Friday, November 26, 2004

House Points

Here is this week's column from Liberal Democrat News.

State opening

It’s the Queen I feel sorry for. She dresses in full fig: crown, white gloves and reading glasses. She rounds up her retinue: not just men in tights, but boys in tights and ladies in waiting too. She rides to Westminster.

And all she is given to recite are gobbets of Blairspeak like “a modern and comprehensive framework” and “more security and opportunity for all”.

She should have brought the Internet Trawler Pursuivant, in doublet, hose and buckled shoes, to slip her the script of the BBC’s The Power of Nightmares. It would have made far more informative reading.

Then she could have said that politicians:
have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand.
American neoconservatives, and the radical Islamists … created today’s nightmare vision of a secret, organized evil that threatens the world. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. And those with the darkest fears became the most powerful.
The speech she was given to read confirmed this analysis. We are promised a happier approach from Gordon Brown next week. Though the chancellor’s career confirms P. G. Wodehouse’s observation that it is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.

But this week the government is dealing in nightmares. Since it came to power there have been 27 criminal justice acts. We have more police officers and crime is falling. But Labour pretends to believe the times are darker than ever, so the Queen had to tell us all about terrorism, crime, anti-social behaviour and ID cards.

The inevitable ID cards. Every time you hear a minister calling for them it is for a different reason. Illegal working. Identity theft. Benefit fraud. International terrorism. Whatever the issue, cards are the answer. They sound more and more like a solution looking for a problem.

Matthew Taylor said on Tuesday: “The Government is focusing on fear, whereas the Liberal Democrats offer hope.” I’m not sure you can use “whereas” in a sound bite, but he is right.

No comments: