I suppose we must as well …] … and so on.
Drip, drip, drip go the policy announcements … followed swiftly by the attacks on each other’s policies … and then the necessary counter-attacks and justifications … and ditto for the costs of these policies and how they’ll be paid for.
Blah, blah, blah.
No wonder the public get fed up with being treated like this. We’re just voting sheep, to be rounded up by false promises, scaremongering stories and bribes to go in and put a cross against A rather than B, C, D, E, F or G.
It’s about as edifying as a crap-shoot.
Personally, despite the massive national influence I am able to wield via this column, my biggest regret of the past twelve months is that I totally failed to persuade the Scottish electorate to vote for independence.
Now we’ve got the SNP playing fast and loose with the potential ‘hung parliament’ scenario that we are being told is the likely Election outcome. They’re going to keep the Tories out by backing Labour. In doing so, they’ve announced their intention to blackmail Labour into abandoning the renewal of the Trident nuclear system, as well as promising to bugger up the smooth working of the rest of the United Kingdom.
For an Englishman – well, okay originally by ancestry a Scot – this is deeply frustrating. I’d now definitely back any proposed English referendum on the issue of whether or not we should throw the Scots out of the UK and be done with it.
By all means let them set up a Socialist Republic of Scotland, spending and borrowing as much money as they’d like without any regard as to the consequences. Let’s take away all the Defence jobs that Scotland has traditionally enjoyed – and which they now apparently don’t want – and relocate them in England. Now we’ve found our limitless supplies of gas and oil in Gatwick, there’s certainly no need any longer to cow-tow to these SNP crackpots, or to pay for their ludicrously-expensive North Sea oil.
And, whatever else we do, once we’ve got rid of them, don’t let us take any responsibility for bailing them out … or ever allowing them back into the UK. If the majority of Scots want to live in a bankrupt banana republic, let ‘em. I’d give Scotland five years maximum before being officially declared a basket case.
Come to think of it, ditto with the Welsh. If Leanne Wood is anything to go by, the Welsh only want to be a Scotland-lite anyway. Well, let them go in addition. I’d give them about five weeks.
Just think of it – England, rid of those moaning minnies, could become a world power again, run itself properly and responsibly, and bring great prosperity to all its citizens.
What’s not to like?
I’m off down the pub now …