Sunday, February 21, 2010
Sticking With Stalin
Tyler has just finished reading Andrew Roberts' new history of WW2. It's actually rather disappointing, but as always there are bits of history that jump right out as being the tragic first run of some current farce.
Take the wartime exploits of Comrade Stalin. In 1941, this supreme bully presided over a government and army so weakened by his horrific mismanagement that it pretty well imploded when confronted with the German invasion. As the German forces swept deep into Russia, Stalin - who had arrogantly ignored all previous warnings of the invasion - suffered some kind of breakdown. He was terrified that his fellow commissars would mount a coup against him and have him shot - just as he'd done with countless fellow citizens. The country was left leaderless in its hour of greatest peril.
Yet the coup failed to materialise. His fellow commissars dithered and ducked and left the wounded monster in power. He may have spent the previous 10 years throwing mobile phones at them, he may have given the nation public services so hopeless they couldn't protect the country against invasion, and he may have bankrupted the economy with insane mega-projects that would never work. But they stuck with him. Or rather, by failing to act, they ended up getting stuck with him.
Now, as it turned out, that was the probably the correct call. Well, it was probably the correct call if you didn't mind being one of the 26m Soviet citizens who died in the war, or one of the hundreds of millions of people who spent the next 50 years under a repressive dysfunctional Soviet dictatorship.
And so to our current little problem.
We surely all understand by now that Comrade Bean chucks mobiles, presides over appalling public services, and has bankrupted the country. We also understand that most of his fellow commissars believe him to be a liability. But neither they - nor it seems we - are prepared to shoot him. How can that be?
How can the Tory poll lead be collapsing? Or to put it another way, how can Dave be so ineffective at capitalising on Bean's disasters and offering a clear alternative?
There is a school of thought - to which Tyler has subscribed - that says we need to see the actual invasion before we'll be convinced. We need to see that much-trailed collapse in market confidence, complete with sterling plunge, huge hike in bond yields, and Darling frozen in the TV lights outside HMT.
But Tyler's now beginning to wonder. Would that actually do it? What if Comrade Bean held an immediate morale boosting parade in Red Square (as Stalin did in November 1941)? Comrade Mandelsonski nodding gravely by his side, he reminds us that such a moment of national destiny is no time for a lightweight novice from the PR industry flip-flopping all over the place.
He, the Great Helmsman, has learned from previous mistakes, he will now always listen to his generals, and he stands ready to form a government of national unity with Comrade Cleggomov and St Vincenzo. It is time for all True Patriots to set aside past differences, to rally to the flag, and to defend the Motherland!
With panzers at the gates we need a fighter not a lover.
PS Please God we don't sleepwalk into this. If we do, the Tylers will be following future developments from some neutral country far far away.