Category Archives: Nick Clegg

No More Parties. Part 2

Written for and first published here: http://www.letsbebrief.co.uk/no-parties-pt-2/.

In two short years, public opinion has shifted from #Iagreewithnick, to the creation of a pretty terrible remix of our deputy PM’s belated apology for making a promise that he almost certainly wouldn’t have kept. 

The contempt with which people now hold MPs – bait for any computer literate human – is clear. But what has also shone through this week, is how the public is viewed by some of our leaders.

Cue GateGate, or that time the guy who makes all the Conservatives do as they’re told, Andrew Mitchell, probably used the word pleb, picked up at public school, in an altercation with a member of the public service. Despite overwhelming evidence, he has denied saying it, and his party is particularly annoyed because of all the work that has gone in to trying to make everyone think that they aren’t just a party for the rich. But did he say it? Public trust in the police isn’t great either, following high profile errors, corruption and a shooting that sparked last year’s riots. Yes, this system is pretty much junk.

We still have the Labour and Conservative party conferences to go and I challenge them to say anything that they haven’t just made up because they think it’s what we want to hear. The reality is that there will be cuts, cuts, cuts and the Labour party has no interest in there being anything otherwise – as they can come and ‘save the day’ in two and a half years’ time. And we’ll all no doubt be incredibly indifferent – or as scornful as we were when the last lot was in.

You might wonder where these Nicks, Andrews and Daves spring from anyway. Politics actually has a relatively sweet application process. You get selected by people who agree with you, if they are even allowed to make a real choice, from a list of people who all broadly agree anyway.

People are chosen for their job by a small group who qualify to be consulted because they are barmy enough to have joined the minority of people who still identify with frankly unfashionable concepts.

And when it comes to ministerial appointments, it seems no one will really look at your expertise. Win! Only great managers who don’t get bogged down in the detail need apply. Crazy, really, because we wouldn’t let a newsreader wander off and be a doctor without some pretty extensive training. And surely it is prior industry experience, that qualifies you to manage in a given field? Any graduate looking for their first job knows – no experience, no job. And many of our leaders can’t even seem to manage their expenses.

Crazy glitter artwork by Steven Barrett’s Glam Glitter Trash prints and greeting cards. Very far from trashy.

“… And the government that has to make those cuts will make itself unelectable for a generation.” The Coalition.

“… And the government that has to make those cuts will make itself unelectable for a generation.”

Cameron and Clegg would be weeping into their well-tailored suit sleeves at the words of the Panorama reporter, if they weren’t so busy getting off…

Hours and pages of serious coverage, from BBC News 24 to the Economist claim the pair have “got into bed”, after their “civil partnership” in the back garden (tee hee) of Number 10 (nope, can’t make a joke out of that…).

From the media that has grown up alongside the New Labour government that, for all its failings, can be celebrated for legislating to give gay people the right to make a union accepted in the eyes of the law, the crude comparison made when two men stand as a pair, is, actually saddening.

“OOO, it’s like a fake wedding, like one of those fake weddings Elton John got…”

Grow up.

The Independent claims that the “courtship” could have been going on since 2006, the poaching of bright Liberal Democrats to possible Conservative defection.

But this isn’t just a bare-faced switch of allegiance, this wasn’t inevitable, the conclusion needn’t have been foregone.

And unfortunately for those of us who would have preferred a centre-left alliance, the opportunity wasn’t there, Labour weren’t ready.

The government would not have been legitimate if the administration formed was a Lib-Lab coalition.

Although smaller party support was offered by the Scottish National Party, and Plaid Cymru, a “rainbow coalition”, Labour declined, telling maybe of their feeling of guilt?

This too may have created instability, and then what? Another election, with surely a similarly fractured end?

New Labour now need to go away and think about what they’ve done. If it’s our Tory past you’re frightened of, Labour history is more recent.

I will say it and say it again. Two wars, a ‘global financial collapse’ fuelled here by our leader’s belief that he had “ended boom and bust”.

Surely the Venus Fly Trap of a capitalist economy?

Bureaucracy, inequality and greed.

So call it Libcons, Libservatives, or Torycrats if you have to, but two of our political parties have come to a sensible agreement, and I am glad.

With the £163billion deficit and £6bn worth of cuts announced in the Queen’s Speech, nobody can envy the new coalition.

The eyes of the world are on them, or at least we’d like to think they are, and many people are aching for it to fail.

But, scared and scare-mongers amongst us, the Conservatives cannot and will not go off the deep-end. The mines were all closed the first time, for one.

And nobody wants to be hated in the 21st Century, we are Tweeting and Facebook petitioning in the biggest public space there has ever been.

It wouldn’t take a 12-year-old the break during Hollyoaks to super-impose Cameron’s head onto the body of Edward Scissorhands.

So concessions have been made. Some, as a Liberal Democrat member, that I am not happy with.

Will agreeing a referendum on electoral reform produce Nick Clegg’s desired result? The majority of people after all are Labour and Conservative voters, whose parties benefit from the current system.

But if it happens then the kind of coalition like the one being made here would be common-place, which is good.

“What are they doing, compromising and agreeing on things if they’re not from the same party?”
THAT’S THE POINT!!

Some things are just consensus and more heads are often better than few.

And what of opting out of votes on the contentious issues?

Not what Lib Dems wanted, but they didn’t win. We will have to make do.
Academies? Pupil premiums? We shall see… But scrapping wasteful ID cards and rolling back the CCTV state can’t be a bad thing.

But instead of complaining and worrying about cuts, which everyone agreed had to be made, why don’t we, as a nation, get up off our majoratively fat arses and look at what things we could save, because we like or use them, if the government can’t? Leisure services are usually the first to go.

For our hatred of politicians and government, we can’t help but want them to microwave our dinner, put it in front of us and move fork to mouth while massaging our knee.

I hope Ed Miliband gets the Labour leadership. He is a brilliant speaker, and crucially for the necessary severance from New Labour was not an MP when the decision was made to go to war.
And I hope there is a new Left, I’d love to be a part of it.

So Dave, Nick, good luck, fortune favours the brave.