Little to say for myself

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Howard's End (vis-à-vis knowing it from a hole in the ground)

I'm floating in a cloud of power and passion after the Landmark Advanced Course. It was wonderful. The final evening session is tonight, and I can't wait.

Although I've had difficulty shutting up about who I now am, I have noticed a couple of things that have occurred in the world while I was out. It seems that the Tories will be relying on Michael Howard to lead Her Majesty's Opposition into the next election. I'm not clear whether this means the next General Election, or the next Conservative Party Leadership Election, but then I have been away from the news media for over a week.

I heard him say on the radio yesterday that he's a changed man, because he's realised it's not enough just to win an argument. I couldn't agree more, because that's what I've discovered about myself. Until Saturday morning last week, my whole world (at least when things weren't going well for me) occurred to me as "I am right", and I set about winning arguments regardless of the impact on others, and ultimately regardless of the cost to myself.

But enough about me. Let's talk about you - what do you think of me? Sorry, I digress.

The flaw in what Howard said is that he implied he'd won the argument in the first place. If he's the incisive forensic lawyer that Maurice Saatchi says he is in this article in today's Telegraph, then he needs to produce evidence for having won the argument - back when he was the least respected Home Secretary in decades (and before you ask me to produce evidence for that, I'm talking about my (lack of) respect for him). I can certainly detect no evidence for a winning argument.

In fact Saatchi's article starts well, saying that, despite media opinion to the contrary, it is policies that win elections, not personalities. A losing politician like Howard would like to think his policies were right, and it was just his failure to make his intentions understood that cost him the win. What he doesn't seem to realise is this excuse implies one of two things - either he was too stupid to get his point across (making him unqualified for the job), or we the electorate were too stupid to understand it (which is hardly going to endear him to us).

The more likely explanation is that we knew exactly what his policies were, and that is why the election turned out the way it did.

Incidentally, you should read the rest of Saatchi's article for a taste of how fuddled current Tory thinking is. Here's an extract:
In Britain today, where injustice and inequality abound, the Conservative Party has a powerful motive for a crusade to match any in its history. The National Health Service resembles the deck of the Titanic, where the third-class passengers had fewer lifeboats and less access to them. Cancer survival rates for the poorest people are half those of the richest. Yet, incredibly, we live in a mad world where the poor pay more tax than the rich.
So, what is he (a shadow treasury minister in the House of Lords) advocating here? Looks to me like an argument for the return to socialism. Is Michael Howard the best man for that job?

posted by Plig | 11:08 |

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