Monday, 28 May 2012

A slow and callous update albeit happy

Dear readers (if there are any of you left),

You will have to as always excuse my ineptitude at posting as frequently as one should, one who is interested in the world and what goes on around us. As players in it we have a duty to take an interest in its functioning (or lack thereof).

This persona has been exceedingly busy the past few months and is currently in the final stages of his degree. Glorious times these are indeed until a research degree starts this autumn which will be even more difficult than this past undergraduate experience has been. Difficult but fun it must be said.

What of politics then? Well, things on that arena seem to be going rather jolly well I would say; the coalition is an utter disaster, voters think the coalition is an utter disaster, the Liberal Democrats will be removed from the face of politics for a generation, the Conservatives will be sorely punished as well come the next election, Labour are doing well because they are not Dave and Nick not because they have anything genuine to say and finally it would appear that politics in the UK has quite lost its way.

Where will it lead? Very hard to say. Disillusionment takes many forms. Not all of them good. It is likely that we shall not see a coalition again for some time. The political cost of entering into a new one would simply not flush with voters. People will surely be reminded of this spectacle whenever they hear the word `coalition' and wince at the mere notion of another one. No, I think we can give the future the benefit of the doubt that there will be no more coalitions for the foreseeable time to come.

So many words have been written by pundits about why the coalition is not working, analysing the relationship between Clegg and his moron Lib Dems, between Cameron and his moron Conservative MPs (none of which seem to have a spine large enough to actually nail their colours to another mast) and not really concluding very much. Well a simple conclusion will be that on current form, being lead by a man so bereft of principles, moral values and general beliefs of a society he wishes to live in, can not lead to victory in a general election. It would be genuinely non-sensical for a common-sense voter to support David Cameron. Equally why anyone would ever be stupid enough to ever `agree with Nick' again is question for that person to answer.

A disillusionment with politics then is seemingly the X-factor of our time. Jeff Randall takes a stab at summing it up rather eloquently in today's Telegraph. Though his is a very very coarse and general description, it does ring so very true for those of us who do not have the luxury of working in a palace courtesy of the Queen. That said, my university used to be very pretty until they tore most of it down, built by the Victorians, and replaced it by those sad edifices of buildings often caricatured by the 60s. Nonetheless, Mr Randall goes through the vices (few virtues of the coalition I am afraid, though if I were pressured into naming one it would be Mr Gove) of this ineptitude personified that is the coalition.

Mr Randall exfoliates it as such...

Well, immigration remains a shocker. The Office for National Statistics says that net migration to the United Kingdom in the year to September 2011 was above 250,000, despite David Cameron’s promise of reducing it to “tens of thousands”. Arrivals are pouring in at nearly 600,000 a year and the majority, 58 per cent, are from outside the European Union. While the number of student visas has dropped, many economic migrants seem to have little difficulty bypassing dysfunctional border controls. The evidence of illegal entry is there for any minister to see – on the streets of London, Birmingham and Manchester. Theresa May talks tough, but her credibility is threadbare. Fail.

Education is a mixed bag. Michael Gove appears to be attacking dumbed down A‑levels, but his colleague, David Willetts, has joined forces with social engineers to debase our best universities’ entry requirements. The problem is not Oxbridge but a comprehensive system which, in far too many cases, delivers abysmal results. Fail.

Following the Strategic Defence Review in 2010, the Ministry of Defence is cutting the Armed Forces by 25,000 military personnel and 29,000 civilian staff in order to save £4.1 billion (about 0.6 per cent of the Chancellor’s annual budget). Meanwhile, we have been left without an aircraft carrier until 2020 and until then will rely on the kindness of strangers. Fail. (It should be said here that this author, 13th, could probably write a book upon that ignominious defence review as could probably a lot of people who care of it - that is how shambolic it was).

 As for policing, the news is no better. The number of officers in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest levels for 10 years. In September 2011, there were 6,000 fewer (down by 4 per cent) compared with one year earlier. Only one of the 43 forces, Surrey Police, increased numbers over that period. On this issue, there is a gaping disconnection between those in power and the people they purport to serve. While the Coalition stresses the need to cut prison numbers and emphasises rehabilitation, voters demand harsher sentences and are deeply sceptical about claims that crime is falling. A recent poll shows that only 13 per cent think that the Coalition has been tougher on crime than Labour was. Fail.

On Europe, Mr Cameron had his chance to call a referendum and flunked it. His pledge to take back powers from Brussels has, so far, been unfulfilled. Fail.

Households are being squeezed by stealth. The Bank of England has been encouraged to print money, enabling the Government to bilk its creditors through inflation: so much easier than paying them back the hard way or default. Despite the myth of “austerity”, real public spending was just £8 billion (1.1 per cent) lower in 2011-12 than in 2009-10. Higher taxes and inflation, not lower spending, are Plan A. Fail.

And what of the Coalition’s minority partners? I won’t insult your intelligence by pretending to understand the average Liberal Democrat’s mindset, but on one issue we can be very confident. When a party’s flagship policy is the abolition of university tuition fees and it later oversees an increase from £3,000 to £9,000, its supporters are unlikely to look favourably on the architects of betrayal. Fail.

After being trounced in the recent local elections, representatives on both sides of government expressed regret that they had not explained their policies well enough. This is self-delusion on a grand scale. The electorate knew precisely what was on offer – and stayed at home. Fail, fail, fail.


James Higham said...

Nice summary - shall link now.

bamboo investments said...

Excellent summary of the overall situation. The defense cuts are quite disturbing to me.