When you write something like the Yorkshire Windbag which appears intermittently and you don't work to deadlines its a pretty dangerous thing to talk about something like politics which changes by the day. Sod it though I can't resist so here are my thoughts on a few of the things that exercised people's minds in 2011.
Ok so lets start with the Riots (do we still remember the riots?) To be honest I'm not really interested in talking about the Riots. Its not like we haven't had Riots before. When the weather's warm and the days are lighter that's when riots happen. August to May is the Football season; April to September is the Cricket Season; and July to August is the rioting season.
My interest is in the reaction to the riots. Its noticeable that people like to be able to neatly file things away and come up with one simple explanation (and therefore one simple solution) for an event such as this Summer's riots.
So as far as the public school boys who make up our government are concerned its simply a lowering of standards. Ever since they started letting the commoners go to school and aspire to things like days off work, health care for all, universal pensions and a benefit system this day has been coming. If you want an insight into where Dave Cameron and his boys and girls would like the country to be try reading a book called "the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists"
Meanwhile the opposition see the riots as a big political protest against a year of coalition misrule. The fact that people liberated some consumer goodies was just a side effect.
The newspaper columnists have a thousand theories - Single mothers are still a perennial scapegoat but everything from the consumer society to the internet got a kicking.
Reality is that there are as many reasons for the riots as there were participants. A lot of people just want to break something; some succumb to peer pressure; others want an excuse to have a dust up with the police; getting hold of stuff you can't otherwise afford must have been a strong pull for many; I bet there were even a couple of people trying to start 'the Revolution' (although they may have been better popping down Canary Wharf rather than their local Dixons if that was their aim).
At the end of the day (he says lapsing into football commentator mode) I'm not condoning what went on but to somehow make out that this is the end of society as we know it is a bit over the top. Riots have happened before and they will happen again.
In fact a couple of months down the line with new news to think about the riots already seem like a distant memory. Just like 9/11 or the day the banks nearly went bust its all just yesterday's chip paper now. What seemed like an event which was going to change how things were forever now is just another piece of recent history.
Something that has really being getting my goat for the last year or so (pretty much since the Tories got in in fact) is the war that seems to be being waged on Public Services. The NHS, Local Councils, Teachers and Civil Service are being portrayed as a huge inefficient drain on our resources. Meanwhile the private sector is held up as the ideal way to run things. As the spouse of a public servant and somebody who has worked man and boy in the private sector I can confirm that this is wrong on all counts.
For starters the idea that the private sector is some lean mean efficient money making machine is a complete joke. There is plenty of skiving and wasting of money in the private sector (and not just by the Yorkshire Windbag). I mean you only have to look at the bonus system employed for top executives. Bank shares are massively down which tells you how well the stock market thinks they are being run and yet the bosses of said banks justify their wages and bonuses because if they don't get the money they will rush off to some other highly paid job and leave the poor bank in the lurch.
I'm sure there is plenty of inefficiency in the Public Sector but the idea that you can put some private company in charge and they will deliver the exact same service for less money whilst making profits seems a little unlikely to me. I've got no doubt that they'll make a profit. However I believe the service will suffer and the cost will be at least as much as before. If you don't believe me talk to people working in hospitals funded by PFIs.
The private sector's enthusiasm for cutting the public sector is also a bit difficult to understand. Ok there are quite a few companies looking to get their nose in the trough and make loads of money by taking on public services. However everybody seems to forget that public workers as well as providing vital functions (doctors, teachers, bin men,nurses and the like) also keep the economy going. David Cameron and co may be a little surprised by this but apparently public sector people buy stuff as well.
Finally there is a lot of complaints about public sector pension schemes as well. As someone who isn't on a final salary pension myself I can understand the resentment to a certain extent. However I don't think the vast majority of public workers get as good a pension as you think. Also consider the fact that the pension is part of the employees re-numeration package (said employees often earning less than they would for the same job in the private sector). Then consider how you would feel if someone advocated cutting your wages.
Apparently the CBI (ie the big bosses) are calling for the 50% tax rate to be scrapped. Well they would wouldn't they.
In related news apparently turkeys aren't voting for Christmas
Initially I thought that the English Defence League (EDL) was a support network set up after England's embarrassing 2010 world cup campaign. A group to stick up for the embattled likes of John Terry and Glenn Johnson who were coming under attack for their lifestyle and lack of footballing skills. Of course I was wrong. That would have been the English Defence Defence League.
The reality is that the EDL are an authentic group of politically motivated working class types set up to protect the likes of me and you from religious terrorism.
Well that's the official line anyway.
I don't know about you but I feel much safer knowing that there are a bunch of beer drinking skinheads randomly organizing marches (although in actual fact they never really march anywhere because the police round them up as soon as they arrive anywhere) in various towns throughout the country defending us from religious terrorism. So far they seem to be covering town's with a large multi racial population (so Luton or Dewsbury rather than Harrogate or Windsor) but I'm sure that's just a co-incidence.
Am I the only person who's reminded of the days at school when a bunch of the lairier lads would use some excuse to try and start gang warfare for the week? E.g. 'We're all mods now and we hate punks. Are you a punk?'
To a certain extent its a harmless way to let a few knuckle draggers let off steam I guess. The EDL will turn up somewhere and be corralled in some area where they can drink beer and chant stuff to their heart's content. Most likely there'll be an anti-Fascist bunch similarly corralled somewhere else. Everybody can indulge in a bit of homoerotic posturing for the afternoon and still get the train home in time to go to the pub back home.
However as a Yorkshire man I have to ask who pays for all the 'corralling'. I guess its the local council tax payers.