Sunday, 28 February 2010

Sensible Sunday

The Chairman’s Sunday cooking tip: If you’ve run out of bacon, put a thin smear of Marmite on a piece of toast and top off with a fried egg. Next best thing to bacon and eggs.

The UK Conservative Party has unveiled its new election slogan: “Vote For Change.”

I seem to remember that one being used in England in 1653, China in 1911, Germany in 1934 and Cambodia in 1976. Change for the sake of change is not generally considered a good thing.

Now if the Conservatives were to actually articulate some policies, rather than simply engaging in name-calling, I could be persuaded to vote for them, but a platform of change without actually telling you what that change would be is like standing in front of a blind-folded firing squad.

Perhaps he could shock us by telling us he will ensure MPs will no longer steal from us? No, that’s too revolutionary and he’d have a strike on his hands.

I don’t know why, but Gordon just comes across as – well – Gordon. You get what you see with dour Gordon, whereas Cameroon just oozes insincerity and gloss. I’ve had enough of smarmy politicians telling me what’s good for me while rifling through the till.

I’m non-partizan – you get that way as you get older as you come to realise that no single party has a monopoly on truth or solutions. I used to be a dyed-in-the-wool Conservative voter for no good reason other than my father was. He never questioned his political views, as most people fail to do. He didn’t think about what he personally believed in; he merely assimilated the many-coloured coat of the party he thought represented his class. Since the middle classes took over the Labour Party it hasn’t been that simple.

There’s a campaign under way to pressurise the National Health Service into only buying Fairtrade and ethically made surgical instruments. The cause célèbre is child workers in Northern Pakistan.

The question these smug middle class campaigners need to ask themselves is what happens to children who are forced out of child labour? A UNICEF study found that after the Child Labour Deterrence Act was introduced in the US, an estimated 50,000 children were dismissed from their garment industry jobs in Bangladesh, leaving many to resort to jobs such as "stone-crushing, street hustling, and prostitution", jobs that are more hazardous and exploitative than garment production.

Unless the countries targeted have a free education system, then boycotting products from such countries will do more harm than good. Rather than boycotting, perhaps these campaigners should lobby for a higher VAT levy on the products to fund free schools in the countries of origin.


  1. "Vote For Change" is an excellent slogan - it's gnomic, it means absolutely anything and nothing at the same time, can be used in any circumstance and whatever policy a future Conservative government decide to implement they can point to it and say - we said it was "Time For Change"

  2. Mind you the Labour Party is using "A Future Fair For All" as their election slogan. Another 10 on the gnomic scale for that one - but perhaps the Labour Party could also explain why in No 10, senior female civil servants get paid 10% less than male senior civil servants - or perhaps this is a definition of fair I'm unfamiliar with!

  3. We could do with a few people who thought like you to be members of parliament, please! Very valid point about child labour...

  4. RE Jinksy's comment:
    Trouble is, anyone who wants to be an MP should be automatically disqualified from being one. It's the Chairman Bills of this world who would make the best legislators, but they are too sensible to get involved!

  5. I agree with Jinksy. Good point on child labour.

  6. Richard: A Future Fair For All means just that. A fair in every town and village. Not a bad aspiration, but not a wise use of tax revenue.

    Jinksy: Not me.

    Avus: True!

    Louise: One must extrapolate and foresee all the consequences - even the unintended ones.

  7. It is the age-old problem isn't it. If we stop children from climbing up inside chimneys, they may live a bit longer but they are more likely to be hungry.

  8. Where to start? Best not to start at all!

    Your banner headline shines through with the 'irony' and 'sarcasm', but screaming louder than anything else is the 'common-sense' of it all.

    Nice post; extremely thought provoking. Shame the dumb@ss politicians won't be reading it ...

  9. Tories want more faith schools than you can shake a crucifix at, corrupting children's minds in exchange for a B+ in media studies; therefore I won't be voting for them. Not that it makes any odds around these parts :(