The Plastic Hippo

November 11, 2014

I promise to pay the bearer


Like hearts, dreams, ambitions, mobile phones and the best wine glasses kept at the back of the cupboard for special occasions, promises are easily broken. There is a long and contemptuous tradition of politicians promising all manner of goodies to a gullible electorate without ever having any intention of coming up with the goods. When challenged to explain the failure to deliver pie-in-the-sky promises, the rulers with more ambition than heart usually ignore the awkward questions or sometimes talk of a change in circumstances or trot out the tired excuse that the promise was misunderstood by stupid voters.

The hilarious shambles in the House of Commons over the vote to have a vote on not having a vote to vote to enact a bill to re-adopt the European Arrest Warrant is just the latest farce in a long line of duplicitous wriggling that stretches back to the Stone Age. This particular pantomime, however, is different in that apart from being the funniest, it is likely to be something of a watershed moment for this awful coalition government.

Before not being elected, David Cameron promised that there would not be any top down reorganisation of the NHS and that the nation`s health would be safe in his hands. It is blindingly obvious to anyone who has half a brain that he has kept these promises by selling off the NHS to venture capitalists.

Cameron promised to end government borrowing and eliminate the deficit. He has increased both. He promised to improve education but did not say he was going to sell off schools to venture capitalists. Standards in schools and academic achievement have deteriorated. He promised to reduce unemployment and has kept his word by introducing benefit sanctions, zero hour contracts, workfare and including part-time work and people forced to become self-employed to simply feed their families.

More recently, he and the other main party leaders, out of sheer desperation made a solemn pledge to offer greater devolved power to the people of Scotland if they voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. Within minutes of the No vote result, he changed the promise to focus on devolved power to English regions which will allow the metropolitan South East to prosper at the expense of the unprofitable rest. Labour were quick to distance themselves from this trickery and the people of Scotland who fell for the promise are likely to ask for independence again only this time they will be carrying claymores.

To placate some of his more shrill backbenchers, Cameron promised to cut net immigration even though strong evidence suggests that migrants contribute more to the UK economy than is taken out. He has failed and the hapless Theresa May was left to re-write the dictionary to make the word “comment” synonymous with “promise”. Others in government dismissed the evidence as nonsense.

It was a bad day for the Home Secretary and her performance on the radio and at the dispatch box has probably broken her political ambition. With broad cross party support for the retention of the European Arrest Warrant, it takes a government of extraordinary ineptitude to come close to defeat in a vote to delay the reading of the bill. The tawdry footage of Tory MPs filibustering to gain time and others running to the commons along with Cameron and Grayling having cut short a fancy dress banquet is just about as funny as it gets. The actual vote in favour of the European Arrest Warrant was, as expected, huge and the 30 or so Eurosceptic Tories who have yet to offer any argument that the EAW is anything other than a very good thing will probably defect once the Farage creature clobbers the Rochester and Strood by election.

Even the most innocent of voters must be puzzled as to how a government of broken promises desperately clinging to power could have allowed this ridiculous embarrassment to happen. They need look no further than Conservative Chief Whip Michael Gove. In the short period after being sacked as Education Secretary and being demoted, Gove has seen two Tory MPs defect and some of the more unstable backbenchers becoming increasingly vociferous. There is something amusingly ironic in that Gove is now doing to the Conservative Party what he did to education. Trained negotiators deployed to coax suicidal broken spirits back from the parapet do so by persuading the distressed soul to return to safety inch by inch and step by step. Resisting the impulse to defenestrate Gove from an upper House of Commons window, Tory grandees will now be encouraging Gove toward the edge inch by inch and step by step and are probably employing sharp sticks. Theresa May, Grayling and even Cameron are likely to receive the same attention.

When two or three Labour MPs express some grumbling over Ed Miliband, the media invented a leadership crisis fabricated by Lynton Crosby which still rumbles on in spite of any actual evidence. With a by election defeat and one more to come and with 30 plus MPs voting against their own Prime Minister, the promise of a leadership crisis might exist in the opposite direction.

Perhaps the gullible electorate will promise to pay the bearer of such deception the sum of defeat on May 7th.


1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Getting There.

    Comment by Aiden McHaffie — November 11, 2014 @ 6:41 am | Reply

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