There are many golden prizes that might be extracted from the strange situation we are witnessing in and around Westminster at the moment. I am pessimistic only because I can see how from the Tory point of view there is a case for the legitimacy of a conservative administration and why they will never concede on PR and because I can see how easy it is for them to scupper any chances of it while yet looking reasonable and magnanimous and authentic and responsible. The gamble of staying aloof and making sure another election comes along soon must seem a small one to them.
A fair voting system is not in Tory interests, and it is a fundamental of conservative politics that everyone should act in their own interests. Only the twittering classes and high-moral-ground hugging smug media liberal wankers like me would vote or act otherwise. Therefore the Tories will never budge, a consensus will not be built and Clegg’s brief moment in the limelight will be over and he and his party will be a forgotten blip as we return to the same old dance of death while the world changes ineradicably around us. Britain will be shown to be incapable of evolving in its own interests as a nation, as a smart, adaptable, imaginative and diverse community of people who can respond to a changing world. Where once we were in the vanguard (rarely first, but usually early and sound) in areas like universal suffrage, the abolition of slavery and child labour, the institution of votes for women and many other important freedoms and civilised reforms, the unsuitability of our political machinery for the modern world will mean that we will soon be seen as a haggard oldie in a broken down jalopy coughing and shaking our fist at the fast electric cars that zoom past us on the highway. What a pity, what a terrible pity.
If what I prognosticate comes to pass and a second general election is called (and it most certainly won’t because I’m crap at this kind of prophecy) – then I think those of us that really care about the kind of change I’ve alluded to will have to mass together and demand it with every democratically viable tool at our disposal. We will have to stop the media from shifting the rhetorical ground and erecting Cameron as some kind of hero of the people. Because believe me that is what they and their PR people will do. It is hard to see how Clegg and whoever leads the Labour Party (Alan Johnson or David Milliband, one assumes) in three months time will be able to counter such tactics. It’s fun now to see the manoeuvrings and courtship dances but it will soon enough become boring, then irritating and finally enraging. The victims of our displeasure are more likely to be the Lib Dems than any other party, which is why I fear they may swallow their pride, lose their moment, accept the ‘We’ll see’ and end up with lots of fudge and bananas and no ice cream.
Wednesday 12th May 2010. Comments are now closed for this blog. Thank you for your contributions.