Once upon a time, there lived three lovely pantomime characters:
First there was HARD LABOUR ROSE, aka the Big Brown Wolf. She huffed and she puffed and then allegations in the Observer brought the house down on her head.
Then there was AIRBRUSHED WHITE and the seven Old Etonian Dwarfs: Hopeless, Clueless, Worthless, Useless, Pointless, Sleazy and Bankrupt.
Last but not least there was GOLDILOCKS, who tasted the other bears' porridge and found that one bowl was TOO RIGHT-WING and that the other bowel was TOO RIGHT-WING too! So she made her own porridge and that was JUST RIGHT.
Though, funnily enough, the poisoned apples turned out to be for Goldilocks… and I think the magic is wearing off my metaphor!
There's been quite a lot of FUSS in FAIRYLAND this weekend about whether Hard Labour Rose, i.e. the Prime Monster (©ME and NOT the Scum), Mr Frown, is a bully or not, with allegation and counter-allegation thrown about like mobile phones in the Cabinet Office… er…
It's a SERIOUS issue, and deserves better than being reduced to a political ping-pong ball. The way that the country is run from the top – and BAFTA-award-nonimated "In the Loop" is funny because we BELIEVE that all of that shouting, swagger and I know best-ness is TRUE to life – works its way down into the FABRIC of the nation. And it makes us a less kind and gentle place.
It's about treating politics like a game of MONOPOLY where you win by CRUSHING your opponents.
The Conservatories are just as GUILTY of this sort of thing, playing doggie-in-the-manger over cross-party talks to solve the problems of care for the elderly or the number two high-speed link to Birmingham because they'd rather score points that actually solve problems.
Only politics ISN'T a game of monopoly: you're supposed to be SERVING people, not treating them as commodities or tokens, and the only winners should be THEM.
Anyway, it's all rather overshadowed the re-launch of the Hard Labour election strategy.
Their new slogan: "A Future Fair For All" is EASILY PARODIED – A Future Free-for-All, I suggested; a Future Freefall for All, thought Mr Stephen of the Glenn; a Future Fun Fair For All, suggested Auntie Caron; and so on… (Hang on, wasn't "The Future Fayre For All" supposed to be inside that Big Tent in Greenwich?).
With the many parodies of the Conservatories' INEPT poster campaigns coming out thick and fast, clearly Hard Labour fell under the DELUSION that people mocking Mr Balloon were somehow FOR Mr Frown. Oh how very wrong they were.
But Hard Labour have been in power for THIRTEEN YEARS. Why hasn't the future arrived yet? Could it be because they were "intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich"? Or because they arrogantly assumed that they had achieved "no more boom and bust?
Looking at Mr Frown's big speech, it certainly seems like HE has NO IDEA how we got here, how many FAILURES have stacked up on his watch.
In fact, he begins by looking back with VERY rose-tinted spectacles to an alternative history of triumphs without disasters:
"The NHS renewed"…but don't mention the huge wasteful bureaucratic target-culture or the vast cost of PFI's still to pay off.
"Jobs created"…but don't mention that they were lost again.
"Schools built"…but don't mention the crushing of a generation under tests and student debts.
It's very much a "but apart from that, how was the theatre, Mrs Lincoln" view of Hard Labour's term in office.
"…dreams achieved, ambitions realised, hopes fulfilled, lives changed…"…endless petty crimes created, ASBOs breached, DNA stolen, personal data lost, or left on trains, Middle Eastern countries INVADED, LIVES LOST and BILLIONS and BILLIONS of pounds SQUANDERED.
Still, as he says, "elections are not verdicts on the past – they are choices for the future". So that's handy.
What ARE his plans for the future, though?
"First, we must secure the recovery, not put it at risk."Which is nice, but who's going to argue against that?
"Second, we must support new industries & future jobs."Which is pretty much the same as the first point, isn't it?
"Third, as we reduce the deficit by half, we must protect and not cut frontline services."Interesting that you assert you can do both simultaneously. Any ideas how?
"And fourth, we must stand up for the many not the few."Which is jolly rousing but means what, precisely? Planning on standing up for the many against few when the few are, say, police demanding powers of stop and search? Planning on standing up for the many against few when the few are the controllers of your I.D.iot card database? Planning on standing up for the many against few when the few are MEDIA GIANTS against downloading of music? Planning on standing up for the many against few when the few are American-backed tyrants who boil their opponents alive? Planning on standing up for the many against few when the few are bankers refusing credit to small businesses and reposing homes?
No, Mr Frown, I think you are FIRMLY on the side of the FEW whenever the FEW are from your own little ELITE or Lord Sideous (Darth Mandlebrot's) chums.
It's certainly clear that he hasn't LEARNED any LESSONS from his decade of MIS-MANAGEMENT. He's as convinced as ever of the GOODNESS of the bankers and the City.
Mr Frown says he's concluded…
"that the very values that made our country are the surest foundations of our future success."So I'm guessing that the value that he means here is PIRACY.
Seriously, the GLORIOUS Great British Empire was built – a little bit – on the proceeds of our BOLD BUCCANEERS, robbing Spanish Galleons of the gold that they themselves had stolen from the Mexicans.
You see, "Markets are essential," continues Mr Frown. And those wide-boy City Traders love to tell us that are the NEW Buccaneers and what better pirate cove for their stacks of gold and jewels than Little England?
"They help us grow as a nation,"…and FRANCE, presumably.says Mr Frown,"they give us the resources to fight poverty, ignorance, disease"
But then he needs to ABSOLVE himself of blowing the economy on the gaming tables of the banking world.
"It is now more clear than ever that markets need morals. Without that they go astray and can lead us to focus on the price of things, not the value of things."Our Mammon, Who Art in the Square Mile, Lead Us Not into Temptation, But Deliver Us a Fourth Term, Forever and Ever. Amex.
"We have restructured our banks and are ensuring they have the capital they need."As thought this doesn't mean "given them as much money as they wanted with no more than the mildest slap on the wrist for trollying the economy.
"And we are now discussing with other countries the prospect of a global levy on banks which would help achieve our domestic objectives as well as tackle global poverty and climate change."Though we're certainly NOT going to do anything unless EVERYONE else agrees to it!
"We are making these changes because Britain needs to rebuild."After your decade of triumph? How come we need to rebuild?
"And that is why we have decided that as a nation and a government that we will back British scientists…"…by SLASHING funding to UNIVERSITIES and putting an end to blue sky research…
"…invest in renewable energy…"…by allowing Great Britain's only windmill factory to go BANKRUPT and CLOSE…
Which reminds me:
"Only Labour who have a plan to make Britain a world leader in a four-trillion dollar market for green, clean energy goods and services, opening up the prospects of 400,000 new green jobs for the British people."Only? Only! Now he's just plain FIBBING.
It's less than a WEEK since the Liberal Democrats proposed creating fifty-thousand new jobs by turning disused shipyards into wind turbine production centres. That's a REAL, CONCRETE proposal rather than Mr Frown's dreams of castles in the sky!
He goes on in this vein for a while, making up policies for the other parties – well partY actually, he's back to not deigning to mention US; so much for the lovebombing – and then saying how BAD we are because of them.
"Government is not a game," fulminates Mr Frown finally – like he hasn't just been scoring CHEEP POINTS – bringing us back to where I came in. But it's not a "Choose you own Adventure" either – except for the way the Prime Monster does it: re-writing history and choosing a new random Historic Destiny™ every week.
Which, of course, is the real irony.
Because the REAL problem with Hard Labour's new slogan is that they are all YESTERDAY'S MEN; and with ninety odd (some VERY odd) Hard Labour MPs jumping ship ahead of the General Election, it's clear that they realise this themselves.
The REAL problem with "A Future Fair For All" is that Hard Labour doesn't HAVE any future, doesn't have any future AT ALL.