Sunday, 9 May 2010

And Cameron Must Score! He shoots! He........

....... Well, you know the rest.

Tempted as one is to vent one's spleen over the whole bloody disaster, I will try to limit myself to a few observations and point you in the direction of those who have been energetic enough to write down their reactions on Friday and Saturday.

Idle went through the night with a dozen good friends a few miles up the road. We drank good champagne in anticipation of victory, thinking we deserved it, and drank it again at 5.30am when it became clear that the Great Cameron Liberal Appeasement Gamble had failed - this time, we needed it. At 6.15 I went home, showered and shaved, and climbed not into bed, but aboard a London train. Bloody Marys and beef 'n horseradish sarnies at the Cavalry Club revived me, and after making a poor fist of a meeting with a plutocratic property man, returned home. What struck me was that I don't remember hearing anyone laugh all day.

It is clear that, if governing Britain for the term of the next Parliament was going to be a thankless task in any event, doing it with the LibDems tying your shoelaces together and balancing buckets of water above the door into the Cabinet meeting room was hardly an improvement. They are an unprincipled and childish lot, who have never displayed a shred of consistency. Clegg is, I believe, inclined towards the Conservative Left and I see no reason why he should not eventually convert; St Vince, on the other hand, is a muddled old lefty who has flip-flopped like a freshly caught mackerel at almost every opportunity, whilst radiating faux sagacity and claiming foresight over almost everything imaginable. He, I think, is much more in tune with LibDem voters, who are well to the left of New Labour and (even) less pleasant. The point I am trying to make here is that Cameron should go it alone. He needs only to pass a budget, followed by a Queen's Speech in November. I reckon that he can get the Ulster Prods and Frank Field and Kate Hoey and one or two others to back him on this. Now that Labour is discredited, the sane ones can ignore the Brown thugs who call themselves Party Whips and vote with impunity. There are at least a dozen of them who will put nation before party.

Yet, it seems obvious that Dave is intent on building a coalition. It is becoming clear quite early on what is up for grabs. He surely cannot offer PR to Clegg, particularly in the light of Clegg's disastrous final week of campaigning and the damp squib of a loss of seats despite a marginal increase in his vote (which, given the Brown factor and the utter uselessness of the Labour government, eclipses even Cameron as Worst Result of the Night).

Low carbon mumbo-jumbo is IN, despite its cost and irrelevance (Delingpole writes less well when he is this angry, but I can see why he's fuming), whilst the ONLY good policy the tories had in their manifesto is in danger of being thrown OUT. I watched the estimable Michael Gove being interviewed by Marr this morning, and he appeared to have thrown in the towel; he agreed that if the price of coalition was his own job at Education, he'd give it to David Laws. Christ!

Europe will become a major consideration, despite its strange absence from the election campaign. The implosion of the Euro will be yet another feather in the cap of Thatcherism, yet another argument conclusively won. The Clarkeites and Howeites and Brittanites were in her own Cabinet, remember, and anything less than the iron backbone she displayed would have delivered this country to the European Central Bank and an economic fate that hardly bears thinking about. I have in mind a performance closer to Ireland's than Germany's, you understand.

The new intake of Tory MPs is, we hear, broadly Eurosceptic. The new boys might lack the cojones to defy the whips, but the government will recognise that the task of riot control over loss of sovereignty to Brussels has become much harder. Bill Cash and a handful of other patriots will be defeated on European issues, because Labour and Liberal alike will back any European stitch-up, but they will gain revenge when other crucial votes depend on every last Tory backwoodsman making it through the lobby. John Major thought he had his "bastards" - well, Cameron will have his, as well.

Psephologists are in heaven, with all the inconsistency of swing. Making sense of it all depends on one's pre-election prejudice, it seems. Those who like Cameron will demonise UKIP, and tot up the number of seats 'lost' to the UKIP vote. This is an impossible argument, given how difficult it is to judge how many Europhiles stuck with the Tories because of its 'safe' line on Brussels.

The most depressing statistic of them all is the 65% turnout. I was at a dinner party a week before the election, where a reasonably intelligent and pleasant woman told me that there would be a huge turnout. I asked her what figure she had in mind and it was clear that she didn't know what a normal turnout was. She had a stab at 80% for this election and I was able to strike a bet at 'below 70%', which I knew, of course, was a winner. Not a bet worth collecting.

So, we remain where we were in 2001 and 2005 - all those voters who have ceased voting. They have never had such a wide array of choices from the minor parties, so we must conclude that they want an identifiable Big party of the Left, and the same for the Right. Not, as presently exists, three parties trying to get into the same telephone box.

It might start happening on one side at least. John Cruddas wants to take his party back to antediluvian Proletarian Socialism, and may even get his chance now that Brown is dead and the favourite to take over is an effete North London would-be intellectual social-angst merchant (that'd be YOU, Miliband senior).

There is, of course, no hope for a recognisable Conservative party for a while yet. Had Dave failed on a bigger scale, and the Clegg march towards 80 seats taken place, there would now be schism in the Tory party, and after a short but bloody war, a strong party of the right would form and prepare itself for government in 10 years time. For now, we must hold our noses and mutter small thanks every now and again that Dawn Primarolo and Ed Balls are no longer ministers of the Crown.

This country is in a pickle of its own making. The idle and feckless proportion of the white working class with its welfare dependency is culpable, as is the spineless centrist voter who knows that the medicine must be taken yet cannot bear to see the poor and disadvantaged having to swallow the vile stuff. No blame, it seems to me, attaches to the Right over our current mess, with the possible exception that they are still blamed for administering the medicine in the 1980s. Yet after the horrible Right had finished forcing the bitter unguent down the craw of the populace in the 80s, 14 million voted for Major in 92, more than Blair ever got - he won in 2001 with 10.7 million and 2005 with 9.6 million.

The least worst option this time was a Cameron victory, but being held to account, because of his small majority, by proper Conservatives within his party. Instead, he will be stretched between Redwood and Fox at one end of his coalition, and Hughes and Teather and his wife at the other. If you find this uncomfortable, too bloody bad, mate. If you campaign as a liberal democrat, it seems only fair to have to govern like one. You will discover the contradictions of the situation, if only because the markets will make them clear to you. Happy appeasing, old bean. What sweet irony that Boris is STILL the most powerful Tory in Britain. I dare say he is whistling in his bath, and with good reason.


Electro-Kevin said...

My choices:

- an non-viable, single issue protest party (a Labour win - economic meltdown)

- abstension (a Labour win - economic meltdown)

- vote for a Conservative party I don't believe in and hope that it has enough Eurosceptics to change things. (Labour out - possibly no economic meltdown)

I'm not a spineless, centrist voter.

But there are spineless, right-wing politicians in the Conservative party.

Cameron lost the election. This is a big enough loss for the party to split.

That they won't is not our fault.

Philipa said...

"The idle and feckless proportion of the white working class with its welfare dependency is culpable"

That would be me then.

"the poor and disadvantaged having to swallow the vile stuff"

So that would be me and my children having to swallow the 'vile stuff' to make your life better then.

"No blame, it seems to me, attaches to the Right over our current mess"

So you and Trubes and Scrobs etc. are not to blame for the current mess, it's just people like me.

Alrighty then.

idle said...

Give the victim stuff a miss, pip. I didn't have you in mind as feckless and as you are imbuing your children with good sense and good manners as you raise them singlehandedly I wouldn't call you idle either. My target is the lifelong workshy and entitlement junkies. Not a bunch you associate your current life with, I trust.

You should know better than to accuse me of seeking misery for the poor in order to make my own life better at their expense. I try to articulate as clearly as I can in this occasional blog that I think good education, enterprise and job creation and denial of the public teat to those who prefer joblessness as being for the common good. I am common enough to be a beneficiary of the common good.

This much we know - socialism fails the poor much more effectively than conservatism.

lilith said...

On a happier note, Chelsea wins the league :-)

Philipa said...

Come off it, dear heart, you're related to royalty aren't you? There's not much that's common about you. And I wasn't being any kind of victim I was simply highlighting a few lines in your piece. With regard to those lines and your point I really don't think you or anyone would be bitching about a few scroungers if the economy was in better shape. If you're looking for someone to blame let's not forget the bankers, eh? The scroungers in Westminster and their expenses. Immigration and Blair handing back the cap that Thatcher negotiated to the EU. And they're small change compared to the utter bloody mess Brown has made of our economy; pensions, gold, beurocracy, huge borrowing, you name it. The biggest culprit is NuLab.

I don't feel the least bit guilty for getting benefits after the accident and ill health I've had because my father pays enough tax to fund a small african country and always has. However I do feel slightly guilty for announcing on this blog that I would be voting Labour in the election.

For that alone I concede that I may deserve a raised eyebrow. Or two.

I agree the economy AND society would be in better shape if manufacturing was in better shape. However, how can businesses survive without cash-flow? For that they need the banks. They need the cash to flow. If interest rates are too high it'll be self-defeating. So the economy neeeds confidence and this political dithering must be bad for business is what I think. So I don't much care who does a deal with whom at the moment, as long as the machine functions. Because any deals will be short lived if they are struck - there will be another election within the year. Some fair repair to Labours re-structuring the constituencies would help or PR, I guess. I'd be interested to know what you all think of proportional representation... ?

Nick Clegg is still flirting with both, he's the tart of the year.

Whatever happens, Scotland will never be blue. So it's entirely your fault, Idle!

Thud said...

Idle is quite right...I'm working class royalty and all I can see in my home town,family and childhood friends is fecklessness etc to a degree that is drowning us all.Even the lads I employ are angry at the fact that they seem to struggle whilst all around theunderclass survive and thrive....a coalition is not what we need.

Philipa said...

Oh no he's not.

And what do you think the Tories would have done if they'd got a bigger majority - put all benefit claimants up against the wall and shot them? Then all would be right with the world?

Honestly you just can't get the staff.

Gunnerfan said...

Lil, but the Mancs did not qualify for the Champs League next year. Better keep out of hubby's way for a day or two..

Electro-Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Electro-Kevin said...

I feel that there is probably more affinity between the working class and the upper class than there is between the working class and the middle class.

The ruling elite, since at least the last century, are generally middle class.

Their answer to a confident and upwardly mobile working class ? Import more working class !

This was better (in their view) than having war veteran bus drivers and road sweepers earning a decent wage.

So. Stuff the country to the gunnels with people. Keep wages low and welfare high. Turn the comps into nothing more than teenage creches and suppress the national IQ and skill level to reduce the competition.

I can't believe that this wasn't done deliberately, because the newly empowered grammar school, lawyer class wanted to reduce the competition that their own kids had to face. As kids they would have lived in the same streets as the urchins and have been terrified in the knowledge that - in a worldly sense at least - those urchins were a lot smarter than they were.

And heaven forbid ! We can't have plumbers earning £100k a year - open the door to Eastern Europe, quick !

Thud said...

phillipa...thanks to your nulabour you can get the staff..they just don't speak English.

lilith said...

goonerfan: Elby is philosophical "We're not good enough for Europe yet"...I think he'll "take" fifth as they say in football speak.

lilith said...

Pip, I sometimes think you could start a fight with your shadow.

Philipa said...

Oh touche, Thud. Excellent riposte.

Philipa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Philipa said...

Lils, there's nothing like a lunge before breakfast.

And this morning we had chocolate croissants and warm french bread bread with cheese. And coffee. I was feeling quite continental.

Calfy said...

Sounds like a lovely breakfast Pip. Isn't it great what benefits can stretch to?

Idle, I thought this was a very well-written and humourous post. I particularly like the imagery of the Lib Dems in the cabinet meeting, and I'm glad to say I coped with the mental vision of Boris in the bath too. How's that for feck-ful?

lilith said...

(Calfy is on benefits too and she just had gluten free cereal with a fair trade banana on top)

Electro-Kevin said...

Very VERY funny, Lilith.

Too hysterical to even laugh at your Calfy comment. It sort of came out "Gnnnnnarrhhh !!!" with tears accompanying.

Electro-Kevin said...

I had Wheat Pillows for breakfast btw - the Lidls version of Shredded Wheat.

The cat gets Sainsbury's - I get Lidls.

I want to come back as a cat. Preferably an unemployed one.

idle said...

Dunno what poor old scrobs has done to attract your fire, pip.

Lil, you win the prize for pithiest comment of the year to date and I will bring it to you next month.

My breakfast, since the thread has now changed, was a fruitburst muffin from Sainsburys along with a pot of black cherry yoghurt, from the Be Good to Yourself range. Coffee supplied from the team Nespresso machine here, some Columbian capsule, strength 7/10.

Only when I become MD of this outfit will the smell of fresh bread and smoked bacon return to this building at 8am.

lilith said...

You won't get the country back in the black on that kind of breakfast Idle. Porridge with extra oatbran and a full english should do it.

Elby the Beserk said...


Nub of the matter is - when you have been shite for 30 years plus, what's a couple of years more waiting to sort it out? All being well, our rise to football world domination will coincide with Salex's retirement, and then we can all rejoice.

Tip of the hat to Chidzee for winning in such splendid style, and hence stuffing the annual crowing from our - noisy- out-of-town neighbours.

I was thinking that were football pantomime, Ferguson would be Widow Twankey? Who would be Wenger, who seems to be getting more hen like with every season? Cinderella?

No, all good at Middle Eastlands, all very good indeed.

Election, did someone say? What a total non-event, yet one which does indeed focus us very sharply on the matter of electoral reform. Not PR, rather, the West Lothian question. Unanswered as it is, means that 41 Scottish MPs prevent England having the government it voted for. At the same time, their country has its own parliament, and there is surely enough corruption in just Glasgow politics to featherbed them all for the rest of their lives.

Sort that, and that is Labour done for in England for good. Result.

Bill Quango MP said...

Gordon has gone and thrown a whole bag of spanners in the works.
And as the pound starts diving he claims to be acting in the interests of what's good for Britain.
The Blues have put AV on the table.

As for the Lemons.. A nice little aside from PB.

“I haven’t been a lifelong supporter of PR only to compromise with my political opponents!”

gunnerfan said...

Elby: Good on yer, mate. Look forward to seeing you all again next season. Have a happy summer. The Mancs done good innit, but just a shame you couldn't quite dislodge the Spuds who will now be even more unbearably arrogant.

Elby the Beserk said...

Spuds were Manyoo when I were little. Knew kids who "supported" them after they won the double. Never had any time for them. Used to go to Highbury a bit when I was at college. Constable Alex Morgan and the Police Band pre-match entertainment. Don't make 'em like that any more.

Oh God, I've gone all jumpers for goalposts...

Loved the old Highbury. Grand ground. As for Bertie Mee's teams, well :-)

Philipa said...

"pithiest comment"? A few words came to mind but 'pithy' wasn't one of them.

Scrobs has done nothing at all, Idle but, like yourself, made me smile.

Trubes said...

I've just come in on the 'tail end' of this cracking post Idle and I would like to say, following the breakfast theme in the comments, I had a Dark Italian, together with a lighly boiled egg and wholemeal bread.
For the un-inituated,
A Dark Italian is a delicious Espresso Coffee, demi- tasse, of course that DT whizzes up in his new fangled coffee machine.

Aye we 'the underclasses', sure know how to live!


Oooh... Teresa May Home Secretary.
A vast improvement on Slappy jacqui and Postman Pat, if I may say?

Vinogirl said...

I've lived out of England too long to comment on the whole debacle...but nice Churchillian-champagne quote thingy going on :)

idle said...

Trust the well read Vinogirl to spot the Churchillian champagne quote (unattributed, natch).