The Conservative Party Conference this week, as with the other two party conferences, was notable for a supreme lack of passion or insight. It seems that, faced with a world order in flux and a rapidly unravelling economic model, our political leaders really just don't know what to do. I for one would prefer it if they just told us this.
If David Cameron took to the podium and told the waiting millions, "look", (queue Blairesque hand gesture indicating sincerity) "the world around us is changing so quickly I no longer even know whether I should be wearing an evening suit or a cashmere sweater, so, suggestions on a postcard please to 10 Downing Street, the best five get cabinet seats" then he'd have won a vote from me for sure.
But no, faced with these monumental challenges, the Conservative instinct is a big fat dollup of atavism. A crack down on Daily Mail bogeymen like benefits claimants and burglars. After all, nothing fixes broken economies and failed social contracts better than the carte blanche to blow the head off anybody setting foot on your property with a frickin12 gage. Maybe all the middle class homeowners will just shoot and stab all the benefit claimants as they pass their mansions, reducing the welfare bill by millions overnight!
Of course the other great diversion of the Conservative Party conference was when the PM's heavyweight nemesis, Boris Johnson, rolled into town. Despite the overtures to his old vandalism buddy, it seems the Mayor of London is secretly plotting to take over. Apparently Boris sits all day in his egg shaped office, stroking a sinister cat and fantasising about moving the whole operation a few miles west down the Thames. Whilst pundits left and right have been speculating on this drama, our very own Game of Thrones, one very large and telling question has gone unasked.
This is how, with minimal resistance, we have come to accept the fact that all of our prospective Prime Ministers these days seem to be drawn from an ultra-exclusive Oxbridge dining sect, namely the Bullingdon Club. Its remarkable that there are now more folk from this late night shenanigans team at the upper reaches of power, than there are people from any kind of minority ethnic background. And while public schools have always dominated the cabinet, it must be some time since there were almost more Bullingdon rejects than there are comprehensively educated ministers. When did our country become an extension of the febrile desires of a trio of immensely privileged yobbos, circa 1985, and us mere pawns in their fantasies, and it's not nice!
And while this may seem like sour grapes at having never been invited for a nosh up at the Bullingdon Club (and between you and I, it is a little bit), I do believe there is an issue here with meritocracy and democracy. I won't reiterate the usual facts and figures but, let's face it, social mobility is on the decline and the country has become one of mutually exclusive ghettoes, some rich some poor, each and everyone of them growing more and more entrenched and we all know where that leads. So, yes, BoJo is a bit of a laugh compared to his sombre friend at Number 10 and his sour-faced sidekick at No 11 but let's stop ignoring the real question - what does these three men's dominance of British politics tell us about our society? Answers please on a postcard to 10 Downing Street, the best five won't get their benefits withdrawn.
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