In the days running up to the local elections there was an excellent reminder, if it were needed, that Tory logic is very much of the push-me-pull-you* variety.
Their Dave was around and about in Manchester (a digression: did anyone else pick up on the cringeworthy Cathy Newman segment on C4 news when Their Dave, on being asked to speculate on how the elections would go for the Tories ”in his wildest dreams?” replied “Well, hur-hur, not all my wildest dreams are about local elections, Cathy.” Hgaggaaaaaaaah! Gnnnaaaaaaah! Ick! Gn! Make it go away!) busy putting paid to the totally unfair perception (perish the thought!) that he was a Notting Hill namby-pamby. Having thus reassured the denizens, he contined to discuss local problems and suggest solutions.
People are desperately worried about crime, about antisocial behaviour, about what is happening on our streets. Conservative councils will clear your streets and have a zero tolerance policy because we know that clean streets are safe streets… If you get rid of the litter and the graffiti you can get rid of the vandalism and the yobbery that spoils so many of our town and city centres
I would, in all seriousness** welcome any reading Tory who wants to have a go at explaining this chain of causality. Because, I mean, what? Picking up litter will solve all the problems of disaffected youth? Cleaning graffiti off walls will actually lower rates of mugging and burglary? Try as Dave might to disassociate himself from the charge of being a Notting Hill lightweight, it betrays itself in his thinking. The pretty wedding cake streets of Notting Hill are of course extremely clean and extremely safe, but those two mutually exclusive facts proceed from a third fact – they’re rich. Only someone totally wrapped up in their culture could fail to appreciate this as a root cause.
What escapes Their Dave at some quite fundamental level, I reckon, is that the culprits actually live in these areas. Perhaps he thinks they get bussed in at night from some out-of-town anti-social behaviour megastore? As long as certain factors drive people to what Labour has taught us to call, without even mid-air quotation marks any more, anti-social behaviour, they will practise it, on this wall or the next. But the Tory solution recognises no such painfully obvious reality. Move’em on, bang’em up, kick’em out, and Surrey house prices and Victoria sponge competitions will surely follow.
It’s faintly unnerving, how certain they are about this sort of thing on the basis of no evidence whatsoever. You know how nutters think with total seriousness that, say, traffic lights are causing rain to fall and Theresa May is controlling them through the television set? (They’re quite wrong about this, of course; it’s Jacqui Smith). To witness Tory policy-making in action is often like watching a whole bunch of them wearing suits and talking to journalists. One of them would just be a lone nutter, but collectively their skewed world-view has a spurious mass-certitude about it. They really don’t see why the whole world can’t be just like Notting Hill.
* In the sense that it tries to go in two directions as if they were one direction, rather than in the sense that it has two heads, is covered in fur and goes around braying a lot…
** Though not so serious that I won’t throw custard pies at you and go “ner-ner-ner, you’ve gone all YELLOW!”