Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Just Killing Time in Cologne...

I have a 3-hour wait at Köln Airport before my flight to Liverpool.

Köln is full of grinning, spotty-faced, adolescent Christians…all pimples and straggly beards…and that’s just the girls. They all look suspiciously as if they are about to hop about in pure Christian bliss and burst into a verse and two choruses of Lord of the Dance…
You see, Köln has been host to the Catholic Weltjugendtag which seems to have been going on and on for weeks.
There was also a guest appearance of the new superstar of the Catholic Church on Thursday last week, I think… Pope Doodah the 9⅜th or whatever. He grinned and waved…and they all grinned and waved back.

Since then politicians of all shape and size, gender and persuasion have been queuing to be photographed having an audience…this is very important as there is a general election in Germany next month…well, maybe.
It depends whether the Supreme Court here ever decides if Gerhard Schröder's call for an election was in fact constitutional…maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t – no-one seems to know.
The politicians are campaigning though, albeit a bit half-heartedly, just in case - but I think they were taken a little unaware by the whole thing and have been caught with their manifestos down.
You really get the impression that they just don’t know quite what they should be campaigning about…so they are treading water, sitting on the fence and umming and ahing.

Or…maybe they do know but they don’t yet know how to dress up the bad news in enough finery to get the people to vote for them.

In the end it is the same before every election. The politicians of all the parties have to prepare themselves for what, basically, is an extreme binge of falsehood with great dollops of deception and long lists of lies.

It makes you wonder how stupid they think we are.

How many elections do you have to go through before you start to realise this? The scheme is always follows a pattern. Let’s say the present government has been somewhat austere…then the opposition will talk about tax cuts, increased benefits, cutting crime, raising living standards…etc, etc…

The electorate believes it...votes them in…and then…well, all those things they promised…hmm…well, now…they are just not possible…yet…the new government has now seen what a truly awful mess the previous government had made of things and the situation is much worse than we all thought and so…unfortunately the tax cut/benefit increase/crime reduction will have to be delayed until such time as everyone has forgotten all about them.

I mean, how stupid do they think we are?

Then, remember Helmut Kohl. He had a fine story to tell the German voters…and myself I suppose as a payer of German taxes.

“To finance the reunification of Germany there will be no new taxes…”

Well, there weren’t…but there was a “Solidaritätszuschlag” – a “solidarity extra payment”…not a “tax” you see!

And come to think of it we are still paying it 15 years later.

Then there was George Bush…the father, not the nincompoop son with his scandalous “read my lips – no new taxes” fraud.

How stupid did they think we are?

Why is there no come back? If you go on TV and tell people you manufacture a car that runs on fresh air and costs nothing, you are going to get into trouble, so how come the politicians get away with it all the time?

Is it perhaps something to do with the fact that they write the rules?

The most amazing thing is when they get together and spend months to decide about paying themselves more money.

“Talks have commenced today in the government’s salary think–tank on the percentage by which MPs’ salaries should be increased…”

Months later we learn that, yes, they have decided to increase their salaries…well, hey, what a surprise!

Imagine the voting session:

MP 1: “I propose that we increase our salaries by 10%.”

All: “Ok!”

So what do they talk about the rest of the time? Probably how they are going to spend it all.

How stupid do they think we are?

They obviously think we are very stupid…and for once they might be right.

I have to check in for my flight soon. Perhaps I just have time to go over and listen to verse 146 of Lord of the Dance.

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