Tuesday 25 November 2008

Not much of a toaster..

In the third world African country where I used to live, it was the habit of politicians to mis-spend and divert funds during their time in office showing almost total contempt for the people who elected them. By and large, they reasoned, the voters were too stupid to realise what they were up to but - if nothing else - people enjoyed the carnival atmosphere of election day and could be relied upon to turn out and vote. So electioneering was simple - the Government politician for each constituency would simply make a small, direct, promise to each of the families in that area. Normally he would promise that, if elected, the Government would buy them a toaster (I'm serious).. if he had been particularly corrupt he might run to a rice cooker or some larger piece of practical kitchen equipment.

In return the people became disinterested in Politics - A Change of Government? "Why bother?", they said - "Same shit, different flies". At least their kitchens were well equipped (even if they often lacked the electricity to operate them).

Whether or not Darling's complicated tinkering yesterday amounts to a toaster or a rice cooker I am not sure. This much is clear - the bill we are going to pay ought to buy us a complete country kitchen and possibly the farmhouse to wrap it in.

From the staggering reaction to the debt figures yesterday, and the powerlessness of the Front bench to produce anything worth talking about in terms of a stimulus; one thing is clear. The vainglorious behaviour, the spin, the deceit and the smoke and mirrors were yesterday shown up once and for all in the arc light of a one trillion pound National debt.

We have reached a fork in the road and, while neither destination is clear, yesterday should have been enough to show most rational people who they do not want as their guide.


Anonymous said...

The difference is that much third world corruption is based on stealing their natural resources - the loss to the public is a lack of development.

The UK is short on natural resources, our wealth is created by the work of the private sector. When wealth is misappropriated it is not 'lost opportunity' it is straight 'theft'.

6000 said...

The toaster was never any good when they couldn't afford the bread to put in it...