I never tire of reminding myself that everything our illustrious politicians do pursues one aim only: reelection. Regarded in that light, Dave and his merry men are doing famously. They are proving yet again that they are hopeless even in their chosen field — not that any further proof is necessary, seeing how they failed to score an outright victory against the worst and the most subversive government in British history.
First, they alienated millions while securing the votes of those few hundred homosexual couples who wish to be pronounced husband and husband or, as the spirit may move them, wife and wife. They could then adopt children and in due course teach them about birds and birds, or alternatively bees and bees. I’d say their votes are in the bag. Ed Miliband, watch out.
Now Dave and George are out to woo an admittedly larger section of the electorate: people with learning difficulties. For it takes a history of serious academic underachievement not to see through the ploy of the ‘transparent’ budget. It is indeed transparent, but not in the way they are suggesting.
The ploy is to turn the impending budget into a simulacrum of a supermarket, where the cost of every item is clearly posted for all to see. Dave and George have nothing to hide: they’ll let us know exactly where every one of our tax pennies goes. Now, assuming that the figures we’ll get are true — and this assumption isn’t based on irrefutable historical evidence — this arrangement is indeed similar to a supermarket. Except for one minor point: in a supermarket we can decide against buying a pound of mince and put it back on the shelf. The Dave & George budget supermarket doesn’t give us this option — what you see is what you pay.
But do let’s indulge our wildest fantasies and imagine that we could indeed tell them what looks good enough to eat and what seems a bit rancid. First, we’d notice that the welfare we’re mandated to buy costs about a third of our tax outlay, which, at some income levels, is twice as much as our defence and public order combined. This is a rotten deal.
It’s a bit like a real supermarket telling you that with every shopping basket of food you must buy DVDs costing twice as much. You didn’t go to the supermarket to buy DVDs — you were under the impression that flogging such items is outside its core business. Similarly, governments were instituted first, second and tenth to provide for their citizens’ safety from both external and internal menaces. That’s what governments are mostly for, everything else is gravy, to extend the food metaphor.
A cursory glance at our governments’ record over the last generation will show that they all have been remiss in this area. As a result, our defence capability these days roughly equals that of Wessex when it was still a separate state — for example, under no circumstances could we now launch anything like the South Atlantic operation of 30 years ago. In parallel, Britain has secured her position in crime, an area where we comfortably lead every Western country (for instance, France by a factor of two).
At the same time our incontinent social spending is acting like a magnet for welfare spongers from this country and all over the world. In any case, it’s not the goverment’s core business to provide for redistribution of income any more than it’s a supermarket’s trade to sell knickers and slippers. The same analogy as before works here too: we don’t have to buy knickers at Sainsbury’s, but we do have to look on helplessly as our hard-earned money is yanked out of our pay cheques and given to those who have neither earned it nor have the slightest intention of ever doing so. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be any social spending at all — only that it’s defence and public order that require twice as much spending as welfare, not the other way around.
Interest on the national debt is another item on the shelf that costs more than defence, and the reason for the high price tag is directly linked to the outrage described in the previous paragraph. For it’s to satisfy its egalitarian (or rather vote-winning) cravings that the state has to print money like it’s going out of style and borrow it like there’s no tomorrow. So reducing the welfare budget by about two thirds would kill two birds with one stone: it would eventually get rid of the debt, thereby eliminating the need to service it, and free up the funds the state needs to provide for our protection. As a side benefit, those two birds will be followed, out of solidarity, by a few others, such as the moral malaise of the nation, which is largely caused by all those thousands of strapping young lads on the disability benefit.
And then there’s that mysterious rubric ‘Other’, which presumably covers the running of such vital institutions as the Equality Department. A shopping tip: if you are looking for telltale signs of reduced freedom in a country, look no further than the existence of such government departments as Equality, Culture, Sport, and Environment. I’m all in favour of culture and sport, even though I may be lukewarm on environment and downright opposed to equality. But in all four instances, these things fall outside the state’s remit. We shouldn’t have to pay for any of them through our taxes — they are just sinecures for our assorted spivocrats, and, apart from that, the only role they play is destructive.
And don’t even get me started on such high-priced items as foreign aid and contributions to the EU. If these were eggs, we’d open the carton, catch the stench of sulfur and demand to talk to the manager. No such option at Dave & George. Thou shalt buy the rotten eggs, even if you then will have no use for them.
Yes, this marketing trick may attract buyers from the group of the intellectually challenged. But large though this group is, it’s greatly outnumbered by people endowed with reason, common sense and some knowledge of what governments should and shouldn’t do. Such people will realise they are being taken for a ride and steer clear of Dave & George. Or else, now they know where their tax money goes, they’ll work even harder trying to shelter it from the grubby hands of Inland Revenue.
Of course the danger is they’ll then shop at Miliband Bros across the street, or aisle as the case may be, where they’ll be cheated on an even larger scale. All this goes to show that, unless another supermarket opens soon, we run the risk of death by political starvation.