Bill Carmichael: Left must accept democratic reality

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THIS week in Westminster the grown-ups in the Conservative government were putting together a legislative programme that will shape our country over the next five years.

Meanwhile, on the streets, masked left wing thugs were screaming abuse at bystanders, trying to lynch Ukip MP Douglas Carswell (he had to be rescued by the police) and threatening to spark a riot.

Not much change there, then.

The inability of the British left to accept the result of the general election earlier this month is becoming nothing short of a serious mental disorder.

How long can the hysterical weeping, renting of garments and gnashing of teeth go on for? For the sake of their mental health, I hope not too long.

To demonstrate their individuality, the activists marched in lockstep carrying identical placards provided by the Socialist Workers’ Party with the slogan: “Get the Tories out!”

This just over three weeks after the people of Britain had emphatically voted to “Get the Tories in!” in a general election. The inability to understand reality is one of the classic symptoms of psychotic delusion.

Has our “all must win prizes” education system, which cocoons people from criticism and instead constantly tells them how brilliant they are, created an entire generation that is completely unable to comprehend the everyday concept of “losing”?

If so, we have done them a disservice and their adult life is going to be a baffling and painful experience.

Prime Minister David Cameron, meanwhile, seems a man invigorated by his election victory and free from the shackles of his insufferably wet Lib Dem former coalition partners.

The normally cautious Conservative leader has a new radical gleam in his eye and he has set off at a cracking pace with plans for no fewer than 26 Bills in what promises to be a packed legislative session.

They include the expected referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, the right to buy for housing association tenants, and new powers to create the Northern Powerhouse – although the Government has dropped, for the time being at least, plans to introduce a British Bill of Rights

One curiosity is the ‘tax lock’ bill preventing any increases in VAT, income tax and national insurance.

Do we really need an Act of Parliament to persuade the Prime Minister to keep his word? And don’t forget, our national finances are still very fragile. What if the euro finally implodes and the rotting corpse of the EU drags us back into recession? If that happens, the only way out may be tax rises.

The further reform of the welfare system, particularly the reduction of the maximum benefits cap to £23,000, is also welcome

Despite all the shroud waving and sob stories from the Church of England, the BBC and the Guardian, the initial cap of £26,000 was one of the last government’s most successful and popular policies, persuading thousands to begin their journey out of poverty by getting a job.

And the policy proved particularly popular in working-class areas, where people witness abuse of the benefits system on a daily basis. So popular are the reforms that Labour, after complaining about the policy throughout the last Parliament, now says it supports reducing the cap to £23,000.

Of course Cameron will encounter difficulties. His Commons majority leaves him susceptible to rebellions from the Conservative awkward squad. And Labour and Lib Dems will no doubt use their power in the House of Lords – which they say is anachronistic and should be reformed – to try to thwart the will of a democratically elected government.

We are in for an interesting five years.

Diabolical erasers

SCHOOL rubbers are “instruments of the Devil” and should be banned from the classroom, according to an academic.

Professor Guy Claxton of King’s College, London, says erasers encourage pupils to be ashamed of their mistakes.

Children should not be in thrall to getting the right answer and rubbing out mistakes does not prepare children for the real world, he said.

What ‘real world’ does the professor live in? When he sat his public exams, or wrote his PhD, or submitted his job application, did he leave all the errors he made, or did he correct them?

I think we know the answer to that one. Another case of do as I say, not as I do.