9th March, 2015. A couple of headlines on the BBC News caught my eye this morning: Cameron pledges 500 new free schools and Queen’s message hails ‘precious flame’ of Commonwealth.
First Cameron. I didn’t read the detail of this latest promise because what I know is (a) they are not promises, they are pre-election rhetoric and (b) I am fed up with all the so-called promises I’ve been reading about over the last few weeks: promises to build more houses/schools/hospitals; promises to reduce tax for the poor by raising the Personal Allowance/increase tax on the rich by imposing a mansion tax; promises to hold a referendum on whether we should exit the EU; promises to reduce immigration; promises on this, that and the other, none of which can be kept by those making the promises. No, I’m sorry. I’ve switched off until May 7 has been and gone and we see what sorry state we’ve landed ourselves in with the post-election politicians, many of whom have never worked in a proper job and who see Parliament as a soft road to unlimited expenses, an undemanding workload and rampant cronyism.
Now to the Queen and her Commonwealth Day message. I’ve commented in the past about the stupidity and futility of these types of messages (Fingers to the Keyboard) and this latest offering from the Queen plumbs the depths of rhetoric, bombast and hyperbole. The message is overloaded with what I call superlative subjective adjectives qualifying unqualifiable nouns embedded in statements that are so trite and blindingly obvious that we wonder why she even bothers to say them. We read:
One simple lesson from history is that when people come together to talk, to exchange ideas and to develop common goals, wonderful things can happen. Er, yes. I can agree with the sentiment of the sentence, as banal as it is, but wonderful meaning to invoke wonder?
… world’s greatest technological and industrial achievements … Greatest? How defined?
… group of 53 nations of dramatically different sizes … Why dramatically?
We are guardians of a precious flame, and … Is this an attempt at injecting the prose with a little poetic artistry? Hmm …
These (conferences and games) are stirring examples of … Stirring in what sense?
I am not a fan of the British Royal Family – in fact, I usually describe it as a parasitic anachronism on benefits – but this latest message is simply awful and certainly not awesome.
From your long suffering wife. Is it a promise that you will hibernate until after 7th May?
I see your point on the Cameron rhetoric, but don’t totally agree with your ire, though I do share your frustration with modern politics. The redeeming feature for me is that Cameron is forced to fight fire with fire. He has no choice but to retaliate against Labour Party outlandish promises and outbursts, because he has to try to grab the positive attention of a pathetically fickle electorate. Generally speaking, I find his “pledges” tend to be more constructive in an economic, and possibly social, sense than the nonsense and social vindictiveness projected in Labour’s promises for the future!
On the second issue in your blog, suffice to say I am an enthusiastic republican. Sadly, I doubt that tradition and royal privelige (I would call it mindless inequality) will be overtaken by common sense in my lifetime!
Ben Bennetts said:
Thanks for your comment Jijibubs although it’s not ire that I feel about Cameron’s promises. I’m not angry. I’m wearier of the steady stream of such promises that occupy the headlines just before a political upheaval such as a General Election. There’re never any details in such promises. Where is the money to build these schools coming from? How much will they cost? What problem will the new schools solve? Where will they be built? Who will build them? Where will the teachers come from? Do the local councils agree with the free school concept? And so on. The list of questions is endless. If Cameron was a captain of industry, he would present this objective as a carefully worked out business plan not as a vague ambition with no substance. The same can be said for just about all pre-election promises and, in fact, I think it wrong to refer to such statements as promises without preceding the word with a suitable adjective such as empty, hollow or meaningless. As Jarod Kintz wrote “Every politician has a promising career. Unfortunately, most of them do not keep those promises.” ― Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not FOR SALE.