Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Oh God, are we really going to have to endure four months of this?

Which twin is the Tory?
As I watch domestic politics descend into its regular pre-election contest to see who can offer voters the most 'stuff' in return for the least pain, I do find myself wondering, "where is the vision?". Is it unfair of me to suggest that responding to the media agenda tends to lead to the very worst excesses of short-termism?

This election, in particular, offers the prospect of demands for legislative action on a vast range of issues and attempts to claim that, despite an acknowledgement that the deficit must, and will be, eliminated over the next five years, you, yes you, Mr and Mrs Robinson, won't feel a thing. Trust me, ladies and gentlemen, you are being lied to. It will hurt, and you will lose things that you value. Whether you need those things is another matter...

The Tories are off to a flyer, accusing Labour of a black hole in their calculations, fiercely denied by Labour, whilst Labour accuse the Tories of taking us back to the 1930s. Well, no, of course neither of them are planning to do what the other accuses them of.

Firstly, both parties are committed to reducing the deficit. The Conservatives have sworn to run a surplus by the end of a five year parliament, Labour to borrow only for investment. To do either involves either cutting spending, raising taxes, or, more likely, a bit of both. Both parties favour a predominance of spending cuts, the difference being that the Conservatives appear to be relying solely on cuts, Labour have stated that "the broadest shoulders should bear some of the burden".

So, Labour will raise some taxes, for some people. The Conservatives will cut services, as will Labour. This is not rocket science, but appears to be being denounced as if it were revelatory.

The Liberal Democrats are, it seems, somewhere between the two, although given that we have little idea what either Labour or the Conservatives will actually do, that's not entirely helpful. "More caring than the Conservatives, more responsible than Labour" makes a good slogan, though it might not be entirely informative or even convincing.

As for the rest, they're mostly against sin, or immigrants, or in the case of UKIP, both (although UKIP appear to be quite good at sinning and then claiming that it's just one bad apple so why are we picking on them?).

It's going to be a really long four months, isn't it?...

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