The quinquennial General Election carnival of Tweddledum versus Tweedledee is on again, as increasingly indistinguishable managers slug it out to see who can gain access to the largest number of teats, sorry seats. This time, there is a twist, as the media have uncovered a new ingredient to add to the value-white-sliced-loaf mix—the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg, AKA Tweedledim.
Through the innovation of a US-style TV “debate” on Thursday, April 15 (they have after all been such an adornment to US democracy), Clegg has been launched onto center stage by reporters bored by Buggin’s Turn. Through the statesmanlike tactic of looking gravely into a camera, Novelty Nick has clegged, sorry clogged, up all olfactory organs and made his party of perennial bridesmaids into a wooed and wanted partner.
With his pleasant features and his classless, multiglot, PC, Eurocrat background, Nick is a marketing man’s dream—the ultimate in non-threat, the political equivalent of James Blunt, with a large natural constituency of the vaguely angry and very uninformed. Such “floating voters” will have been mightily impressed by Nick’s message of “fairness”, and his image as being somehow apart from the Old Politics. But anyone would have looked impressive against the udder contenders.
Gorgon Brown simultaneously hulked and gulped, grinning with his mouth only while his good eye revolved omnidirectional malice—the never voted-for leader of one of the worst governments in Britain’s history, whose legacy is already too plain, replete with economic bankruptcy (or as he calls it, “prosperity for all), unwinnable wars, ramped-up censoriousness and intrusiveness, overcrowded divided cities with inadequate infrastructure, and in between these bursting burgs a wilderness of choked roads, closed pubs and hideous wind turbines. His constant attempts to co-opt Nick’s support were swatted away irritably by that brilliant intellectual, who recognizes damaged goods when he smells them.
Trapped between Gorgon and Nick stood Desperate Dave Cameron, shiny-faced leader of a once-great party, aping Blair ten years too late, fighting for the identical “center ground”, calling for “change” because…well, because “it’s time for change”. Or to paraphrase Obama, “Change we can’t believe in”.
Preselected audience members asked presubmitted questions, and no applause was permitted (had any been deserved). One Daily Telegraph correspondent inquired archly:
“SIR, Why not go the whole hog? Dispense with the audience and use canned laughter.”
This would have been the most appropriate response for most “answers.” Even the set was hilarious, with chipboard partitions, a dodgy mike which cut off part of Gorgon’s spiel (no doubt an incalculable loss to political thought) and the blown light bulb which briefly obscured half of the winning Clegg phizzog.
The “debate” began with immigration. On this, not only has Gorgon not got a leg to stand on, he doesn’t have a torso to which a leg could be attached. Since 1997, immigration has been essentially uncontrolled, with conservative projections that the UK population will jump by ten million between now and 2025. But all Desperate Dave could say is that he would cut immigration to tens of thousands per annum. Yet even if enforced, this is still 99,999 new arrivals, while he avoided explaining how they would make even these cuts whilst within the EU and without repealing “human rights” laws.
Nick’s contribution was to suggest that migrant workers would be given regional visas—which obviously they would never abuse. This is indeed an original idea; one can only speculate why no-one else has ever espoused it before. The sagacious Nick opted not to mention on this occasion a central Glib Dim policy—amnesty for illegals—something opposed even by a majority of his party’s members.
Nick went on to suggest prison reform (which presumably no-one has essayed before) and “honesty” on government spending. This refreshing frankness did not extend to repeating a recent call for “savage” cuts. But perhaps there will be no need to attend to such pettifogging details, because a central Glib Dim policy is to scrap sterling and hand over economic control to Frankfurt. Unaccountably, he also neglected to mention this.
At the end of this first of three installments, Nick noted that the evening had “flowed into so much consensus”. Most of the rest of us were less surprised—and making plans for the next two Thursdays.
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