The other day I suggested that Ed Miliband makes Dave look good. I was wrong. He doesn’t. No one can – not with the kind of policies Dave favours.
Actually, modern politicians don’t do policies. They do politicking. And they get away with it because voters don’t know any better.
Churchill once said that “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Just so. There has to be something wrong with our voters, for otherwise they wouldn’t fall for our politicians’ knavish tricks.
Thus the Milibandits built up an 11-point lead in the polls on the strength of their promise to freeze energy prices. In the short term, this measure means introducing Nazi-style price controls. In the longer term it means a distinct likelihood of us all freezing in the dark. No matter. Voters liked what they heard.
Not to be outdone, Dave has unfolded two ‘policies’ that only charitably can be called ill-advised. In support Dave offered arguments that can only be charitably be called silly.
The first Conservative Party trick was introducing a £1,000 transferable tax allowance that will benefit poorer couples. In cash terms this means that a couple on the basic tax rate will be a whopping 54p a day better off. Half a Mars bar.
Even poor sods who have to struggle on £30,000 a year won’t notice the fruits of Dave’s generosity. But hey, it’s the thought that counts. Or, in Dave’s case, absence thereof.
If this sounds harsh, consider Dave’s rhetoric accompanying this latest exercise in spivery. It’s as manifestly bereft of logic as it’s full of solipsistic non-sequiturs.
First Dave declared, “I am… a Prime Minister who is a modern compassionate Conservative.” He used to say it better: “I am the heir to Blair.” In either case, what on earth does this mean?
Then for the umpteenth time Dave shouted his love for The Girl with the Dolphin Tattoo.
“Alongside the birth of my children, my wedding was the happiest day of my life.
“Nothing I’ve done since – becoming a Member of Parliament, leader of my party or Prime Minister – would have been possible without her.”
Good. Now we know whom to blame.
As a rule, a man who keeps insisting in public how much he loves his wife probably beats her in private. And a woman who tells all and sundry how much she loves her husband probably sleeps around – which may be why he beats her.
But let’s say the Camerons belie this lifelong observation by actually being blissfully happy together. How does it follow that couples on the basic tax rate must be bribed to the tune of 54p a day?
Now suppose for the sake of the argument that the Girl with the Dolphin Tattoo did sleep around, and Dave did indeed beat her for it. Would he then decide against pulling the 54p ace out of his sleeve?
I get it. Dave wants voters to believe that he’s striking a blow for all happy families like his own. He’s a firm believer in the institution of marriage.
To wit: “There is something special about marriage: it’s a declaration of commitment, responsibility and stability that helps to bind families.” Right. So the 54p a day is the cornerstone of marriage.
Well, not quite. I mean, it is a cornerstone all right but, according to Dave, not just of marriage: “And of course this will be true if you’re gay or straight – and in a civil partnership or a marriage. This summer I was proud to make Equal Marriage the law. Love is love, commitment is commitment.”
True. And marriage is marriage, which neither a homosexual ‘marriage’ nor a civil ‘partnership’ is. In fact, a civil partnership is the cohabitation of couples who refuse to make a commitment.
A marriage contract, they say, is just an insignificant piece of paper. Of course it is. Then, if it’s so insignificant, why not just sign it and be done with it?
By equalising homosexual or heterosexual cohabitation with marriage, Dave debauches this institution the way no PM has ever done in the past. He seems to think that 54p a day will undo the damage. How stupid and/or subversive can he get?
Very, is the answer to that. Witness his other darling, the Help to Buy scheme whereby the government will underwrite 95% mortgages.
Dave, you see, “… will not stand by while hard-working people struggle to get a mortgage for a house. [He is] impatient to help young people get on the housing ladder.”
“I am not prepared,” continued Dave, “to be a Prime Minister of a country with caps on aspiration.”
Caps on aspiration are indeed pernicious. But he’s confusing those with caps on instant gratification, on the desire to feed at whatever cost voracious appetites that exceed income, present or realistically projected.
Most Parisians, Viennese and Milanese live in hired flats – without any noticeable lowering in the level of their aspirations. But most Americans and Brits are prepared to enter the bondage of unsustainable, and often ruinous, debt.
Does Dave remember the 2008 crisis? The one still with us today? To a large extent it was caused by a glut of painless mortgages proffered on demand.
The next time the housing bubble Dave is creating bursts (as it always does), it won’t be the present profligate generation that’ll bear the brunt. Courtesy of the mediation of government guarantee, it’ll be the generations to come.
There’s the rub. The impoverished generations will come, but after the 2015 elections. Whereas irresponsible home buyers, whose acquisitive itch will have been scratched, will vote for Dave out of gratitude.