Sunday, 11 October 2009

Elections, Elections, Elections.

For those pathologically unable to avoid looking at the info-entertainment items called news on TV and their derivatives, increasingly modelled on talent (in the loosest possible sense) and the Jeremy Kyle and Jerry Springer shows, it is going to be a grim seven months. Perhaps we should tune in to the Sumo wrestling instead? What is in prospect?

The Parliamentarians Expenses Scandal. This one is out of the traps fast for an early lead and will continue to be a strong runner. It has already accounted for a number of also-rans from both sides. It will generate an uncommon amount of dust, dirt, and noise, although the effects are unpredictable. My suggestion for a simple tariff of punishment depending on the seriousness has not been welcomed. If ten, twenty five or fifty lashes at the wheel were administered, with concession tickets for OAP’s, unemployed and the disabled, it would have settled matters to the satisfaction of most people. We know almost all of them are involved, just make them pay up and tell them to stop squealing.

Digging the dirt. Expect anything and everything of anybody, regardless of truth or reason. Max Clifford will be installing a personal telephone exchange, certain newspapers will be on 24 hour “exclusives” watch, and the GMB will be negotiating higher rates for its Collective of Sex Workers Affiliate. Anyone who can be proved to have thrown their toys out of the pram at their nannies will get the full shock horror treatment. It will be worse than The Yorkshireman’s Sketch from “Monty Python”. Most of it will be entirely predictable and like watching endless repeats on satellite.

Dirty Tricks. Labour are much too prone to this, hiring as they do some strange creatures to do their spinning, media operations, and advising. In the age of the web and given the alertness of so many commentators all too often they finish up looking more like Dastardly and Muttley. The Tories ought to be less prone, but some of their more self regarding people can be very silly. Nowadays, the chances of getting caught at it are much higher, but some idiots will be trying it.

Manufactured Crises. There will be any number of “crises” created, most of supreme unimportance, but only done to try to put the story over that you are the only ones who can be “trusted” or are “capable” of dealing with it properly. There will be a few of these, some of them more convincing than others. Routine problems will be puffed up into big items, “potholes in the roads cause cancer” and so on. Worse of all will be the number of real personal tragedies turned into media circuses. As a consequence of all these some impending crises that are difficult to address will be ignored or played down, or those developing will be forgotten until they happen. Just like the credit crunch.

The Madness of Prime Minister George. This one will rumble away, the “blindness” once suggested by someone as an after effect of heavy medication turns out to be a routine eye problem associated with ageing. As for the other stuff, I am sticking to my blog of 7 September that there is a raft of things that require particular dietary requirements, all quite usual and common to many people, especially those getting older and under stress. Errare humanum est and all men are mortal. I am flawed, Gordon is flawed, you are flawed, so let us just get on with it. The issue is just what is his record and could you trust him and his side kicks enough to vote Labour?

The Snootiness of David and the Bullingdon. One of my bad personal jokes is the claim that I went to public school because the council all age elementary school I attended had pubs on either side that were architecturally very similar, which caused some confusion amongst the drinking classes. My teenage and immediately later years were strewn with things that are best forgotten and which make you wince in retrospect. The Bullingdon may be a high ticket item, but frankly they look like a soft lot who would have been a pushover had they come up against any serious bunch. But appearances can be deceptive, the languid, effete aristo’s who preened and drank in the cavalry messes of old were the same men as the officers who led from the front in the worst of the battle. Much as most of the awkward squad and least disciplined of the ranks were amongst the first into the enemy trenches. My standard question is who would I prefer on my right and left when the whistle went to go over the top. Try it yourself with the front benchers of either side.

The Unending Parade. The media will be scrambling round for stories, any stories, of any kind, that will push a line or prove that a lie is a fact. Every mad exhibitionist and celebrities in need of cheap publicity will be grabbing for attention. The camera crews will be everywhere looking for the personal interest angle, and someone who some how comes over on screen. There is a serious risk that this could be the first freak show election.

Out There On The Net. The campaigns are already under way, and the political masters know that there will be much that goes on around the net. We are aware already that many newspapers and other journals have become increasingly dependent on content from the web, so it will be difficult to work out which is which. The trouble is that many of the bloggers are just as suspect as the old media, and more out of control. In some cases they can be a valuable source of reliable source material and alternative perspectives, they also have the potential for causing and promoting confusion and increasing the nastiness element that is going to be a feature of this election. At the moment it is looking bad, but on the net there are always other choices. The interesting question is will the net have the slightest effect on the way people will vote?

The Lobbyists And The London Mediocracy. If the rest of it is going to be nasty and wearing, this will be as of nothing compared to the frantic efforts being put in by all the interest groups and connections with our governing system. A real regime change coupled with immediate needs to actively attack some major problems will cause substantial upheavals over many areas of interest. The boom years created a lot of winners, we are now going to need a lot of losers.

And Lastly. There are matters about this election which are serious and could be worrying if it begins to go very wrong. Because the state of the nation and the problems we face require a government that can concentrate on the job to be done and the last thing we need is a continuation of this kind of circus. I can remember those periods in the last sixty years when matters were not clearly resolved by an election and the damage that was done in consequence. This time around it would be a great deal worse.

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