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The fraud of the rings

Are the Tories modelling their policies on Middle Earth, asks PADDY MCGUFFIN

Never let it be said that this government does not have a finger on the cultural pulse of the country. 

As the nation salivates in anticipation over the imminent cinematic arrival of the second film in the Hobbit trilogy, it would appear that the coalition has gone one step further and based its entire ideology on the works of Tolkien.

The shires are being laid waste to, the little people are being hounded to oblivion. 

The black riders of Atos stalk the land while the goblins of G4S are let loose to rapaciously pillage what’s left.

Personally this column has a marked aversion to Tolkien, but you can see why the coalition would like it. 

It’s interminably long-winded, frequently filled with gibberish and has no basis in reality.

In both the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings sod-all happens for ages with everyone sitting around talking rubbish and then all hell breaks loose. 

All in all its an uncannily accurate assessment of the last three years of government.

And, in a manner strikingly akin to that employed by Kiwi director Peter Jackson, they’ve been doing everything backwards and then dragging it all out to screw more money out of a gullible public.

Thus we’ve had an ill-matched bunch of misfits going on “an unexpected journey” and now we’re set for “the desolation of Maude.”

Oh yes, and Iain Duncan Smith as Gollum.

It is at least keeping with the zeitgeist I suppose but it is rather disconcerting to see policy purloined from pulp fiction.

You can also understand why the public in general are so enthused by the new release. 

With everything that’s going on in this country the chance to immerse yourself in an escapist fantasy where the good guys triumph against adversity and evil is vanquished is a tempting option.

Speaking of IDS, it is worth noting the titles of the Antipodean ring-botherer Jackson’s earlier outings. 

His first two films were called Bad Taste and Brain Dead, both of which would be suitable epithets for not just IDS but most of the Cabinet.

Has there ever been a politician more reviled, craven, unctuous and completely bloody incompetent than Duncan Smith? 

There may have been but this column is struggling to recall one. Even the Mogodon-munching sheep that was Geoffrey Howe woke up long enough to stab Thatcher in the back.

Even in this current bunch of smirking shysters and scumbags IDS sticks out like a Jehovah’s Witness at a blood donor clinic.

He’s like a drowning man who instead of swimming to a lifeboat continues to cling to a breeze block telling everyone else they’re wrong and wondering why bubbles keep coming out of his nose.

This week he was yet again hauled in front of Parliament to explain himself over universal credit, a fatuous buzz-phrase which, like the “big society,” does the opposite of what it says on the tin and has had more ill-advised attempted relaunches than a penguin on LSD.

As a policy it is neither universal nor credible. It is designed to drive the poorest into further penury and debt — a bit like the Lottery but without the momentary excitement and naive anticipation.

Not so much a case of “it could be you” as under this government “it will be you and you’re screwed.”

And what about the risible monikers for their wheezes? 

Do they have some kind of machine in the Department of Work and Pensions which randomly strings two non-applicable words together then churns them out in the form of a policy document? 

“What will we call this new policy that requires people to work at totally unsuitable jobs or face having their benefits frozen?”

(Feeds card into machine). Whirr, click, whistle…

“Ah yes, ‘workfare.’ Excellent! Now all we need to do is find some unscrupulous capitalist bastards to run it. Hit the speed dial button.”

IDS once again defended his “precious” this week claiming all was going to plan — which terrifyingly might actually be true. 

Incidentally the third Hobbit film, scheduled for next year, will use the original book’s subtitle: “There and back again.” 

If that’s not a salutary warning for the electorate come polling day I don’t know what is.


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