There are still whole weeks to go and already my main thought when I consider the election is:
make it stopmake it stopmake it stopmake it stopmake it stopmake it stopmake it stopmake it stop
Slightly more than a week since I urged you to ignore the parties’ bells and whistles and concentrate on what we the people could get out of the election instead, I am very much in danger of not following my own sound advice. Depressingly, since that day last week when the election began to a backbeat of circling helicopter blades, I have already discovered that I live in such a safe seat I may as well draw a big comedy cartoon of a knob on my ballot paper, in the manner of a bored teenager kept in for an after-school detention.
Now I have to contend with the Prime Minister throwing out such a poor retreading of Britney’s ‘Ooops I did it again’ routine that it almost seems like UK politics is now spoofing itself, being beamed to our TV screens straight from the brains of Messrs Iannucci and Morris. How else to explain the former Chancellor coming out with this gem?
In the 1990s, the banks, they all came to us and said, ‘Look, we don’t want to be regulated, we want to be free of regulation’. All the complaints I was getting from people was, ‘You’re regulating them too much’. And actually the truth is that globally and nationally we should have been regulating them more. So I’ve learnt from that. So you don’t listen to the industry when they say, ‘This is good for us’. You’ve got to talk about the whole public interest
NO SHIT, SHERLOCK. Just fancy that, the banks asking the Government to please stop regulating them quite so much, if you don’t mind or else they would be on the first flight to Frankfurt, was actually a vague threat that they should have been called on, rather than an actual promise to leave a gaping hole in the UK’s finances… errrrrr. Sorry, I am still not following this. We mortgaged our futures to keep the bankers happy, yet we still ended up with the gaping hole, while the bankers are laughing all the way to the Cayman Islands but the man largely responsible for the mess now wants to say ‘sorry’ and hope that means we can move on and allow him another five years in power to fix it. I have to keep pinching myself because I am having a hard time believing that we haven’t gone through the looking-glass. What the fuck is going on?
Then I read this from the London Review of Books*:
whatever the political hue of the new government, it has to walk a fiscal tightrope. It is probably going to be a very good election to lose
and suddenly it all makes sense. This is a Brewster’s Millions, anti-Musical Chairs election, where the object of the game is NOT to be sitting in the Big Chair when the music stops. Whoever wins, it’s likely that the bond market-spawned wailing and gnashing of teeth from the electorate is going to be enough to keep that party out of power for a time which will make Labour’s wilderness years seem like a weekend at the beach by comparison. If, as John Lanchester hopes, the game is up and the bankers have realised that this maybe their last round of grotesque bonuses, maybe the politicians are equally aware that their time at the trough is coming to an end.
If true, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine and recreate our political and economic life, so perhaps we need to start to thinking about what comes next. Now that really would be change we could believe in.
* Lanchester, J., 2010. The Great British Economy Disaster. London Review of Books [Online] vol. 32 no. 5 pp. 3-7. Available from http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n05/john-lanchester/the-great-british-economy-disaster [Accessed 14 April 2010].