Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to further alienate people in three steps

"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change"

Picture an imaginary politician that tells it like it is: "Watch it cos I'm a nasty piece of work. I'm going to take power away from you and ignore you even if there's millions protesting in the street. I'll plough ahead and take any residual bit of power away from yous. I know better than you little people."

It would sound awful, but at least it'd be honest. If only Tony Blair had done that in 1997. We would have been spared the humiliation of illegal wars waged against the people's will and u-turns on practically every single thing he'd promised.

Today Britain's political leaders penned "their visions for the future" in the Independent, while yesterday David Cameron published a massive two-page feature in the Guardian where he set out his "ideas for change".

Predictably, theirs was a spectacular succession of clich├ęs, banalities and hollow soundbites that could be recycled into a textbook titled "How to further alienate an already uninterested population in three easy steps". The most engaging bit was to check how three people can write exactly the same stuff by simply swapping words round.

So here's what we'll do. To make it more interesting, as well as to highlight the sheer triteness and hypocrisy of each, we'll take the best of their grand statements and look at them in reverse. At least it would sound more like our imaginary nasty piece of work.

Gordon Brown
"I will tolerate behaviour that is against everything I believe in. A thorough investigation of all expenses claims will not be conducted. Local people cannot have more influence on local budgets and local decisions, from policing to schooling. Everyone must know that they are not being heard. Our proposals will put more power where it belongs – away from people's hands. There is no option I will consider if it redistributes power".

David Cameron:
"We're going to replace democratic accountability with bureaucratic accountability. If we're serious about redistributing power from the powerless to the powerful, it's time to weaken parliament so it can't properly hold the government into account. We need to encourage a culture of sofa government where unaccountable spin doctors make up policies to fit the news cycles. We won't publish any parliamentary information online. We're going to take power away from councils and back interference from the state".

Nick Clegg:
"Once elected, government should not be subject to proper control by the people's representatives in Parliament. We must restore democracy by taking power away from people".

So, remember. Stick a 'not' in front of whichever verb they use and you'll get their true policy manifesto.

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