Published June 30, 2012
The establishment is under severe pressure. Politicians and press barons (and senior police officers, come to that) are too familiar with one another. Tax dodgers are morally repugnant. Bankers sell dogey products and, now, fiddle their books and manipulate interest rates. Desparate efforts to divert attention to benefit cheats have had little effect on the main thread of news and debate. And now we have more or less subtle efforts to suggest that the current banking crisis of legitimacy is a product of ‘spivs and gamblers’. The suggestion is that, since the 1980s, working class lads have been alowed in to the once august world of the City. One old timer on the radio told stories of the past where your word was your bond. Chaps just didn’t cheat. These working class oiks have got into the banks and just don’t know how to behave. Nauseous stuff.
And now we have an urgent independent review (if it is urgent, why did it take days to announce?). We don’t know who will lead this review as yet. Anyone want to take bets – a member of the establishment, old school, probably with banking experience. But definitely ‘one of us’, in Thatcher’s words.
Published June 27, 2012
The rate at which the Tories develop new policies, provoke reaction, back peddle and then, later, claim they just wanted to start a debate is frankly comical. The latest, Cameron’s assault on the poor was particularly grotesque, coming after and covering up the tax dodging habits of the well heeled. Steve Bell in The Guardian has hit the nail on the head in his recent If… cartoons. Tory policy on welfare is little more than: ‘Fack orff and get your own silver spoon’.
I watched the first episode of The Thick Of It again last night, inspired by Gove and Cameron doing cartwheels. And it does seem to me they must work in pretty much this manner. Policy made on the hoof. No wonder Hilton left to take a year off and get away from the insanity of it all. (But then he was not much better. We are told that he has suggested the civil service be reduced to about 4,000. After all, the Victorians ran an empire covering a third of the globe with that number of civil servants.)
It does appear that the Tories are agitated, twitching and flinching at the slightest noise and always acting in haste. ADHD, perhaps? Or more likely this is the behaviour we should expect of good old Bullingdon Club members – just sober and bored.
Published June 15, 2012
We have been treated to the unedifying sight of senior politicians admitting to cosy relationships with Murdoch and beginning to talk about the need for reform. Some of the messages flowing between Rebecca Brooks and David Cameron (and doubtless the same was true with Blair, Brown etc) suggest that News Corporation was an arm of government (and similar comments have been made in recent articles in the New York Review of Books) – ‘we’ must get the welfare reform bill through parliament, for example.
I wonder whether the government’s relationships with senior bankers would stand up to this sort of close scrutiny as well? Osborne certainly bleats on about the need to ensure that the UK is a good place for international financial institutions to call home. Perhaps they also talk in terms of ‘we’? And what of the arms industry and the MoD?
In Greece, at least they know they are being ruled by unelected technocrats at the moment. Heaven help them if they dare elect a government that acts in their interests at the weekend (and the same might go for the French as well!). Meanwhile we suffer under a very British technocracy.