Sunday, 7 October 2007

Reality Check

Conservatives seem to have worked themselves up into such a state of rapture over their lucky escape as to half believe that Gordon the Grim has vanished as completely as the unlamented Princess Tony.

He hasn't.

Last time I looked, he was still presiding over his thought-suppressing, money- wasting, liberty-denying, interfering, hectoring, clique-ridden, boring wannabe police state. And, having finally crawled up his perch, it's hard to imagine him giving it up any time soon.

Likewise, a momentary post-conference bounce in the polls does not mean that David Cameron will be in government this year, next year, or the year after that. Any more than the strong showing for Labour last week meant that the Tories were headed for a Canadian-style wipe-out. Though you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given the hysterical, almost manic tone of some political commentators over the past couple of days. The Heresiarch's favourite piece of demented wisdom came from Peter Kellner, who yesterday solemnly pronounced that the recent swing to the Conservatives represented the biggest single shift in opinion since the Falklands.

That's right. Since the most unpopular prime minister in history suddenly became a national institution after her hastily-assembled fleet administered a sound thrashing to the Argies.

Cameron, on the other hand, spoke (not particularly) off the cuff to a few thousand somewhat flustered supporters desperately willing him on. It was only a speech. It was not even the "speech of his life" (that was in 2005). And my strong suspicion is, Brown had already decided to jettison the election idea. If, indeed, he ever really meant it.

The truth is, the prospect of Gordon Brown voluntarily calling any election he isn't 100% certain of winning is about as likely as Louise "No-knickers" Bagshawe winding up as MP for Corby.

So what happens now? Very little. In a few weeks, the PM will trot off to Brussels and obediently sign away what remains (admittedly not much) of Britain's status as an independent country. He will return, proclaiming victory in securing his "red lines", which were, after all, chosen as being easy to defend, apparently significant but actually pretty meaningless. It's the lines, red or otherwise, he didn't even bother to defend that worry me. And he will continue his subversion of democracy by denying the promised referendum. After all, it's his country, not ours.

Free thought, free speech, and free assembly will continue to diminish. Tomorrow sees another massive extension in state surveillance, giving 800 governmental and quasi-governmental bodies access to phone records - a measure scarcely debated in Parliament, and hardly mentioned by a media obsessed by the minutiae of personality politics and the fate of BBC executives. The quite terrifying National Identity Register, and its even more sinister children's equivalent, will continue their remorseless progress. By the time Brown finally faces the voters, they will probably be unstoppable.

The massive inefficiencies in the NHS will continue, as the government continues to impose its dehumanising target-driven culture, part of its drive to turn us all into obedient zombies. The next big idea, intimated in Brown's Conference speech, will be "individual health care". People will be offered "personal" health-checks. If they accept, they will be bullied into adopting diets, exercise regimes and pills until their bodily statistics conform to centrally determined norms. If they refuse, they find themselves struck off their local GP's register. Wait and see.

Most Conservatives are of course delighted that they no longer have to face an election for which they were woefully unprepared, and which they would almost certainly have lost. In their ecstasies of relief, they imagine they have already won the day. But it will take a massive collapse in the economy or house prices to undermine Labour's base sufficiently to place Brown in serious danger of losing an election.

And if defeat looks even remotely possible (and given the grotesquely distorted electoral system, it will never look likely), Gordon can be relied upon to hang on until 2010.

Cameron and his charming bunch of toffs appear currently to be basking in a sort of post-orgasmic euphoria. But it was ridiculously premature. And the rest of the country is asking, Was that it?