I haven’t written as many pieces about conference season as I might normally have done largely because it has been so dreary. Even a politico like me finds it difficult to get animated about some of the issues that become conference ‘stories’.
Ed Miliband’s One Nation speech may have been very popular amongst the Conservative commentariat but it left me utterly cold. I’m really not one for stealing my opponent’s clothes. Rather than a glib slogan I want to see actual policies and an actual strategy.
Jeremy Hunt’s cack-handed intervention in the abortion debate likewise left me a painfully indifferent. I could only feel contempt for a cabinet minister who decides to make one of their first significant contributions in their new role a piece of right-wing moralising that Mary Whitehouse would be proud of.
Indeed, I have conflicting feelings with regard to Hunt. On the one hand whenever I hear him speak I get the distinct feeling he is a shithead. But then, he is still in office despite being completely compromised by his involvement with Rupert Murdoch’s crowd. He must have some talent, even if it is only in the self-preservation stakes.
Osborne’s announcement of shares for rights swap was 3am stuff that one of his advisers who secretly despises him must have deliberately left in his boss’s speech for a joke, and Cameron’s ‘aspiration nation’ was like a plotline out of The Thick Of It (the latest episode of which was absolutely savage by the way. Goodness me. Talk about misanthropic, great though……..). As someone proud to be non-aspirational, frankly Dave you can fuck off.
And the Lib Dem conference was just tragic really. They seem an increasingly pitiful crowd of people who have no mission in life other than clinging to power for its own sake. Clegg’s flailing about was all rather embarrassing to be honest. When a man is a hate figure and a laughing stock, you know they are in big trouble.
I think I’ve summed most of it up right there, I’m sure you’ll agree dear reader.
However there has been one issue that has been getting on my tits more and more as time has gone on. And that is Chris Grayling’s proposals to give homeowners more rights with regards to attacking intruders and burglars.
Now if someone came in my flat (more fool them as I have naff-all worth nicking apart from collection of Jeeves Omnibuses) I would make a split-second calculation, based on numbers involved, size, scariness of facial features and how brave I was feeling that day. 9 times out of 10 I would grudgingly accept that I probably couldn’t win and would just let them get on with it and cower under my sheets. However the other 1/10th of the time if the calculation was favourable and my opponent was an amputee midget I would go to work with the sit-up bar under my bed.
That’s right. You read me right. Mambo would get rowdy. Old school.
But only if I thought I was certain of winning.
The thing is though if I did I would expect the police to get involved. I would hope the authorities would cut me some slack as the circumstances were rather threatening to my personal safety. But the point is they do that already. People aren’t being locked up for giving burglars a hiding. It just isn’t happening. It’s a Tory media myth and right-wing fairytale that tenants and owners aren’t allowed to defend their properties right now. Yet another pile of bollocks from the people who brought you “Left-wingers want to ban Christmas and make Lesbianism compulsory!” brigade.
Anyway, let’s just say there was a burglar in Mambo’s house and I had battered him unconscious. What kind of irresponsible police force would we have if they just said:
“right, Mr Mambo, good work. Now you get to bed and we’ll take the body away and give him another kicking when he wakes up. Nothing to worry about. No questions. No statement needed. No need to accompany us to the station. No need to explain your actions at all. In fact, you should just have finished him off and dumped the body in a nearby stream. Have a nice sleep.”
Do we really want them to be that negligent?
Much as I don’t like the idea of a burglar in my house, and much as I would certainly consider taking matters into my own hands if I thought I had a better than even chance of coming out on top, I think having the inalienable right to murder them in cold blood might be pushing it a bit far, don’t you?
Naturally the arsehole who stole my bike last week is top of my hate list right now and if I ever have the good fortune to run into him I might slap him across his naughty face but I don’t particularly want to be able to blow his head off with a shotgun.
But that’s me I suppose. I’m just a nancy-boy pinko.
So in essence, what was Chris Grayling announcing? A new policy? Or just that he had literally nothing to say? And that he would say anything to win the votes of people who are thinking about voting UKIP?
Or was Chris Grayling just announcing what a complete prick he is?
Considering some areas of the UK are genuinely blighted by crime, one would assume a tough-minded authoritarian like Grayling would have as his headline initiative something a little more serious and meaningful. But no. Just a cheap, cynical, meaningless stunt designed to appeal to his party’s cave-dweller wing.
He can’t even carry through his own incoherent, prejudiced convictions when it comes to law and order.
I expected this conference season to make me detest the Tories even more than I did previously. And to a degree, any party whose denizens organise a rally against gay marriage with Anne fucking Widdecombe as its main draw is one that I will hate until my last breath.
But I’m also starting to wonder if some of them are just very, very thick and very, very inadequate human beings.
I must be going soft in my old age.