Friday, October 22, 2010

today: The laughing gnomes

There are many things I could write about the 'cuts' that happened this week. I'll quickly list them.
1. The Tories sudden antipathy towards the IFS - long used by them as the analysts of choice and tool to beat Labour with, but now peddlers of nonsense.
2. The utter lack of an intellectual justification for their actions. Osborne : "We have to do this.", Questioner: "Why?", Osborne : "Because it must be done"
3. The obvious fact that the speech itself was full of obfuscation and structured like all budget speeches with the clear and coherent parts all about handouts and the detailed and long-winded parts all about the bad stuff. 4. The lack of detail.
5 The fact that the lack of detailed plans left the teams of journalists and correspondents floundering. At one point in Osborne's speech Nick Robinson posted insightfully: "7 Billion in cuts is the same as £10000 less for 7 million people." Perhaps they could have got Rachel Riley in instead.
6. The way the TV companies all produced logos and graphics on the 'budget day' model for something that was not a budget, and looked a bit daft. Thursday morning: Louise Minchin sent to talk to 'poor' people at Dickensian market in East London. The best she could come up with was a fruit stall holder who told her that people spend about £3 a week on fruit and after the cuts might only spend £1 a week. A point Louise reiterated at least three times.

But the thing I noticed most was something that Alan Johnson pointed out in his rebuttal speech, but didn't hit hard enough on. It was the sight and sound of Tory MPs and Minsters cheering job cuts, cheering slashes in public services, cheering austerity and poverty, cheering benefit cuts.

It gave them away. At no point was there a single note of regret. No notion of 'we have to do this but it gives us no pleasure to throw half a million dedicated public servants out of work'. No mention that some people will be badly affected but it is a painful but necessary choice.

They enjoyed it. They revelled in it. They celebrated it. Whilst telling us all we must take the pain, Gideon Osborne - future 18th Baronet of Ballintaylor (worth 4 1/2 million), Cameron (worth 4 million - set to inherit up to 30 million) and Clegg (worth a couple of million with family wealth of several million more) were, and remain, gung-ho.

It was if the whole party had been waiting desperately for the last 13 years, swelling up with the pressure that builds and builds when you are constantly denied the chance to kick the poor in their pasty, subservient, worthless faces. And they couldn't help letting it all out in a smug tsunami of arrogance and guffawing cruel stupidity. Like bullies pissing on a cripple and sticking the video on youtube.

It not only shows the Tories in a poor light, and, as Johnson pointed out, caught up more in their ideology than any notion of patriotism or reality, but also does politics itself no good. We have MPs who have apparently cleaned house on their own scams and fraudulent behaviour, happily laughing in the face of the ruin of millions. The fact that nobody in their own ranks thought to brief them about how such behaviour would look says an awful lot about how remote and ideologically driven these children of Thatcher really are.

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