The Meaning of It

After a long period of internal strife in the People’s Republic while we moved house, my revival to blogging is partly inspired by The Call from the party about renewing my membership subscription (“Are you enjoying being a member of the Lib Dems?” Yesyesyes, really, honest, I will blog, I will I will I will! Poor woman never knew what hit her. I felt so guilty I even paid the full recommended membership fee) and partly by a Citizen who has recently claimed, on my Facebook wall, that I am his only source of news, a state of affairs which, if true, induces in me the sort of chronic low-level panic I normally reserve for running late for long pre-booked train journeys.

So to celebrate, let’s relaunch the beleaguered People’s Republic with a champagne reception, a gourmet picnic, live cutting edge music, elegant surroundings and an altogether fabulous party!* Did you enjoy it? Right then, to business, and where better to start after a lay-off than a bit of Tory-bashing?

Make it happen (and if you’re going to click on that link, be ready for the springiness of the hair which will quickly fill your browser) is the handle of the relaunched Lib Dem tax policy With Bells On – as you will already know if you haven’t been living under a rock for the last week or if I’m not your only source of news.

There’s not much I can say about this welcome firming up of liberal principles that hasn’t already been said here and, hehehe, here. But I would add that, as a slogan, Make it happen forms an interesting counterpoint to the Tories’ You can get it if you really want it tagline. In both cases, the “it” is critical. “It” is a flexible word that fills the space in people’s heads marked “What I want/the world needs”. “It” is the common goal shared between catchphraser and catchphrasee. Whether they have the same common goal in reality is another matter – but it’s something the catchphrasee will generally have worked out from the accompanying policies and mood music.

The difference in mood music is, of course, that our tagline talks about what the world needs. It’s a call to action, an exhortation to create and/or better something. The Tories’ tagline appeals directly to individuals’ self-interest (it’s actually the tagline for their recruitment drive, I see. Figures.) As a piece of semantic positioning, this heartens me. You can get it if you really want it always did strike me as preternaturally ghastly, a 1980s Mazda advert throwback of a catchphrase, and our related idea is just well, light years more appealing unless you’re a self-caricaturing estate agent**.

But more than that, an appeal to self-interest is an increasingly nonsensical position for the Tories to take, given that they are on record last week as refusing to rule out tax rises, which is code for fully intending to send them through the roof. If you’re going to set out your stall to the nakedly self-interested, you should make sure you can satisfy their greed. What kind of self-respecting self-interested person doesn’t want to pay less tax? What is there left for people to get if they really want it?

Presumably, only the chance to lock up everybody under the age of 25. And their mums. Expect the Tories to continue majoring on the “You can force everyone you faintly disapprove of to starve in the gutter as a sort of sop to your self-respect as your employer goes down the tube, your living costs rocket and your house plummets in value if you really want to” message.

* Owing to insurmountable technical difficulties, guests are asked to provide their own champagne, gourmet food, music, company, ambience and venue. Dress formal.

** Not that all estate agents aren’t lovely and wonderful people, of course. Particularly those in Devon.

13 Comments

  1. Welcome back, the ‘sphere has been missing you. I’d especially like to hear some defences of green taxes, which I instinctively favour as they shift the burden away from low and medium earners and towards cunts (see also inheritance tax). I’ve seen them under attack and vaguely tried to defend them on the grounds that if we are to have tax, surely that is better than income tax or VAT which are taxes on worthwhile things, as opposed to polluting and raking in money from property “investments”.

    I didn’t know you had moved. Where are you living now?

    You may wish to look at my latest blogging effort, which is as well written and researched, persuasively argued and nuanced as all the others, that is to say not at all…

    I’ve had all kinds of wild experiences and learning that I’ve wanted to talk about, so I hope you’re going to be around a lot to hear from me😀

    PS-
    I suggest that the music be the entire Elvis Costello oeuvre, played repeatedly.

  2. You suggested in an earlier post that you were contemplating leaving London. Speaking as a resident of old London town, may I say that I sincerely hope that this isn’t the case.

  3. Welcome back Alix, hope the internal strife wasn’t too painful.

    Did they really ask you if you’re enjoying being a member? What a strange question.

    Anyway, thanks for the fabulous and opulent party, I really enjoyed mine.

  4. Yeh, it was good wasn’t it – I especially liked the slug balancer.

    Alas, Painfully, it is true. Am holed up at my parents’ while I contemplate a big scary out-of-London move. For was it not Dr Johnson himself who said that When a Girl is Tired of London, She is Tired of Topshop @ Oxford Circus? The writing’s on the wall, I tell you…

  5. Aren’t you getting a bit old to be “holed up” with your parents?

    I think most people of your age own their own homes and are possibly even married and starting to raise families.

    Perhaps you should get out more, less blogging, more living! You’ll get dusty on that shelf and, while you might not like it, Alix, I’m afraid everyone has to grow up at some point.

  6. Serious answer to H. It’s much better to make the effort to get things right than to plough on in the wrong situation because that’s what one ought to be doing at one’s age.

    Flippant answer to H. Why don’t you just fuck off back to Steps?

  7. Oh christ, it was clearly Nutters United Against Mortimer day yesterday. Why do I never get the classy political trolls?

  8. @ H “I think most people of your age own their own homes and are possibly even married and starting to raise families.”

    Interesting point by H there; owing one’s own home doesn’t have to be a measure of success (and is currently impossible or difficult for many of us). But much less important as a measure of success in life is marriage or raising a family by a certain age. Life doesn’t have to be about making a contract (historically about property ownership) or procreating.

    True, if it floats your boat then all well and good to you. But rushing to meet those markers because “most people your age” already have is fairly stupid if that’s the only reason you’re doing it.

    As a liberal, I certainly would not criticise someone for ‘failing’ to adhere to certain conventions by a particular age.

  9. I don’t think anyone would agree that living at home with your parents at age 29 is in any way cool or a sign of success. Rather, most women of that age I know who have had to resort to that describe it as going home with tail between their legs.

    I think it’s just rather pathetic really the number of late 20 somethings who still rely on their parents – for anything, home, money, lifts. What is so wrong with being a grown up these days?

    I don’t think that owning your own home is so much a sign of success as an indicator that someone has responsibilities in life and is therefore likely to be more mature because of that responsibility. I generally find that the more responsiblities a person has the more mature they are.

    Personally, I’ve owned my own home for seven years (in London) and I am exactly the same age as Alix so I don’t at all get why it is supposedly so impossible or difficult? Not if you have a good job and put a bit away and keep your credit rating clean. I’m not lucky, I worked hard and made good decisions.

    Many apologies if you’re envious of that CW.

    PL: I agree you shouldn’t marry someone you are with just for the sake of it. But who says that just because you are married that is what you’ve done? Some people marry because they are in love and want to spend the rest of their life with that person. What do you find so very wrong with that?

    I’m not saying Alix HAS to get married to the wrong guy. Just that she ought to now be running her own home, not scrounging off someone else’s.

    If you are married and have a family and your own household, then you have to look after other people as well as yourself and make sure they have what they need, not just what you do and that to me also indicates you are a mature and responsible adult.

    Furthermore being married strongly suggests you are a more grounded person, who is desirable to live with and to be a life-long partner and friend. There are several fcuked up single people out there who can’t find anyone for that very reason. They struggle with being open-hearted for instance or are selfish or immature and have resisted growing up like the rest of the world..this is turning into a circular argument.

    Having and raising children is beyond doubt a way more socially worthwhile thing to do than spending your days regurgitating news articles on your blog (we can all read the papers ourselves you know) or trying to work out how many long words to fit in a sentence in the mistaken belief this makes you look clever as opposed to just SAD and BORING and lacking in any kind of real world life.

    As for being liberal, why on earth would I want to be that? That means allowing smokers to pollute the world, which is no less bad a crime than Indonesia pumping out tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. Or allowing men to get wound up by porn and go on to rape women. Liberals don’t have a clue.

    Colliers Wood – whatever floats YOUR boat darling, but would I give up my husband,my children and my home to live with my parents, not have a clue what I’m doing with my life, spend all day contemplating my navel, blogging and finding random crap to say about politics and people like Alix does?

    No thank you!!!

    And I can’t think of a single woman my age who would.

    Alix – you might like to re-consider your response to my original comment in light of my general suggestion that you grow up. It was as immature of you as ever.

  10. There are a great many possible responses to that, none of them particularly complimentary. I think I’ll restrict myself to observing that you seem to have gone to the effort to craft a long (and dare I say somewhat rambling?) piece berating Alix for spending too much time writing her blog.

    I also notice you didn’t address my fucking off back to steps comment. Shame, I thought that was quite funny. one could even say it’s a tragedy.

  11. @”but would I give up my husband, my children and my home to live with my parents”

    Good, because no one’s asking you to!

    @”That means allowing smokers to pollute the world, which is no less bad a crime than Indonesia pumping out tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. Or allowing men to get wound up by porn and go on to rape women.”

    Yeah, ‘cos that’s exactly what most liberals believe in. That is sarcasm by the way.

    @”Furthermore being married strongly suggests you are a more grounded person, who is desirable to live with and to be a life-long partner and friend.”

    And

    @”If you are married and have a family and your own household, then you have to look after other people as well as yourself and make sure they have what they need, not just what you do and that to me also indicates you are a mature and responsible adult.”

    If you’d said that having a stable relationship was a likely *indication* of maturity I might have agreed with you – however, the nonsense that *marriage* is the indicator? There are plenty of irresponsible, immature people who get married. Hell, criminals even sometimes do it! (shock, horror)

    Look, it’s great that you’re happily married, have family and a mortgage, but it just seems a little odd to be criticising others for not choosing *your* life path.

    It’s not “in any way cool or a sign of success” to write overly long posts randomly on somone else’s blog criticising them for not currently being married, in-debt because of property or with child.

  12. If you’re so successful and everything is going so well in your world, why are you here sneering at Alix? Could it be that you’re just a tiny little bit insecure?

    Do you two know each other?

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