Polemic!

Issue 1
Dec 1996

If you feel a hand on your wallet, how do you know if it's a pickpocket or a politician on the grab?
If you hear a voice telling you how much good it's going to do you, it's a politician!

How many Liberal councillors does it take to get Romiley's pavements flat and free of rainwater-traps?
None! If they weren't there to waste the Council Tax, it could be spent on what it was raised to accomplish.

What is the art of political oratory?
Making people believe you're "on their side", no matter how untrue that may be.

How do you spot a true politician?
He's someone who pretends to take himself seriously and is outraged when others fail to do likewise.

SAD BUT TRUE

"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even when there's no river."
   Nikita Krushchev.

"A politician is an animal that can sit on a fence and keep both ears to the ground."
   H.L. Menken.

"A statesman is a politician who has been dead ten or fifteen years."
   Harry S. Truman.

 

ON YER BIKE, BAND-WAGONMAN

"What we need is less government, not more!" What a shame that this noble state is often promised and, sadly, never delivered. Maybe, if we make a special effort, we can manage this time around to be "Tough on government and tough on the need for excessive government." Now, there's a really good political slogan!
   Nobody, apart from those being put out of a job, will challenge this craving for fewer Grand Old Men and posturing paper tigers in public office. Not when they issue endless promises of cutting red tape while running a personal red-tape factory. Not when the knees of the political jerks are in constant motion as they leap at each passing band-wagon.
   There are few more sickening sights than politicians in a feeding frenzy around a "cause". Even if some have genuine feelings about the matter, the Cynical British Voter knows posturing when she and he sees it and the perceived value of the politician as a tradesperson falls even lower.
   Indeed, it is a well recognized fact that the Great British Public feels safer when politicians are on holiday and the nation's meddlers are deprived of the privilege of creating more bad laws often just so that the legal profession can argue over them at vast public expense.

BUT WHAT CAN WE DO?

If only we could have a government that takes no action without thought; rather than feeling obliged to do any old thing just to be seen to be doing something. If only we could have a government that would resist political knee-jerk reactions.
   Sadly, the only way to reach this happy state involves stirring the Great British Public into making the effort to issue louder and longer cries of protest when the lunatics get too far out of hand.
   Sadly, the Apathy Party's membership remains huge and the politicians are always going to get away with it. Even so, we can still dream of what might be.
   Most decisions need the benefit of hindsight to correct mistakes or to provide a rosy glow of satisfaction if they were right. We really need is a contemplative government that is great at deciding that something needs to be done but painfully slow at actually doing anything.


MORE ITALIANS!

In fact, this country would be a far safer place if the meddlers and the vested interests at the Palace of Westminster were swamped in a tide of idlers and time-servers. [Even more than we have at present Ed?] When the government is merely marking time, it cannot be ruining our lives! We need to cultivate a more Italian approach to public life. The Italians are well known for their willingness to sign up to anything that comes out of the Brussels Brilliant Idea Mill and their extreme reluctance to enforce regulations when they are in place.
   It's a radical thought, true, but what if we could encourage more nepotism and low self-esteem in those charged with enforcing destructive regulations? Perhaps we do away with the traditional fascist British official, who is more interested in closing down businesses and putting people out of work than in public safety.
   Perhaps we could bring in tribes of bumblers, who would skive off work as a protest against their low pay, spend ages filling in a single form and never get round to submitting it for processing and generally reduce the unemployment statistics while doing nothing destructive.
   Of course, there are times when things absolutely have to be done, but all we need for that is a special emergency force of sensible people to leap into action while the bumblers are still sharpening their pencils. . .

Polemic!

Issue 2
Jan 1997

Just Who Are They
Trying To Kid?

A Christmas TV ratings war? Hey, listen up, guys. You need people fighting battles to have a war. What battles were they fighting on Christmas Day, for instance?
   Casablanca on BBC 2? A piece of classic cinema history for your delight and entertainment? Nah! The Beeb blew their budget on Jurassic Park on BBC 1, so they were just filling in with a cheapskate, black and white war film instead of an expensive colour film some people might not have seen.
   And what was on ITV and Channel 4 while all this was going on? Who remembers! Who watched any of it!
   Ratings war? Rating phoney war, more like!

The Liberals can promise the Earth, the Sun, the Moon and the stars, knowing they're not going to have to form the next government.
   Labour will promise the Earth while preparing 99 excuses why they can't deliver if elected.
   The Tories can't promise anything much because they expect to get back in and have to do something about their election promises

Labour are a bunch of guys in flat caps with ferrets down their trousers. Well, aren't they? And that Tony Blair. That's not a silly grin on his face - he's having to grit his teeth because of what the ferret is up to!

 

THE LIBERALS' RICH UNCLE

The government allocates money to councils using a formula that takes into account the number of children, schools, old people, roads, etc. in the region.
   Naturally, any formula will be generous in some areas and mean in others, and every council complains every year about government meanness, and keeps quiet when it makes a profit.
   But when all the numbers have been crunched in the computer, the result is that each council knows exactly how much money it will receive for the coming financial year, no matter how unfair.
   As there has been no change in the system this year, each council knows that it will get the same as last year, plus inflation, plus a little more for selected items.
   The government hands over a council's allocation with details of how much it has allowed for education, roads, etc. But these figures are only recommendations. In practice, the council is free to spend the money any way it chooses – rather like a student grant. That money is paid into the student's bank account and the student then decides whether to spend it on books and stationery, or to blow it on booze.
   What Stockport's 'student' council is admitting now is that it has spent so much on booze that it no longer has enough to buy the books that it needs. Worse, it has overspent hoping to make up the deficit out of the following years's 'grant'. Even worse, it has quite cynically overestimated the size of the increase to cover inflation, etc.
   When a student overspends recklessly, there's always a bank manager in the background with the power to turn off the tap. Councils always assume that their bank manager, i.e. the government, will just to tell the investors to stump up more and more.
   When a council overspends, it is telling the poor old taxpayer, "Open your wallet and say the magic words, Help yourself!"
   Do you really want to be the Liberals' rich uncle?
   Can you afford to be their rich uncle?
   Because that's where the money comes from. Not from 'the government', which has no money of its own, but from the poor old taxpayer.
   This is what Liberal government is all about being liberal with your money and not bothering to ask your permission to spend it!


ONE-POT POLITICS

'Hostage Democracy', they called it when Tory back-benchers stood up and said the government couldn't count on their support unless it built a road or kept a hospital open in their constituency. But isn't this what the democratic process is all about? Giving the people what they want?
   After all, politics has always been about contracts [although some cynics insist it's really about con-tricks!] Seeing a government trying to cope with no majority is a reminder to all of us of how the system ought to work. The people express a need for something and the politicians fulfill it.


WHAT NEXT?

We used to have houses along the main road in Romiley, homes for real people. Then we had the great Estate Agent and Building Society boom of the Eighties, when every building facing Compstall Road had to be selling houses and mortgages.
   In the Nineties, we have wall-to wall take-aways is it still thirteen in the village? Or has someone opened another one? And what essential service will take their place in the new millennium? Answers on a postcard to Ron of Romiley. The winner will get a free whatever-it-is the new businesses offer as long as it's not fifteen shops selling Rolls-Royces!.

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Created for Romiley Anarchists' League by workers in revolt against oppression.
Sole RAL, December 1996/January 1997