Thursday, May 6, 2010

tumbling dice

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Rather, it is a wholly historical reference to the occasion when Julius Caesar usurped the law of senate and crossed with his Legions over the Rubicon into Rome.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.


@eloh said...

You could just as well written this from the states.

Maybe it's the first phase of "the new world order"... everybody drowns and grabs the first hand up. (?)

Oh, yeah...except for the Chinese...

ib said...

The spam with noodles has just been deleted.

I wandered down to the polling station earlier and registered my vote. For what it is worth. The place was deserted except for the attending clerk.

I didn't encounter one single person on my route there or back.

Save for one man drinking out a bottle in a paper sack. Sitting in the shrubbery just off the footpath.

Now, granted this was in the early afternoon. A lot of voters will have been at work. Even so... I have no idea yet as to whether my own experience was indicative of an especially low turnout.

The polling stations are just closing as I type.

Good to hear from you, @eloh.

Happy Hour...Somewhere said...

Your election sounds as edifying as ours here in California. Voting for a new governor and senator. I cannot believe we are running Gov. Moonbeam again but then Meg Whitman sounds almost as silly. I am watching your election with interest.

I'm not sure you can reach that far back and blame poor Margaret for the woes of the last decade, but I guess as things unravel, eventually you get a pile of yarn where there used to be a sweater.

Have you ever read Theodore Dalyrmple? I just bought one of his books after the recent passage of ObamaCare since eventually we will have our version of the NHS.

The turn out for elections here is strange...low for the Democrats, high for Independents and Republicans, even though there are heated battles everywhere.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

The birching parlours of London are overjoyed with the hashed Conservative victory.

the saucer people said...

When they said its a hung parliament....I was thinking more along the lines of the Billie Holiday song:

"Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root...."

Now thats my idea of a "Hung Parliament" ;)

I imagine here in the UK more people voted for the contestants of Big Brother/Strictly whatver the fuck its called Dancing/Pop Idol than they did last for the candidates of all political parties last Thursday...did I vote? Nah, it reached the point of pure simulation, an illusion of binary opposition...I saw the political broadcasts and I was reminded of the end moment in Animal Farm where the pigs look at the men and vice-versa and no-one can tell who is who anymore.

ib said...

Happy Hour:

Believe me, there is a lot of shit I am inclined to lay at the door to No. 10 then occupied by Margaret Thatcher; with its honeymoon suite flung open to receive Ronald Reagan at a moment's notice.

I have been attacked in the past for being naively eager to paint those two as architects of a doomed new world economy, but blame them I do.

As for Dalrymple - Anthony Daniels, more prosaically - I have come across an article or two of his in various newspapers here, but I've never really warmed to his "compassionate" conservatism. Probably, I merely mistrust any writer who cut his teeth in prison psychiatry.

That's one step too far into the black maw of establishment for me.

The turnout here was too high for our Victorian infrastructure to cope with, you will have noticed; just a shade over 50%, as I understand it. As one African commentator observed, that's quite low when there are no armed troops to intimidate the electorate.

ib said...

Beer, I am only surprised that more Conservatives did not claim for gimp masks and whipping posts as part of their expenses submission.

Submission being the operative word.

Löst Jimmy said...

ib your critique of New Labour is a thoroughly accurate read.

ib said...

Well. I thought New Labour might have died with Gordon Brown.

Then I switched on the magic lantern to see David Miliband in the running.

Cue Alex Harvey.

"Next? NEXT??..."