In praise of Ingsock…
It was only after I put today’s picture together that the (mis)quote, “Imagine a trainer stamping on a human face — forever” popped into my head. Not the image I’m trying to project with Sole Of Sci-Fi, which is, of course, all cuddly and warm and caring.
Never before, though, has the future of Nineteen Eighty-Four seemed so horribly possible in the UK, though the threat isn’t coming from the extreme left (Ingsoc in Orwell’s book stands for English Socialism) but the extreme right – UKIP. Most of their policies seem to point towards an intolerant society where the rights of the individual are sacrificed at the altar of “security” and “national identity”. Oh, sure, it’s extreme “thin edge of the wedge” stuff, but you can see how lower common denominator policies that appeal to the mob at the moment could easily become corrupted if UKIP ever gained power and used a democratic victory as a mandate to take things to extremes.
You only have to look at the way UKIP was pro-NHS privatisation a year or so ago when it looked like the public had lost faith in the venerable institution, but is now avidly pro-NHS because its now clear the public treasure it. UKIP just wants votes, and will say anything if it thinks that where votes lie. It’s all knee jerk reaction policy making, guided by pub politicians who make sweeping statements without even bothering to find out the full facts.
I’m more annoyed by the established parties for not fighting back with any intelligence or flair. It’s easy for UKIP to blame all our economic woes on our connections to Europe, because “Let’s pull out! We waste billions on being in Europe!” is such an easy-to-understand position, that may have some value to it. And positive action always sounds like more of a solution than keeping things the same.
But many, many business leaders think we should stay in Europe? Why? Erm – trade, exchange rates, opportunities, freedom of workforce movement. That’s what we hear. That’s the kind of amorphous, abstract concepts that pro-Europe Conservatives and Labour politicians mumble about in such a half-hearted way they sound like they’re trying to avoid the question.
I’m no economist. In fact, economics baffle me. But if so many business bosses are pro-European (and business drives our economy) then there must be valid counter arguments to UKIP’s. So why have none of our politicians managed to sum them up? Where are the spin doctors and the soundbites now? Why can’t Cameron, Osborne, Miliband and Balls argue with the same simple, clear cut passion as Farage? Doesn’t Cameron realise how much of a fudge his, “I promise I’ll hold a referendum if I’m still here this time next year…” sounds like an almighty fudge. It very probably isn’t; he just hasn’t managed to make it sound like it isn’t.
I hope they remember how to before they let the mob-fuelled UKIP grab too much power.
Having said that, there is hope. My mum – who buys the Daily Mail (because of the crossword, she argues) – said that she thought the best thing for Britain at the moment would be an Indian prime minister, because “they seem to run their businesses so well.”
Hmmm, maybe the Daily Mail isn’t quite the mind-moulding force for evil I feared it was.
See you tomorrow.
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