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Saturday 21 September 2013

Sometimes The Final Option Is The Best One

According to Einstein, insanity is defined as repeating the same actions over and over again and expecting different results, so presumably the same logic applies to the regular election of the same old political parties in Great Britain by us, the electorate, although as to whether that makes us insane, the political parties insane, or the entire electoral process insane, is clearly a question that each and everyone of us must decide for ourselves.

I also wonder just how many of us actually remember how utterly obnoxious most of were when we were seventeen, with that typical, been there, done that, can't tell me anything, sort of attitude; and whether or not we might have changed our views and opinions somewhat over the period of the next forty years or so? In other words, would we still do the same things, act the same way, hold the same opinions, as we might have done when we were still in secondary school, when we really didn't know any better. If most people are like me, then greater age has brought greater wisdom, confirming that old adage of "you can't put an old head on young shoulders".

Funny then that most of our main news outlets were trying to promote a story about how a seventeen-year-old youngster, named Nigel Farage, was reported to have held extremist views whilst he was at prep school, presumably in an attempt to make the case that he probably still held such prejudiced views some forty years later. Now, whilst I realise that some people believe that Mr Farage is a very special person, being asked to accept that he is unique amongst men and has somehow managed to carry his perceived teenage prejudices right through to adulthood and his leadership of the United Kingdom Independence Party is just a step too far, isn't it? Isn't it probably more likely that the entire story is entirely the creation of a disgruntled ex-teacher, who doesn't agree with Mr Farage's politics and is just out to make mischief for their former pupil, cunningly enabled by the so-called journalist's at Channel 4, the BBC and the rest of the mainstream media?

It cannot be a coincidence can it that a BBC journalist managed to capture the infantile humour of some unknown tech wizard, who appears to have deliberately manipulated the large outdoor screen, which appeared to adorn Mr Farage with an Adolph Hitler-like moustache, just as he happened to speaking to a national audience? It is perhaps little wonder that the BBC's long held reputation for fairness and transparency has suffered so badly, here in the country of its birth, when it chooses to stoop to the level of some restrictive state controlled news agency. Perhaps the next big move by the BBC should be to poach one or two of those North Korean television presenters that we occasionally see on our screens, at least we might amuse ourselves as we try to figure out whether they're actually male or female, as they dictate the daily party broadcast into our living rooms.

Of course the big news story of yesterday, or so we have been told by the same old culprits, including the BBC and Channel 4, quickly followed by the rest of the sheepish mainstream media, was that Godfrey Bloom had chosen to refer to a gathering of women as "sluts"; and then smacked that great political investigator, Michael Crick, over the head with a magazine or publication of some sort. Although "sluts" wouldn't have been my own first choice of word, there is ample evidence to suggest that Mr Bloom had in fact used to word to describe women who were untidy, unhomely and disorganised, to the extent that some of his female audience actually caught the joke and laughed, whilst other did not! To make matters worse, Mr Bloom then allowed himself to be irritated by the aforementioned Michael Crick into smacking the troublesome journalist over the head with some paperwork, which is probably the sort of reaction that Mr Crick had hoped for.

As a dedicated political agent provocateur that is Mr Crick's special forte', to irritate the shit out of politicians, so that they might react in the most unprofessional way possible in front of the cameras. Yesterday, he must have thought that all of his birthday's had come at the same time, having had one of UKIP's leading lights react in such an amateurish way to his prodding, especially in the full glare of the national media! One suspects that that was always Mr crick's intention, as that is what he does, although that still doesn't excuse Mr Bloom's personal use of highly irregular language, which can easily be misinterpreted by those who choose to do so, nor his decision to swat away the offending journalist in the manner that he did.

However, the voting public and the mainstream media need to put things into perspective. Our elected representatives are not super-human beings, despite our wish that they were; and are subject to exactly the same sort of urges, passions, intolerances and weaknesses that we all are. After all, it wasn't that long ago that we were all sitting agog, having been informed that dozens of our MP's had been fiddling the public purse for years; and had been making tens of thousands of pounds in the process. Just recently, Bill Walker, an independent MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) decided to resign his seat after having been found guilty of some twenty-odd charges of domestic abuse, over the period of ten years or so. The Conservative MP, Tim Loughton, was forced to apologise to his Liberal Democrat colleague, Sarah Teather, after he publicly criticised her appointment as Families Minister, because she had failed to produce any children of her own.

Michael Martin, the former Speaker of the House was forced to resign after he had approved the allowances system that so many MP's were abusing; and then risked the reputation of his office by trying to defend the abuses that were clearly evident. As a result, he was thought to be the first Speaker ever to be forced out of office since 1695, a truly damning indictment of this country's entire political system.

Not that Mr Martin's resignation or subsequent loss of Parliamentary career was the only one lost as a result of the MP's expenses scandal. Jacqui Smith, a former Labour Home Secretary chose to contest her seat at the following General Election, but subsequently lost it, as did Tony McNulty, a former Minister for Employment. Geoff Hoon, a former Labour Defence Secretary chose not to stand in the subsequent elections, as did his colleague Kitty Ussher. Other Labour MP's who fell victim to the expenses scandal; and who were either pushed, or decided to jump, included Ben Chapman, David Chaytor, Harry Cohen, Jim Devine, Ian Gibson, Eric Illsley, Denis MacShane, Anne Moffat, Margaret Moran and Elliot Morley.

At the same time a significant number of Conservative MP's also considered their positions in light of the expenses scandal and chose not to stand in the subsequent General Elections. These luminaries included; Andrew MacKay, Julie Kirkbride, Douglas Hogg, Anthony Steen, Peter Viggers, Ann Winterton, Nicholas Winterton, Christopher Fraser and Ian Taylor.

That is not to forget the Liberal Democrat MP, David Laws, who was forced to resign from the coalition cabinet, formed after the 2010 Election, for the financial wrongdoing that he committed prior to that date. It is also noteworthy that very little has been of the fact by our mainstream media that Mr Laws has somehow managed to restore his reputation; and now holds the office of Minister of State for Schools and the Cabinet Office, almost as if he had done nothing wrong! And yet his breaches of the parliamentary expenses system was described by the Parliamentary Standards and Privileges Committee as "a series of serious breaches of the rules, over a considerable period of time"

It is also worth pointing out that our country's unelected house of representatives is little better than the Commons, when it comes to committing affronts to the laws of the land. Baron Bhatia was suspended from the House of Lords for eight months and ordered to repay over £27,000 in expenses, whilst Baron Clarke of Hampstead admitted fiddling his expenses, to make up for not being paid a salary. Lord Hanningfield was subsequently found guilty of six charges of false accounting, whilst Baron Paul was suspended for four months and ordered to repay nearly £42,000 in expenses. Baron Taylor of Warwick was found guilty of six charges at Southwark Crown Court, whilst Baroness Uddin was investigated by the police and was ordered to repay £120,000 in expenses, as well as being suspended from the House of Lords from October 2010 until May 2012.

When one considers the case of Godfrey Bloom publicly complaining about British taxpayer's money being sent to "Bongo Bongo Land", rather inappropriately referring to female delegates as "sluts", or slapping a nuisance reporter around the head with a piece of paper, how does that really compare against those hundreds of elected representatives, from all three major political parties, essentially robbing the public purse, not just once, but dozens of times? Gordon Brown famously referred to one constituent as a "bigot", John Prescott actually got into a bout of fisticuffs with an egg throwing oik, Peter Mandelsson had to resign more than once over his personal financial arrangements, yet their constituents were still happy to vote for them in subsequent elections!

Although I fully accept that Michael Crick is a sly, weasley protagonist of a reporter, who will go that extra mile to irritate and provoke the crap out of his political prey, I don't accept that the BBC has taken against UKIP, just because of what it is, or indeed what it stands for. In my own view, its treatment of UKIP, its annual convention and its representatives are all just symptomatic of a national media organisation that is following its own internal political agenda, rather than the wider public one that its charter demands. With its often second rate journalistic standards and having chosen to adopt the latter day media mantra of "never let the truth get in the way of a good story", the BBC was a product of its time, but unfortunately that time is long past.

I personally like the political realism of the UKIP representatives, with their don't knows, could be's and the rest of the uncertainties that come with the massive responsibilities of running an entire country. After all, can anyone tell me where the acual evidence that Nigel Farage couldn't do a better job than David Cameron at running the country; that Paul Nuttall couldn't do a better job than Nick Clegg, that Professor Tim Congdon couldn't do a better job than George Osborne, that Steph McWilliam couldn't do a better job than Jeremy Hunt?

No politician is born to be Prime Minister, Chancellor, Foreign Secretary, or Minister of State for whatever department! When all's said and done most of the actual work is being carried out by an army of professional administrators and bureaucrats, the Civil Service, with elected politicians just guiding the overall policy direction. No-one really believes that George Osborne, a history graduate, actually sits down with a pen, paper and a calculator; and works out Britain's economic sums do they? Who would you rather trust with the nation's finances though, a history graduate, or a professional economist who knows how to work figures out and more importantly, what they mean?

Just how many times do we need to keep picking the wrong people for the job of running our country? Let's face it, if either Labour or Conservatives were that clever then they would have been in government since the Second World War; and we wouldn't have to bother with national elections at all. The truth is, at present the three mainstream parties in Britain are not only led by the worst set of professional politician's this country has ever had, but they have also run out of ideas. They've been so busy fighting over the same common ground that they have become indistinguishable from one another in the eyes of the wider electorate, which goes some way to explaining the widespread public apathy that dominates our everyday political discourse.

If nothing else, maybe we need the likes of Nigel Farage, Tim Congdon, Paul Nuttall and Steph McWilliam to give our staid political system a bloody good shake, to mix things up a bit; and allow the British electorate to feel valued in the political process once again. If the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties are the three main traditional options for the people of our country; and they have all failed in their task, then maybe we all need to consider other options, it may not be as bad as we think!

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