Call me old-fashioned, but was George Osborne, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, having a laugh yesterday?

Cameron & OsborneOK, no party has so far come up with anything radical in respect of the public debt. Freezing public pay rates was hardly demanding of the grey matter and miserable prioritising of the rich over the poor (see Polly Toynbee‘s sums in yesterday’s Guardian) didn’t come as a great surprise. Still no grasping the nettle of the banking/financial system per se.

What is in place today (other than fear – and a restriction by banks on lending the money they were given by the taxpayer for … er … lending…) that would prevent a second meltdown? Answers on a postcard…

But two things struck me from yesterday:

1. Objections to the new Tory alliances in Europe were dismissed by the party as ‘politically motivated allegations made by the Labour party’. I see. Avoid the complaint by slandering the complainant and casting aspersions about his integrity. Isn’t this the way the Old Tories (Thatcher’s ‘vegetables’, according to Spitting Image) used to operate: consider anyone who differs from you as an idiot? The response to the CDU’s downgrading of relations with the Tories was equally dismissive and equally suggestive of the old ways: we are so self-evidently right that we can afford to dismiss as simply stupid anyone who disagrees with us. Anyway, it saves us having to engage with the argument.

2. Why did no one laugh when Osborne announced that ‘we are all in it together’? I know this is the new Cameron mantra – and I wish I could believe it. But Osborne and Cameron aren’t ‘in it’ in the same way thousands of the people I serve in South London are ‘in it’. They are rich kids with inheritances to spare them worrying about their future – whatever happens to the economy in the future. If any party’s policies fail, it won’t lead any of them to claim Incapacity Benefit or any other type of social safety net.

I know the Old Etonians (who, along with their chum, Boris, will soon run the country) are doing their best, but … why did no one laugh?

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