Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Pre-election final thoughts
First, two gems I've heard in the past few days:
1. From the joint leader of the Greens, Jonathan Bartley, on a radio "Question Time" last night: "If the environment were a bank it would have been rescued already."
Yes indeed: the powers that be rushed to rescue the financial system - and don't forget it was Gordon Brown who led the world in this in 2008, though the Tories aren't too keen on acknowledging it. One at least is still peddling the lie that the UK Labour Party were responsible for causing the world financial crisis. Be that as it may, the climate crisis has until now received no such urgent action. Welcome to XR and Greta Thunberg: they have so far proved the only game changers in this election.
2. Words to the effect that: "The Labour Party have been unveiling goodies like some sort of political Advent calendar."
I think this has been a major mistake by Labour.
I suspect most Liberal Democrats are happy to go along with most of their policies, though we might express them differently - for example taking back into "public ownership" rather than top down "Nationalisation" such as the energy suppliers and railways, and putting more emphasis on consumer and employee participation.
But does it all need to be free, and does it all need to be done at once?
For example, does super- duper broadband need to be free from the start? The earlier form of distance communication, the postal service, had to be paid for, and a 1d (that's a penny, hence Penny Post) was quite a whack in those days. And, as I've argued in earlier pasts, not every pensioner needs a free TV Licence. Nor do many WASPI women whose pensions have been delayed need compensation, or every primary school child need a free breakfast provided by the state.
Yes, I know the arguments for universality, but it doesn't all have to be done at once, which is the impression the Labour (panic?) announcements give.
One economic commentator has said that although all political parties now seem to have rediscovered the benefits of Keynesianism, much of the electorate has still to catch up. "Where's the money coming from?" is a common reaction, and Labour's promises are not seen to be credible.
Talking of Advent: the readings in mainstream Christian Churches last Sunday, the Second in Advent (year A) were from Psalm 72, and St Matthew 3vv 1-12
Psalm 72 asks God to bless the ruler (the king in the psalm: for today read "political leaders") with "justice" and "righteousness." He is (they are) to "judge the people according to right and to defend the poor."
For good measure rulers are to "defend the children of the poor" as well, and "bring peace."
Oh, and "punish the wrong doer. "
I suppose the Tories would go along with he last bit (provided it's not a banker, or, indeed, a philanderer and deceiver )
In the passage from St Matthew's Gospel John the Baptist exhorts both rulers and the rest of us to be like trees that "bring forth good fruit." He warns that that trees that don't "bring forth good fruit" will be "hewn down and cast into the fire."
Ye that that hath ears to hear, let him (or her) hear.