I was chatting a few weeks ago with a friend. I will spare their blushes and just say that they work for one of the major political parties. They admitted that this election campaign is going to be the nastiest in living memory. I am inclined to agree, if only because it will be carried out at the intellectual level of the playground insult.
We used to argue about issues in this country. Say what you will about Thatcherism (and I have – and at very GREAT length!) but at least the rows were about policy. Nowadays we seem trapped in a Monty Python sketch:
“Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes. (short pause) No it isn’t.”
Prime Minister’s Questions is the nadir of this dumbing down, the excellent Grauniad cartoonist Martin Rowson summing it up nicely here:- http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2015/feb/11/martin-rowson-british-democracy
But worse than this puerile, public schoolboy crapulence is that we are constantly presented with a false dichotomy.
A few nights ago I put up something on Facebook to the effect that we needed to rid ourselves of the out of touch, millionaire chancellor who thinks that rooting out tax dodging is not his job. This got the, sadly, very predictable response that “the alternative is worse”. I’m sorry, but that’s like voting to be rogered up the arse with the rough end of a pineapple because the pineapple’s opposite number is a porcupine.
There are other alternatives, it’s just that, as a country, we’d rather watch Strictly Dumb Prancing than have a proper political debate. “The alternative is worse” only because politics in this country is conducted at the “Yah Sucks Boo” level, which means we get fed facile platitudes by lowest common denominator mediocrities.
Until May the 8th, therefore, you all stink of poo!