Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summarising Proust

Those who came here looking for Monty Python's famous sketch can find it here... but the task for TMP to round up the past week in politics is on the same scale, given that the Telegraph claims to have been given a million pages of documents by its mole.

It seems that the people of Britain have been woken up at last. Not by the numerous despairing attempts of us doomwatchers trying to point out the constant creep of surveillance and invasion of the mind snatchers from Blair/Broon's nanny state - but by the sound of yelping as MP fingers have been caught in the public till after the telegraph and its moles slammed the drawer shut. And there are fingers strewn all over the floor!

The gravy train just ran over a cliff, but only after 12 years of the relentless erosion of liberty by Blair's presidential style and disdain for parliament and the unelected Brown's simple "unfitness" for the job. The "system" they are all apologizing for and desperate to change was controlled by the champagne socialist dynasties and cliques, that believe they know better than the pesky people who get in the way of their grand plan. And it is now apparent that the compliance of backbenchers in the cynical sidelining of parliamentary process was being bought at wholesale rates by a culture of "nod and wink" expenses. All presided over by their own dodgy pick of Speaker, who was installed in a very crude act of disdain against all the traditions and expectations of parliament. But it now seems that many MPs were too busy flipping their property and speculating to be bothered to attend parliament and find out what was going on.

The full list is published here on BBC News website. Although all parties have found the imprint of their members' snouts in the trough, the majority of those snouts belong to labour MPs, Ministers, even. The dreadful Jacquie Smith kicked this all off with her husband who was caught with his dick in hand (he is also paid for by the state, remember) and his porn TV channel claim. You could not make it up, could you? The Home Secretary, of all people, responsible for some of the most insidious invasions of privacy and destruction of liberty in a thousand years was first to find out what it was like to have her own privacy invaded! Except that it wasn't actually a private matter if it was paid for with public money.

And all this coming so soon after the MPs harangued the dodgy bankers and extracted the "S" word from the next least popular category of sanctimonious, incompetent and bullying trough divers in the land. All we need now is for someone to nail that last bastion of sanctimonious hypocrisy - the news media itself - and we will have the full house.

However you cut it, that the motley collection of shifty characters that have been given carte blanch by three landslide majorities to do what that pleased with the UK for the past 12 years, have been caught on the hop; and how! Every single one of them has been sheepishly apologizing and making excuses including many who would have done nothing wrong in the minds of reasonable people, if only it had been better managed the instant it became obvious what was going to happen.

These people are mostly shown to be political pygmies, whose moral authority to tell the rest of us what is good for us, has just evaporated and can never return. TMP was pondering whether or not to add the word "Blears" to its online spelling checker database, but we don't think we'll bother now, because it is soon (with any luck/justice) unlikely to ever be heard again.

Indeed, TMP got a great sense of amused satisfaction when typing the labels for this post: "deeply flawed Gordon Brown, sleaze, corruption, unlawful expense claims Hazel Blears, Jacqui Smith " Now you lot please go and get the same sense of satisfaction by demanding a general election, and then voting those MPs whose years of sanctimonious preaching onto the dole.

But there must also be some account made of the degree of the sin, based on the position of the miscreant and the size of the piss-take. Normal life would quickly be intolerable if every speed camera was suddenly to be set to trap anyone doing 30.01 mph in the spirit of New Puritanism. But a lot of the stress of modern life after 12 years of relentless Blair/Brown project is that most of the grey areas and general discretionary "slack" of life has been repealed, and is now policed by squads of the otherwise unemployable in they shiny peaked caps. Which employee has never tried it on with their expenses, or not helped themselves to the office pens?

It was the sheer lack of any evidence of "good taste" that has dumbfounded the voters, themselves facing paying for this government's ineptitude over the next 20 or 30 years. TMP is surprised that there isn't more of an effort going into a campaign to get some MPs to be made criminally bankrupt under this government's ironic "proceeeds of crime" legislation.

But it is quite clear the atmosphere was one one of "it's an entitlement because the basic salary has been artificially restrained - and they're all at it, so we might as well join the fun". That means the biggest responsibility must rest with the government itself, and micro-managing Brown in particular. But any preaching minister with an error of judgment of more than £1000 is obviously is toast; any humble backbencher with more than £10k of hard-to-explain claims is probably also a gonner.

Now only a general election that explores all these issues and returns MPs who have shown they "get it" can start to rebuild the essential confidence in parliament that has been so clumsily lost by the grinning mismanagement of Broon, ably aided and abetted in his foolishness by his Caledonian Comrade and fall guy, Gorbals Mick.

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