"There is no alternative (alas)" Today's cover story in the Economist

I’m going to vote Conservative next week, not so much because I’m crazy about Michael Howard, but because I want to keep the Lib Dems out in my Tory marginal (MP: Theresa May). Still, I really won’t be disappointed if Tony Blair is returned to power - I’m assuming he’ll have a 80-90 seat majority - because he was on the right side of the most important issue - Iraq. (Howard continues to dig himself deeper into a hole on that one.) And - perhaps I’m hopelessly optimistic - I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that a sound mandate will encourage Blair to get back to the business of transforming Labour into a grown-up party.

Is that too much to ask?
Gerard Baker thinks it is. His powerful op-ed in today’s Times dissects the statist, tax-and-spend world-view of both main parties, nurtured by the "stultifying" orthodoxies of the new Establishment. With the commentariat, naturally, at the top of the tree:

I haven’t lived in Britain for more than a decade now, having spent most of my time in the US. But back in the country for the election, I’m not surprised at the palpable sense of futility. The British people are steadily being reduced to a state of cringing dependence on an ever-more voracious and aggrandising Government and a political establishment of almost unconquerable scale that supports and sustains it.

. . . Above them all are the media, the self-selecting and self-perpetuating elite in broadcasting, newspapers, the arts (have you ever heard a novelist express an original political view?). This is the pinnacle of the Establishment that offers its highest recognition to people who make such programmes as The Power of Nightmares, the “documentary” whose tendentious bilge flowed from a manifestly false premise that the terrorist threat was all invented by neoconservatives (did the producer ever speak to a member of the Clinton Administration, which spent its last two years increasingly obsessed with the terror threat?).

I can’t disagree with a word. Yet somehow I’m still clinging to the belief that Blair will deliver in the end. Such is the power of wishful thinking.
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/04/im-muddled-gerard-bakers-not-there-is.html|||4/29/2005 02:29:00 pm|||||||||