Time to get serious

I’m disappointed but not surprised to wake up this morning to find Theresa May is still leading the Conservative Party, having seen off a vote of no confidence by a 2:1 ratio. In my opinion Theresa May is an appalling prime minister even if you disregard Brexit: she’s a nannying, authoritarian, dimwit with no vision, no principles, and no charisma who sees the British population as little more than a nuisance. Add to that her handling of the Brexit negotiations – which appear to be a mixture of devious cunning where Britain’s interests were concerned, and incompetence and capitulation in front of Barnier et al. – resulting in a deal which nobody is happy with, and she is likely to go down as the worst PM anyone can recall. That nobody among the ruling classes can mount a challenge to her, either within the party or from the opposition benches, almost beggars belief.

But like I said, I’m not surprised. The yawning chasm that’s opened up between the ruling classes and the majority population has been evident for some time, and that 200 Tory MPs have given their blessing to Theresa May and her Brexit deal merely confirms the people’s parliamentary representatives have no intention of representing anyone’s interests but their own. In some ways, last night’s vote is a good thing in that it may ram  home this point to those who for some reason thought differently. How anyone still believed it having watched Blair and Cameron rule Britain for a combined 16 years is anyone’s guess, but here we are. In short, May winning the vote demonstrates how utterly bereft of talent and competence Britain’s ruling classes have become, and it’s interesting to look at why.

Those 16 years I mentioned earlier explains a lot about where we are now. Both Blair and Cameron epitomised prime ministers for whom the big decisions over governance were solved by a combination of a collapsed Soviet Union, unprecedented wealth due to globalisation, and a handing over of major policies to the EU. Neither man had to tackle a single, difficult domestic issue: even the NI peace process was mostly wrapped up by the time Blair took office, allowing him to claim credit for it. From 1997 onwards, Britain was rich, peaceful, and faced no serious threats – except, in hindsight, from its own government. This allowed people like Blair and Cameron, who lacked any principles save for a desire to be in power, to tinker and meddle and make changes on the fly, many of which had devastating consequences down the line. Where previous prime ministers had to deal with the Soviet-backed communism, independence of the colonies, general strikes, deindustrialisation, and the oil embargo Blair and Cameron busied themselves banning foxhunting, creating thousands of new petty crimes, foisting political correctness on critical institutions, and micromanaging people’s lives. And while they did this, the majority of the population didn’t weep with despair and head abroad like I did – they stood and cheered, and said “Ooh, what a nice man!” Until Blair joined in with the wrecking of Iraq, anyway.

The irony is many of those people who voted for Blair and Cameron are now bitterly disappointed at the current situation, both leavers and remainers who think May’s deal is abhorrent, albeit for opposite reasons. Well, what did they expect? The British population allowed the ruling classes to be captured by a bunch of wet, unprincipled, and not especially bright charlatans, and were happy to let them rule provided they were doing all right regardless of the long-term costs. Whenever somebody with even a whiff of intelligence, backbone, or principles showed up on the political scene, the middle classes would clutch their pearls and launch into a frenzy of virtue-signaling (nowadays they just start shrieking about Nazis). And now, finally, the British ruling classes have been given a genuinely difficult, statesman’s task and they are simply not up to it: May has proven hopeless, and her closest rivals can’t even inspire enough colleagues to get rid of her. What does that tell you about the substance of Johnson and Rees-Mogg?

It’s time the British public got serious. Over the next few months the ruling classes will be found wanting once more, unable to make difficult decisions: May’s deal probably won’t pass a parliamentary vote, and a general election will be called where people are given a choice of another loser Tory or Jeremy Corbyn. This will being about a disaster no matter who wins, and this might – might – bring to the fore a different sort of politician, one we haven’t seen for a long time in Britain. How the population reacts will be crucial, and there will be howls of anguish from the metropolitan elites and a subsection of the middle classes who would prefer politicians stick to banning sugary drinks and shutting down hate speech on Twitter than actually governing. These voices will need to be shouted down with full force if Britain is going to change. But I’m not even sure it wants to.

In short, the public are going to have to start making difficult decisions. The trouble is, like Blair and Cameron, they’ve never had to. Can they learn? Time will tell, but if they can’t they might as well stay in the EU and let someone else rule over them. It’s going to be a testing twelve months.

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64 thoughts on “Time to get serious

  1. Jim, 3.15pm: ‘I hardly think you can compare a Victorian era 25 yo who has fought in a war with one of todays 25 yo snowflakes’ ’Tis fortunate then that I did not make that comparison.

    The point is that your arbitrary age-limit would deprive us of talented people like Winston—and I’m sure there are a few out there with impressive service of one kind or another. E.g. Col. Tim Collins of Iraq fame was 44 when he left the army (although, as I pointed out, we once enjoyed a time when combining an active military career with a political one was common); your arbitrarily-defined age limit would preclude him from standing for another 6 years. Meanwhile, there are people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and older whom I would not leave in charge of a gerbil.

    Ending salaries and expenses for MPs is a tried and tested solution, an established practice—established English then British practice—that worked satisfactorily for centuries, since Simon de Montfort summoned the first Parliament at Westminster in 1265; and from even before that, the origins of our Parliament lying in the 8th Century Saxon Witan and Moot.
    As stated, without a guaranteed taxpayer-funded salary and expenses, actual talent to make or have made money to finance a Parliamentary career is necessary, which would automatically exclude pink-mohicanned SJWs from the running—as well as the 50-and-olders that I wouldn’t wish charge of a goldfish.

    If there is a British equivalent of Elon Musk (age 47) or Martin Shkreli (age 35) around who wants to become an MP, why should we be deprived of their talent because of an unBritish, untested, entirely arbitrary age limit?

    Plus, ending politicians’ salaries and expenses would ease the taxpayer’s burden. It is fascinating reading how cheaply we once ran our country—MPs, as noted, were unpaid; as were our local councillors (the only salaried position in local government administration being the Town Clerk, a sort of one-man civil service). Prior to the creation of our constabularies ‘every person above fifteen years old’ (Blackstone, Commentaries, vol.1, 342) was required to form as posse comitatus (‘power of the county’) upon being summoned by the county’s sheriff—an unpaid police force. And if only we had stuck with the first version of the 1689 Bill of Right’s arms-bearing clause:
    It is necessary for the publick Safety, that the Subjects which are Protestants, should provide and keep Arms for their common Defence’ (i.e. the centuries-old legal obligation of the people to form as militia in maintenance of the King’s Peace and defence of his Realm)
    …then—who knows?—we might have evolved a citizen militia, unpaid and mainly equipped out of the members’ own pockets.

    Learn from history. Learn from the giants who built our civilisation.
    Old ideas, not new.
    Tested methods, not new.
    Established practices, not new.
    Read old books.

  2. Original Mr. X (1.53am & 3.51pm), I believe you correct (and also believe Andy in Japan at 9.59am has a point). I don’t mean to suggest there exists a single solution that will magically cure all our ills. (I loathe those people with their one-size-fits-all solutions (‘Bring back National Service’ being the least foolish), so often involving ‘othering’ our fellows—‘Get rid of the Jocks!’ ‘Get rid of the English!’ (m8, you can have your indie Scottyland, Engerland or Cornwall or whatever, you’ll wake up the next day to exactly the same problems—rampant crime, immigration, failing public services, etc.—except now you’re smaller and weaker, and your formerly sympathetic neighbours no longer give a toss as you’ve turned them into foreigners.).)

    We have so transformed our society and culture, we hardly have any right to still call ourselves ‘British’ (nor ‘English’, ‘Scottish’, ‘Welsh’, ‘Kentish’, ‘Orcadian’, etc.). Traditions and customs evolved over centuries are part of what defines our identities—and we have discarded nearly everything that once defined us.

    Ending MPs’ (and local councillors’) salaries and expenses would be but one step on the path back to sanity—and to regaining our British heritage. Many, many more steps are required—even a dictator would need at least a generation to fix the trainwreck our country has been allowed to be reduced to.

    We need to recognise that ‘conservatism’ has failed—there is no longer anything left to conserve; we need to start discussing ‘restoration’.

    As Robert Dabney wrote over a century ago:

    [C]onservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. … [C]onservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. … It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle.

    (Dabney, Robert L. Discussions, vol.4. Mexico, MO: 1897. 496.)

    Forget ‘conservatism’, and start discussing ‘restorationism’.

  3. “If there is a British equivalent of Elon Musk (age 47) or Martin Shkreli (age 35) around who wants to become an MP, why should we be deprived of their talent because of an unBritish, untested, entirely arbitrary age limit?”

    Because allowing the lower age ranges in so far has got us David Lammy and Tony Blair, to name but two. I’ll happily forgo the theoretical opportunity to get an Elon Musk if we don’t have to have the sort of politicians we’re getting now.

    And I doubt that Elon would be that much of a catch for the political system, he might be a great technical innovator but his judgement leaves something to be desired, if his Twitter record is anything to go by……..

  4. That’s fine, Jim. And I will happily oppose with every fibre of my being your putting your Alzheimer-suffering pensioners on the taxpayer payroll. As if we don’t have enough incompetent and ignorant pensioners in Parliament as it is.

    Let’s see which MPs your arbitrary age limit that you pulled out of your derrière might remove:
    Not Diane Abbot (65)—we’re stuck with her according to your age limit made up out of whole cloth. In fact, according to you, we should consider ourselves blessed to have Diane’s 65 years of “““wisdom””” on the Commons benches.
    Not Corbyn (69)—again, according to you, IRA Corbyn is a political genius because he’s managed to remain on this planet for 69 years.
    Not the SNP’s Ian Blackford (57), you’d stick us with him until the spastic twat finally shuffles off this mortal coil.
    Not the vile Pete Wishart (56).
    It wouldn’t even remove the scandal-ridden Kate Osamor (50).

    However, one of the MPs your idea would remove is… 49 year old JACOB REES-MOGG.
    You’d also lose us Philip Davies (46), again one of the better ones (out of an admittedly bad bunch).

    I’m not going to go through all 650 MPs but with the average age of MPs being 50, with the oldest at 85, clearly your precious idea would remove very few MPs, and I believe the above examples are enough to establish that your idea is one of the most retarded ideas to have ever been written in the English language. Possibly the biggest waste of pixels I have ever laid eyes on.

  5. “I’m not going to go through all 650 MPs but with the average age of MPs being 50, with the oldest at 85, clearly your precious idea would remove very few MPs,”

    Who said anything about removing MPs? I merely said that anyone seeking to BE an MP should be 50 at least. It’ll take a while to get rid of the dead wood for sure.

    As for the Alzheimer’s dig, have a retirement age as well, 70 perhaps. That would give a 20 year political career, quite long enough for anyone to be ordering other people around IMO.

    The other advantage of older MPs is that it would negate the power of the Whips – MPs in their 30s and 40s are very vulnerable to the ‘Don’t make waves, you’ll not get promotion if you do’ pressure. There would be far less ‘career’ pressure on older MPs, yes there would be personal ego pressure, but the whole ‘I need to get promotion (or keep the job I’ve been given) to get a better salary to provide for my family’ pressure would be gone.

  6. The other problem that is created by paying politicians a salary is that it opens them up to corruption. Politicians wage scales are tiny compared to the private sector, the PM’s remuneration is orders of magnitude smaller than for a CEO in a comparably sized private organisation.

    So, given their lowly pay grade it is not a path to financial freedom, coupled with their political and persuasive power this leaves them very exposed to the temptation of corruption, the quest for financial freedom is a natural and driving urge in successful people. So honest high performers are not attracted to a poorly paid political career, leaving the states ranks wide open for under achievers, control freaks and the corruptible.

    If you must pay them, at least pay them comparable to the private sector which would starting at three times more than what they are on now.

    But having said all of that I am a small state guy, and I am all for shrinking the whole bloated and growing state carcass immediately, which if anything will get it back to what it was originally intended to be, so yes bring your own money works for me.

    I see that the term fascist is frowned upon here, that is a bias, if you take the options that we have which were communism, democracy or fascism then fascism would be my preference. I would also prefer a benevolent dictator as well.

    But what we really need to do is abandon our support for any form of collective political sate system and promote the great and the good of the individual and stop waging this ongoing war on the individual. People are naturally good, creative and humanistic and don’t need a state representative to tell them what is good and bad nor what they should or shouldn’t be doing.

  7. >Sorry, but if that’s the reason he hasn’t put himself foward for leadership and is not going around whipping up MPs into supporting him, he’s not much of a leader.

    I think he knows he’s regarded as too junior to lead at this stage. Things may change quickly over the next few years, though. (Thatcher never strong-armed people into supporting her leadership bid.)

    >>The problem isn’t him, the problem is, as ever, that useless party that pretends to be Conservative but is in reality full of wets and cowards.
    >
    >Then why did he join them? He doesn’t sound much of a leader if the reason he’s not in charge is because the organisation he’s joined is full of wets and cowards.

    The depressing answer is probably that he thought at the time that the Conservatives were the only right-wing party with electoral credibility, which is how it remains even now, despite the hopes of people like me that they’ll die.

    Anyway, I thought a few months ago that Rees-Mogg was all talk and no trousers too, but I’m coming around to him again. He was unfairly getting a lot of the blame for the failure to remove May, as though he could just wave a magic wand and make it happen.

    But of course he could turn out to just another useless Tory to add to the list of Tory disappointments:
    https://hectordrummond.com/2018/11/02/the-list-of-tory-disappointments/

  8. SE doesn’t exactly help his case for the bright young things by suggesting we might benefit from having two actual con men in Parliament…

  9. “The other problem that is created by paying politicians a salary is that it opens them up to corruption”

    And not paying them at all would remove any temptation to corruption?

    The problem with MPs remuneration is a catch 22 – in order to attract the best, and remove corrupting influences you’d need to pay far higher salaries – if the CEO of a local council can get paid £250k MPs should be higher than that. But the public won’t accept MPs getting paid any more than what they do today, which is no more than a head teacher can make, and less than a GP. So we get people of a low calibre because no high calibre candidate would do it for the money, unless they have private wealth of their own.

  10. @Jim on December 15, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Problem raised was 140 MPs are paid extra money by taxpayers due to being beholden to PM May for the money.

    117 MPs voted against May
    60 MPs voted for May
    140 paid Ministers voted for May

    We already have corruption. Not democratic or “free” vote.

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/229963

  11. Signed:

    Government responded
    This response was given on 14 December 2018

    The deal that we have reached with the EU is the right one for the United Kingdom. Leaving without a deal would risk uncertainty for the economy, for business and for citizens.

    Cloth eared idiots missing the point: we don’t care there might or might not be “uncertainty for the economy, for business and for citizens”.

    No Deal confirmed gives certainty for the economy, for business and for people. Sooner confirmed, sooner economy, business and people can start to adapt and continue to strive for success.

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/229963

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