Most Statist politicians make me laugh with their sheer ineptitude, since this bunny has seen enough of it to have become thoroughly desensitised to the whole thing. Enduring the latest careerist slugfest on TV or the radio is not easy, much akin as it is to following a mind-numbing grapple between two clinically obese and woefully limited heavyweights. These boys and girls may be names by virtue of the parties they belong to, but their grasp of issues is as shallow as ever, and a truly authentic thought on any subject clearly beyond most of them.
I regularly watch Question Time to see the direction in which mainstream debate is moving - most weeks I'm deeply disappointed, and the latest show reminded me again that the levels of basic competence amongst our Parliamentarians has somehow dipped again, below what felt like the nadir of the Blair years. Remember when New Labour's pager specialists dominated and contaminated our political discourse, while the Tory front bench resembled something out of Deep Space Nine? These were utterly demoralising times, especially as I was a lukewarm supporter of the Conservatives back then (something along the lines of 'small c conservative and small l liberal', for shame). Things can only get better, surely?
It would seem this is not the case - anyone who saw 'rising star' of the Conservative Party, Priti 'EQUOP' Patel on Thursday will know what I'm talking about. Not only did she contrive to make Hattie Harperson look moderately intelligent, her attempted defence of capital punishment was one of the most appalling displays of stupidity that I have heard from a public representative in fifteen years of having at least some grasp of politico-speak and what it actually means. Ian Hislop, a seriously bright fella who this bunny would still profoundly disagree with on many issues, tore Priti apart in much the same way as Joe Calzaghe did to Jeff Lacy, while she appeared disturbingly unperturbed at the prospect of killing innocent people. This was just the highlight of what was a woefully pedestrian and uninspired performance - maybe QT should have a substitute panelist who can come on at half time in such cases?
Apparently, this walking, waffling triumph for all-women shortlists is 'the future' of the Tories, which sounds about right. It was not the position she took on what is a contentious issue that bothered me most - after all, the e-petition on the subject has proved immensely popular while this bunny's debate of the subject with James Garry on the Anna Raccoon site was both compelling and well-received. The possession of a view contrary to one's own of course does not disqualify them from being able to push their case in a manner that might convince the undecided - it's just that if you're going to argue for the State having the right to kill its citizens, then be prepared to unload with something that cuts a bit deeper than 'won't somebody please think of the children?'.
Perhaps singling her out is unfair (I can hear the allegations of racism already), since she is just the latest in an endless line of MPs who are supposed to be seriously sharp cookies and tipped for big things as a result. Some actually make it to ministerial or shadow level, but this is more a reflection on the intellectually bankrupt nature of our politics than their personal aptitude. I don't hate these people, or get genuinely angry when taking in their 'insight' on television or radio, since our political system is rigged in such a way that attracts tribes of loyal thickos and careerists. As long as there are well-paid positions of power, sycophancy will remain a career path with guaranteed opportunities for progression, while stupidity is no barrier to advancement for those who are 'on message'. This is the case in any walk of life, be it politics, the civil service, banking, retail, whatever.
However, there is a special breed of politician who indeed renders this bunny capable of doing serious damage if only the baseball bat were nearby. These are the guys and girls who think they're a damn sight more talented than they are, fail to recognise their obvious limitations and actually believe that the rest of us have something to learn from them. Until she thankfully left us all alone in 2010, 'Doctor' Patricia Hewitt was the undisputed prima donna of a type of MP that had this bunny looking up the Dignitas clinic online. Her smug, patronising tone and ability to address the general public as if it were a group of kids caught smoking behind the bike sheds told you in no uncertain terms that it was your own lack of intelligence that made you unable to grasp just how wonderful she and her government was.
The Labour Party is what it is, naturally possessed of the unpleasant instinct that they know how to run your life a damn sight better than you ever will. As a result, they are always likely to attract a disproportionate number of politicians who bring this modus operandi to the table with them (although the Tories are having a damn good go at bringing through several of their own). It is this sense of misplaced paternalism, allied to all-round uselessness and an apparent lack of anything resembling understanding of any issue that pushes an MP beyond the 'ignore' category and into one where the principal question is 'who do I want to shoot more right now:- the moron on the TV/radio, or myself?'. Harperson gets a dishonourable mention in this regard, but she still comes a close second to Ed 'talking' Balls.
The man who made his name as the toad of the Son of the Manse has seen the build-up to Labour's annual get-together as a great opportunity to offer some advice on how they can regain economic credibility - http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/23/cant-rely-tory-failure-labour. Once you stop laughing and the scale of Balls' delusion hits home, a solution to the question that he attempts to resolve becomes equally obvious - namely that men like Balls, tainted as they are a previous record of ineptitude and disaster, cannot be part of any solution. The Labour Party will always be wrong on pretty much everything, but what people most remember is the names and faces that were around at a given moment in time when events took a turn for the worse. New Labour, which was nothing new in reality, is a poison brand, and if Red Ed is in possession of a functioning brain (debatable), he'll ditch the Blair-Brown hangers on and decontaminate it once he gets the opportunity to appoint his own people.
Anybody who regards Gordon Brown as their hero is of course worthy of at least a shred of sympathy, regardless of other innate flaws that they might possess. That Balls looked up to and positively arse-licked the man who single-handedly destroyed what was a half-decent economy also goes a long way towards explaining more than a few things. Some Libertarians regard Thatch as essentially 'one of us' and this bunny is not amongst that contingent, but one of the areas in which she was immensely successful was a cultural shift within the Uk economy that remained for several years after her departure from office. Starting and running one's own business, becoming independently wealthy and self-reliant, became something that was perceived as a normal thing to do - moreover, the conditions had been created so that the taxman was not going to be a significant reason for failure.
Reversing this cultural shift would of course take several years of taxing and regulating until the pips squeaked, but this is exactly what Brown managed. With public spending increasing by an average of 4.4% per year in real terms prior to the crash and State snatch of GDP rising from 37% in 1997 to a frightening 46% by the time he was kicked out of office - http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/downchart_ukgs.php?year=1900_2010&state=UK&view=1&expand=&units=p&fy=2011&chart=F0-total&bar=0&stack=1&size=1024_587&color=c&title=UK%20Public%20Spending%20As%20Percent%20Of%20GDP&show=, retrograde steps such as these were the inevitable consequence. Nobody has had greater control over the Uk economy in peacetime than Dr Clunkingfist himself, and though apologists like Balls will no doubt attempt to re-write events as a means of selling self-serving memoirs, Brown will probably go on to be regarded by wiser owls as the most disastrous chancellor of the modern era and one of the worst in our history.
Dumb Ed (as opposed to Red Ed) is right about one thing, albeit for the wrong reasons. The coalition are destined to fail - in fact the moment in which they stood most chance of success has already passed. Some may see comparisons between the Uk circa 2010 and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall as extreme, but the lesson of history is a valid one. In the immediate post-Communism period, those liberated economies struggled desperately before finally showing signs of life, many on the polar opposite free market model. Now, if you look at certain parts of the Uk that have received the greatest levels of 'help' from the taxpayer (think the North East, Wales), we're talking about public spending that equates to 60% of regional GDP. This is positively Bulgarian territory, and the only chance we have of making some headway is for this whole sorry Statist project to be undone.
The time to announce one clean swing of the axe across all areas of expenditure was immediately after the election - at least 25%, across the board, with no special cases and therefore nobody being picked on. I appreciate the short-term fallout of this is increased unemployment and considerable pain that one would not wish on real people, but the unfortunate truth is that this 'rock bottom' is an inevitability anyway until such action takes place. In the meantime, debt, delusion and denial reign supreme, with the Statist parties arguing amongst themselves about exactly how long we can delay the day of reckoning for. Of course this is semantics, fag-paper differences presented as some deep ideological battle in the name of tribalism.
If the Tories were as mean and ruthless as the Statist media would have you believe, then real cuts would already have taken place by now. As it is, those which are threatened down the line may well give way to political expediency, with a once in a generation opportunity to reverse decades of taxation and interference from nanny set to be squandered. The cultural shift enabled by Balls' hero is complete and has utterly contaminated the three dud political parties who all continue to deny the existence of any alternative. He may be a bully, liar, control freak and nannyist troll of the highest order, but probably the biggest gripe this bunny has with Balls is that he has nothing whatsoever to worry or complain about. Even though New Labour are out of office, their thinking remains as deeply in power as it ever was when his mentor occupied Downing Street. Take care and I'll catch you soon.