The Tories have been playing a game that looks a lot like the bar room argument from an old Simpsons episode.
At Moe’s Tavern…
Barney: And I say, England’s greatest Prime Minister was Lord Palmerston!
Wade Boggs: Pitt the Elder!!
Barney: Lord Palmerston!!!
Wade Boggs: Pitt the Elder!!!! [pokes Barney]
Barney: Okay, you asked for it, bud! [punches him out]
Moe: Yeah, that’s showing him, Barney! [scoffing] Pitt the Elder…
Barney: Lord Palmerston!!!! [punches Moe] (from www.snpp.com/episodes)
Except in the Tories’ case, it’s a survey on “greatest Tory ever” and the Conservative Party show less understanding of political reality than Barney and Moe.
(I won’t make any jokes like “the only good Tory is..” Some, eg David Davies, have even been known to do the right thing on occasion.)
Ironically, given the present global meltdown of the financial system, they chose Mrs Thatcher over alternative Tory leaders such as Churchill and Disraeli. Hmm. (Lord Palmerston was both a Tory (Conservative) and a Whig (Liberal) according to wikipedia, so maybe he doesn’t count. Pitt the Elder was a Whig so he definitely wouldn’t count anyway.)
You can’t just blame Margaret Thatcher – you can blame the idiots who fawned on her and voted for her, for a start. Mainly, you can blame the global tide of neo-liberal economic policies.
But it was her mission to dismantle most of what remained of the UK manufacturing sector, giving people the bizarre ideas that
- as long as the rich are getting ever richer, the economy must be sound
- messing about with money is a reliable basis on which to base a national economy
- rising property prices are somehow putting wealth into the economy as a whole rather than making a few property speculators wealthy
- private companies are so much more efficient than nationalised companies that the taxpayer will magically save money by letting private companies profit from providing public services
- and plenty more than doesn’t stand the test of a moment’s consideration, if you factor in the awareness that markets fluctuate
- but makes lots of sense if your backers are going to profit from your “reforms”
(Amazingly, the nuLab part of the Labour Party is also mesmerised by this tosh.)
It’s quite funny that the Tories are choosing the moment at which the mad vapour-industries of finance are self-destructing to align themselves with the personification of the stupidity that allowed these industries free rein. Not as funny as the Simpsons, admittedly. Moe and Barney could probably form a more effective government.