Sackcloth and ashes all round! Together with many other daft people I got caught up in the sudden burst of confidence surrounding the England Euro 2012 squad. Italy were as good as beaten and here we come Germany, I cried. In the event Italy looked in another league. Slices of luck plus a lot of sheer hard graft kept England in the hunt until penalties moved on to the agenda, the rest was entirely predictable. At least Wayne Rooney netted his, but it was the first thing he managed all night.
So the flags have disappeared from the allotments and normal misery is resumed. The mood was slightly improved by the Daily Express front page which foretells of us all sizzling in 90 degree temperatures, but we did need to remind ouselves that the very same organ predicted a new ice age starting from last week. Perhaps they should have stuck to the Princess Di stories.
Meantime we have had more evidence suggesting that the only people paying tax in this country are those who can ill afford to. Some economists are now claiming that the amount of tax income being lost exceeds the entire value of every austerity measure being imposed. So presuamble our dear leader and his posh pals are burning the midnight oil whilst coming up with a plan to outlaw tax avoidance? Afraid not!
All the signs are that David Cameron is devoting his entire being to demonstrating to his rebellious Tory right wing that he is really one of them. Today’s evidence comes in the form of a much publicised speech outlining his plan to crackdown further on welfare spending for the young, the jobless and larger families. But surely his Lib Dem partners will not stomach this? They don’t need to for, incredibly, he is announcing policies that will be put before the country after the next election in 2015. Even by our dear leader’s bizaare standards this is bizaare plus. The economy is sinking fast, and the gang running it are entirely focussed on what they may do in three years time.
Predictably leading Lib Demmers, Labourites and charities have lined up to describe the plan as barmy. So they too are now focussed on a time by which we may well be in debt up to our eyeballs. Yes the plan is barmy, not least the idea of all under-25s moving back into their former homes. Perhaps in Chipping Norton, with its large houses and wealthy parents, that is an option, in the East End of London it is all a little different.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of it all is not that our dear leader is behaving oddly, that is par for the course. It is that any of them think that far-right policies will be vote-winners come 2015. Yes a lot of people resent the true scroungers that they know, but numerically they add up to very little. Few people wish to see children put on to the streets, most want to see an imaginative initiative aimed at creating employment for young people. Most want to see real action to stop tax-avoidance.
It is often the case that the theatre produces a topical analysis of what is really happening. It has done so again with Laura Wade’s ‘Posh’. The play is clearly centered on the Bullingdon Club and the values of our current leaders, what they really believe. ‘Posh’could well become to this government the cultural tag that spin became to Blair’s.
It is all there. From student fees to horse rides with Rebekah Brooks to misunderstanding LOLs and country suppers, the sense is of an out-of-touch elite pretending to be different from what they really are. It is impossible to see this play and imagine that the poeple it portrays remotely get how the majority in Britain live their lives, or even care.
And right now the reality validates the play. The prime minister and his posh friends genuinely feel unable to tackle the financial misdeeds of their own kind. Yes, they will kick out at the occasional working-class miscreant such as Jimmy Carr, but to stand in the way of the cream of society, as they see it, is just not on old boy. But they are delighted to resurrect the most extreme policies aimed at tackling the undeserving poor even though they cannot actually enact them for at least four years, and then only if there is a clear Tory majority.
Now we read that Tony Blair, having made millions from his lecture tour, wishes to make a political comeback. Heaven preserve us. What we need is fewer, not more, politicians whose every move is aimed not at solutions but point-scoring and nonsensical promises about things that may be possible in umpteen years time.
We need people such as Terry Leahy, who created in Tesco an example of what simple efficiency can achieve.
But of course we won’t get him, or any of the other proven experts in sorting things out. Instead we will now endure weeks of arguments about what the next governmnet will or won’t do. And deep down we know that, whether it is the Posh or Labour, the answer is sod all but create an even greater mess!
THOUGHTS ON HAPPINESS; “Happiness is an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of others”……Ambrose Bierce “Happiness is nothing more than good health and a poor memory”…..Albert Schweitzer “I never knew what happines was until I got married. And by then it was too late”……Max Kauffmann “What’s the use of happiness? It can’t buy you money!”……Henny Youngman “When I ws young I used to think that wealth and power would bring you happines. I was right!”…….Gahan Wilson