I’m not sure history is being so much made at the moment as changed. Imagine Orwell’s Ministry of Truth gone digital, and you’d be about there: ‘Airbrushing history LIVE as it happens’.
You may have noticed this morning that the nationals (and the Beeb) have lapped up the Number 11 spin announcing that ‘UK ECONOMY GRINDS TO A HALT IN FACE OF EUROCRISIS’. Some berk at Tory HQ tried it on me this morning, so I left a long silence there in place of a reply. “Hello?” he asked. “You really are a piece of work, aren’t you?” I responded. My comment was greeted with shocked snorts, and so I rounded off the encounter with, “It must surely worry you to know that over at the Guardian, Polly Toynbee is using exactly the same line”.
One of the truly terrifying things about media communication in the age of bollocks is that the line-stringers are simply not used to being spoken to like that. I remember having a spectacular spat with a LibDem dweeb at their HQ during March 2010 when I asked, “So who took the decision to drop the PR commitment from the Manifesto then – Nick was it?” Haughty shock and how very dare you followed my entirely justified question: what on earth justification do you have for suggesting such a cynical analysis of the best Manifesto blah blah bluster blah. So I kept on running the story until eventually the Mail picked it up after the declaration by Brown. As soon as Dacre’s Trumpet printed it, of course, it became a malign and baseless attack by the Far Right of British politics. But it was true. Slog’s Second Law of Thermoblogging Dynamics states that ‘The degree of umbrage is exponentially proportional to the truth of the accusation’.
Anyway, the eurozone slowmo wreck episode 59 has become the ready made excuse of all those actively engaged in screwing up the nation’s economy and finances over the last decade. And as luck would have it, the euro was launched pretty much at the start of that ten year stretch – so the buck is available for passing by anyone who fancies it. You see, says Polly, if only the EU had shown more fiscal discipline, like Gordon, we’d be fine now. You see, says Gideon, if only the EU hadn’t allowed this debt problem to drift, our trade with them would be fine now.
But it’s all bollocks, naturally. Gordon’s ‘discipline’ was non-existent after 2003 – and Patricia Hewitt alone blew £23bn on not Connecting for Health. The Great Gordo also hid £445M of pfi off balance sheet – an amount that has now grown horrifically. Draper Osborne, meanwhile, has managed cuts to date totalling almost exactly zero. And over the whole decade, Sterling has seen a massive devaluation against the euro – but a widening trade gap. The latest one last month was another cool £7.8bn. That’s nearly £94bn per annum. No chaps and chapesses, we’re in the mire because our products are sloppily designed, badly marketed, too expensive and dated before they leave the factory. But the EU is a convenient scapegoat: and all politicians must have a scapegoat.
Over the weekend, the alteration of reality by French officials added an entirely revolutionary approach, in that instead of trying to change the past, the Elysee’s medicins de spin opted for rewriting the future. France and Germany were close to agreement on a (yawn) two trillion shock and awe, bigger haircut for banks, and eurobank recapitalisation they claimed. Philip Baldrick in the Telegraph swallowed it whole, but today some form of normality has returned, in that the eurocrats are now ‘backing away’ from any ideas about golden bullets. Predictably, both Geithner and Merkel are doing the same. Timmy in particular seems somewhat horrified that, once again, somebody imagined he might be putting his hand in one of his carefully sewn-up pockets.
At this juncture, it’s hard to imagine what the French think they’ll achieve through all this dissembling misinformation. But a propos of not very much (because not very much is happening in the G20/EU space at the minute) an anagram of European Union is ‘IOU an open urn’. Pretty much sums it up, really.