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Tony Grist

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David Cameron [Mar. 1st, 2010|10:10 am]
Tony Grist
A poll published yesterday in the Sunday Times showed the Tory lead cut to a tiny 2%. In the circumstances I thought it might be interesting to watch David Cameron give his conference speech at Brighton.

He has a strangely smooth and unmarked face. It's as if his skin has been stretched tight or covered in plastic film. What sort of genes and passions give a man a face like that?  He's hard to read. Is he as sweetly nice and reasonable as he tries to look? Obviously not. No-one gets to lead a political party by being sweetly nice and reasonable.

The speech was unimpassioned. Only when he spoke about the National Health Service did something like personal conviction seem to break through. Otherwise it was all generalities and platitudes and things no sweetly reasonable person could possibly disagree with. He slid over foreign policy- and the war we're fighting out East only got a mention so he could call our troops  "the best of British".  There will still be tax measures to help the family- even though specific Tory policies about tax breaks for the married were torn into bloody strips a few weeks ago. As soon as the speech was over it began to slide from memory. It had been a thing of faint sunlight and tinted mists. You got no real sense from it of the depth of the trouble we're in, nor of the rugged, unpopular measures that will have to be taken to begin to set things right.

I'm never going to vote Tory. It's a tribal thing. However much they polish up the knocker on the big front door this is still the party of those people in the nation I don't want to be aligned with- the toffs and the bankers and the cads. So I wasn't looking to be won over. I suppose I was watching in the hope of finding out what might be on offer if this man were to win the election. And, well, I still don't know. 

Gorden Brown is horrible, but he's a man who looks like he knows what he's doing. Also a man who looks like he may still harbour- deep down- some of the core beliefs that brought him into politics in the first place. Labour- as someone once said- it may even have been Tony Blair- is nothing if not a crusade. Labour people- no matter how corrupted by office, no matter how blundering and gross- are the people who dream of Jerusalem. And what do Tories dream of?  Hmmmmmm.....
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-01 12:06 pm (UTC)
I like that a lot.
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[User Picture]From: jenny_evergreen
2010-03-01 01:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the mention, I'm checking him out now. :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-01 01:57 pm (UTC)
I'm aware of him. I've got the two albums- Mermaid Avenue I & II- in which he and Wilco provide the music for lyrics from the Woody Guthrie archive- but I've never properly explored his work. I realise I should.
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2010-03-01 02:13 pm (UTC)
Ditto for me; one of those artists I think I'd like but have never got round to. And I'm frightened by the vastness of his back catalogue, and how much his fans adore him. It's always scaring dipping a toe into something like that.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-01 04:51 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. There's so much music out there I've never heard....
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-01 02:04 pm (UTC)
P.S. It's interesting how Kipling- for all that he was a man of the right- has this appeal for contemporary left-wingers.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2010-03-01 05:52 pm (UTC)
and 'The Pict Song' is almost entirely Kipling's lyrics.

I need to find a copy of that.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2010-03-01 04:42 pm (UTC)
My grandfather was a railwayman - I sing that song sometimes and think of him. He was delighted when the rail system was nationalised into British Rail - and totally disillusioned with the way it went afterwards.
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2010-03-01 11:36 am (UTC)
Thank you for the last two paragraphs. That's roughly what I've been trying to say about my own politics, but I couldn't manage to express it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-01 12:12 pm (UTC)
I'm glad it hit the spot.

There have been times over the past decade when the Tories made noises that seemed to be coming from the left of New Labour- but it was all just positioning. There's a deep difference- at heart- between the two parties. I don't want to be governed again by people who think the way Tories think- even if, in person, they're awfully civilisaed and nice.
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[User Picture]From: jenny_evergreen
2010-03-01 01:28 pm (UTC)
That's exactly how I feel and think about the Democrats and Republicans.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-01 02:00 pm (UTC)
I'd rather vote for someone who once entertained progressive ideals, than for someone who never did.

Edited at 2010-03-01 02:02 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2010-03-01 04:40 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on this. Cameron's only passion is the NHS - and I saw him a couple of years ago pushing his son Ivan - now deceased - in a wheelchair, and so it isn't hard to know where that connection comes from.

Politicians should not have to be loveable as long as they know what they are doing. In this media savvy world would Lloyd George or Churchill or Edward Heath or Gladstone have got elected? All of them with personality flaws a mile wide.

Tories dream of... well they would tell you, less government interference in our lives, but what they really mean is less money taken from them in taxes and redistributed to the poor. And having seen how my personal tax burden is being increased next year, I agree with them; those of us who have been financially responsible and worked hard and not maxed out our credit cards or blagged our way into mortgages they can't afford... we are being asked to pay for those less responsible than ourselves.

But fundamentally why things got that way seems to be do with an over materialistic culture that does not value a sense of community, an education system that does not inspire the young and does not work for those less academically able, and a banking system that did not contain enough checks and balances - and the Tories have had a huge part in creating that Britain. So I can't in good conscience vote for smooth Dave to be in charge. Another Old Etonian who, apart from his experience of parenting a disabled child, can't have ever lived in the real world.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-01 05:06 pm (UTC)
Politics has become a profession in itself. An awful lot of people move from school to university to politically related employment to the House of Commons without ever having knocked around in the "real" world. Dave is one such. Brown, for all his apparent ruggedness, is another.

We need more people in parliament who know what it's like to hold down a regular job, or run a business or a trades union, or serve in the army or even- like the old style Tories- to manage a country estate. We've created- or allowed the creation of- a political class which has little idea of how the rest of us live.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2010-03-01 05:12 pm (UTC)
As I am losing my job later this year (the job is being sent abroad by a company trying to avoid the high levels of UK corporation tax) I might consider going into politics. Or opening an artisan cheesemaking company. Haven't decided!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-01 08:43 pm (UTC)
Cheesemaking- much more satisfying!
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-03-01 09:30 pm (UTC)
I agree with all you said. I couldn't articulate it so well myself though.
Your trip looked wonderful and the script was entertaining. I showed it all to Ma who enjoyed being so included in all the details.
Ian can help as far as identifying Mont Blanc is concerned.....sometime.
Love Jenny x
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-01 09:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

I'm glad you were able to show it to Ma. I keep telling her she should go on line.

If Ian can identify any of the mountains in the pictures I've posted I'd be very grateful.

Love,

T
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-03-02 02:50 am (UTC)

Brit politics

I was in Britain during the last election, and everywhere we went sightseeing in Cornwall there were village halls set up as polling stations.

It gave me rgreat satisfaction that after the election Carnwall remained a Tory- and Labour-free zone.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-02 09:31 am (UTC)

Re: Brit politics

All my life I've been waiting for the "third" party- first the Liberals, then the SDP, then the Lib Dems- to make their big breakthrough on the national scene.
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