Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tory Manifesto - one good leg, not enough for role of Tarzan

(Many thanks to Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (both in Heaven now, or somewhere) for the laff)

I did not manage to look at the Conservative Manifesto yesterday - the call of the Sunlit Wild was too strong -  but I saw well enough from the news what poor Dave would be about. Local control, strengthening the power of the local community, personal empowerment. And it is all good.

Yes, I'll say that again. Dave has a bunch of good initiatives here. He has lifted a great slab of stuff from the Green Party's Manifesto for a Sustainable Society, (now renamed as Policies for a Sustainable Society) and made it his own. Never let it be said that Green Party policies never get implemented - they do. Commentators say other parties are stealing our clothes. That's fine. Our clothes are there to be stolen.

So I like the Conservative agenda. It is a good left leg to stand on. As soon as they came in with it I thought, "That is a perfectly good leg". I have nothing to hold against against their communitarian policies.The trouble is, neither do they, as we will see in a minute.

Of course, what I have just said is highly controversial. The orthodox method of conducting electoral politics is the Knee-Jerk Refutation. Other parties, and commentators from Jeremy Paxman downwards, all do it. Politician A says Black, Politician or commentator B says white. It is like conducting a conversation with a sulky teenager. We psychiatrists have a word for it: oppositional or negativistic behaviour. It is probably an identity-formation ploy. That is one of the reasons that people are turned off by the election process.

So, fair play to the Tories for putting forward their little ideas for strengthening social cohesion. It is attractive, even though unfunded, and little problems such as a tendency to rule by the retireocracy.

But. BUT. There is a great big But. The Tory plan is doomed to failure because their economic policies will increase the RPG - the Rich Poor Gap.  How do we know this? Because they are Tories. That's what they do.  Charlotte Vere, the Tory candidate standing against Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, put it in these terms: "We will not throw money at the problem of poverty". Words to that effect.

Wilkinson and Pickett in their revelatory, revolutionary work the Spirit Level , show that all social problems they have measured, sole exception of suicide, are worse in more unequal economies. So if Dave wants to mend our Broken Society, he will have to lower the RGP that free-market anglo-saxon economics is aiming at the community bus.  And he cannot do that, because it is against Tory "Principles".

Sorry, must dash.

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