Sunday, February 06, 2011

today : David Cameron ruins my weekend

Please. Just once. Just one weekend, or even one day, when I turn on the TV and don't find some politician, obsessed with controlling the news cycle. There they are day in and day out. Announcing new initiatives, promoting policy directions, trumpeting their every action (or inaction for that matter) as an achievement. Forever feeding the feral beast its ration of topics to discuss and proposals to dissect.

Much of the time I can kind of ignore it. Most of what they feed the beast is just white sugar: empty calories. The here today, gone tomorrow news-cycle stop-gaps. The increasingly fake-looking and annoying Clegg restates some minor aspect of policy, some junior housing minister says something about houses, things that might go in a green paper maybe possibly or not.

But I can't ignore things that I think are just wrong. Things that are not just ruining my day or my weekend, but ruining peoples' lives. And my fate in the past months has been to be bombarded with stuff which is, however empty sometimes, just plain wrong. And it keeps on coming.

This weekend I was forced into a response. Like an unannounced visitor or a stalker, I couldn't ignore it and switch over to the footie. Cameron went on TV to peddle his utter nonsense about Islam and British identity.

I can't even make the time to explain how mind-bendingly wrong the content of his speech was. It was staggeringly wrong on every single level.

But the question remains why? Why now?

Is it something to do with Bob Diamond's 9 million quid bonus, or the fact that the IFS criticised Osborne's policies? Is it the fact that the inflation and employment figures are pretty poor? Is it the fact that MPs were complaining about their expenses during the week? What is in the air that is even worse bad news? Is there something buried on page 12 that shows the government in a bad light. Is one of the Sunday papers sitting on some phone-hacking gold. What flatlining figures are announced on Monday?

Or is the fact that, when the Daily Mail, Express and Telegraph are starting to fill their pages with critical, questioning headlines and stories only 9 months into a government term, there is a real danger that the strategy is crumbling at the edges.

And one sure fire way to get the Mail, Express and Telegraph back on side is to pander to their basest of impulses. Get them on about immigration, Muslims, terrorism. Feed their racism and xenophobia. Big up their rose-tinted misty eyed, almost entirely false vision of some mythical lost white Britain/England. A couple of months out from the local elections and Clegg's big electoral reform vote, start to wind up the old retrenched Tory rhetoric.

And ruin my weekend.

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