Humor, Gordon Brown, Politics, marijuana, Opinion, Credit Crunch, Financial Meltdown, Libertarianism, Libertarian, David Cameron, BA Strike, 2010 Election, Charlie Brooker, Public Relations, Tories, Labour, Trades Unions, U.K. Deficit, Public Spending, HeathlyLiving Award, Liberal Democrats, Proportional Representation
[SCENE: The Standing Order.]
Tychy: Here we are…
James: Thank you! Beautiful!
Tychy: So who will our website be supporting in the forthcoming election? I see that you are at work on some sort of editorial…
James: The election will be announced in a matter of days and so we need to take a position…
Tychy: The Tories look very fine…
James: My God! Are you insane?
Tychy: I like this man, David Cameron…
James: This is madness! But you are, of course, Polish, and so perhaps you are not attuned to what is so irritating about his voice – which seems to have come floating out of the halls of an English public school – and his glowing pink skin – as if he has been scrubbed rigorously by matron with a cold flannel – and his sense of sturdiness and command – as if he is always addressing a gathering of his servants, and trying to persuade them of a better way to order their kitchens.
I’ve heard the Guardian man Charlie Brooker say that, “There is nothing to him. He is like a hollow Easter egg with no bag of sweets inside,” and that he resembles “the bland, generic dead-eyed avatars you can “create” for use in a tennis game or a tedious Tolkienesque adventure.” Brooker has described his “eerie unearthliness” and argued that, “if you discovered he doesn’t have a belly button or any pubic hair, and spends one night each week lying semi-conscious, face-down, “recharging” inside a giant white laboratory pod filled with amniotic fluid, you wouldn’t be entirely surprised.”
Tychy: Well, I know that you want me to write like Brooker, but his columns are insufferably superior and they bombard you with a tiresome adolescent energy. Brooker is the eternal smarty-pants teenager who has just so totally owned something lame. And there is something which Brooker misses about Cameron’s public image. Somehow, everybody has concluded that he is smooth and slick and faultless – based on a superstitious assumption that public relations is a sort of science – capable of powerfully and subtly manipulating the language that we use, so that our very thoughts become not our own. Yet if you look at Cameron for moment or so – at his facial expressions and body language – he is actually quite an unpleasant and aggressive man. And I like that. I can imagine him smacking a child in a supermarket – red faced and panting over a little bare bottom in front of all the appalled customers.
James: Perhaps those public relations devils have programmed you to think that? But the great achievement of the Tories over the last few years was to shut up and not to be noticed, and they seem to have blown it recently by siding with this Neanderthal, Willie Walsh… It has annoyed me how Tories such as Andrew Lansley and William Hague are crowing that Britain is degenerating back into the darkest days of the 1970s, and departing from the wise and strong legislation of Margaret Thatcher which had “curbed” the sabotage of the trades unions. Yet Britain has not suffered any real industrial militancy over the last two decades simply because it no longer has any industry – the Tories dismantled it all. In the present recession, it would be rather good to have a productive economy, a few factories, and a working class. And the Tories are telling off the unions for being “irresponsible,” when their own ideal economy – driven by an unregulated banking sector with all its exquisite sense of responsibility – has created anarchy against which the present strikes are like a cough in a hurricane. The hypocrisy makes you want to smash something.
Tychy: So I take it that our website will not be supporting the Tories… But I think that we should take a hard line on the deficit.
James: I don’t see why the country should pay off the deficit. The humungous public spending under Gordon Brown was never put before the electorate – it was not mentioned in New Labour’s last manifesto – and so I don’t see how the British public can be held responsible. If a thief steals your credit card and makes purchases without your permission, then you are not required to pay the bill. I think that this should be explained to our international creditors…
Tychy: Gordon Brown should be held personally responsible for the deficit? But it would take him years to pay it all back…
James: It seems increasingly as if we have lived through two decades of laziness and apolitical inaction, and we now need simultaneously the best of left and right: a government which can both invest in industry to regenerate the economy and inflict some serious damage upon the state so that the country can live within its means.
Tychy: The latter is really making libertarians salivate – this talk of “cuts” strikes a lot of people as a thoroughly deserved punishment – a reassertion of Protestant monastery-burning severity over a flabby and corrupt state. There is the fantasy of an impending holocaust – a whole parasitic pseudo-bureaucracy of advisors and consultants will be put to the sword.
James: It’s potentially good if it addresses a popular alienation from the state. Yesterday I was at a presentation by the Healthyliving Award, which is funded by the Scottish Executive. The award is given to caterers which provide healthy food, and the objective is to inform consumers about which caterers offer a “healthy choice.” Little pictures of green apples are stuck on menu items which are apparently “healthy.” Many of the catering workers at this presentation were – as a proportion of their income – amongst the most heavily taxed in Scotland, paying hundreds of pounds out of their meagre wages every month, and yet the mood at this presentation was one of indifference and boredom. It was assumed that the state was distant, harmless, even well-intentioned, and nobody was struck by the injustice of the state helping itself to money which they had personally created in order to promote the revolutionary message that apples are healthy.
Tychy: Similarly, I was recently watching a programme on the B.B.C. about some police officers who flew about in a helicopter with a heat-seeking camera, looking for marijuana factories concealed inside suburban houses. They would then attack the houses, arrest the residents, and incinerate all the plants. And I was thinking that in the next few years, as the cuts start to bite, this sort of thing will no longer be tolerated… I mean, the situation with marijuana in this country is now as ridiculous as that of Prohibition in 1920s America… and given that almost thirty percent of British young people now smoke marijuana regularly, will all of these taxpayers want their money to be spent on repressing their own consumption? And as I was watching this programme, I was imagining the police officers being invited one by one into an office and being sacked. And then they were at home, watching Jeremy Kyle on TV, wandering aimlessly about the streets, going to collect their dole money, and it was a fantasy almost as pleasurable as getting stoned.
James: I doubt that the Tories could deliver these cuts – although a successful leadership coup by David Davis is likely and could be a step in that direction.
Tychy: We’re not supporting Gordon Brown?
James: I like to think that if he won an election his personality would be completely changed, like a sour-faced old spinster getting a good fuck. He would become a hearty, jolly old man, laughing off all criticism and cheerfully rubber-stamping inflationary pay rises across the public sector…
Tychy: Well, maybe we should support Gordon then? But what about the Liberals?
James: Weasels, total weasels. Their positions on Europe and proportional representation show that they hold democracy in contempt. It annoys me that their whining about P.R. is attaining a sort of respectability – with Polly Toynbee as a vocal champion – and you hear all the Liberals explaining how unfair it is that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were able to govern when only a minority of the country voted for them. But nobody did any better, and the Liberals seem to believe that rather than taking part in a fierce public debate in which the winner gets all – and rather than doing the hard work of converting a majority of their electorate to their point of view – that we should instead castrate our democracy, leaving an apolitical government which represents everybody and nobody.
There is an assumption that the voters are like African tribes – that political preference is innate and unchangable (I suppose you’ve heard the joke in which Gordon Brown drops a nuclear bomb on Glasgow and the survivors still vote Labour) – and that we therefore need a government which reflects every political view, and in which every ideal will be compromised in order to achieve legislation. But if the Liberals are not wiped out in the next election, then the choices posed by a hung parliament will destroy the party, which is a politically incoherent alliance of alienated Thatcherites and depleted sentimental leftists – nasty vodka and rotten fruit juice.
Tychy: We could support the Scottish Nationalists… or the Greens….?
James: You’ll just have to wait and see. But come, let us drink to the future!