16 April 2016

Dear kick Cameron out crowd, he won the election. Get used to it


On Saturday afternoon my wife forced me to leave the desk at which I am finishing a book and marched me to see Sunset Boulevard, starring Glenn Close. A break for a few hours would do me good, she insisted (my wife insisted, not Glenn Close, who is blissfully unaware that I was there). What is happening to me? Sunset Boulevard? I had to come straight home and while I write the final chapters listen to Miles Davis, followed by the Sex Pistols, to get the memory of Sunset Boulevard out of my head. The truth, I will now admit, is it was just too good. And although it felt a little like a sold out convention – I was probably one of the few there who had never seen it – this was a killer musical (literally, at the end). I loved it, and so did the audience. The whole event managed to be both poignant and invigorating, with fans reliving memories and a talented cast both young and old(er) tackling it with such energy.

What I also loved was that, a short walk from the Coliseum, the home of the ENO where Sunset Boulevard is on, there was an enormous* (* really not very big at all in historical context) demonstration being staged by the Coalition for Angry People Who Don’t Watch the News and Don’t Speak to Normal Voters. As we arrived and left it was impossible to avoid these people wielding banners. There was a pungent smell too, which I couldn’t quite place…

I’ve never been much of fan of demonstrations, other than in circumstances in which there is no alternative available, where extremely brave people taken on dictators or theocratic regimes. But this is Britain, and we have plenty of options other than disrupting the afternoons of our fellow citizens by gridlocking the capital. As I watched them I wondered, again, what it is that they want. An end to austerity, they say. But how? Spending more means borrowing more from the international markets – the very people they hate. Or it means whacking up taxes, which an era of capital mobility and open markets, will drive away wealth and investment. Or they could try endless money-printing. The historical evidence from Germany in the early 1930s or Argentina over and over and over again is that this is a BAD idea. Or we could just scrap money, and prevent its movement around the world, while canning trade between free individuals as a meaningful concept. And lock up anyone who disagrees. This has not been a great success in North Korea, other than for the man in charge with the ridiculous haircut, and his mad father.

Most of all the anti-Cameron mob seems to have missed a rather important point. It is time, said the posters and banners, to “kick the Tories/Cameron out.” Fine, I have my own criticisms of the Prime Minister while thinking he is a fundamentally patriotic, decent person. But even if Cameron is somehow felled by his own party the next Prime Minister will be a Tory. Dear demonstrators, last year there was this thing called a general election. Everyone in Britain got a chance to vote. When all the votes were counted the Tories had won 330 seats and 36.8% of the vote. The Labour party won 30.5% of the vote and won only 232 seats.

The Socialist Workers Party got zero seats.

Iain Martin is Editor of CapX