Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Off with their heads

When monarchists get desperate, they start claiming that having a royal family brings in tourist millions. It is, of course, nonsense: the most profitable royal palace in the world is Versailles, which is distinctly unoccupied thanks to some unpleasantness in 1789 (and on several dates subsequently).

So it's bloody cheeky of our moronic Chancellor to suddenly blame Britain's latest awful economic figures on the extra bank holiday imposed on us for the most recent royal wedding. Apart from anything else, I'd have thought that economies don't stop on those days - the service sector (flags, ice-creams, barbecues and beers, day-tripper petrol sales etc) takes over for a day. Certainly the papers were full of claims of an economic boost.

So Gideon's claim is both nonsensical and a sign of panic. In reality, the economy is tanking because he's fixated on ideological imperatives: 'free-market' signifiers underpinned by state support for his friends in the banking sector. What we actually need is massive state intervention - such as gargantuan green tech and infrastructure improvements - which will modernise the economy and improve our quality of life, while employing millions. But because the Tories don't believe in the state doing anything other than bailing out their investment banking mates (rather than bailing us out), it won't happen.

As to the monarchists: I'd have far more respect for them if they restricted their arguments to the symbolic/spiritual/intangibles. Once they rely on the value-for-money idea, they're admitting the distinct possibility that if the situation changes (and I think it has), then their idols could be unceremoniously retired on the advice of an accountant. So essentially, they don't really believe in monarchism at all - just carnival barking.

I'm a Republican, so ironically, I actually do believe in the importance of symbolism and sentiment - more than these economic monarchists. Having a monarch tells the citizens that the most important aspects of a society are forever closed to them. I'm an Irish citizen: I could move there and run for President (on a books/science/atheism/internment for speculators and bankers ticket) if I wanted. But not here.

The usual boring argument against an elected head of state is that you'd get some awful tosser like Richard Branson or Alan Sugar elected. I doubt it: Ireland's Presidents have tended to be rather better than its Taoisighs (Prime Ministers). In any case, the point of democracy is that you'd get someone the majority wanted. If you can't accept that, you're not a democrat. A country which elected Branson or Sugar would be a disgusting nation - but at least you'd be able to tell from one glance, rather than putting lipstick on the pig by having a hereditary set of inbred imports with good manners.

So just in case we do get Democracy in the UK, here's my ticket:
a large number of you would require remedial re-education in austere camps. Sorry, but you've done some awful things. ITV. Reading the News of the World. Crying over Diana. Not just buying Louise Bagshawe's books, but electing her to Parliament. Deciding cars are more important than people who actually live in cities. Permitting the ongoing existence of the Daily Mail. Hating 'Europe' and living in a World War 2 fantasy. Moaning about immigrants (I always assume that if you don't like 'asylum seekers', then you actively enjoy the idea of people being tortured. 
Anyone who isn't a farmer but owns an SUV would be chained to the central reservation of Spaghetti Junction for a year or two. 
Paying school fees? Then you'll be taxed at 90% and rehoused in Tower Hamlets. To remind you of what you aspired to, you'll be caned on the bottom on the hour by a street thug chanting 'it never did me any harm'.  
Anyone who voted for university cuts and school building improvement abolition to be served/treated/taught only by uneducated illiterates. 
Voted Tory? Lobotomy. In the private medical sector, operations to be performed by the lowest bidder. 
Connived in closing libraries? A year in a cell with a Jeffrey Archer audiobook playing on a loop, 24 hours a day. 
Hunting fan? You'll love your new accommodation. In the lion enclosure. 
What can we do for Michael Gove and David Willetts? I'd like to imprison them in the Sun's newsroom, and force them to write and read out the astrology column over and over again, sustained only on the worst kebabs known to humanity. Because that's the society they're imposing on the rest of us, while reserving the delightful existence of their class for themselves. Once a month they'll be put in stocks and forced to recite dissertations on Tourism and Leisure Management in front of a jeering crowd. 
Jeremy Clarkson will only be permitted to travel by skateboard, or perhaps a pedal car. Citizens will be permitted to punch him in the face every time he essays one of those long pauses which always herald an offensive comment.
Tax evaders (corporate and individual) will be dyed blue. If they interact with anything paid for out of the public purse, they can be charged on the spot by any and all passing taxpayers. So: roads. Clean air. Pavements.  People who've been to school (even private schools, which are all subsidised by being charities!). Subsidised opera. Historic buildings. Healthcare. Fire engines. Police. Defence. 

I could go on… Add your own policies in the comments box.


Sinéad said...

Just on a minor point, and only because I know you'd want to know, the plural of Taoiseach is Taoisigh.

I'd agree with you that most Irish Taoisigh aren't worth the time it takes to get the spelling of their title right, but would just like to give an official thumbs-up to Enda Kenny for last week's blasting of the Vatican, their appalling handling of institutionalised child abuse in general and their behaviour in regard to the Cloyne Report in particular. It was long overdue for someone in a position of power in this country to stand up and make such a statement publicly. I was very proud of him.

Even if it were a calculated move to distract attention away from the closure of the A&E at Roscommon General the week before and to soften up the taxpayers before another crippling budget, I am still glad that finally someone stood up and said what had to be said. Well done, sir.

The Plashing Vole said...

Thanks S. If'd I'd given it a moment's more thought I'd have remembered that.

I'm hugely impressed by Enda too. So unexpected. Despite the misery, good times might be around the corner after all. He just needs to mete out the same treatment to the financial sector too.