Arrg kxrrt!


Awoken by the political hubbub

In which there has apparently been a lot of fuss over nothing

Well, yes. It’s been quiet round here, hasn’t it. And, as I’ve said before, modern politics makes me want to retreat further into a bunker. There’s a reason why the three sane-and-national parties are so close together in the polls right now: on the surface they’re so close together on everything else. Do you support the ex-public-schoolboy who wants to cut taxes on business and cut public spending, or the ex-public-schoolboy who wants to cut taxes for lower incomes and scythe public spending? Or, of course, the ex-university-firebrand who is also going to cut public spending, but not yet? If you don’t like those, there’s the right-wing fringe: the doddery old chap who leads his party from the House of Lords, who responds to most questions with “I’m not a professional politican, so I don’t know all the details or what’s in our manifesto – can you ask me the questions I wanted you to ask me, please?” If you don’t like his apparent lack of knowledge of most things his party plans to do, there’s always the Cambridge graduate* who thinks that Ireland is part of Britain, and that none of those nasty foreign types should be allowed to settle here unless maybe they’re from a country like France where potential voters might want to retire to.** There’s probably a left-wing fringe, too, but they’ve not popped up on my radar.

Having said all that, I do feel slightly sorry for the former university firebrand, who, I’m told, caused havoc with the administration of my own alma mater back in the 1970s. Because, to be honest, I’m fully aware that politicians aren’t angels. Practically everyone I know, everyone I’ve ever come across, is willing to be polite to someone’s face, then complain about them behind their back. We’re all happy to say things in private, when we think it’s private, and we don’t expect that our enemies are listening in. If there’s one thing you can criticise Gordon Brown for over the events of yesterday, it’s that maybe he was too polite in public, and wasn’t willing to stand up strongly enough for what he presumably believes: that people who ask vague and poorly-stated non-questions that imply they don’t like the free movement of labour in Europe are, bluntly, wrong.

My vote, to be frank, doesn’t exactly make much difference. I live in one of the safest Labour seats in South-West England, one which even Michael Foot didn’t manage to lose in 1983. To move it to either of the other parties would need a monumental local swing: 13% for it to go Liberal, 15% to go Tory. The last local elections did see some movement towards the Liberals in some wards, but not, I think, enough to unseat our MP. Because of that, I don’t have any real expectation that the option I choose next Thursday will make any difference at all to the overall result. I’m fairly sure I promised one of our local councillors, too, that there was no way I was voting Labour whilst he still wanted to build a guided busway through Ashton and Spike Island; he still does, I assume, so I feel duty-bound to uphold my promise. Unfortunately, the Liberal Democrats also seem to like the idea, so it looks like this may well be the first election in which I end up spoiling my vote. Having said all that, though, the fuss over Gordon Brown and Gillian Duffy*** has had one effect on my voting intentions. For the first time in a couple of years, I’m considering voting for Labour.

* Robert Graves had a lifelong antipathy to Cambridge graduates. I must say, I think his instinctive reaction to them was wrong; but possibly, in this case, it would have been justified.

** Or they know how to build the nuclear power stations that he’s going to fill the country with, of course. I wonder how much uranium we have left.

*** Whose anger at being called a bigot is slightly tempered by the fact that she didn’t really understand what the word meant.

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3 comments on “Awoken by the political hubbub”

  1. SteveL says:

    1. you may want to retire to france, but your offspring may not appreciate it once they discover french inheritance tax laws.

    2. There is Uranium around, but the energy costs of getting fissile U238 is a problem, the EROI of mining and purifying it may be steep. This is why the fast breeder program of the 1970s and the MOX fuel from sellafield mixes in plutonium; uses something even scarier as fuel.

    3. We don’t have that much tritium left for fusion experiments; most of it is leftovers from boosted fission or fusion bombs, but with a half life of 10 years it runs out fast.

  2. Iain says:

    Welcome back, FP.

    Thank you for confirming that it’s not just me with those thoughts. He deserves criticism for each craven surrender to modern, shiny, image-based politics in which he is so excruciatingly uncomfortable. Whose votes does he have in mind when caving in to Gillian Duffy’s correlation between her aspirations for herself and her family, and immigrants from eastern Europe, the vast majority of whom work and pay the taxes that pay for the benefits to which she is entitled. As it should be.

    I’m in a similarly, vote-weighing Labour constituency, so my vote is not particularly sought after, but, for what it’s not worth, the first person to challenge lazy, reflexive opinions from a knowingly open microphone can have it.

  3. Forest Pines says:

    I don’t want to retire to France myself, much as I love going there to visit friends. We’re also planning not to have offspring; if nothing else, that’s probably the single best thing we can do for our ecology.

    Presumably the tritium for bombs was made or purified somehow in the first place; and with most of the nuclear weapons that are in service using tritium, someone must be making it to refit those weapons every few years.

    Thanks, Iain! I agree entirely.

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