...a blog by Richard Flowers

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Day 2149: University of Balloon, formerly Toynbee Polly


It has been a THRILLING year for Mr Balloon, hasn't it?

Never mind that recent polls are not quite so jolly good as they might have been, he is still FLYING HIGH. (Not HIGH, as such, just doing very well you understand.)

So what if most people still think he is a toff with no policies, he has managed to completely REBRAND the Conservatory Party from the "Nasty Party" to the "Party that Used to be The Nasty Party but Doesn't Stand for Anything Anymore Please Vote for Us Next Time" Party!

And why should he care that his own think tank thinks he's no good at being green? It was never really his colour anyway, was it!

In his continuing mission to be EXACTLY LIKE LORD BLAIRIMORT, Mr Balloon has decided that it is time to be more SOCIALLY INCLUSIVE.

This does NOT mean we are all invited round to his million pound pad in Notting Hill!

No, it is about Mr Balloon getting into bed with Polly Toynbee.

And if THAT hasn't put you off, I will explain!

Mr Balloon's chum Mr Greg Clark (half butcher, half shoemaker) has suggested that the Conservatories should ditch old fuddy-duddy Mr Winston Churchill outmoded partisan blowhard...

(typical outmoded partisan oratory: "we will never, ever surrender!")

...for modern, up-to-date apologist Ms Polly Toynbee, the doggedly incisive critic of New Labour...

(typical dogged incisive critique: "wouldn't everything just be nicer if Tony Gordon did EVERYTHING for us.")

...with her finger on the facts!

Like all INTERNET DATING, Mr Balloon might not know everything about his new PARAMOUR. There is something he probably ought to know: Ms Polly MAY still have FEELINGS for the Labour!

Here she is congratulating them on all their achievements (in spite of being just like the Conservatories, which she does not seem to believe – bad luck Mr Balloon) and encouraging Mr Frown to more of the same but more so!

And here she BIGS UP the Labour's self-congratulatory "Opportunity for All" aka "Didn't We Do Well" for nearly being up to her marks (after first casting DOUBT on poor Mr Boy George's promise not to raise taxes!)

While here Ms Polly shows off her DISDAIN for CIVIL LIBERTIES and her positive ZEST for CCTV and I.D.iot cards.

(Let us hope she does not SEDUCE Mr Balloon into another of his unfortunate FLIP-FLOPs!)

Ms Polly's criticism of the Labour can hardly be said to be from a Liberal Perspective; in fact, if anything her problem is that the Labour haven't been Toynbee ENOUGH!

Anyway, back to society!

Old Winnie's idea of Social Security was the safety-net below which no one should fall.

Mr Balloon says that this is old fashioned because nowadays we are all so much better off thanks to, er, not Lord Blairimort, er, magic fairies probably, anyway, there's no ABSOLUTE level of poverty because a rising tide sinks loose lips, and doesn't everyone have a maid these days?

Ms Polly thinks society should be like a caravan driving across the desert: if people at the front get too far ahead then the exhaust might fall off.

(I think I have that right.)

Actually, the PROBLEM with Ms Polly's idea is that it is based on the PRESUMPTION that everyone wants to go THE SAME WAY. And, in fact, that there ought to be someone IN CHARGE setting the route and making us all keep up, even if we would rather go off to that nice oasis in the other direction, or just sit here and get a tan thank you very much.

It is that TYPICAL New Labour idea – "we know best".

Goodness alone knows why a Conservatory is buying into this control-freak nonsense. Maybe it looks good if you have no idea what your own policies should be.

The Liberal view is that society should be about OPPORTUNITY not CONFORMITY.

It is true that people feel powerless if they are left behind by the well-off-ness of the rest of us. But New Labour's ideas of relative poverty lead only to complicated means testing and tax credits and people trapped in welfare dependency because they will not dance to the tune of caravan driver Mr Frown.

People should be set free by the welfare state, not need to be set free from the welfare state.