Political whores trading
Extract of MI5 recording, number XA4821S, Westminster, May 7. Principals in cross-Party coalition talks, House Speaker residing.
Chair: I must begin by asking you, gentlemen, if any here present are intending in disregard of honour or scruple to prostitute all their principles simply for the sake of power at any price?
All: Of course!
Chair: Oh. Ahem. Well, that’s alright then. Now, to business.
Clegg: Still think I’m a joke, Cameron?
Brown: I think you’re both bloody jokes.
Clegg: I’m not even speaking to you, Brown.
Brown: Alright, I resign.
Chair: To order. The agenda is how to rake back £163bn
without ending up with Greek fire in Whitehall.
Clegg: PR! AV plus! STD! No wait, I mean…
Cameron: I’m a liberal Tory, that means I’ll screw the poor and cut child tax credits but I won’t give the rich that huge inheritance tax bonus until next year.
Clegg: I want no tax for the 10k superpoor. And did I mention PR?
Chair: Do Labour wish to say anything?
Blunkett: Ok, we give in.
Reid: Who wants to be a coalition of losers?
Clegg: But you said you wanted PR!
Chair: Come again?
Ed Balls: We’ve got what we want, Brown’s head on a pole, plus we won’t get blamed for the cuts we would have had to make in office. We’ll clean up next election. Cameron will be toast and Clegg will be cornflakes.
Chair: You mean you’re walking out on the negotiations?
Harman: Manning the lifeboats actually. Good luck with the deckchairs. The Titanic’s all yours.
Clegg: I knew they weren’t serious. Cameron, we’ve got to do something. The axeman cometh.
Cameron: You mean the IMF?
Clegg: No, I mean our rank and file. If I don’t screw a deal out of this hung parliament I’m hung, and if you don’t, your name will be down there with Ian Duncan Smith.
Cameron: Oh my god. But we’re diametrically opposed!
Clegg: No, that was yesterday. Today we’re liberals. Any deal will do. Now about PR…
Recording indistinct. Sounds of Miliband brothers scuffling and Alex Salmond singing ‘Whose bonny wee lassie am I?’)
Political whores trading
We strongly suspect that the attached transcript (above )is a hoax, which is why we didn’t pay good money for it.
However, something like it probably did happen. Not for a generation has there been such an edge of the seat performance from all three main parties on a high turnout vote, with voters queuing up for hours to get in on the act and then being turned away by the jobsworths running the polling stations. All that drama for a holy grail they
all knew was a poisoned chalice. The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, had predicted that whoever formed the next government and made the required cuts in expenditure would be out of power for a generation afterwards. Perhaps this was why Labour apparatchiks like Blunkett and Reid were throwing in the towel even before the votes were all in, and all that warm Liberalfriendly pillowtalk during the election rapidly cooled as the realisation dawned that sometimes it’s better to be outside the tent pissing in.
An election which produced no clear winner did however produce three clear losers. All three leaders immediately faced the guillotine, Clegg for being the golden boy who lost seats, Cameron for his secretive, Blairlike reliance on an inner circle and disregard of anyone else, as well as his crap and meaningless ‘Big Society’ election message, and Brown just for being Brown when New Labour was supposed to be about Blair, flair and razzle dazzle. A shaky coalition forced to wield the machete on wages and public spending amid general public rage over fat cat corruption has got to be any politician’s worst nightmare, and as if that wasn’t enough, the spectre haunting Europe this season is one of Greeks burning down banks. Hanging over this new government, even before it’s got started, is a ghastly sense of foreboding.
In the event, desperation has forced Cameron to marry Clegg, on the grounds of better a bad hand than no hand at all. Clegg in particular was in a hard bind.
He would have been crucified for not making a deal,their first chance in 30 years, and given the Lib Dem ‘democracy’ mantra, no less crucified for hypocritically siding with Labour when they were in a clear elective minority with no mandate to govern. As it is, he will probably be crucified by his own party for this deal with the Tories. As one Liberal put it: “I think we could be wiped out for a generation by this decision. We will probably be annihilated at the next election” (Guardian, 12 May).
A common assumption doing the rounds is that, regardless of Cameron’s plan to shore up the ConDem’d government with 5 year fixed term legislation and an increase in the majority requirement for a Parliamentary vote of no confidence, the whole show will probably collapse in disarray in a couple of
years or so. Labour certainly are banking on a short period to regroup in opposition and another ‘97 like landslide. But coalitions only look shaky
because they don’t happen often in Britain.
In other EU countries where proportional representation is the norm, coalitions
happen almost routinely and government still manages to function, insofar as
governments can ever really be said to function.
The socialist view of all this has been echoed by, of all people, Michael
Portillo (see Editorial). Governments don’t control the money, the money controls governments, and when money says ‘Jump’, it is always the working class who are for the high jump. It is with some sadness that we predict that the
poor will pay the bill, however the politicians work out their debt repayment schemes, while the rich will do alright, thanks very much. What’s not going to happen is that capitalism somehow falls flat on its face and dies of a seizure.
Experience shows that capitalism is good at surviving, even though it may consume many of its supporters in the process. All governments are really
coalitions of capitalist class interests against the working class, so if workers want something better than pain and oppression for themselves then they had better stop voting for its continuation. Were socialists ever to be in a parliamentary minority and faced with the Clegg dilemma, there’s no question what we would say: A plague on all your houses, you’ll get no deal from us.