Who am I again?
There are some moments in history when I wonder if it’s just me. Yesterday, a bit of files-snooping by the snappers outside No 10 managed to establish that the boss of Standard Chartered Bank had been briefing David Cameron on ‘the perils of leaving the euro’.
It’s not just the crazy idea that Cameron still thinks any banker anywhere might have something useful (or even accurate) to say about anything. It’s the weird back-to-front way this banker is warning against leaving the EU. Outside in the slightly broader and quotation-strewn planet where Dan Hannan lives, the key debate going on is should we have a referendum about when we leave the EU.
Throughout its long and largely fortunate history, Britain has, I realise, been late for everything; but this is ridiculous. Perhaps it’s time for me to go into full Scameron cliche mode and say “Look, let’s be clear about this – what we need is a wake-up call”.
We are not in the eurozone. This means we are on the outside, Third Division track of a piss-ant fifth-rate muddled and anti-democratic lunatic asylum being rapidly run into the ground by a mixture of failed poets, former Communists, rejected national politicians, and one-trick austerity sadists. Basically, we get strangled by all the daft rules, ignored on all the big decisions, and then sent a bill to help bail out a project we warned was doomed from Day One. What does David Cameron need to give him a vision of all this, the Palomar Observatory telescope?
Now OK, I know there is a sector of Sloggers who are going to pile in here and tell me that Dave is (a) thick, (b) part of a secret coven designed to enslave us all and/or (c) being secretly paid vast sums by Manuelo Barroso to shut up and go with the flow. But none of that will wash. Sorry, but it won’t.
David Cameron has a good First from Oxford. He is, let’s not beat about the bush here, filthy rich and an Old Etonian who, by some odd electoral quirk, has wound up occupying Ten Downing Street. Both now and in the future (after the memoirs and lecture tours start) Scameron is going to have all the money anyone could ever need – or spend. Becoming a billionaire is not what motivates this man.
The problem is, I’m at a loss to know WTF does. He knows British bankers are greedy and dysfunctional. He knows ordinary people can’t afford the healthcare model to which Lansley is dragging us. He knows the EU is a disaster area. And he must – surely – know that what remains unsayable is nevertheless true: take the euro out of the EU, and the whole idea is knackered. That eventuality means either going back to being a genuinely free-trade area, or joining Merkel’s panzers on the way to the promised land of FiskalPakt. Which one of those would Dave rather go for? Search me, squire. Apart from his predeliction for The Leg Up, we know nothing at all about the real views of this Prime Minister.
Out there – far beyond this mess called the European Union – there is a voracious appetite for British goods. Of course it can’t be built overnight, and of course it can’t be based purely on cuddling up to our former colonies. But think on this: with a 5% share of Chinese consumers at the luxury/craftsman goods end of the market, Britain would be – by a country mile – the richest State in Europe.
David Cameron’s idea of building trade with India is to take half the civil service with him, several deadbeats from The British Council, and offer a lot of promises to let millions more migrants into Britain. Add to this a judicious dollop of patronising grovel – a thinly-disguised display of arrogant subservience – and you have what the classic State-led socialist would do. The PM’s India junket of two years ago was pure Denis Healey.
We will only break into the high-margin luxury end of emerging Asia by doing the following:
1. Making multinational fat cats based in Britain pay a fair rate of tax.
2. Reducing the national tax, local tax and bureaucracy of entrepreneurial creative businesses.
3. Abolishing the British Council and telling the Mandarins to butt out.
4. Offering massive tax rebates to any business exporting more than 50% of its output.
5. Turning up with the right product with the right brand personality to be snapped up by newly rich Asians and South Americans.
Does Dave want to do any of these things? I haven’t a clue.
David Cameron’s behaviour, oddly, does mirror his attitudes perfectly. With most politicians, what they do and what they say are strangers to each other. But on the whole – excepting Newscorp and Jeremy *unt – our Prime Minister’s actions perfectly reflect his statements: they are both all over the place.
That’s why the Conservative Party is losing ground. That’s why nobody knows what he stands for. That’s why foreigners don’t know what to make of him. With Dave, what you see is what you get: lots of conflicting signals thrown into a blender.
We cannot go on like this, we really mustn’t. The time has come for the Malcolm Bradys of this world to grow a pair and take back the Conservative Party from the crypto-Blairites of Tooting Norton.
The time has not yet come for those of us who want rid of all of them in favour of genuinely fresh thinking and courage: the courage to face a world that is never going to be the same, and the honesty to stop lying fifty times a day about the depth of doo-doo we’re in. That time won’t come until things get desperate enough for people to pull themselves away from Simon Cowell, love-rats, houses in the sun, double-lard pizzas and Murdoch’s tit parade.
But the big question still remains: how is that going to be achieved if the only thing Britain can summon up any more is lethargy? I’ve suggested a dozen ways at least I think this could be done. I’ve also said many times I don’t think it involves being a political Party. And if you want to know what I’ve written about this over the years, go to the Search button and press in radical realism, accountable leadership, internet as opposition and so forth – or read things here marked ‘About’, ‘mutuality’. ‘getting by’, ‘crash 2’ and so forth. Just doesn’t leave smart-assed bollocks saying trollist things like “And just how do you propose to do that clever-dick?”.
Because if you do, it’ll be the last thread you make here. Cheers.
Later today: the truth about the Greek deficit.