Thursday, May 6, 2010
an idiot's guide to casting off.
Contrary to popular belief, the phrase, "the die has been cast", owes nothing to the singular of dice.
Rather, it is a wholly historical reference to the occasion when Julius Caesar usurped the law of senate and crossed with his Legions over the Rubicon into Rome. The act of an aggressor on home turf.
"Fuck it," he might have said. Betraying the frisson of the moment.
"Jacta Alea Est" was that which was reported, though; "let the die be cast". An allusion to the irreversible process of adding ink or dye to water.
The polling stations are open. The invitation to mark one's card with an indelible 'X' - to cast the runes in a tactical vote, perhaps - has all the appeal of merely rolling the dice. Snake eyes. Three blind mice, unusually. It's hard to cut through the untruths trotted out these past few weeks with banal regularity.
There are no anarchists in the running in this constituency. We are not Greece.
If you prick us we do not bleed; we wince and rush to pour some tea.
The canvasing for this election, like those before it, has been crippled by political correctness. Ask one question, and one is ridiculed as a bigot. Ask another, and one is accused of being naive at best. Socially inept, more poignantly.
Up here, well beyond the 13th floor in the eyesore of just one more crumbling apartment block, we have received no canvasers on our doorstep. No party of any colour. Public housing is not the issue in these beleaguered times. At least not a vote winner. And, of course, it would be foolish in the extreme to attempt to sugar the pill by offering to fit a solar panel.
But. It does not stop the incessant cold calling by telephone. The hard sell on the conservatory in the sky.
As to how many visitors alighting on these pages fall short of the 'middle' ground courted by New Labour, I can only guess. The heady strata occupied by those on a joint income of £48K per annum, concerned at losing out on their current rate of child tax credits.
By contrast, the Liberal Democrat policy of an income tax exemption on the first £10K of earnings seems positively socialist. That's a minimum wage incentive for those seeking to escape the poverty trap of welfare benefits.
The grinding burden of a punitive Council Tax.
And I don't easily forget that it was Margaret Thatcher who prompted a public auction on social housing; the wholesale shortage which now exists, or those spiralling house prices which underpinned this present financial crisis.
A very real underclass exists now in the UK. An indigenous underclass. Fostered more by incompetence than design; the reluctance of successive governments to do anything more to tackle its root cause than blithely repeat the phrase like an empty mantra.
While awarding charitable status to profiteering organizations bent on passing round the begging bowl.
In essence, New Labour - like its Conservative predecessor - chose to bank on deregulated financial markets to return it to office. And balked at the last minute when faced with a domino collapse and the erosion of its redefined popular vote.
Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask nothing at all. The incumbent is blameless, the nominal inquisitor peppers his speech with 'fresh' until his policies resemble a tampon commercial. If we are in fact bleeding out now, rest assured it can be dressed up as ushering in a collective menopause; all that is required being a wad of tissue to stem the gush of public spending.
As expected, too, the third man has been roundly derided as a Eurocentric spiv. If not quite routed. A flash in the pan just as the big guns were looking a little bit flushed. I'm sorely disappointed he did not capitalize on his earlier success and kick the two headed cur utterly senseless while it sat in its puddle of piss.
For all his seeming candor, at this late juncture the tailoring looks set to come unstitched. One wants to warm to policy but it all seems a tad unstructured.
Still. We are heading for a hung parliament, we are warned. As if this constant tug of war demands only two hands on the rope.
Well. Let them eat cake, frosted with glass. We are fresh out of pies. Credulity.