AFTER MONTHS OF undeclared campaigning (much like Obama’s reign) the election proper is now underway. It’s been so exciting that I’m worn out and bored already.
To kick it off, the leaders of the national parties had their little debate on tv, just to demonstrate once again what a bunch of muppets most them are. Unmemorable muppets, as well, when I think about it.
Cameron just kept saying “we must stick to our long term plan” again and again, wearing a look of slight bafflement and superciliousness that must been beaten into him at Eton. Natalie Bennett of the Greens had remembered to take her meds to stop her having another brain-fade. Words came out of her mouth but I can’t remember any of them. Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP seemed perky and said stuff but again, I can’t recall anything. I’ll assume that since I’ve already heard her, it’ll be the same: “give us more money, you English bastards”.
Miliband came out with nothing sensible but did this thing of turning suddenly to the camera and staring down the lens with what he hoped was a serious look. Presumably his minders had told him this would connect him with us, the electorate, in some personal way and make us more amenable to his message. All he did was make himself look like a tenth rate stage hypnotist who realises he’s out of his depth and would rather be a clerk in some office colour-coding files on EU energy policy. He out-weirded himself this time, something most of us thought impossible. Hell, yeah.
This was the first time I’d seen Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru, and probably the last. Leanne was clearly passionate about something but a bit short on specifics of policy – or anything, really. I gather she didn’t want any more Tory nastiness and the best way to deal with it was with more (English) taxpayers’ money.
As for Nick Clegg, he reminds me of the long-forgotten scientist and tv presenter, Magnus Pike, whose schtick was to wave his arms about enthusiastically. Nick’s like that in a sort of well-intentioned but grossly ill-informed, schoolboyish way, full of sound and emoting, signifying nothing. He should team up with Leanne.
Which leaves Nigel Farage as the only candidate who said anything memorable. The collective heart skipped a beat in horror as he proposed that we should not allow foreign nationals with HIV to come to Britain for free treatment on the NHS. This is precisely the kind of thing that all the other candidates prefer not to discuss, for two reasons: a) he identified a serious problem in the NHS and b) the majority of the great unwashed agree with him.
Since then the campaign has accelerated into the predictable hucksterism of fantasies, bribes and lies. They’re coming as thick as slurry from a muck-spreader on a Lincolnshire field. We’ve already had zero-hours contracts, the bedroom “tax”, food banks, the NHS, non-dom status, the EU (and why we shouldn’t be allowed a say on it), rail fares, bribes for young tenants, defence spending (or lack of it), Trident, personalised midwives, more devolution for Wales, inheritance tax, tuition fees, tax avoidance, and plans to make premier football clubs spend more of their money on “community” facilities.
The NHS and tax in all its forms will keep resurfacing, the former because it is an intractable problem that no party (and I’d have to admit, the country) is willing to confront, the latter because a large part of the electorate are now thoroughly brainwashed into thinking the state has a god-given right to take as much money as it likes from people designated “the rich”.
Thank heavens for the Magic Money Tree. It always turns up before an election and any party can have a go at shaking it. Everything’s free then, isn’t it?