At the End of the Day

A taste for Scottish salmon and British pork by China’s emerging middle classes drove UK food and drink exports 5 per cent higher last year to £12.8bn’ wrote The Independent this morning.

In fact, posh exports to the Chinese filthy rich grew 82% year on year. As I’ve been saying for nearly six years, ‘It is brutally obvious what we Brits need to do: go back at least partly to small-scale workshops turning out genuinely craftsman-made articles. Margins would be high and volumes modest, but profits would be enormous – and the demand for this kind of stuff insatiable. I have, for instance, a chum who manufactures and markets hunting guns. Over 70% of the volume goes to China, India and Russia. Now that is facing reality and doing something about it.’

The potential for “British Made” in China is near-infinite, but my God it’s taken the clowns at Westminster a long time to cotton on. And all that raises, for me, a much broader point.

We have at the moment in the US, Europe and Australia a political class of such amateurish greed, their only route to wealth is through scams, smoke, mirrors, cons, and bent statistics. But at the same time –  given the appalling pit of misery into which that incompetence has delivered us – we have technocrats (almost entirely in the shape of former Goldman Sachs employees) running a disturbing number of Western nations, with the pols nodding meekly to their various demands.

Such is the achievement of those who dub themselves “professional politicians”. But I should like if I may tonight to suggest an alternative arrangement via which (a) liberal democracy would stand a chance of surviving and (b) citizens might one day actually grow to respect their politicians.

The counter-culture I suggest for Western legislatures is this: that a preponderance of MPs/Congressman/Deputies whatever should stand for election on one simple basis within their Party affiliation: “this is the unique dimension of scientific/literary/artistic/psychiatric/meditational/commercial/sporting/media/anthropological/entrepreneurial/disability/religious/distribution/linguistic/comedic/eccentric expertise I bring to the table”.

Or put more succinctly, “Amateur nobs, fat bankers, internet barrow-boys and affiliated shop stewards need not apply”. For the simple reason that –  as is surely self-evident – they have no unique or objective learning to offer us.

In closing, let me tell you what my sole criterion would be for judging the success or otherwise of that change: to never again be able to say – when a pol stands up to say something, “Well yes quite, old bean, but I and many others could’ve told you that”.

Either politicians add value, or they are a pointless overhead. I look at the past in relation to RAB Butler, Jo Grimond, and Nye Bevan, and I am grateful for their contribution to my life. I look at the present in relation to Jeremy Hunt, Nick Clegg and Dianne Abbott, and find they grate on my nerves.

The friction has nothing to do with their politics, and everything to do with their self-obsessed insincerity. The only thing the up-themselves folks have to tell me is how badly parked they are. This is not something for which I’m prepared to pay.

Earlier at The Slog: Two more open goals for the Miliballs…can they miss?