Perhaps it was because a Friday afternoon coffee had turned into a beer, or perhaps it was because I was on my way out of my job as a reporter, that a contact was being unusually honest. As we sank our pints and rued the barren economic climate that had cost this senior property agent his big-bonus lifestyle and me, in part, my job, he volunteered a very simple truth in honest language. “Ben,” he said resignedly, “our system exists in one of only two states: fear or greed”. Speaking for himself and his Mayfair colleagues, he explained how when things are good the industry grossly overvalues property and clambers all over itself to make as much as it can while it can, and “when the chips are down” the opposite occurs. Values are distorted downwards, credit becomes like a puddle in a desert, and frantic survival becomes the only concern.
If there was any doubt in my mind about which way to vote on AV, the ‘no’ campaign has helped clear up the matter. The patronising force-feeding of crudely couched untruths and malevolent over-simplifications instead of presenting us with a well thought-out list of arguments and cogent analysis shows the present system up for all of its flaws. Is it because they think we wouldn’t get our feeble heads around their elevated and lofty arguments? Is it because they don’t know why they are against it themselves they just know that they don’t want change? Is it because they know that if they tried to build a solid case for opposing AV it would stand up as robustly as a house of cards in a sandstorm? So let’s take the only semblance of an argument that we have been slapped with. That AV would cost the country too much – soldiers would be mercilessly slaughtered and babies would die horrific lonely futile deaths. Errrm, pardon? Does this mean that no reform should ever be made because it costs money? Were the NHS/ welfare/ public health acts/ universal suffrage/ abolition of slavery gross errors because they were administratively costly to set up? And how can the tories, sorry the ‘No’ campaign, sleep at night after a day of flogging the “let’s not waste money” argument given the millions of pounds our intervention in Libya is scouring from the public purse? Are they saying that attacking Gadafi – while not an entirely […]