I have never felt that I was particularly suited to a life in politics, I am afflicted by the wrong types of both silliness and childishness. Further, whilst as a member of the quick I do have to suffer fools on an all too regular basis (especially given who I’m forced to live with – for new readers, I should make clear that I live alone) I do not manage to bring a great deal of gladness to the experience.
I try and avoid the news generally, and in particular political news, as I have only a very small and fragile cache of faith in humanity remaining, after some 48 years on this ball of rock, and fear for its continued survival. In fact, I tend to treat any such news I am accidently exposed to in the same way I treat those elements of commercial television which provide the adjectival portion of its name. Yes; I turn the volume down and read some more of my current book – I like to think this is the slightly more adult version of sticking my fingers in my ears and saying (or singing) “la la la la” (recurring).
Today I was too slow (or too far from the volume control) and so was exposed to the horrors of current affairs and these only served to reinforce my opinion of my very poor fit with the world of Westminster (and Holyrood, Stormont et al). The Culture Secretary – one Maria Miller – after some dodgy expense-related business has been in trouble for a while. It was obvious the end was coming, particularly after the Prime Minister had offered his full support (this is the political equivalent of a solider showing a comrade a picture of his sweetheart and talking of his plans for after the war: you might as well show a tall, thin figure dressed in black holding a scythe) – and today she finally resigned. This resignation was coupled with a further, unconvincing apology (of a type one normally associates with a small child being forced to say sorry by a despairing parent) and the explanation that she was leaving so that the public were not distracted from the work of the government. This seemed a very odd excuse, given that more than 90% of what we hear from the government normally appears to be a desperate attempt to do exactly that – i.e. distract us from their “work” as they know we wouldn’t approve. Surely her woes made it an excellent time to bury some “bad news” (of which there is rarely a shortage)? One of her colleagues (I think) suggested that she had been unwise to get caught when we (the great unwashed) were still a little over-sensitive about our elected representative being little better than (pretty incompetent) crooks. Her other colleagues (on the whole) seemed to be enjoying putting in the passive-aggressive knife with significantly more relish than the Opposition (who frankly seemed to be just going through the motions). I think she is being replaced by a bus driver who has a picture of Margaret Thatcher in his office (cab?) – but I will admit I wasn’t paying much attention. I like to think that if I am ever elected to an office of state, the still-life painting of a pear and three earthenware jars that graces my “office” will likewise become national news! I fear this whole “affair” shows just how easily I miss the political point – I was also very disappointed that at no time did I hear any “numbers” from the Sound of Music accompanying this item (surely a Dimbleby could have been encouraged into a wimple?).
This is not the only time of late that I seem to have missed the political point. There has been much talk as to whether the Scots can or cannot “keep the pound” after they wave goodbye to the circus. Putting to one side the whole matter of the kilogram for a moment, I shall assume they wish to retain the common currency of the UK (and, presumably, their rather outré banknote designs). I had always imagined that one of the main problems for the Scots was being saddled with a currency which was managed solely for the convenience of the economy of London (and mostly of that part of London within a mile or so of Liverpool Street Station). We have only to look to the Euro to see how much damage can be done if your currency is managed from far away for the benefit of a totally different economy (especially if you were rather flexible about your “interpretation” of the conditions of membership). A great swathe of southern Europe has suffered, while Germany has gained (though you’d never know it if you listen to them). Surely, ditching the pound is one of the major benefits of independence as the Scots will be able to manage their own economy? Certainly more locally and perhaps more sensibly than the one-size-fits-all approach propagated from the City? Or is their fishy leader worried that he would botch matters so badly that he needs the ability to blame the perfidious Sassenach for future financial crises north of the border? I seem to recall Argentina trying to peg its currency to the US Dollar (a currency over which they had zero control), but don’t recall that project going terribly well. Still, despite now having read three (3!) books on economics, I am no economist: so perhaps the pound is more desirable than I realise. I suppose I wouldn’t say no to a few extra myself – so feel free to click on the imaginary “Donate” button at any time! I can be bought!