Category Archives: focus groups

Terribly, frighteningly sincere

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 09.00.03Who would have thought, writes Dalrymple,

that a ridiculous little house painter could have become the leader of the best-educated nation in Europe? Why, then, should an absurd, intellectually limited, puritanical ideologue not become prime minister of one of the most ill-educated nations in Europe?

Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory in the election for the leadership of Britain’s Labour party

shows how little the political class knows even of its own parties’ activist membership, let alone of the country as a whole.

If you dislike Hamas and Hezbollah, Corbyn

is not going to change his opinion or stance merely to canvass or capture your vote. He is sincere, terribly and frighteningly sincere.

He gets some things right, for example in the matter of High Speed 2, the railway to be built between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. This is

so patently an unnecessary, uneconomic, ecologically destructive, vastly expensive and regressive project (regressive in the tax sense, a subsidy both to the companies that will build it and to the passengers who will use it, for it will never pay for itself), that almost everyone suspects large-scale corruption.

Corbyn’s

ruling passion is political self-righteousness.

This is

refreshing in a way, for many people are tired of the patently ersatz or carefully crafted presentation of most other prominent politicians, who seem not to be able to utter a word or appear in public for a moment without having first sought the opinion of focus groups. The next election haunts them like a Doppelgänger, and mostly being of infirm principle or opinion, they live in a state of constant anxiety not to offend.

Corbyn is

  • a wearer of sandals
  • a supporter of Palestinian terrorists
  • a supporter of Irish republican terrorists
  • vegetarian
  • a teetotaller
  • pacifist (except where foreign terrorists are concerned)
  • an abolitionist (concerning the British monarchy)

He is not intrinsically unelectable.

It would take only a few disasters, whether the government was responsible for them or not, for the electorate to conclude that anything, even Mr Corbyn, was better than it. People tend to vote against rather than for someone. The resentment to which Mr Corbyn’s socialism appeals, already quite widespread, could spread yet further if there were a deepening of Britain’s economic problems.

Backbone of a mollusc and morals of a jackal

His face is so moistly smooth and characterless that it looks as though it would disappear leaving a trail of slime if caught in the rain

His face is so moistly smooth and characterless that it looks as though it would disappear leaving a trail of slime if caught in the rain

Cameron is not the man for the job

In the Greece of the North Sea, writes Dalrymple,

several things need to be done, among them the reform and even dismantlement of the educational and social-security systems, the liberalisation of the labour laws, and the much firmer repression of crime. David Cameron is not the man for the job.

Cameron, says Dalrymple,

is Focus Group Man made flesh. This is not altogether surprising since his only known employment, other than politician, was in public relations. He appears not to know what to think until he has consulted a variety of gauges of public opinion, and then he announces his own opinion as if from deep conviction.

Blancmange-like, he

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 07.24.15

Moulds himself to any shape going

moulds himself to any shape going.

Raised on public relations,

Cameron cannot think back further than yesterday’s focus group or ahead further than tomorrow’s opinion poll. Strategy is alien to him.

He made a commitment to further Scottish devolution,

thus conjuring constitutional problems from thin air. He was panicked into doing so by a single Gallup poll, whose authors must be very proud that a single poll of theirs affected a significant power so profoundly.

This was a typically Cameronian act of foolishness and incompetence. Moreover, the promise

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 07.25.38

Acted like a tin-pot dictator

was not Cameron’s to make: he acted more like a tin-pot dictator proposing a change to the constitution to allow himself a seventh term than a democratic politician.

Then came his pledge to protect the funding of the NHS,

because he knows through focus groups, opinion polls, etc., that the British people worship the NHS as the Israelites once worshipped the golden calf.

Cameron

cannot see a bad idea without embracing it with what he imagines is vote-getting fervour.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 07.27.10Nothing for Cameron

is a matter of principle, only of advantage, and short-term advantage at that, his sole discernible goal being that of maintaining himself in power.

What of his physiognomy?

His face is so moistly smooth and characterless that it looks as though it would disappear leaving a trail of slime if caught in the rain.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 07.35.41

Backbone

Morals

Morals

No escape from the squalor of politics

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 07.55.29Britain’s prime minister, writes Dalrymple,

is Focus Group Man made flesh. This is not altogether surprising since his only known employment, other than politician, was in public relations. He appears not to know what to think until he has consulted a variety of gauges of public opinion, and then he announces his own opinion as if from deep conviction.

Dalrymple supposes that it is

naïve to want politicians to believe in something and to say what they mean. When you come to think of it, those who have done so have probably done more damage than the equivocators.