Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Monday 22 October 2012

This is getting too silly.

WHEN things go horribly wrong it's tempting to stop and stare at the wrongness.

So after a car accident we all slow down to look at the gore; with a crime we fixate upon what was done to whom; and during a scandal we "ooh can you believe it?" about the cover-up.

We don't look at the cause - the brakes that failed, the background of the criminal, the facts which mounted while no-one was looking at them.

There is always a cover-up in a scandal, or at least something that looks like it, because if we'd all known whatever it was a lot sooner it wouldn't be such a scandal.

That's why most of Britain has an opinion about the BBC and who knew what about television personality and lifelong paedophile Jimmy Savile when. Everyone of us thinks something was amiss and someone knew earlier and a few others didn't tell anyone.

Which is all fair enough, probably true, and more than likely worth making sure gets stopped and doesn't happen again. But just as phone-hacking was wrong and its scandal did not address the collapse in morality and legality which must have preceded it, the Savile story's delayed publication does not tell us why he was able to molest hundreds of children for decades.

It does not tell us how an habitual child abuser was able to have access to children at the BBC, in children's homes, hospitals, schools and prisons.

And that is surely the most important bit - the enabling, the overlooking, the ignoring, the nudging and winking which allowed bad people to do bad things should be the bits that attract our scrutiny, rather than the blood on the walls at the world's most-respected broadcaster.

But they don't, because it's human to stare at the blood and point the finger at one or two people so we can feel it's been cleaned up and not look too closely at just how many people in the vicinity might have had access to knives.

And what happens then? A few people get the blame while everyone else gets to carry on playing with knives.

The same phenomenon is played out all the time. Someone bemoans their partner's affair without asking what made them betray in the first place, we complain about a lack of credit when too much of the stuff is what caused our economic mess, and we look at the government and say it's rubbish because we don't like it.

We stare at the wrongness of 'toffs' in charge, of whips calling people plebs, at u-turns and first-class travel, at a double-dip recession and £80billion of cuts and more to come, at marches that are ignored, the disabled bullied, the police cut, ministers promoted despite committing fraud, at a Coalition about as functional and happy as a bag of rabid cats.

It is whether or not that is wrong, and how wrong it might be, that occupies the minds of political journalists, party members, and your average voter when they bother to think about it. And as a result no-one looks at the cause of the problem.

I do not much care if members of the current government feel they were born to rule. In my experience, every politician feels that way from Prime Ministers down to parish councillors, and nothing will make them think different.

My problem is that, born to rule or not, they're making an absolute hash of it.

I wouldn't mind them being super-posh, mega-rich masters of the universe if they were capable of steering the nation through turbulent economic seas in roughly the right direction, but instead it feels like the captain's a two-year-old splashing about in his bath tub after too much Sunny Delight.

Today Dishface is going to relaunch his mid-term government by promising to be "tough and intelligent" on crime, keeping everything crossed the end of the recession will be announced on Thursday and hoping no-one notices the abortion they've made out of child benefit.

Which would be fine, if only it didn't make everyone wonder if up until now they've been soft and stupid on crime and the chancellor spends his days praying for a miracle.

So let me make this as clear as I can.

If you have to rebrand something as intelligent, it's because you look thick.

The PM is a PR man who has so badly mishandled his own PR that he has lost the support of his main cheerleaders in the right-wing Press, who have turned on him. He has no feel for the public mood which is why he didn't sack the whip who called a policeman a pleb, he can't control his own party or the Coalition which is why there's been so many u-turns, and last week his minions effectively called Paralympic heroine Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson a liar.

It may well be that cuts are vital, that disability benefit needs reforming, that Andrew Mitchell isn't too bad once you get to know him. But the one thing a party which elects a PR man to lead it should be sure of is that he will at least have an image of competence even if it's not true.

And he can't even do that properly! A good PR man would know he needs to keep the biggest newspapers in the country on his side, that Plebgate needed to be killed in something less than the four weeks it dragged on for, that a boss needs to look decisive and Dame Tanni is untouchable even by someone who mentions his dead disabled son more often than strictly necessary.

The real truth is that the PM wasn't too good at PR even when PR was all he had to do. Now he has more to do he facts show he's not up to it and even if he makes it to the next election he's no more electable than last time, which as we ended up with a Coalition was not very.

The whole government is a car crash we're watching more out of curiosity as to who will manage to survive rather than any wish to save them. And just like Jimmy Savile, it's the little things that seem amiss which reveal the biggest problems.

The Prime Minister can't make decisions, he can't enforce them, he doesn't know what the country wants and can't make it accept what it needs. He is a dead duck. He's not resting, not stunned, not pining for the playing fields of Eton.

At the root of the problem, when you bury right down to see what's gone wrong to start with and why we've ended up in the situation we have, there's only one conclusion to draw.

He's just no bloody good.

Time to run down the curtain.