Saturday, 22 December 2007

Back once again

It's been a while. I'd like to say that I've been unable write due to my life becoming a giddy social whirl, but that would be blurring the line between hyperbole and mendacity. I do want to follow on from our earlier glance at Conservative Party policy, if that's the word; first, by picking just one more insult to our collective intelligence from that rich, rich seam and secondly by comparing it briefly with Labour's offering, in the spirit of fair play. I should, to be thorough, also address the Lib Dems but a) their policies might be subject to change right now and b) it's Christmas and I haven't the heart.

So, like a dog to someone else's vomit, we return briefly to the "Our Policies" section of the Tories' (and I can't stress this enough) own website, for crying out loud.

I will be the first to admit that I lack a sophisticated understanding of economics, so I may just be embarrasing myself here. But I cannot fathom the connection between checks on government spending and Ocean Finance's loan book. Anyone who would care to enlighten me, just feel free. Otherwise, this the politics of the Chewbacca defence.

Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, [approaches and softens] does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.[1]

By contrast, take a look at Labour's policies. I'm not going to pretend this is perfect. There's a certain amount of handwaving, a tendency to rely on cliches, and it's more focused on where to go than how to get there. But 10 distinct (and recognisable) policy areas each get over 500 words: what Labour have done already, what they want to do and brilliantly, a list of the questions Labour are trying to answer - but without pat answers.

Now, you may have problems with the answers you suspect they have in mind. You may even think they're asking the wrong questions. But in terms of honest attempts to lay out a party's intentions and principles for the average member of the public, this is streets ahead of the Tories' incoherent sloganeering. So why (and we may return to this later) is "everybody" convinced that Labour lack vision while the Tories are a viable choice of government?

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