Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Cameron Is A Really Horrible Boyfriend. He Ruins Your Self-Esteem So You Never Leave Him

David Cameron is like the world's most horrible boyfriend. He never does anything for you, and he doesn't even pretend to be a nice boyfriend. He just tells you "you'll never get anyone better". That's why Cameron has so savagely attacked everyone, and done little else.

We talk about "apathy","disengagement", and how disillusioned voters now think "they're all the same", as though it were a politically neutral sociological phenomenon, that has spontaneously arisen. In reality, mass disillusionment was a clever electoral tactic, which has been disseminated by the right-wing press. They they knew this was an uninspiring Tory party, with no positive message and an uninspiring austerity agenda. Therefore, all alternatives had to be savagely discredited from 2005, so they looked even worse.

Depressing our expectations and optimism was helped by the widespread disillusion that followed from Iraq, Blair, the crash, the bailout, the MPs' expenses scandal and the character assassination of Gordon Brown. Even after all this, Cameron only just scraped in, failing to win a majority which, says one insider, made many Tories "furious". It's easy to see why they didn't win. The electorate didn't actively vote for the Tories; Cameron's uninspiring war of attrition against Gordon Brown did not excite voters. It just begrudgingly convinced them change had to happen.

Lowering our expectations has been very effective. It has put people off Labour just as much as the Tories, so that Cameron could then - so he thought - win in 2015 by just claiming to be the more adept economic steward. For example, just woeful 23% of people think the current government have the best policies on the NHS - the most important issue to us today. You'd think this would be cause for an instant overthrow. But it isn't, because only 36% of us think Labour - the party which founded the NHS - has the best NHS agenda.

National negativity is what has kept Cameron supported. The message is clear: we might not be that great, but all politicians are terrible. Your safest bet is us. There Is No Alternative. That is the core of the Conservative message since 2005. 
Because of this despondency, the Conservatives still retain substantial support, despite the fact people are unhappy. 47% think the country has got more unfair under the coalition - and only 12% think it has got fairer. Substantial majorities of us support measures to reduce inequality: 65% of us support the idea of a wage cap to prevent bosses earning more than 65 times what their lowest paid employees do. Labour and the Green Party offer a number of policies to address inequality - the mansion tax, non-doms, wage cap, the bankers' bonus tax. And yet neither of these parties has 65% of the vote.

We want more equality but we don't vote for the parties that promise to tackle it? Why? Probably because of our woeful, carefully engineered cynicism about politics: 63% of us think Labour will "say anything" to get elected. Therefore, we don't even vote for the parties that promise to address the issues we feel need changing!

This is the real coup of Cameron's era. He doesn't have to inspire us, he doesn't have to be lovable, and he doesn't even have to address the issues that we think should be addressed. He doesn't have to worry about not being popular - because his rivals have all been made just as unpopular too. We've been convinced that there are no alternatives, and we don't have a hope in hell.

Cameron is that horrible boyfriend who ruins your self-esteem so you never leave him. You know he doesn't make you happy any more, but you don't think you could do any better.

We don't think we ever could have an honest politician, good public services, economic equality and security. We've got uniquely downcast national expectations. We don't really believe that it's possible to be well-governed; though of course it is. 

The current national cynicism is stifling, and makes it hard to believe in better alternatives. Or, we imagine that the only alternative would be something stupidly reactionary, such as UKIP.

But, by driving voters hopes downwards, Cameron accidentally pushed them towards a Pandora's box of alternatives. Voters' expectations in politics were depressed - and it helped Cameron get one term in office - but then thousands decided to do something about it, and voted elsewhere. UKIP they have bled the Tories of votes, so that they end up no more popular than the rivals they have sought so hard to malign. Hence the current stalemate. Hopefully, that is a sign of people reasserting the fact that they do deserve a government that they actually like.


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