Wednesday 7 October 2009

Hair-Shirt Complacency

One of the pleasures of being in France was - as it always is - being cut off from the 'news' and, in particular, the dreary spectacle of domestic politics. Now I am back and have fallen into my old habit of watching 'the Ten' (as BBC insiders self-importantly call the 10 O'Clock News). So it was that I caught the lugubrious 'highlights' of coffin-faced George Osborne's extraordinary 'We're all in this together' speech, the like of which we haven't heard since the days of Stafford Cripps. Is he mad? 'Cuts' are one of those things that everyone is for in principle, but only so long as it doesn't affect them personally. As soon as they start feeling a real impending lightening of the wallet, they take fright - that is why politicians are careful not to tell them the bad news until after they're in power. The Tories are, in effect, acting as if they're in power already - hair-shirt complacency rather than triumphalist complacency, but still a big mistake. Nobody ever won an election by promising hard times, and surely they never will - or has the world changed so much that we now actually want to suffer, perhaps as some kind of atonement for past excess? I doubt it, and I suspect Pa Broon is rubbing his hands together in glee as he picks the bones out of Austerity Osborne's speech. Grim-faced George managed to leave us feeling worse about everything, even the coming end of Labour rule - a remarkable achievement for a Tory politician.


  1. I agree: when the government is in deep shit of its own making, the duty of the opposition is to keep its head down.

  2. The scary thing is that if this unpleasant truth-telling doesn't work, we can never again complain about being lied to by politicians. I will wash my hands of the lot of you, I mean, us.

  3. The looming choice is a stark one, goodbye rock, hello hard place. Welcome home Nige, hope you're not severely Franco-filed.

    We could of course vote Lib Dem

    Don't be stupid, no we couldn't.

  4. Nige, thank you. You've helped inspire a post.