Thursday, July 26, 2007

"I'll take the least smelly turd, please."

Once more, Jackart is laying into people who would like to vote for something rather than against it. As Jackart once said of your humble Devil, he is starting to sound a little shrill.
By far the easiest way to get called a twat by all and sundry usually by UKIPers, assorted Monday club types and other ex-Tories, is to say anything positive about David Cameron.

This is, of course, something of a straw man argument, but I'll let it go for the moment. I, for instance, have said good things about Cameron, not least over the whole grammar school row; however, Jackart would be quite correct in thinking that, generally, I think that Cameron is an idiot.
Sure he's not rushing around saying "Withdraw from the EU, Abolish the welfare state, scrap the NHS and all tax is theft". He would not have a hope of being elected if he did.

Yes, we all understand that. The real question is whether we think that he actually believes all that: I don't think that he does, Jackart takes the opposite view.
UKIP have a bee in the Bonnet about the EU.

Well, given that it is the reason for their existence, one can hardly be surprised.
I think the whole thing is about as damaging to the UK as, say the NHS or the Welfare state.

A patently ridiculous view, and also hugely simplistic. The NHS is part of the Welfare State anyway, and I would say that the Welfare State is, indeed, extremely damaging. Indeed, I have called explicitly for its abolition, illustrated the evil that it does and then called for its abolition again. But the Welfare State is not a thing in isolation.

It was the poor economic performance of Britain and loss of Empire that drove our politicians to join the EEC in the first place. It was the desire to abdicate responsibility that has kept Britain in; this abdication of responsibility is engendered by the Welfare State. So, yes, the Welfare State is awful and needs to be substantially reformed (and shrunk) but there is a problem.

How does one carry out wholesale reform of one's country (even assuming that one can get elected) when between 70% and 80% of your legislation is not made in the Parliament that you represent? Does Jackart seriously think that our comrades in Brussels, whose countries and views are in accord with the soft socialism peddled in this country, would let us do so?
That is to say "very damaging", but it's not the only issue.

No, it's not. Which is why UKIP are developing other policies. Which is why UKIP are the only party—since Cameron explicitly dropped it—that support a Flat Tax and high Personal Tax Allowance.

Can Cameron really not reveal that as a policy? Come on, seriously? NuLabour might steal it? Don't make me fucking laugh; NuLabour wants state clients, not fairness. In fact, a high PTA would be a massive stick with which to beat Brown; as I pointed out to Neil Harding, if Brown (or Neil) really cared about the poor of this country, then Brown would have raised the PTA.

That he has introduced the Minimum Wage, and racheted it up, whilst barely raising the PTA (from what? £4.5k to £5.3k in ten years?) is one of the most disgustingly cynical ploys that the one-eyed fucker has indulged in. This would be a brilliant ground on which to attack Brown.

It is not as though the Flat Tax and high PTA is a secret fucking policy: it was Alex Singleton, now President of the Globalisation Institute, who commissioned the Adam Smith Institute's first report into A Flat Tax. He intended it to be for the Tories' use; instead, it was UKIP who took it up (in a form slightly modified by economist and UKIP Chairman, Dr John Whittaker).

The failure to adopt—in fact, to explicitly discount—this idea that puts a massive black mark by Cameron's name. It is a tax strategy to help the poor. It does not need to cost much. It is a vote-winner.
It is not as if, as UKIP claim, the UK is about to become embroiled in an unescapable political superstate against its will.

Erm, yes it is.

We can just pull out. Constitutional treaties notwithstanding.

Just because we can withdraw, does not mean that we are not "embroiled in an unescapable political superstate" against our will. We are and we have been since 1973; EU law already has primacy over our own and this fact alone makes us little more than a vassal of an unelected power. Simply because the EU chooses not to flex its muscles as much as it could, does not mean that it will not do so.

Jackart is happy to use the "we should not trust future governments" argument with something such as ID Cards: why on earth should he be happy to trust the EU. (As an aside, is our government not convened by an Act of Parliament, i.e. a law?)
If there was a political will in the UK, then withdrawal would happen.

Ah yes, political will; that is what we want. Unfortunately, our corrupt politicians are all too busy feathering their own nests to worry about what is actually good for the country.

If any of our politicians had political will, we would not be in the EU; there is no economic, environmental or political argument for being so. Unfortunately, our politicians reply with "we'll have to agree to differ" when faced with cold, hard facts.
After all, in limp-wristed Europe, who's going to stop us?

Let's not be in any confusion here: our politicians are even more limp-wristed than those in Europe. You see, our European cousins are moving towards a greater goal, oh yes, whilst our politicians are too fucking pathetic to believe that we could stand on our own two feet. How Jackart could have observed EU politics for the last ten years and argue that our politicians are stronger than those of our Continental comrades—especially the French, who have won every battle that they have fought—is beyond belief.
They need our markets, so even a reasonable negotiator would be able to deliver a pretty decent trading position - at least as good as Norway's.

Quite, so why don't we? Because our politicians, especially the fucking Conservatives, are cowardly cunts. Or, of course, they actually believe in the EU project, a theory that their past actions—and by their actions shall ye know them—would entirely support.
So UKIP scaremongering is a bit excessive. There's no lines in the sand that we cannot quietly pick up our ball and return to, should we not want to play any more. We are after all net contributors.

Not if we want to remain in the EU. And, as I have pointed out, either our politicians actually believe in the project, or they are too frightened to pick that ball up and walk away.

Neither scenario is flattering to our elected classes, but then I view them as the worst sort of shits anyway.
What we need to do is create that political will.

Why don't you tell Mr Letwin that, Jackart?
That's a long-term aim. My view is that the whole pointless, costly edifice will fall over soon enough.

This is a view that my father, drawing conparisons with the Soviet Union, also takes; unfortunately, the USSR lasted for over seventy years, I have no wish to live out the rest of my life under the soft-soaped jackboot of its successor.
The voters in the UK will consistently reject any position on Europe they regard as strident.

Really? And yet most are EUsceptics. At the very least, a large majority want a referendum.
For the Tories in particular there's a very good reason to brush this issue under the carpet.

As, apparently, there is with any other vaguely principled view. "The voters may not like it", is the constant cry from the Tories, Jackart and their ilk. Which rather precludes any strong position on anything, doesn't it now?
The EPP fiasco booted the Europe issue into the long grass, and good riddance. A small number of highly recognisable Tories, some of whom are well liked and respected by the electorate are federasts.

Who? Heseltine? Ken Clarke? Both are cunts, neither are really Tories and both are redolent of the now-hated Thatcher years.
Having them on board means the electorate is satisfied that the Tories are not Swivel-eyed loons. Something they suspect UKIP, with good reason, to be.

Ah, got to love those ad hominems, eh? Don't like someone's position? Just call 'em "swivel-eyed loons" or "swivel-eyed fuckers". I am not saying that many UKIPpers aren't a bit loony, to be honest, but in this case, Jackart appears to be equating principles to craziness. Which, of course, he constantly does.
Almost all Tory activists and an overwhelming majority of MPs are Eurosceptic. by the measure of signing "better off out" perhaps not...

Of course not: under Cameron that would curtail their careers and, by extension, prevent them from insulating themselves from the concerns of everyday life with taxpayers' cash.
... but there's certainly a deep and heartfelt resistance to further integration and desire to repatriate powers.

Which isn't going to fucking happen, no matter how much Cameron burbles about it.
Something which, when refused, could trigger a more openly withdrawalist position.

Don't be naive, Jackart, for fuck's sake. You have just spent a long time arguing why the Tories do not presently take a withdrawalist position (they would be perceived as "swivel-eyed loons", they would be seen as "strident" by the electorate, etc. In other words, you have argued that they would lose power) and now you have decided that they might actually do so.

You are a fantasist. Either that, or there is some part of your argument that is deeply fucking flawed.
So even someone like me who loathes the EU and all its works can comfortably vote Tory.

Jackart, you would vote Tory even if their officers came to hang your first-born from your own rafters; this much is becoming clear.
To my mind keeping the sceptics on board means a cabal of fererasts is less likely to hijack the Tory party, and the ultimate end of EU can be hastened from within a party likely to get power one day.

And we want the federasts on board... why? Why not junk the federasts: they do not, after all, represent the majority of the voters.
Sure, I could get together with some chums, pay £300 and call ourselves a party. It would be an idealogically pure expression of my favoured policies. All that would do is cost me £300, and the only party with a significant Eurosceptic libertarian wing, votes.

In the name of fucking cunt-ripping toss-shits, Jackart; listen to yourself, will you?

If the Euroscepticism of the Tories does not translate into EUsceptic policies, then what is the fucking point?

If the libertarianism of the Tories does not translate into libertarian policies, then what is the fucking point? Apart from anything else, the Tories are not libertarian! They are—and in their modern incarnation, i.e. for about a century, always have been—socially authoritarian. Aaaargh! For fuck's sake!
UKIP is no more than a pressure group.

Yes, and if this is so, what is the single most efficient and effective way to bring pressure to bear on a political party? To steer them in a certain direction? How do you scare a politician into doing something? Stop them ignoring your views?

That's right: you take votes from them. You stop them getting their grasping, greedy, power-hungry hands on the levers of power.
On domestic policy, the choice is even more stark. You either have a Conservative government committed to cutting taxes when it can, abolishing ID cards, repealing 90-day detention if introduced and scrapping the hunting ban and being in general less interfering and nannyish.

And I will believe it when I see it happen. For instance, just because a Conservative government wants to force charities to do its job rather than civil servants makes it no less nannyish: the vehicle is merely different.
Or you can have a Labour party whose incompetence, hectoring illiberality and unsuitability for office have been demonstrated repeatedly over the last decade; a party whose soul aches for higher taxes and punitive redistribution and whose activists rejoice when our allies' and sometimes even our own troops are killed in action. Or you can have a Liberal democrat third party forcing Federasty and the abortion of Proportional Representation on anyone who wishes to share power with them. Heaven forbid they ever win.

Well, I can't argue with you there.
For a libertarian, the choice is clear.

No, it isn't, as I have pointed out. And I shall reproduce the excellent comment from my Kitchen (and ideological) colleague, The Nameless One.
Not so sure, however, that the choice is as clear as you think for a Libertarian. The Tories may be the best of the main parties, but it really is the case of being the best of a piss-poor bunch. Cameron wants smaller government, perhaps cutting back on the welfare state, and giving some of what the government does now to charities and other voluntary organisations. This is a long way away from cutting back drastically on the state and fundamentally redressing the balance between government and citizen - which, surely, is crucial to any Libertarian.

This is also the time for Cameron to be having the debates about the fundamentals of Tory policy. Instead of brushing some of the more controversial or right wing parts of Tory policy under the carpet, he should be trying to convince the British people of the merits of the case for reforming the outdated NHS, for a smaller tax burden, for a better education system. I think we can both agree that Tory policies like these are right, so Cameron should have the balls to take them to the electorate. He is an eloquent chappie, surrounded by other eloquents chappies, so he should have few problems in persuading an electorate dog tired of Nu Labour guff that the Tory policies are right. He could still steal parts of the centre ground and gain some of the middle of the road voters but he would be getting less carping from the right about abandoning Conservatism.

Cameron almost seems to want us to have faith in him - that he is a strong Tory, that he is right wing. His position seems to be "I can't tell the electorate what I am really like ideologically but trust me - if I get in, I will reward you". The upshot is that he doesn't seem to stand for very much at all, other than liking the idea of a fairer society and being pro the environment.

I understand what you are saying, and I would love to see than smug bastard of a Prime Minister thrown out of Number 10. But I want to vote for someone, not just against someone.

What David Cameron is doing is obvious to me. He's repositioning the party's rhetoric, without mentioning policy (especially European policy), because the policy ain't changing much, if at all. The more some Conservative activists squeal, the better this looks - after all the electorate think that Tory activists are loons too. If Cameron can make the Tory party look like a Normal bunch of people, with whom they feel safe, Like Labour appeared in 1997, then he's in with a shout.

Conservative policy isn't changing much? From when? From Thatcher's government—if so, what era? From Major's government? From their Opposition years? To me, none of those are reasons to vote for the Tories. The Major government was a major fuck up. The Opposition years have also been characterised by crap (apart from the Flat Tax and Education Vouchers, both of which Cameron has explicitly dropped). Even the great and necessary economic reforms of the Thatcher years were accompanied by a crackdown on social libertarianism.

It is not enough—it is not libertarian—to say that everyone should take responsibility for their own economic well-being but not for their own social well-being. This has always been the ideological disconnect on the Tory Party. The perception is of a bunch of people who are happy to crack down on you if you do things, e.g. drugs, of which they personally disapprove, but if you make a financial mistake then you are on your own.

If you are to encourage people to take personal financial and economic responsibility, as Cameron encourages, then you have to allow them to take social responsibility too. If you do not trust people to be responsible to take reasonable decisions regarding their own body then how can you trust them to be responsible enough to take reasonable decisions regarding their finances?
He can then use that position of trust so engendered to persuade the electorate that they do, in fact want lower Taxes - "Sharing the proceeds" is just a start. Osbourne's instincts are sound. They do want a slimmer, less obscenely unfair welfare state - IDS favouring marriage...
Why is that less unfair, for fuck's sake? Less unfair than what? Eh?
... and an end to the 92% marginal tax rate for people on the minimum wage for example.

I'm not sure that such a thing actually exists. Perhaps you are referring to this illustration?
Perhaps sense may be finally dawning on the British people that the structure of the NHS is outdated.

Yes, in the same way that it is dawning on people that tax increases do not automatically mean better public services. They are ready to hear the tax cut argument now (see the PTA rant above).
That LEAs are populated by left-wing morons and that's why people's children are uneducated.

Absolutely, abolish them and the massive amount of money that they waste.
These are debates for a later date.

No, this is the fucking point, Jackart; they are debates for now, damn it! Dave has shaken off most of the Conservative Party's "nasty party" image and those that haven't come around to this way of thinking never will; this is as much as he can do. It is now time to wheel out some policies.

Unfortunately, I don't believe that the Tories actually know what their policies are; insiders that I have spoken to recently have confirmed my suspicions. And they need to sort out what they are soon. And I pointed out why only a couple of days ago.
Those who vote like to know vaguely what they are voting for; the Tories may well have hoped that they have ditched the "nasty image" but, in the absence of anything to put in its place, people will revert to the default. In other words, with no concrete "nice party" policies, the Tories are still the "nasty party".

This is important; many people who loathe the Tories assume that they are doing precisely what Jackart has said they are doing: trying to gain our trust whilst slipping through all the old "evil Thatcherite policies" by the back door. The Tories need to say what, precisely, they intend to do and they need to start making the case. People in general, i.e. all those who are not like Toynbee and Neil Harding, are ready to hear the arguments now.
For heavens sake, whatever the Boy Dave is doing, it's got to be better than five uninterupted years of grasping one-eyed socialism.

Although, from a personal point of view, Jackart, you are entirely right, I am not sure that you are from a tactical point of view. Whether we know different or not (we do), the majority of people still think—often in the face of personal and overwhelming evidence—that Gordon Brown has done a wonderful job economically. The Gobblin' King has inherited the mantle of competence that the Tories wore for so long. If he loses the next election, he will not lose that reputation.

To allow Gordon another five years to really and truly fuck up the economy would actually strengthen the Tory position, allowing them to be much, much bolder. They won't be able to put through decent reforms in five years: allow Gordon enough rope to hang himself and the Tories might well get two terms will ease, riding on the back of a resurgent anti-Labour feeling.

But, whatever, the Tories have to actually get some policies out there and, more importantly, they have to communicate why those policies are right correct. And if the rumours that I'm hearing are correct, they may have very little time to do it in.

In the meantime, when confronted with a choice of three massive fucking turds, Jackart urges us, once again, to choose the least smelly and be fucking grateful for it.


Jackart said...

I do point out that the electorate think Tory activists are loons too. I was trying to be even-handed.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Granted and, as you know, I am the Devil first and UKIP second. But I'm afraid that I don't share your blase view of the EU and I also do not think that Cameron is doing the right thing at present.

You'll notice that I didn't swear at you (much)...!


Oh yeah? So what has happened for the last ten years, exactly?

Over at the ASI, they are posting some of the winning entries of the Young Writers on Liberty. One does not want to put such keen minds off,...