Whilst we watch on in fascination, all wondering what living with a hung parliament will be like, this election is remarkable for how underwhelming the various manifestos actually are. The arguments go round and round but somehow none of the really big issues facing us gets a look in.
None more so than man-made climate change, of course. No hint of any new carbon taxes, let alone anything like personal carbon rationing. But with more than half the electorate now disbelieving the evidence that global warming is even happening, what hope is there for democracy as a credible system of government?
Yes, it would involve new taxes. Yes, it would stifle economic growth. Yes, it would tend to make us uncompetitive with countries where no action gets taken. But then so do many other things that we already provide, and other countries don’t. I’m talking pensions, and benefits and free health care, and free(ish) education.
• Why do we continue to support old people long past their sell-by date? They contribute nothing to the national wealth, so why not let them fend for themselves? Winter fuel allowance? Humbug.
• Why pay money to anyone just because they are not earning? Have we gone completely soft in the head? I’m bloody sure they don’t do that in China.
• Why have a national health service at all? Don’t we all know we are going to die sooner or later, and the sooner we get on with it, the more competitive as a nation we will become.
• Why spend billions teaching kids useless stuff like history and Shakespeare? Get ‘em to read and write and then let ‘em get on with it. Universities? Who needs them!
Now all this really would be a trip back into the early 19th century for us — as I am sure one or two Anonymouses will point out — but I can’t be alone in thinking that that’s exactly where we will be heading if we don’t get to grip with our compulsive carbon addiction. All our wealth and so-called sophistication is rooted in burning fossil-fuels, and it’s going to have to end remarkably soon, but nowhere will you find any discussion of this in the various manifestoes. We are facing the biggest challenge to our way of life since Hitler and the Fascists around Europe threatened invasion, but you just wouldn’t know it from this election. Can you imagine an election being held in 1938 and no one mentioning Hitler? That’s what it’s like.
Even the Green Party manifesto is peculiarly light on this topic – no mention any form of carbon rationing, just a bit of tinkering about with what is there.