It’s been a strange week in the Ruritanian kingdom of Ukovia, where politics is a game played by rich people and Lords and Ladies dripping in ermine who debate austerity. The elected government, elected that is by 24% of those eligible to vote, decided in its wisdom that it’s unfair that the poorest paid workers receive such a pittance from their employers that state intervention is required to allow the lowest paid a basic standard of living. You’d imagine, in a normal country in a normal universe, that this undesirable state of affairs would lead the government to increase the minimum wage so that it really was a living wage, and not a sum that won’t cover the essential expenses. But we don’t live in a normal country, we live in Ukovia.
The basic Ukovian principle concerning the austerity that determines our lives because rich people say so is that in order to increase productivity the rich must be rewarded but the poor must be punished. This is a kindness, by cracking the whip on the low paid they’ll become more strivey. Rich people don’t need whips cracked, because they have staff who can be whipped instead. Rich people need to be incentivised to become more strivey by being given more for less striving. This principle is what has made Ukovia great, and made this country a world leader in patriotic baking programmes and commemorations of long gone wars. There’s no country as great as Ukovia for celebrating the past because most of its citizens have no future.
And so, municifently, the Tories have graciously decided to axe the payments to the low paid in order to send a signal to the rich employers who fund the Tory party. And that signal is that by cutting the income of the poor, the government can now cut taxes for the rich, thus maximum Tory striviness is achieved.
But this is terribly unfair, cried a whole bunch of unelected peers who get £300 a day in expenses simply in return for turning up to strive without actually having to do any striving. We’re going to take strong and decisive action, they resolved, so there. And there was much huffing and puffing throughout the land, or at least in the pages of the Daily Mail. And so the poor peasants of Ukovia found themselves looking to an electorally illegitimate chamber to protect them from the bastards in the elected one.
The Tories immediately went into full on outrage mode, disgusted that the unelected bunch of placepersons, donors, and has beens whose undeserved privileges the Tories did so much to preserve might choose to exercise those privileges in a way that the Tories don’t like. It’s a constitutional crisis, they cried. Ukovia has seen no threatened crisis like it since Theresa May said that a Labour government backed by the SNP would be the worst crisis since the abdication. In other words, a crisis is when the Tory establishment thinks that it’s not going to get its own way. They’re the rulers of Ukovia, and nothing must stand in their way, not Scottish people, not poor people, not even their own House of Lords. The only thing that never provokes a constitutional crisis is opposition from the Labour party, but that’s mainly because Labour opposition consists largely of abstaining.
If the Lords dare to challenge us, threatened the Tories, we’ll pack the Lords with even more Michele Mones than we have done already. Michele came from a hovel but dared to dream that she could escape it, and also to make sure that others couldn’t escape so that her dream remains hers alone. The Lords harrumphed like toads in a pond in an amphibian orgy. Davie Cameron called up Andrew Lloyd Webber and told him he was wishing you were somehow here again. So Andy flew in first class from New York at taxpayers’ expense so that he could join Michale and vote against poor people who might think I dreamed a dream.
The Lib Dems sponsored a motion in the Lords that would have sent the cuts to tax credits back to the Commons. Labour didn’t like that idea, because that would have meant that the authority of the Lords might be damaged by the retaliation that the Tories would take. They’ll pack the Lords with even more bums to warm seats than they have done already and that would totally undermine the legitimacy that it’s not got. Instead Labour decided to oppose the Tories by not opposing them at all.
So Labour bravely opposed the Tories’ evil measures by abstaining. They stood up to the Tories by cowering in a corner and pleading not to be hit. That’ll teach them, said the Labour lords. The cuts to tax credits are still going to be introduced, but they’ll be implemented more slowly. Instead of tipping the poor into a vat of boiling oil, Labour’s going to lower them in gradually. It’s a kindness. The poor will still be fried, but Labour gets some headlines and can pretend it’s done something useful. And it has, it has usefully protected austerity for the Ukovian establishment. It’s the Ukovian way. Isn’t it great? Huzzah! Hooray!
Despite a stance from Labour that was as principled as an email from a Nigerian prince who needs your help to release £10 million from a bank account, the Tories are still going to retaliate. The Tories have always resisted any attempts to reform the House of Lords, they’re certainly not about to abolish it, not when it’s a pension plan for Tory MPs. It’s not so much the £300 a day in expenses they get, but a nice title is always a big help when it comes to getting a cushy directorship on the board of an international arms dealing company. Now Davie Cameron and George Osborne have an excuse for sharing that love with even more of their chums.
Labour could have done something about the Lords in 1997 when they were elected with an absolute majority. They chose to replace the hereditary principle with the only thing that was worse – the appointment of their pals. Now we’re all dealing with the consequences of successive governments acting in their own short term interests. The Tories are about to repeat that, and another little bit of what passes for democracy withers and dies. What we’ve got right now isn’t so much a constitutional crisis as a constitutional necrosis.
If you want a proper constitution there’s only one way you’re going to get one. It won’t be in Ukovia.
Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.
Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.
To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to email@example.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer. Get your order in today – an ideal Christmas present!