Skip to main content

A Cliche in the Hand

Watching David Cameron rallying the twinsets in Manchester was an unexpectedly amusing use of weekend time. "We must not put our foot on the brake", he said, "but the accelerator". A bit ho-hum as a line, but not as vacuous as "we must become the party of aspiration once again". "We must lead the debate on pensions". Well, looking round the conference hall, one could certainly see why the Tories would want to lead that debate. Exactly how, ah well, that was not on offer- this was a policy free zone. "Forward, not back". Oh wait a minute, that was a Labour cliche.

In fact, although it seemed that most of the conference was a rehash of CJ's lines from the Reggie Perrin scripts of the Seventies, it was hard not to feel a sense of amusement at the cascade of empty cliches: "a cliche to me is like a red rag to a bull, I avoid them like the plague...". Someone once said that over use of cliche was a sign of a befuddled mind, and to be honest it did look as though the Tory party had come out in their dressing gown and were urgently missing their appliance.

Ming Campbell's comment: "The Lib Dems campaign on principles, not on focus groups"- yeah, OK a cliche, but also true. The fact is that the Tories don't have two policies to rub together. They don't have too much time to fix this problem. Perhaps the new, shiny Tory Emperor...


Popular posts from this blog

Concert and Blues

Tallinn is full tonight... Big concerts on at the Song field The Weeknd and Bonnie Tyler (!). The place is buzzing and some sixty thousand concert goers have booked every bed for thirty miles around Tallinn. It should be a busy high summer, but it isn´t. Tourism is down sharply overall. Only 70 cruise ships calling this season, versus over 300 before Ukraine. Since no one goes to St Pete, demand has fallen, and of course people think that Estonia is not safe. We are tired. The economy is still under big pressure, and the fall of tourism is a significant part of that. The credit rating for Estonia has been downgraded as the government struggles with spending. The summer has been a little gloomy, and soon the long and slow autumn will drift into the dark of the year. Yesterday I met with more refugees: the usual horrible stories, the usual tears. I try to make myself immune, but I can´t. These people are wounded in spirit, carrying their grief in a terrible cradling. I try to project hop

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo

Bournemouth absence

Although I had hoped to get down to the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth this year, simple pressure of work has now made that impossible. I must admit to great disappointment. The last conference before the General Election was always likely to show a few fireworks, and indeed the conference has attracted more headlines than any other over the past three years. Some of these headlines show a significant change of course in terms of economic policy. Scepticism about the size of government expenditure has given way to concern and now it is clear that reducing government expenditure will need to be the most urgent priority of the next government. So far it has been the Liberal Democrats that have made the running, and although the Conservatives are now belatedly recognising that cuts will be required they continue to fail to provide even the slightest detail as to what they think should guide their decisions in this area. This political cowardice means that we are expected to ch