I’ve been variously bemused, perplexed, uncertain and – ultimately – horrified by the revelations which started to come out drip-feed journalism style – and have now become highly publicly-domained information of a strugglingly disorientating nature.
At the last general election, in 2010, the MPs’ expenses scandal cast a long shadow over our already weary relationship with British politics.
Now you’d think that with all the hagiography around the 1980s and Thatcher, and the number of Tories/UKIP supporters who’ve professed to loving the idea of retreading her legacy, there’d be some growing reservations to expressing such self-absorption – particularly in the light of this “paedophile Britain” series of stories.
At the moment I don’t see it happening. Perhaps discretion is the better part of sincerity.
Anyhow. I guess I see a pattern emerging. What I’m not entirely sure about is who benefits.
This is how I see it progressing. In the period leading up to 2010, expenses trashed our little remaining trust of politicians. Cameron became visible on his many promises to clean the muck-ridden political stable-yard up. Conservatives furiously re-branded with lovely logos of strong sustainable English oaks. We didn’t quite believe him enough to give him a majority, but we did believe him just about enough to allow him to get his hands on a coalition process.
As the Coalition built up steam, it reverted to a Thatcherism of awful resilience; awful porkie-telling; further, deeper and more deadly implementation; and profounder violence against the subjects it was supposed to govern on behalf of.
As this process continued, it reverted even proudly to the 1980s (after all, remember all those – I’m sure sincere – tears shed at Thatcher’s funeral) – and I assume in the light of the recent news mentioned above, without any knowledge whatsoever of what’s now apparently seeping out at the seams.
But someone, some organisation, some people not in the limelight surely did know, all this time, what the legacy of the 1980s was really like. This hidden scandal of monumental proportions is threatening to overtake the whole agenda of the 2015 general election – in much the same way as Cameron & Co came to power (I shan’t say “won”) an election on the back of the disgraceful after-effects of the expenses shenanigans.
What should’ve been an election run on the basis of the Coalition’s reputation and political behaviours is looking now to become a judgement – maybe ultimately a judgment! – on a political leadership and time which even New Labour seemed to demonstrate a certain respect for.
Who can now respect the 1980s? Who can now respect Margaret Thatcher’s way of doing things? Who can now respect her disciples – of which our latterday body politic contains so many? Who now can respect the British Establishment?
And who, exactly, will all this growing mistrust most serve – perfectly timed, as it is, in the run-up to 2015 and the political change which conceivably will be ours, to redirect our attention away from what should’ve been a referendum on the last four years of tremendous political cruelty?
I don’t know the answer to this question. I’m scratching my head. It may be no one benefits – not even the UKIPs of this world. The vacuum may be complete; the dangers multiplied a thousandfold. If it took post-First World War Germany to hit Nazism in a decade, perhaps in a 24/7 news-cycle world, four years will be plenty enough.
If you’re wondering whether I’m over-analysing the events (you probably are), just ask yourself the following: why didn’t we find out about all this rubbish in 2009, during the lead-up to Cameron’s arrival at the top and the regime change this implied?
Why was the Coalition given four clear years to lead with a reconverted – more importantly, unbesmirched – Thatcherism? How differently might life have been – over that period of time – for the working-poor, disabled and unemployed, if this hadn’t turned out as it ultimately did? And what will happen now 1980s Thatcherism is to be trashed with broad and hugely unpleasant brushstrokes – where will the right-wing Tories and UKIP go; what may end up replacing them; who will ever dare to carry her standard again?
“Paedophile Britain” – it’s a scary, horror-inducing concept.
What’s worse, however, is once revealed, how will an already fragile body politic and culture react before what is clearly a story of foundations-shaking magnitude?
I don’t know about you; personally, I’m very frightened.