Well, yes and no. Most of our politicians are indeed very bad. But not equally.
This is an important distinction because, while the differences between variously good governments may be trivial, those between variously bad ones may be a matter of life or death – and I don’t mean this figuratively.
That’s why I only partly agree with Peter Hitchens who dutifully presents a catalogue of Tory policies that are no better, or actually worse, than those proposed by Labour.
He’s correct when saying that the Tories concentrate their attacks on Corbyn personally, rather than on Labour philosophies and policies, because they “have always been far closer to Jeremy Corbyn than they like to admit… the Tories’ wild, Trotskyist policies on marriage, ‘equality’, ‘diversity’ and education actually aren’t much different from Mr Corbyn’s.”
All true. He could actually go even further by suggesting that this ad hominem focus presents Labour with a ready-made electoral strategy: replace Corbyn as leader a fortnight before the election, declare that all problems have thereby been solved and win by a landslide.
This is all good political journalism – but not particularly nuanced political thinking. For one thing, it’s always misleading to compare the apples of one side’s actions with the oranges of the other side’s promises.
Experience shows that every opposition party everywhere promises things it then doesn’t do in government – and does things it never promised. This is the immutable law of democratic politics to which there have been very few exceptions (Trump comes close to being one).
It’s common for the masses to be sufficiently disillusioned with corrupt or ineffectual governments to believe that any change could only be for the better or, at least, couldn’t possibly be worse.
This is a tragic misapprehension. Things can always get worse, as the democratically elected Messrs Perón, Mugabe, Putin, Chavez and Macîas Nguema (who gratefully murdered a third of the population of Equatorial Guinea that had voted him in) could have testified.
Also, the two most satanic regimes in history, Bolshevism and Nazism, came to power on the crest of popular enthusiasm enhanced by contempt for their predecessors, the Provisional Government in Russia and the Weimar Republic in Germany.
Hitler was actually elected, if not exactly by winning a sweeping mandate. The Bolsheviks came to power by a coup, but Lenin too was widely seen, for a week or two at any rate, as an improvement over Kerensky.
It’s incumbent on political commentators to point out to the masses that they are wrong, and explain why. To do so, it may be useful to go beyond the nitty-gritty of comparative policies and apply the old-fashioned, nay obsolete, standards of good and evil.
The Tories, ineptly not to say catastrophically led by their last three prime ministers, exemplify everything that’s rotten in modernity generally and modern politics particularly.
They are feeble of mind and character, self-serving, spivocratic, dishonest, ignorant of constitutional matters, indifferent to British sovereignty and so on: you can probably extend this list, and Mr Hitchens certainly could.
But one thing the Tories aren’t is evil. Much as I despise, say, Mrs May, much as I’m certain she’s unfit for any elective office other than perhaps PCC membership at a poorly attended Anglican church in the Home Counties, I can’t say that she hates Britain and actively wishes to destroy it.
Her asinine, vacillating policies may well have just such an effect, but I can’t honestly list malice aforethought (mens rea in jurisprudence) among her motives.
Corbyn and his gang of Marxist subversives are a different matter altogether. They hate everything Britain stands for, except possibly her exploitable potential for labour unrest. They love all our enemies not because they necessarily share their ideas, but because they are indeed our enemies.
When in power, they’re likely to abolish the monarchy, drown Britain in a flood of alien immigration, subvert our laws and constitutional liberties, destroy what’s left of private enterprise, drive millions out of the country and push those undeniably awful Tory policies to cataclysmic levels – all because they are driven by visceral hatred, resentment and envy.
In short, they are evil, and history shows that evil rulers do evil things regardless of the method of their ascent to power.
Now, Britain has had numerous rotten governments, such as the last five. But she has no experience, and hence little dread, of evil ones. The British may well be unaware of what happens when a merely bad government is replaced by an evil one – and, unless someone explains the difference very soon, they may learn it the hard way.
Perhaps, by way of prep work, the British ought to be reminded that evil does exist, and the categories of good and evil may serve political analysis better than a mere comparison of electoral planks. But that may be asking too much.
P.S. Yesterday’s two FA Cup semi-finalists, Wolves and Watford, are managed by Espírito Santo and Gracia respectively. This was the first time that the Holy Spirit clashed with Grace, and the latter won. Also, the only goal in the other semi-final was scored by Jesus. Footie is replete with Christian messages, wouldn’t you say?