We’re about to enter a new era in British politics.
On Thursday 7th May 2015 we will elect a British government for the next 5 years.
As a student of history, I know that events in the past, if not corrected, foreshadow strikingly similar events in the future.
Michael Foot died in 2010, aged 96. In his obituary the Guardian said he was the most improbable literary romantic to lead a major British party since Benjamin Disraeli, a Tory leader a century earlier. Though at opposite ends of the political spectrum both were colourful craftsmen of the English language, as writers and as orators.
Foot was elected leader following James Callaghan’s Labour party defeat in 1979 by Margaret Thatcher’s Tory party, and he led the Labour party in opposition for the next 5 years, in the face of continual vilification from opponents and media alike.
In 1981 he was even criticised for wearing a donkey jacket at the Remembrance Day ceremony. It wasn’t. On the contrary he was praised by the Queen Mother on his eye for fashion?
But after Margaret Thatcher in the following year concocted a war with Argentina he was himself defeated at the next general election, which brought about his own resignation from leadership.
A natural front man he may not have been, but as an analyst and speaker he was without equal.
A lifelong Plymouth Argyle fan (for whom he still holds the record as the Football League’s oldest registered player – 90) , he once told the tale in parliament of how as a child in Plymouth he was regularly taken to a local music hall on Saturday mornings, and witnessed there a brilliant conjurer, who on stage asked for a gold watch.
A gold watch was produced, and the conjurer announced that he would smack the watch with an enormous mallet – smashing it to a bits of metal and glass – but that the audience needn’t worry, because he would then utter a spell would reassemble the watch, which he would then hand back to the owner.
The watch was laid on a table, and the conjurer proceeded to smack it with the mallet – which unfortunately was smashed it to smithereens. At which point the conjurer wiped his brow with a handkerchief and said “Ladys and Gentlemen, I’m really sorry, but I’ve forgotten the rest of the trick”!!!
Michael Foot then turned to the Speaker and said that that the problem for the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer is that they too have forgotten the rest of the trick!
Click the U Tube video below to witness Jack Straw’s account of this parliamentary funny.
But funny it isn’t! Back to my point that the future often reflects the past.
The problems of 1982 – high unemployment and a failing economy are not dissimilar to those facing us now.
Who can we look to for help? George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer who hasn’t done a day’s paid work in his life other than folding napkins for Selfridges during a University vacation, and whose economics expertise was learned running the accounts for the Bullingdon Club, a University dining club for the sons of the mega rich.
I’m concerned that Cameron and Osborne will damage us, because they simply don’t know what to do next! It’s not so much that they’ve forgotten the rest of the trick, but that the game they play benefits only one section of society – those who already own the majority of gold watches.
George Osborne’s economy is a game where others pay the price, while he continues his fun – just like he did at Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club.
Oh me oh my.
Does anyone seriously believe that a diagnosis from this absentee can cure the ills he claims we have?
Chancellor George Osborne’s game of life others pay the price while George, because he has a lot of gold watches, and can afford to have fun.
To be honest, that might be acceptable to some people, who reason that if you got it, you should be allowed to enjoy it.
But George, why did you say that “We’re all in this together” when what you really meant was “I’m all right Jack but all of you have to take the medicine”?
Oh me oh my!