Saturday 31 December 2011

The Death of Consumerism

The Silverburn shopping centre on Glasgow's south-side is the largest mall in Scotland, so they say. It's enormous. A huge cathedral-like structure of glass and tile, full of "units" and "outlets" and "franchises" and "supermarkets" and even just plain shops, with a Tesco at one end and a Marks and Spencer at the other, it's a vast modern bazaar with everything you might want, and all under one gigantic roof .

Yesterday I was diverted to the M&S shop at Silverburn to get some toddler food for my 3-year-old grandson, but unfortunately they didn't have what I wanted.

As I strode through the mall on my way back to the car it suddenly struck me that in all that corncuopia of goods and services, of clothes and hardware and software and printware and fast food and (for all I know) slow food, in all of it, there was not one thing that they could sell me that I really needed or even particularly wanted.

FREEDUM!! (as our nationlaist brethren are wont to exhale when facts and logic run out .....)

Monday 12 December 2011

An Act of Existential Cowardice

Or "Where's Wally", Parliamentary version....

If there is one policy, principle and philosophical stance that used to distinguish the Lib Dems from the other parties it is a firm attachment to Europe. But last week their coalition partner David Cameron pushed the UK dinghy away from the nearer European shores and drifted off on the long Eurosceptic journey to complete separation.Nick Clegg at first agreed and then demurred. "I'm for it.Oh no, I'm agin' it" he said of Mr Cameron's Euro brush off.

Today, when Mr Cameron came to attempt to justify his decision to the Commons, McAvity Clegg just wasn't there.

When Clegg and his party reneged on their cast iron promise to students to oppose rises in student fees it seemed that they had sunk as low as they could go. Not at all.

Now the Lib Dems have abandoned their keystone policy. The party of Europe is silent against the onslaught of the swivel eyed Tory right wing little Englander Euro-nutters. The same Euro-nutters who now believe they have won the day and have destroyed the Lib Dems raison d'etre.

And the leader of that party, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Nicholas Clegg MP, a man who has spent his political life in Europe and fighting for pro-European policies, was too cowardly to even attend the Parliamentary debate. Too afraid to face the well earned contempt of his peers and the derision of his colleagues. Too scared to give badly needed leadership to his party, he ran and he hid. Like a criminal. Like a fugitive.

While other Lib Dems stood and took defeat on the chin, and fought back with what spirit they could muster, their leader was in furtive hiding. He slunk out afterwards and tried to bluster his way through TV interviews without looking too shop-soiled, but he is damaged goods, no leader, and his party is, maybe fatally, wounded.

And what of the coalition? If it gets into trouble, will Nick Clegg stand up for it, for his Tory tormentors, for those who today called him and his party "lickspittles" while he, the brave party leader, cowered in the shadows, unable or unwilling to stand up for himself or his party or their, now tattered and torn, political principles.