To quote Michael Moore at the beginning of ”ËFahrenheit 9/11′, “Was it all just a dream?”Â Did the last few weeks of British politics really happen? As “We’re All in This Together”Â is fast becoming this government’s “Back to Basics”Â, LTW tries to make sense of one of the most absurd fortnights in recent political history.
After a particularly unpopular budget ”â a fine mix of the politically brave and the politically stupid ”â a sleaze scandal was the last thing that the Tory party wanted. Perhaps high street bakers Sayers should have donated a quarter of a million to the Nasty party to tell Call Me Dave to avert the hot snack tax that engulfed budget coverage. Armando Iannucci probably wouldn’t even use the ”ËPastygate’ story for ”ËThe Thick Of It’ for fear of it sounding too far fetched. Middle England seemed up in arms over their ”Ëfavourite’ hot snack being penalised by George Osbourne.
My lunch ”â which wasn’t a pasty, for your information Parliament not everyone who didn’t go to a private school dines exclusively on a Greggs diet ”â nearly surfaced after Cameron’s nauseating tale of his last pasty at Leeds train station.
A nation of toes curled at his gleeful recollection of being offered ”Ëa large or a small one, and I think I went with the large one’ ”â isn’t that the kind of unnecessary detail you use when you’re lying to your parents as a child? Cameron’s tacky Blair tribute act was a stark reminder that too much spin makes you dizzy, particularly when it came to light that the Leeds branch of the West Cornwall Pasty Company was long shut by the time Cameron claimed to have got down with the oiks and devoured his pasty. Surely Cameron should be considering easing the 2.68 million unemployed by offering a few jobs in his spin department after the last few weeks as there’s clearly some vacancy there. If I was Dave I’d have been riding Rebekah Brooks’ police horse out of Downing Street in seconds.
It seemed that the Coalition would try anything to get the budget out of the headlines. The induction of the minimum price per unit of alcohol would be a step in the right direction if it wasn’t taking with one hand and not giving with the other. Stopping the price wars over the bottom end of the alcohol industry is all well and good but Osbourne is yet to do anything to save the local pubs shutting down up and down the nation. You can see why the government decided to whip up an anti-union fury by instigating a panic over petrol ”â but even that backfired on the government when the Unite union refused to walk into their trap.
Yes, the headlines went from bad to worse, and worse, and worse ”â and not just for the Coalition. George Galloway’s victory in the Bradford West by-election was a bloody nose for Labour, and not least because Ed Miliband had to cancel his planned victory parade in Bradford. Gorgeous George looked like the cat that got the cream as his mammoth landslide in Bradford West was announced. The analysis is still unclear on how Galloway got such a huge majority ”â those who see it purely as a result of courting the Muslim vote need to look at how well he fared in predominantly white wards in the constituency. Commentators should be hesitant to cite Bradford’s apathy towards the three main parties as a one off. The overwhelming majority see the Coalition as grossly out of touch with the British public, but the alternative is seen by many to be just as worrying. Even the Daily Mail is supporting the public apathy towards the three main parties, but what do you expect from a pig but a grunt?
It seems like the voters of Bradford West were speaking for the country in their rejection of a Labour party unsure of itself and where its votes come from anymore. In response to frightening Home Office proposals for surveillance of emails and texts, the most Ed Miliband could say was that the proposals were ”Ëvague’. That’s fine Ed, we’re happy to have our civil liberties eroded just as long as they aren’t vague about it.
Then again, it would be interesting to monitor how many texts are sent between Ed and his brother these days. What’s more unsettling is that the Tories, when in opposition, vehemently objected to these Orwellian proposals, but now in government they’re hoping to rush it through Parliament. Just who is the agenda setter here? Our only hope is that backbench MPs from all parties stand up against the government machine in voting down the Home Office’s horrific proposals. What Labour does now is crucial, and the usually pro-civil liberties Liberal Democrats have stayed eerily silent on the matter ”â could this rock the coalition more than the tuition fee hike?
While we’d like to end on D:Ream’s “Things Can Only Get Better”Â but with the Falklands debate rearing its ugly head and the impending Jubilee and the Olympics I think Noel Coward’s “There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner”Â would be a more apt sentiment at the moment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCZCv98XKFs