Surface Dressing

If you’ve driven on the roads in Britain during the summertime, you’ll be familiar with a process road workers call ‘surface dressing’. This involves spraying bitumen binder (a sticky tar-like substance) on a clean, dry road surface, over which stone chippings are spread (small, consistently-sized aggregate). The surface is rolled to embed the stones into the bitumen although some loose stones will remain on the road surface for about a week. The weight of vehicles passing over these loose stones will force them in to the bitumen to finish the new road surface. It all sounds very good on paper, until you experience the reality of the situation. Firstly, surface dressing now appears to be the default option to actually repairing a road to a half-decent standard. Secondly, should be be unlucky enough to drive over these loose chippings at any speed in excess of 2MPH, the resulting damage to your car’s paintwork will be obvious as the chippings collide into the car’s bodywork with all the frenetic energy of particles in the Large Hadron Collider. Lastly, once we see the onset of winter, you can rest assured that much of the ‘dressing’ will be washed away to reveal the old surface underneath. This then leaves the road looking like it’s suffering with its own version of psoriasis. 

As I was sat in my car the other day, waiting in yet another delay as workers ‘dressed’ the road surface, I got to thinking how the term ‘surface dressing’ really encapsulates the state of our mainstream politics. For what is supposed to be a comprehensive manifesto created to entice people to vote with a set of mapped out policy proposals, actually amounts to little more than a series of carefully-crafted lies designed to give the illusion a winning party will enact what its voters elected it to do. In reality, principal parties work according to consensus politics; design their governance in accordance with the rules of the Blob; and pay little heed to the pressing issues or the covenant of honour we as voters expect or expected to be followed when we gave them our endorsement.

Two issues sum up this up more than any others for me: Immigration and Brexit. On the former, we’ve had successive Prime Ministers telling us for years now that something had to be done to bring migration levels to this country down to an acceptable and manageable level. But what do we find? In addition to last year’s tsunami of legally-permitted humanity to come to our shores, it looks like 2023 will exceed all previous forecasts. The Daily Telegraph suggests net migration to the United Kingdom in 2023 could be as high as 675,000 (! Given only two cities in this country have a greater population than the above figure – London and Birmingham – we are truly talking about an influx on a epic scale, and all thanks to a party who promised us they would bring net migration down to ‘the tens of thousands’. In truth this government isn’t interested in making Britain a comfortable place to live in. It’s only concerned (as would a Labour government or a coalition be concerned) in satisfying the demands of big business for cheap labour, Left-leaning civic society for plaudits, and the international political community made up of leaders who seem to have a similar agenda in their own respective jurisdictions. For the influencers of today’s Britain such as activist journos like Krishnan Guru-Murthy no amount of immigration, legal or illegal, will ever be too much ( . If Great Britain had the same population density as Hong Kong – with a multilayered patchwork of incompatible cultures, devastated infrastructure, a collapse of civil order with widespread incidents of sheep rustling and outdoor slaughter for Eid thrown in – there’d still be bishops, politicians, journalists, charity benefactors, business executives, civil servants and celebrities clamouring for more migration and more ‘diversity’. It is to them the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs pay obeisance, not to the everyday folk who put them on the Commons’ benches in the first place. Promises of tackling immigration are just surface dressing, and are guaranteed to end up being as shoddy and temporary as those aforementioned chippings and bitumen are.

Then we have Brexit. Pardon my Churchillian analogy but if there has ever been another example in British politics where the will of so many was obstructed, manipulated, denounced and ridiculed by so bitter few, I’ve yet to see it. Even those who professed to be on-side with the Brexit project have proven themselves to be as shallow as those chippings. Look at Rishi Sunak. After his instrumental role in bringing down his predecessor, he ran his leadership campaign with an express promise to repeal thousands of EU laws. He even released a cringeworthy video as part of his pledge ( Today, safely ensconced in Downing Street, he’s shredded his promise with considerably more gusto than ever he shredded EU law. Thousands of laws that were for the chop have been given an indefinite reprieve ( Well, not indefinite. Just long enough to allow Keir Starmer to get his even more morally-questionable figure into government to bring the whole project shuddering to a permanent close. Honouring manifesto commitments? Making ‘heartfelt’ pledges? Telling us to trust politicians at their word? It’s all surface dressing, mush!

For much of my adult life, I was conned into thinking all the principal parties at Westminster had some measure of difference. Now I realise they all sing from the same hymn sheet. Whatever differences there are, are low-hanging fruit. When it comes to some of the most pressing issues of the day: Net zero, high taxation and mass immigration; they’re just three slightly different whiffs from the same progressive flatus! Careerists who thrive on lies and telling people what they want to hear. They have no intention of ever going against the elite consensus on these and other issues. For to do so would require a sense of vision we haven’t seen in our political system since the days of Margaret Thatcher. They don’t care that we will one day have to pick up all the consequential pieces of their atrocious governance. As Bette Davis said in ‘All About Eve’: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”.

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