The Dad Party — Part 2

It looks like this may — horrifically — become a series. Oh well. There’s a lot to get through on the subject but Medium is free and I’m not forcing anyone to read my drivel, so regard it as therapy, if you will.

Politics has changed. When did it change? In the UK, after World War II, there was a long series of alternating governments. First Labour would win and do some mad socialist shit that made life better for people but in the process, fuck the economy and make life worse for a lot of people.

Then the Conservatives would get elected — to run with my Dad Party metaphor, a bit reluctantly — fix the economy, alienate the working class, piss off the neighbours and get kicked out at the next election. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.

I expect this goes for the Republicans and Democrats, too, but I won’t swear to it because that way lies danger.

Now, when I say “mad socialist shit”, I do actually mean it. We’re not talking tax credits here. We’re talking massive projects like the NHS that really did make the country better. And what we called the Right Wing back then, well… you could make a pretty fair case for the arch-Conservative Sir Harold McMillan’s government actually having policies that lined up pretty well with Ed Miliband’s Labour party at the last General Election. I would even say they lined up with Jeremy Corbyn quite nicely except that Corbyn is an economic incompetent and McMillan was not.

When I say “politics has changed” I’m serious.

In the UK, I think I’m going to put the blame on Ted Heath. Elected in 1970, the Grocer failed to fix the economy, which was his one job. He also upset people in Northern Ireland (deliberate understatement), decimalised the coinage and the European Economic Community without a mandate to do so, so yeah, not exactly Mister Popular. And totally not what the party of Your Dad should do. Incompetence? Broad sweeping change? Weird fucking with things that weren’t broken? Unthinkable! And yet, there it was.

Unceremoniously booted in 1974, Labour got in and proceeded to try to do Labour things, except Heath had failed to fix the economy so there wasn’t any money. Labour made this situation orders of magnitude worse.

And then we got Thatcher. Now Thatcher kind of fixed the economy but it wasn’t in a Your Dad way. Imagine if you had no money and your vacuum cleaner was broken. Your dad would fix the vacuum cleaner. Thatcher sold the broken vacuum cleaner for scrap, got you a dustpan and brush and also made you go sweep floors on minimum wage for the rich people next door so you wouldn’t have time make a mess. Wow, she solved the “no money” issue, too! What a woman! What a nightmare. This is where the Dad Party found itself in a shallow grave.

It could have been okay if the Labour Party hadn’t been roughly as incapable and self-destructive as it is right now because, y’know, if they’d been electable we might not have had EIGHTEEN FUCKING YEARS for this to become the norm. Eighteen years for the Tories to forget what the Conservative party was for — fixing it and then going back to the shed to do important Dad stuff — and go completely insane.

My point, and I do have one, is that we actually need that back and forth. We need progressivism to move us three steps forward and two to the side and then we need conservatism to fix the sidesteps and move us two steps back. In this way, society improves and evolves and gets better but not so quickly or so erratically that people (and people are the important bit here) get ground in the machine. It’s a human form of progress.

We need to get it back.