Thursday, 16 May 2013

We won’t be fobbed off by having our tums tickled by patronising alien rulers who don’t share our instincts

When Cameron panicked and caved in to pressure to introduce a bill guaranteeing an EU referendum in 2017 (when he’ll be long gone), the Tory Right was distinctly ungrateful. They were supposed to gurn and tug their forelocks and say, “Thank ‘ee, young master – we’ll shut our mouths from now on, and we promise, cross our ‘earts, not to vote for that there UKIP. Bless ‘ee and your lovely lady wife” – but they went on moaning and asking for more. Why?

Well, for a start, they can’t bear the man. Having signally failed to deliver a Tory majority at the last election, he took to insulting his core voters on a regular basis by rubbing their pink little noses in a series of liberal (and Liberal) policies, while sucking up to Guardian readers who hadn’t voted for him and who anyone but a Tory moderniser could have told him never would. But the real reason why the referendum bill – and a smattering of other red-meat, right-leaning initiatives – won’t appease traditional Conservatives and won’t attract middle-of-the-roaders is that we feel as if we’re being governed by the representatives of a foreign power: Cameron and Osborne are as alien to us as Roman governors were to the Britons or as French barons were to the Saxons. Their contempt for us is almost palpable – and the fear that’s beginning to show in their eyes is hardly less infuriating. (The reason Labour and the Lib Dems are as unpopular as the Tories is clear: Clegg and Miliband are as alien to their traditional party supporters as Cameron is to his.)

Cameron, with his ridiculous high-speed rail link, his obsession with gay marriage, his enthusiasm for dragging us into yet another civil war in yet another unpleasant Arab hell-hole, his determination to go on squandering money we don’t have on foreign aid while destroying our armed forces, his refusal to countenance cuts in spending on education and the NHS (as if a lack of money was the problem with either), his pathetic attempt to force universities to accept students on the basis of their ethnicity or their family’s relative poverty rather than academic ability, his sheer wetness when it comes to halting immigration or expelling foreign terrorists, his embarrassing toadying to Barack Obama – with all these things, Cameron has demonstrated that he shares absolutely none of the instincts of the Tory tribe which elected him.

So when he finally promises to give us our EU referendum, or to get tough with prisoners, or to introduce automatic life-means-life sentences for cop-killers, we don’t feel in the least gratified, because it’s all so desperate and phoney and condescending: we know he thinks these policies are all vulgar and populist and uncivilised, and that he’s just going through the motions in order to keep his fractious serfs quiet for a bit so he can get on with the real business of government.

We’re fractious because we’re experiencing cognitive dissonance resulting from Cameron and his clique’s inability to understand what’s going on inside out heads or our hearts. He seems to find difficulty in empathising with us – just as Edward Heath did – and that makes it very difficult for us to empathise with him. And that’s the reason why we warm so readily to Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage: whatever their faults – and they are no doubt legion - we sense that they share our fundamental political instincts, and that if it was them introducing legislation of which we approved, they’d be doing it because they thought it the right thing to do rather than as a means of keeping us off their backs for a few weeks.

Europe is nowhere near the top of the list of our most pressing concerns – but it has become a symbol of our cognitive dissonance: it perfectly captures our sense of being ruled by aliens who neither understand nor like us, and for whom we are simply a means to an end.


  1. So you are not a Cameron man, then?

    On a recent trip "down South" from Scotland [God's own country to the ignorant and thank you, England, for your annual subsidy] I was shocked to find that my oldest friend [very rich - Chivas Regal instead of Famous Grouse] had switched to UKIP. A more patriotic Englishman would be hard to imagine yet he is seriously considering removing himself and his assets elsewhere. His analysis: "The UK is completely fucked."

    What to do? Emigrate? [I have already done so four times, but have always come back]. Go back to Scandinavia or Australia [either extreme cold or heat] and be incredibly bored? Or lie [lay] doggo on the reverse slope [the great Duke] and await developments?

    Or just await the "reaper"?

    1. Regarding the subsidy, Sven - you're most welcome! I have no objection to my taxes going to a Thiird World country that can't stand on its own two feet -especially when that country is so grateful for my generosity.

      I hope your friend will stay and vote UKIP - it's still a great country if you can close your ears to all the bloody nonsense and stay away from most of the cities. Your chum should remember that this is exactly how we all felt in the late '70s - when help was just around the corner.

      As for waiting for the grim reaper, I don't think any of us has a choice about that, really - the bugger'll turn up one day, whether we're waiting for him or not. I'd definitely lie doggo and await developments.

    2. Well put. Phew, wish I had an education and could talk proper!

  2. That the contempt for Cameron continues after the publication of the Referendum Bill may be connected with the proposed Section 3

    3. Conduct of the referendum and further provisions
    (1) The Secretary of State shall by order provide for the rules in accordance with which the referendum is to
    be conducted.
    (2) The Secretary of State may by order make further provisions about the referendum.
    (3) An order under this section may make provision modifying or amending this Act or another enactment.
    (4) An order under this section may not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before, and approved
    by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

    which states that the then Secretary of State (read "representative in good standing of the political class") can do what s/he likes with the act - even more or less repeal or just emasculate it (per S3(3)) - if it becomes law.

    1. Fascinating - I hadn't realised it was such a weaselly non-promise, but I'm not in the least surprised.

      I'm dead impressed that you actually read this stunningly dull stuff - but it's great that someone's informed - I bet most MPs haven't so much as given the details a glance.

  3. Very interesting, Umbongo.