Archive for October, 2010
“George Osborne has just gambled your future on an extreme economic theory that has failed whenever and wherever it has been tried.”
Johann Hari; 21 Oct 2010
“I see this is the time that the unjust man doth thrive”
Shakespeare; A Winter’s Tale
So here we are. Georgie has had the moment he’s been dreaming of since he was a junior fag at whichever posh school it was (not Eton, I know) and the bonfire of the welfare state is officially alight.
Let’s start with 2 givens; OF COURSE we are facing dire financial circs, and OF COURSE the Tories are driven partly by their ‘small government’ ideology. Our Green economics team is examining the details of today’s announcements, and I shan’t pre-empt them (they know more economics than I do). However, I watched most of the Chancellor’s turn ‘live’ and some random thoughts galloped friskily through my brain:
Firstly, let me be the zillionth person to point out that I and my fellow public sector schmucks did not cause the financial crisis although we seem to be paying for it.
Secondly, my retirement date has gone up today, and something tells me that I’ll be lucky to get much of a pension even at 66. But once Georgie, Dave and co are superannuated they’ll be off to their yachts faster than you can say Oleg Deripaska.
Adding insult to injury, quite literally, is the host of uneasy Lib Dems lurking behind Georgie’s smirk. I wonder how many of the 6,836,824 people who voted Lib Dem in May were voting to cut half a million public sector jobs?
Careful readers may recognise my title as having been used by one N Clegg to describe the half-baked voting system known as AV. Fast-forward a few months and, lo…. those of us who have long wanted electoral reform find that this system is all that’s on offer.
Our local Lib Dems organised a debate/discussion about this in the Town Hall last Friday. I was there to fly the Green flag and the excellent Hebweb has filed a decent account of proceedings – see the link on the right.
AV is a complex issue for the Greens. On the one hand it’s a hopelessly non-proportional system which, if anything, could clobber small parties like ours even more than FPP does. But. But. But….here are my 3 principal reasons to vote Yes:
- It would introduce the concept of ranking candidates
- It would get rid of some of the tactical voting and the excrescence of “safe seats”. Not all, but owt’s better than nowt.
- If we don’t accept AV it’ll close the door on any chance of electoral reform for the foreseeable future
The Lib Dem leadership sold all of us out by not insisting on PR, and we shan’t forget it. But I find myself preferring a miserable little compromise to a steaming pile of entrenched FPP privilege. So there.
I saw As You Like It last week at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. I know this play fairly well, but seeing it in the wake of the Miliband affair made me realise how much it’s a play about brothers. The above quote is spoken by Orlando when his big brother is being – well, a sh*t to him. The context is that the elder bro is the one with the power and money and he won’t let Orlando in on any of it.
That’s not the only bit of sibling rivalry though. The rightful Duke has been usurped by his brother and has scarpered to the Forest of Arden to live in harmony with nature. (It’s probably Shakespeare’s greenest play – see my Quote of the Week from 7 Oct – though you can make a case for the Dream). Both the bad brothers see the error of their ways and it all ends happily.
Years of watching Venus and Serena has sharpened my awareness of how hard it must be to relate to your sibling out in the big wide world. For my money, Milband Minor did better with this challenge than Mili Major. David couldn’t quite cope with Ed’s public protestations of love for him and of course one can’t help but notice that, despite saying he’d serve in an Ed Shadow cabinet, he’s doing no such thing. In fairness to David, he was supposed to be a shoo-in and anyone would be miffed with the rival who came up on the rails and snatched victory. Yet again, the Bard was there a few hundred years before any of us!
“Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS I’ll come back and bloody haunt him”
Last words of Claire Rayner, who died today. RIP
In last week’s Guardian Weekend, they printed a letter of mine about their back-of-mag column which glorifies various motor vehicles. Actually they printed part of my letter, so I reproduce the entire thing here:
You interview Jonathan Franzen and he talks about the dangers of overpopulation. You publish a photo-journal about the rapid industrialisation of China and the consequent threat to the environment. And then, on page 99, you review a vehicle “larger than the average bedsit”. Three words: no, no and no.
Not all that long was it? Far from being a whinge about their editing practices, this post is to celebrate the fact that this week’s “On the road” column is all about…a bike! And I do mean a proper bike!
I don’t think for a moment that my moaning letter has affected the Guardian’s editorial policy (I’m sure it hasn’t). But still – HA!