Friday, March 19, 2010

a colour change

I'm informed by one of my Polish colleagues that the previous colour scheme of this blog was too close to the nationalist insignia of Poland - so she couldn't read it without feeling uncomfortable. It went red around 18 months ago, mainly because I was seeing so much red through my anger about the economic situation - so it was supposed to be a vaguely socialist kind of thing. However I've changed it now. It doesn't mean I'm any more optimistic or less angry about inequality - in fact, I'm not, although I do think that the recession could have been much much worse than it has - the UK economy has been kept afloat by public spending -  although that's no consolation for all the people put out of work or out of their homes by the fallout from market excess. 

Anyway, we're back to blue. But that in no way should be taken as any kind of prefiguration of a potential Tory government. Here's Cameron making a bit of a fool of himself in front of some wise and sceptical students at Lewisham College, trying to "do an Obama"; but failing to connect with his audience and instead dribbling cliches in what, to my ears, comes across as patronising tones:

And a reminder, below,  of what Tory economic policy looks like in action: a weirdly schizoid combination: encouragement of laissez-faire market economics and then panic authoritarian intervention, with devastating consequences. Just listen to the smug tones of Michael Howard towards the end of the first report, and bear in mind that Cameron served a political apprenticeship of sorts as a 'special advisor' to chancellor Norman Lamont throughout the sterling crisis of '92. (OK, I'm not suggesting that the neoliberals have really been out of power for the last 13 years either, but the Tory proposal - do nothing except viciously cut public spending - would be a total disaster). And the trauma from the disastrous experiment of the ERM mixed with global free market currency runs deep in Tory DNA and probably accounts for a good chunk of the hostility to the  European project, along with a dose of old-fashioned jingoism. It's back to that strange, multi-headed Hydra of authoritarianism/moral conservatism/nationalism and libertarian free market thinking that fractures right-wing parties everywhere. But as I've written before, I think Dave, in common with lots of boys shaped by boarding school,  has a secret fetish for austerity and authority