I was a natural Conservative for a long time, despite my origins on what might today be classed as a sink estate in central Scotland. After the overthrow of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, found guilty by her party of having won three successive general elections, I downgraded to conservative. Today, I don't have a Clue. Politics turns me off, as the realisation grows that whoever is in charge at the top, it makes little or no difference to 'ordinary people'. Would you prefer to be screwed by someone wearing a blue rosette, a red one or an orange one? See what I mean?
Maybe this lack of partisanship, and a preference for pragmatism over principle, enable me to see things more objectively than those involved in the cut and thrust of politics, whether as practitioners or observers. Whatever the reason, it is by no means clear to me that the General Election of June 2010 will signal the departure of the current Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, from the scene. Sure, after more than 12 years a country would tire of any Government, but especially one run in such a bungling, self-serving criminal manner (I'm thinking of war crimes and financial crimes here). And there is no doubt the country is tired of Gordon Brown and his nonentical cronies. But do you sense any great appetite for the alternative?
Do David Cameron and George Osborne not make your flesh creep? I'm afraid we know how the Conservative and Unionist Party reacts in a recession. Slash public spending. Drive up interest rates. Throw millions of people out of work and out of their houses. All will be sacrificed on the altar of monetary purity. You don't believe me? Look at history. Look at the recessions of the early 1980s and the early 1990s. Do you want a repeat? If it isn't hurting, it isn't working, said former Chancellor Norman Lamont at one point. Quickly followed by: My wife heard me singing in the bath this morning.
No, I think the most likely scenario is the one that unfolded around John Major. Battered, bruised and bewildered, he somehow still limped to a majority of 21 in the 1992 General Election, which death and other causes of by-elections nibbled away at over the following five years. Under a charismatic leader, say Charles Kennedy, even with a drink or two him in streets ahead of any of his party colleagues, the Liberal Democrats might at last achieve their long-dreamed for hung parliament. But not with a man in charge whom most of us would struggle to pick out in an identity parade.
I believe we are in for five more years of Gordon Brown, whose period in office so far reminds me very much of the progress of a clown's car round a circus ring, with doors and wheels and mirrors falling off, horns blaring randomly, the driver clearly out of control. He has only one clear goal: to enmesh as many of the inhabitants of the UK as possible in the web of the state, making it impossible for them to vote for any other party.
Whoever gets in, though, times will be tough. Here are some of my predictions. VAT at 25%. VAT on everything, no more exemptions, including baby clothes and baby food. VAT to rise from its current lower rate on fuel. Doubling or tripling of so-called Air Passenger Duty (as well as the fiscal boost, it would stop the masses from travelling quite so much, something our 'betters' seem to loathe). Income tax up, except, of course, for higher earners. Stamp duty on house sales/purchases to be raised. Pension tax relief to go the way of mortgage tax relief.
In recent years, the UK Government has destroyed the education system and the pensions system and is well on its way to destroying the housing system and the Armed Forces. We can only wish that it would do the same for itself.