Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Miliband and Cameron - Don't follow leaders

If you haven't already heard that the country prefers Labour to Tories, but also feel safer with Cameron than Miliband, then you soon will. It's the latest thing to talk about, and people keep talking about it despite the fact that Britain tends to vote for parties rather than prime ministers. One Labour writer recently hypothesised that the media, and in particular the right wing press, would soon turn on Miliband. The idea runs that until now they've given him an easy time of things, and when Cameron rejects Leveson demands for newspaper regulation, the Mail and the Telegraph will ratchet up the rhetoric in gratitude. If this is true, and it doesn't seem like a ludicrous suggestion, then what we will need is a mass outbreak of common sense.

I doubt many of my readers are also regular readers of the Telegraph or the Mail, so I may just be preaching to the choir, but sometimes that's useful too. I'd also like to stress that I'm no Labour supporter... nothing annoys me more than the idea that without the current Tory government everything would be fine, and nothing could be worse than the idea that just voting Labour at the next election will allow everyone to sit back and watch everything get better. Whoever you vote for... the government gets in, and all politicians are the same. I sympathise with both statements, but some politicians are worse than others, and some governments are worse than others. I suppose I'm writing this because I know intelligent people who have spoken grudgingly well of Cameron the statesman, and it's this that gives him a lead in the perception of leadership. So let me clarify a few things.

Cameron is a disaster, a trusting fool, and an all round policy idiot. He kept faith with both Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks beyond the point at which they were obviously going to contaminate his own public standing, indicating that he has a chronic lack of judgment. His 'Calm down, dear' remark to Angela Eagle, and others like them, show a man not only out of touch with the majority of the country who aren't millionaires, but a man also out of touch with the half of the country who are not men, and the large majority of women who don't potter around country homes in aprons, wondering what to cook for dinner. The man's politics reveal a complete poverty of ideas, which leaves him relying on ideologies of neoliberalism fused with a Charles Dickens novel, this despite the fact that neoliberal policies created the country he calls 'broken', and despite the fact that Charles Dickens was writing two hundred years ago. Cameron can think no further than cutting taxes for the rich and cutting welfare for the poor because he was raised in a conservative family, in conservative academic institutions and has emerged from this life experience without an original thought in his head. But we all knew this.

What Cameron seems to have going for him, however, is also the very reason that he's disliked. He's posh. Really damn posh. Distant cousin of the queen, Etonian, Oxford, son of Panmure Gordon stockbroker, millionaire a handful of times over. His entire life schooling has placed him above the social and economic levels at which most people live, and as a result he knows exactly how to look down on commoners. He can appear unflappable because he doesn't care, he was elected Prime Minister and that's it. Cameron doesn't have to do anything other than look statesmanly because he's already made his parents proud and he's so far removed from the rest of the population that he will never really know if he's made their lives better or worse anyway. This is why Cameron looks like a good Prime Minister, and it's also why he's a terrible one. It doesn't matter if Ed Miliband looks boring, if he's got a square head or a dull manner, we shouldn't want anything more than good politics from our politicians, and when sensible people put emphasis on superficial characteristics we are contributing to the very thing that makes our politics so cheap, nasty and bad. If politicians think that all they have to do is seem assured to earn the electorate's favour then there's no reason to do anything but. In the case of Cameron this is an even more crucial point, because to approve of a politician of such little ability and substance, but only because of the way he carries himself, strengthens the poisonous idea that in Britain there is a class of people born to rule and a class of people who need to be ruled over.

If you want a hero, if you want someone with charisma and an other worldly allure then go and read a book or watch Braveheart or something, look to rock and roll or a novelist, maybe even go and do that heroic and charismatic thing you've always been meaning to do yourself. As far as politics is concerned, vote for someone who cares enough to fluff a sentence now and then, not a politician so far up his own arse, and so full of class-induced self-righteousness that he can reel off entire speeches of nothingness without a glitch. What I'm saying is that if you want a politician to make the country marginally better, in the real world... don't worry if he might seem like a bit of a dork... dorks tend to do less harm than sociopaths and their divine, narcissistic missions.

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