We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

“More money for (insert government agency of choice)”

Not that anyone would know it from reading this blog, but there is a General Election taking place here in Britain later today.

Of course, I cannot and would not presume to speak for any of my fellow contributors, but for my part, my hitherto silence on this ostensibly ‘big’ issue is due entirely to boredom. I suppose I could delve into my rhetorical box of tricks and rummage around to find some sound ideological justification for denouncing the whole process as illegitimate and antithetical to genuinely liberal ideas, but I simply cannot muster the enthusiasm to do so.

If there had been anything like a real debate in this campaign or anything resembling a challenge to the prevailing intellectual hegemony then I might have been moved to add my voice to the throng. But, as it is, I cannot recall any national election being so stultifyingly dull, so suffocatingly vapid, so determinedly anodyne and strictly-by-the-numbers that the task of making a difference is rather like trying to move mountains by simply shouting at them. Some battles are not worth fighting.

And the issues? Well, there are no issues. Instead there is one, universal promise, writ large in every syllable of every soundbite of every candidate. It is a promise, nay an earnest pledge, to hose down the public sector with money. To the extent that there is any debate at all, it is merely some sporadic bickering about how widely to open the valve and the direction in which it should be aimed. This is the only constant, the sole electoral standard and the only message (so orthodoxy holds) that the public wants to hear.

I cannot say for sure whether or not this is true. If the bleatings of the pundits are to believed then something like a half (or possibly just over a half) of eligible voters will trudge along to a voting booth tomorrow to endorse the ‘new boss’ and even among those dutiful citizens, I detect little passion or genuine commitment. They will go through the motions, more out of habit than conviction. The rest merely shrug with indifference and resignation. Not even the revelations that the process is shot through with fraud seems to have stirred any ripples.

This is such a strange place to live right now. A deep wellspring of tired cynicism with the same old, same old runs congruent with an abject fear of the unfamiliar. An apparently universal conviction that none of the candidates are going to improve any single persons life by so much as an iota is inexplicably coupled with a refusal to countenance any public acknowledgement that this, in fact, the case.

For what it is worth, I expect that the government will win the election and win it handsomely and things will just grind on pretty much as before. How long will this last? I cannot say. Maybe this is some temporary trough; a mere interregnum between great periods of flux and change. Or maybe it really is the ‘end of history’? It certainly feels like it.

7 comments to “More money for (insert government agency of choice)”

  • Stehpinkeln

    From this side of the pond it looks like the Citizens figure they will get raped no matter who is elected and have decide to make the best of it. Can an entire population have battered wife syndrom?

  • Could be that. I know we had a diabolical election last year in Australia but this seems to be far worse.

  • Julian Taylor

    Well, we know for certain that a number of things will happen tomorrow – Blunkett will be reinstated to carry on as Home Secretary, as if adultery, lying to the House, fiddling expenses and misuse of public funds for his mistress should go unpunished – and the ID Card bill will be ramped up 5 years to try and push it through in this government’s life, as announced by the Dark Clown herself Hazel Blears.

    Oh, and Employers National Insurance Contributions will go up yet again …

  • I was going to write something on this, but you have said it all. The Tory’s spineless failure to challenge the prevailing assumption that More Public Services = Good and Cuts = Bad, means that they pose no alternative whatever.

    For my part, I intend to spoil my ballot paper in the most creative way I can think of. Ideas anybody?

  • Phil

    Julius: you could always POST it!!

  • Nick Timms

    When we have a system of universal suffrage it should be unsurprising that what we get from politicians are soundbites rather than policy.

    Any politician will know that nine out of ten voters are unable to pass even rudimentary Maths and English exams. They are hardly likely to be sufficiently educated to comprehend more complicated concepts.

    Perhaps the franchise should be dependent upon passing an “A” level in economic and political thought.

    One of the problems with this is that the sylabus and examination would be written a bunch of leftie teachers.

  • John K

    Julius: you could always POST it!!

    He said he wanted to spoil it, not vote Labour.