Thought for the day: Life is nature's way of delaying death.

Facebook: making sure you never lose touch with people you don't like.

Internal admin is not "industry".

Flying on a wing and a prayer may sometimes be necessary. Taking off on the same is another matter entirely.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Tories 2012: an 7 part symphony: Ist movement

In leiu of a New Year's greeting, I bring you a beginner's assessment of the coming year and an introduction to the political themes I somehow suspect will dominate the coming months. Any inferred inconclusiveness is not so much unintentional as unavoidable and, frankly, expedient; any conclusion that might be relevant today will almost certainly be irrelevant next week.

As keeping this to the 1000 word limit our modren world seems to have imposed is impossible, this has been randomly and retrospectively chopped into eight movements for the benefit of those whose time is already imposed upon more than they would like.

I would also like to welcome viewers from Russia and Ukraine who have stumbled into this dusty corner of cyberspace, according to Lord Google. Tell me, how are you finding capitalism? Good, isn't it?
While 24 solid hours of breathless coverage of empty, manufactured spontaneity on the part of drunk students in capitals around the globe may have aspired to mitigate the economic gloom and all its attendant woes and concerns, if only briefly, most were not singing in the New Year in anything other than the kind of hope that can only be born of desperation. Toasting the end of 2011 was all well and good. Glad to see the back of it myself. But it's left a lasting legacy in the shape of 2012, which starts immediately. It seems almost trite to say it, but 2012 isn't looking promising.

Nothing new here, of course. We've had bad - and worse - years before. But before our complaints are drowned in a slurry of bogus relativism admonishing us with the 1930s and various other low points in our history, some essential differences between the present situation and previous national and global crises need spelled out. First and foremost, the obvious: this is not the 1930s. This should be enough, but as reality seems to be no more stable than the Euro just now, try this for a gold standard: the planet's population only passed 2 billion in 1930; it passed 7 billion in 2011 and this 7 billion is living longer than ever before. If we were squabbling over what still seemed to be infinite resources then, when individual aspirations were considerably lower than those of today, it doesn't take much imagination to see things getting interesting, especially in the West where, for the first time in our history, we have as good as been told that our standard of living is going to fall in real terms and that people born since 1960 can expect to die poorer than their parents had been.

Many things, mainly scientific advances, have contributed to the success of this captive breeding programme. Politically, though, the most significant contributor to this swelling of our ranks was World War 2, which killed over 60 million. The Black Death was even more fecund in this respect, picking off the weak more efficently than any purge on benefits could have; we bounced back from that in style. This is not to advocate global conflagration or plague pandemic as a solution to our problems. Quite the reverse, really. These may cause massive loss of life, but they generally creates, if only by default, all the conditions that lead to overpopulation, just as mowing a lawn will provoke fresh green growth. In the long run, the best way to avoid a lawn overgrowing is simply to change our criteria for good health and never to cut it and learn to the love long grass. To stretch this analogy no further, our present gardeners are going crazy with the mower and offer us only two alternatives if we ask them to pause; scorched earth or concrete. If they aren't getting the field to themselves, nobody is going to play.

More follows.........