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

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.


Terry Collmann said...

Those who can, do. Those who can't go into PR. Which, as anyone in the world of medicine will tell you, stands for "per rectum".

Pat Nurse MA said...

None of them are any good. The madness, deceit, despair, started under NuLabour. When Bliar came to power in 1997 the engine room needed a tweak but his minions were like kids twiddling with the knobs so much that no one now knew where the settings should be anymore.

The biggest thing any Govt can do is leave its citizens alone in peace - not pick on the easiest to bully just because they can and it makes them look as if they are doing something about something that doesn't need doing.

More than anything we need intellectual grown ups in Govt. It's nothing to do with how old these NuPoliticians are but the fact they can't seem to think with maturity.

The root of the problem goes much further than just the NuConservatives, NuLabour or the Limp Dumps. The problem is they don't really know what the problem is and are running around like headless chickens knocking down dearly held systems and ideologies like freedom, tolerance, and fair play.

As for the BBC, maybe people will begin to see that it is yet another self interest organisation that doesn't give a stuff about it's audience who are simply the canon fodder forced to pay for its drivel in the 21st Century whether they want it or not.

Sue Donnim said...

Oh dear. Pat's comment left me reaching for my red pen. So many mistakes. Love from the language pedant!

Bert said...

YES - this is it exactly. I find myself shouting at the telly 'All I want is some better politicians' - I find it personally insulting that they are fucking us (meaning those without wealth) over while being so bloody bad at it.

I wouldn't mind if I thought the country was being screwed by a set of people who were in control of their own (and our) destiny, but this lot (both parties) seem adrift on a sea of moral-less money, unable to navigate to dry land or even admit they are lost. Like Tucker said on Saturdays TToI - Politicians who have abandoned morality for popularity... said...

I really like the way, Pat, that you accuse politicians of lacking intellectual maturity, and then in the very next paragraph refer to the LibDems as the Limp Dumps. And then turn the whole thing into an argument about the licence fee. That's great. said...

I really like the way that Pat accuses politicians of lacking intellectual maturity and then, in the very next paragraph, refers to the Liberal Democrats as the Limp Dumps. And then turns the whole thing into an argument about the licence fee. An extraordinary effort.

Mike said...

I really like the way that Pat accuses politicians of lacking intellectual maturity and then, in the very next paragraph, refers to the Liberal Democrats as the Limp Dumps. And then turns the whole thing into an argument about the licence fee. An extraordinary effort.

Pat Nurse MA said...

Some of them deliberate Sue, some oversight, all of concern if a blog comment written hastily from a dodgy laptop is far more worrying to people than how this country is being run.

DomC said...

David Cameron is probably a half-decent chap to go down the local with and have a pint. Just the one mind. Ed Milliband would probably be sipping orange juice from a straw in the corner. Alas, thats the criteria that the majority of the electorate vote on.

Gracie Samuels said...

Sorry but you are totally wrong. The engine room of the NHS in 1997 needed more than a tweak! It needed rebuilding because it was almost destroyed by the Tories who had just spent 19 years tweaking it before trying to turn it into a free market enterprise.
Whatever else Labour did (and they did a lot of good), human rights act, returned powers to unions, workers rights, legal aid, national minimum wage, built new schools, refurbished schools, built 149 new hospitals, working tax credits, winter fuel payments, Sure Start, lowered VAT on utilities etc or whatever bad they did, they saved the NHS from certain destruction and privatisation. I speak as a senior medical professional who worked in the NHS pre and post Labour government!

Kogvos said...

"Tough and intelligent"

A slogan that sounds like it was created at one of those godawful 'blue skies' retreats where politicians and advisers play a form of word association until they come up with a word or phrase that means nothing, whilst sounding vaguely meaningful and worthy.

A bit like that Bank Holiday retreat that Mannion and colleagues went to earlier in the latest series of The Thick Of It, in fact...

"Tough and intelligent? Yes and ho!"

Life imitating art imitating life imitating art.

Jokily said...

Not only is David Cameron a poor PR man, he leads the most intellectually-bankrupt government I can remember in my lifetime. They make John Major and Gordon Brown look professorial by comparison.

There are good and there are honest PRs and there are bad and dishonest PRs. There are good and their are honest politicians and there are bad and morally-repugnant politicians.

This shower have no saving graces.

Glen Shakespeare said...

Some have very short memories. In 97 this country was on the verge of crashing out of civilisation. Whatever the faults of Blair he saved this country and restored hope. GB was also a good man who was very unfairly castigated for the irresponsibility of the banks. This lot have everything wrong. We are a sovereign nation and thus can never run out of money yet they have forsaken growth in favour of austerity. Result? Further and further in debt as each day passes. Not that deficit reduction was ever a priority for the present incumbent morons. They are just using it to totally destroy the public sector and put it all into private hands. Thankfully they will not succeed. Most who foolishly gave them a chance in 2010 will have now learnt a very hard lesson. Now it is up to Labour to srep up to the mark.

Al Melville said...

you guys do know you can run for parliament don't you? - pay £500 to the electoral commission to register as an MP, either join a party or write your own manifesto and get on your orange box and garner some support.

I've thought about doing it myself.

I'm 29, I generally have some pretty straightforward ideas of how things should be done - redistribution of wealth and some major slashing of red tape - overhaul the DWP and the NHS, get rid of all these systems and processes that take forever to make a decision.

Housing reform, super tight immigration rules and forging links with foreign countries to encourage emmigration (there are too many people here) and encourage enterprise (but do it properly and get the money to the businesses directly, without endless armies of 'admin staff') and restore manufacturing and major industry.

Somebody is going to lose out somewhere - that's a fact, but posturing and pretending it isn't going to happen is just wasting everybodies time.

There's clearly a great deal more to it than the above, on topics such as infrastructure, defence, education etc but....

Would you vote for me if I stood? I, like you, reckon I could do a better job of it than these clowns - so I might just go for it.

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