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Mar. 12th, 2012

The most common response of this government to critics of its largely ideology-based and evidence-free legislation, more popular even than “We're a listening government” hissed through a rictus smile or intemperate yelps of “You're all Trotskyite bastards!”, is the simultaneously wheedling and patronising “You clearly haven't understood. Let us explain it again”. Never mind that everyone involved understands it all too well; the fiction must be maintained that there's a positive social dimension to the health and welfare changes, that the government's austerity measures are objectively sound and not just an article of monetarist faith, that the bunch who once earned themselves the title of “the nasty party” have transformed themselves into a force for good for all. (A leg-up not a hand-out, runs the strapline, which is perfectly true so long as you understand that the leg in question is headed at speed up towards our collective crotch.)

Among the many changes that we "haven't understood" are (I know I've gone over this ground time and again but I can't help it if the truth remains the same tedious truth) the move away from the concept of disabled people having “rights” to a decent, or even normal, life, the removal of legal aid from cases of clinical negligence in children—a provision that the government initially defended fiercely but eventually, to its “credit”, reluctantly caved in on—and the opening up of the NHS to private interests.

You can picture the original Health and Social Care Bill as a slimly built, keen-eyed assassin, dispatched with the single mission of killing off the NHS. Many months later, after repeated and clumsy attempts to disguise it in order not to alarm the populace, the bill is a shambling bloated mutant, Frankenstein's first draft, with extra limbs and organs grafted on every which way, blundering howling and unloved through the corridors of the House of Lords. Don't be fooled; its mission remains the same, but thanks to the last few months no-one can now be under any illusion about what it's here to do, and we will all be watching as it does it. Honestly, Minister, we really do understand.

In fact, at the moment I could just run a form template for this blog:
Name of government wheeze

Brief description of how wheeze is targeted at the vulnerable.

Rundown of how coalition claims furiously but unconvincingly that wheeze is not targeted at the vulnerable.

Scattered profanities.

Angry assertion that the government will get its own way via transparent manoeuvres and laughably ragged procedures in the Commons, possibly in


Update a few weeks later of how the government indeed got its own way in the Commons. More profanity.
I shall not be doing this, though, for the sake of your sanity and mine. On the contrary, it's important to keep spirits up in these relentless times. Um... so what's the deal with airline food?

Collect the set!




( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 12th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
"Analysis" on R4 tonight is on Nassem Nicholas Taleb's influence on Cameron, and I am having moments of enlightenment interspersed with fuming escapes of fury.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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