Last Saturday a gymnastics troupe called ‘Spellbound’ won ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and are no doubt going to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner ‘Diversity’ by achieving if not world domination then a lucrative tour of provincial theatres.
I was going to hail their as the most impressive balancing act of the modern age until their crown was stolen early this week by David Cameron. The balancing act he’s going to attempt is, if possible, even more gravity defying than being thrown vertically up in the air to such a height that all the audience below can see of you is the soles of your feet; he’s going to try and pay off Britain’s debts without wrecking the economy.
Those debts, he claimed in an announcement made on Monday were so high that in five years time Britain will be paying £70 billion just in interest on the debts run up as part of a ‘public sector splurge’ by the previous government. Tackling them, Mr Cameron said, would ‘affect our whole way of life.’ Make no mistake chummy Dave had left the building and hard nosed David was in charge of things now and for the foreseeable future; the bad times are about to start rolling.
In the bleakest, and, I fear most honest, section of his speech the Prime Minister that because the legacy of debt left by the outgoing Labour government is ‘so bad the measures to deal with it will be unavoidably tough, but people’s lives will be worse unless we do something now.’ He didn’t promise us nothing but toil, tears, work and sweat; but the message was clear that we’re going to get it anyway.
Responding to the statement on Radio Four’s Today programme Shadow Chancellor Alistair Darling dismissed the claim made by David Cameron that the Labour government had covered up the extent of the debts it was leaving behind as ‘nonsense.’ He went on to criticise Chancellor George Osborne for not grasping the importance of maintaining growth and paying down the country’s debts.
More worryingly for the government the unions have been making threatening noises about resisting any cuts to public services made to pay down the national debt. Dave Prentiss of UNISON called the cuts a ‘chilling attack on the poor the sick and the vulnerable’, fighting talk that could well be backed by a summer of strikes likely to further damage our battered national credit rating.
This is where the ‘big society’, first of all in the shape of the consultation George Osborne has invited us all to take part in about where the axe should fall, becomes a solid entity instead of a nebulous entity in an unreadable book by Philip Blond.
Nobody knows what it will look like yet, but we won’t like it much and it will be less like the ‘big state’ than its enthusiasts hope. It will have its own set of prejudices and pet projects and be run for the most part by upper middle class people who mean well but are fundamentally clueless about the way their ‘clients’ live, what they want and what they fear. Does that sound like anything to you? To me it sounds like a return to the dead end that was Tony Blair’s ‘Third Way’ to me; and that didn’t end so well did it?
And Another Thing:
I’d like to think Diane Abbott made it onto the ballot paper in the race to be the next leader of the Labour Party on merit alone, but I just can’t convince myself that it’s the truth.
New Labour is no closer to really accepting diversity of opinion, the real issue here rather than race or gender, than it ever was. All that has happened is an election defeat has made it expedient to patronise rather than threaten the shrinking left wing of the party.
After the ballot the party leader will be a pale, stale, Oxford educated male all primed to lead them onto the sunlit uplands of political irrelevance. I hope that I’m wrong about that because were I still a party member Ms Abbott would get my vote, but I’m probably not.
I don’t know what effect the new, angry, Fabio Coppello had on the photographers he berated for taking pictures through the window of the England dressing room, but he frightens the life out of me.
What could be behind his transformation from Mr Cool into Mr Angry, my guess would be that after a run of lacklustre performances in the run up to the tournament he has realised, a little late for such a clever man, that despite his best efforts English footballers just aren’t as good as their African, South American or mainland European counterparts.