Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Hubris comes early to the Tories

Often after a time in office, a party can become hubristic. In William Hague's case he has entered the hubristic phase even before entering office. Perhaps it's all the time he spends with history books. Maybe the hours spent alone with Pitt the Younger, Disraeli, and Winston Churchill have distorted his perception. Perhaps he has subsumed those figures into his own psyche. Maybe in William Hague world, he's been in power for over two centuries already. That's a hell of record Pitt-Disraeli-Churchill Hague. A little bit of hubris is understandable with that unbroken spell of glorious leadership.

Is this morning's Times, politics' own Dr Who, confidently expounds (or 'declaims' more in keeping with the style?):
“It is likely that we are going to be able to win the next election . . . I put it no more strongly than that."
He goes on ('perorates'? -maybe not):
"“However much opinion polls go up and down there is a mood of ‘this is long enough of a Labour government’ .”
Call me a Jacobin upstart, but I'm of the view that these things are for the British people to decide in general elections. And William, though Pitt would be horrified, we even have universal suffrage now. What will decide the next election is not just what people do or don't feel about the government but also their assessment about whether the Conservatives are ready to lead. I can understand you wanting to skip that bit, awkward as it is. But that discussion has barely even begun yet. It will and it has to and once the Conservatives- isolationist, economically illiterate,utterly lacking in substance- are measured up, we'll see what conclusion the British people come to. That will be in a general election.

Elsewhere in the interview, our hero, William 'Flashman' Hague, returns to the issue of the EU. It appears that returning to the scene of past humiliations (remember 'save the pound?') is not beyond the battlefield leadership of our great general. Apparently, he is still contemplating reversing a UK ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Well, we can always fall back on the Empire and the East India Trading Company can't we? Why worry about those pesky Europeans. Pitt took them on. Churchill sorted them out. Thatcher handbagged them. Rule Britannia.

Surely after eight years of George W Bush, it is obvious what can be achieved unilaterally. Next to nothing is the answer. The US can't. The UK can't and nor can anyone else. Yet our hero is seriously considering smashing our relationships with close european allies. These relationships help us to create jobs, wealth, reduce our negative impact on the environment, fight crime and terrorism, and underpin our influence with other global powers. Pitt-Disraeli-Churchill Hague clearly has a different view and sees himself as a great man of history standing apart from the rest. Actually, he's the sad schoolboy standing in corner of playground fantasising about battlefield glory while life just passes him by. That's not strong; it's foolhardy.

I don't know who is going to win the next election. It is most definitely not decided yet. What I do know is that a Cameron government with William Hague as Foreign Secretary has the potential to do serious damage to our reputation in the world and our national self-interest. Great men of history.......

Post script: Please read an article I have in the Birmingham Post this morning on President Obama's 100 days.

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