The right-wing historian Niall Ferguson is very handsome, isn’t he? If I were a woman, or a homosexual, I would certainly set my cap at him; I would let him order for me in restaurants and handle me brusquely in the bedroom as he revealed to me the full tumescent glory of his ‘killer app’, as he would undoubtedly put it.
The right-wing historian Niall Ferguson is very handsome, isn’t he? If I were a woman, or a homosexual, I would certainly set my cap at him; I would let him order for me in restaurants and handle me brusquely in the bedroom as he revealed to me the full tumescent glory of his ‘killer app’, as he would undoubtedly put it. We lefties, and especially women lefties, are often sexually beguiled by the whiff of sulphur from unreconstructed reactionaries like Niall.
Ferguson was interviewed in the Guardian this week by one of their highborn leftie babes, a woman called ‘Decca’. He was thrillingly peremptory and ruggedly uncontrite to her. Among other things he announced that his side — the right — had won on both of the important issues of the 1980s, ‘the economy and the cold war’. Well, the Cold War certainly; home win, no question, five goals from the big centre-forward Reagan and some useful assists from the tricky right-winger Thatcher. As for the economy, it looks to me as though the right was coasting to victory until the left, quite remarkably, pulled it back in 2007 with all that sub-prime business and the banking collapse and the effective nationalisations (G.W. Bush og, 89) of the failed financial institutions. Right now I think we’re in extra time with penalties looming.
What Niall didn’t say, however, was that the left — and particularly the bits of it which I do not like — won on every other issue. Every single one. In education, in social services, in local government, in the criminal justice system, in what constitutes Britishness, in health and safety law and so on. How the hell did this happen? Perhaps it is because the liberal left’s arguments are very amenable to organisations, if antithetical to individuals. And for more evidence of this I would direct your attention to a less obviously sexually attractive right-winger, the Conservative party’s pet northerner, the Communities and Local Government minister, Eric Pickles.
Last weekend Pickles rightly highlighted the extraordinary leftish self-indulgence of local councils which, at a time of grave austerity and spending cuts, were still employing more and more people on inflated wages for doing fatuous, pointless, irritating jobs almost always concerned with things which are not properly speaking the business of local government, or shouldn’t be. Very highly paid jobs in many cases, the sorts of posts Ross Clark chronicled every week in this parish until recently and which make the blood boil — which made the blood boil even before we knew we were almost bankrupted.
Pickles’s broadside drew a typically fatuous response from the local government association, whose spokesman insisted that criticism was based on a ‘lack of understanding of the complex nature’ of the ‘vital’ work councils do. Well, don’t do it then, and let’s see how we all get on without that vitality. But there is a twist in the tail; Mr Pickles delivered his entirely justifiable attack and, as you might expect, used it to lambast Labour councils in particular. The press, in picking up on his comments and (presumably briefed by his department) highlighted particularly egregious spending on stupid jobs in seven district or county councils. And not one of them was a Labour council, or had any Labour involvement in its running. In fact every single one was Conservative-controlled or had the Conservative party as the largest single group, with the exception of the Conservative-Liberal coalition in Teignbridge. Here are those especially naughty councils in full, together with the stupid jobs:
Havant District Council (Conservative-controlled) Workplace travel co-ordinator (£22,000+)
Herefordshire County Council (Conservative-controlled) Gypsy Romany liaison officer (£26,700+)
Rugby District Council (Conservative-controlled) — Family Lifestyles officer (what that? –Ed) (£21,500)
West Sussex Council (Conservative-controlled) — Woodfuel development officer (£35,430!!!!)
Forest of Dean District Council (Conservative-controlled) — Healthy Walks co-ordinator (£15,400)
Ryedale District Council (Conservative-controlled, no Labour councillors at all) — Life Skills and Positive Activities officer (£21,000+)
Teignbridge District Council (Conservative-Lib Dem coalition) — Active Village co-ordinator (£10,000)
The number of Labour councillors on all of these councils combined could be counted on two hands, if you live in Norfolk, or maybe three hands if you live elsewhere. But you see the point I am making; this stuff, this profligate, interfering, self-important, unnecessary rubbish, is so deeply ingrained, so institutionalised that there is nothing the Conservative party can do about it. What in God’s name is Ryedale District Council, representing probably the most cheerfully right-wing constituency in Britain, doing with a Life Skills and Positive Activities Officer? Living in another Conservative-controlled area, I pay £3,000 a year, almost, in council tax, and really all I want is my bin emptied once a week. Nothing else my council does is of benefit to me. At that price I could pay to have my bin collected each week in a stretch limo by a minor celebrity, maybe someone who came second in X Factor. But there is nobody I can vote for who will stop the gratuitous, breast-beating spending on sundry other stuff. Do you remember all those rows from the 1980s, with Red Ted Knight in Lambeth and others ‘resisting’ the spending cuts? Red Ted in the end won. Now even the Tories are at it. Niall Ferguson — your boys took a hell of a beating.
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