Friday 27 December 2013

The Political Enemy

Via an excellent rant at Longrider's place (do go read), this is hardly surprising, is it?
Nearly half of Britons say they are angry with politics and politicians, according to a Guardian/ICM poll analysing the disconnect between British people and their democracy. 
The research, which explores the reasons behind the precipitous drop in voter turnout – particularly among under-30s – finds that it is anger with the political class and broken promises made by high-profile figures that most rile voters, rather than boredom with Westminster. 
Asked for the single word best describing "how or what you instinctively feel" about politics and politicians in general, 47% of respondents answered "angry", against 25% who said they were chiefly "bored". 
Rage is the dominant sentiment across just about every sub-stratum of the electorate
And, do you know what? I don't think it will change any time soon while politicians are still engaged in a war on their employers (you know, us poor saps, the public) as highlighted by the IEA's Mark Littlewood back in September.
In order to give you a sense of the tide of possible regulation we face – not just from Brussels but homegrown –  let me just give you a heavily abridged list of policies that are currently on the agenda of the public health lobby. 
A minimum pricing for alcohol, plain packaging for tobacco, a twenty per cent tax on fizzy drinks, a fax tax, a sugar tax, a fine for not being a member of a gym, graphic warnings on bottles of alcohol, banning parents from taking their kids to school by car, a ban on gambling machines in betting shops, a ban on smoking in cars, a ban on anyone born after the year 2000 ever buying tobacco, a ban on the sale of hot food to children before 5pm, a ban on multi-bag packs of crisps, a complete ban on alcohol advertising, a ban on electronic cigarettes, a ban on menthol cigarettes, a ban on large servings of fizzy drinks and a complete ban on advertising any product at all to children. 
And these are just the policies proposed in the last few months.
All this on top of (also abridged) a ban on what publicans can allow on their property despite a government promise to the contrary; an internet filter because they personally don't like what you view online; arrests for joking on Twitter; banning supermarkets from placing sweets near a cashier; a refusal to allow a referendum on the EU - again, despite numerous promises; and even the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition competing to be the most eager to stop you eating a chocolate fucking orange.

If I knocked on my neighbours' doors on a daily basis telling them all that I demand them not to do, while simultaneously hacking their bank accounts and stealing their cash to pay for the time I spent doing so, I don't think I'd be very popular along the street, either.

So, finally, the public seem to be waking up and realising that these people are not there to serve our interests anymore; that it really is a war between MPs and everyday people; and that politicians are an enemy. A political enemy with its campaign HQs in Westminster and Brussels, working long and hard to shaft each and every one of us on a daily basis. About time, too.

Perhaps - and this might come as a massive surprise to most elected politicians who don't seem to realise that freedom is popular - a good way of reversing public opinion which places MPs alongside burglars, granny-muggers and vandals in popularity, would be for them to sit on their hands for a bit and stop passing law after ridiculous law specifically designed to ruin the way we freely choose to live our own lives.

If only they could then imagine committing to a New Year resolution to not be such utter bastards, eh? What a marvellous 2014 we could be in for then. I won't hold my breath though.


8vwb98v7 said...

There is very disturbing race going on right now between the UK and the US to see who can become Totalitarian the quickest.

North Mill Avoncliff said...

We think (a little predictably after our experience) that it's not wholly the politician's fault - really!

The politicians are beholdin to the executive - the public servants who offer them the choices - those morsels of expenses, those pay rises, those easy to deliver sound bites, those uncomplicated decisions. We have arrived at a situation where the tail is wagging the dog - big time. Be it your local council, Westminster or the EU it's the unelected power drunk officials that are by and large working these gits mouths and letting them run amok. Make a politician into an unelected bureaucrat (Barroso , Gollum, That bent Maltese twerp, Kinnock (the list is a long one...) and you really see what their real agenda is....

SteveW said...

Dick, as objectionable as you know me to be, I can't argue with a single word. Bravo.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

There's a lot of truth in that, but even more reason why MPs should start growing a spine and standing up for our interests, instead of shrugging their shoulders and toeing the cowardly line. It's what they are employed by us to do, after all.

North Mill Avoncliff said...

The problem is that individually MP and councillor powers are actually quite limited when push comes to shove.the executive generally manage to orchestrate effective defences to the imposition of oversight and demands for openness and transparency. They are simply too used to getting their own way and believe themselves untouchable - since control involves other public servants and monkey psychology rules apply. There needs to be some Admiral Byng style demonstrations that they can remain unaffected by the consequences of their doings....

Dick_Puddlecote said...

This is why I have always liked the Devil's plan to call a halt to the abuses.

"I have always maintained that the first thing that I would do, were I ever Prime Minister, would be to sack—instantly and with immediate effect—at least the top three grades of Civil Servant."

Irrespective of competence or importance. A wholesale cull, enabled by primary legislation written to defend the integrity of government. There would be nothing to stop them re-applying for their jobs, indeed they would be encouraged, but on the understanding that their role was to facilitate elected officials to carry out their role in protecting the public and bowing to our will.

Now, that might change some attitudes. ;)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

By the way, I mentioned that monkey parable once myself. ;)

North Mill Avoncliff said...


North Mill Avoncliff said...

double yup!

PeterA5145 said...

Nail hit very firmly on the head there, Dick.

truckerlyn said...

Abso-bloody-lutely! It is most definitely about time MP's grew a spine and started actually earning their keep instead of being front persons for the puppeteers!

My mother (sadly) is a staunch conservative and won't hear a word against them. Her argument is always that it is the public servants that run government.

We avoid the argument now as she gets quite upset and so refuses to discuss it! However, as you quite rightly say, the top tier most certainly should be given their marching orders or told to tow the line of the government in power, not control them!

It is unbelievable that successive governments have let these civil servants get away with so much for so long. Maybe, however, it is just too much trouble for any of the main 3 parties to do otherwise!

Martin Drautzburg said...

It is more complex than that.

I recently analyzed the EP votes for Amendment 170 (moderate regulation of e-cigs). I got my data from VoteWatch, where they also have a mechanism, which tells you how much you agree or disagree with a party or an individual MEP. They use a questionaire you need to answer and then they compare it with votes of MEPs to the same issue.

Not surprizingly I had the biggest agreement with EPP and ALDE (liberals). But they can also display the degree of agreement with ALL VoteWatch users (and not just me). To my surprise mostly Greens and S&D MEPs were at the top of the list.

So it seems to me, leftist politicians deliver what they are asked for, at least when it comes to questions like "do you oppose ...". The problem may be in language used. People only THINK they know what they want and they are getting carried away by slogans ("think of the children"). It is not just the politicians who lost contact with reality, it is the entire language.

Even well minded politicians will find it very hard to do anything sensible in such an environment. One wrong word and you are gone. Pick all the right words and you survive. And it is the general public who plays this game with politicians. Then they wonder why nothing good ever comes from this.