As the long, hot summer of love dwindles into a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, the last thing we need to be reminded of is the icy blasts of winter that approach. This humble blog promises to stop the monotonous anti-coalition government whining that it has been guilty of since the election in May. This whining is likely to be replaced, if our loveable and amusing heroes continue on their calamitous trajectory down a hillside in a bath on wheels, by autumnal rants and shrieking, red-faced, invective fuelled tirades by the time foliage and then snow begins to fall.
The dismantling of a carefully grown system to care for the weakest and disadvantaged in society is beyond belief and understanding. Times are, of course, hard and the deficit has to be tackled. But to maliciously punish those of us in need and simultaneously reward the already affluent who were responsible for the mess in the first place is a betrayal only the stereotypical products of wealth and privilege are capable of. This, along with the abandonment of previous principles and prior commitments, not to mention the now torn up election manifestos, must lead us to question what we actually voted for.
30 million of us voted in May, that’s 65 per cent of those on the electoral register including the dead, missing and fictitious so popular with the agents of some politicians. The Conservatives won 49 more seats than Labour with 2 million more votes and 36 per cent of the two-thirds that bothered to turn up. Fair result, first past the post and no need for a stewards inquiry. But this was not a working majority and so the horse-trading began. Posh lefty and Radio 4 panel show fixture, Jeremy Hardy, observed that during the interregnum, the Liberal Democrats had gone within days from being a blushing virgin to a street corner prostitute with her knickers around her ankles. Clegg decided that being Deputy Prime Minister was far more important than promises made to almost 7 million people who voted for his party and, in the name of expedience, binned the party manifesto and grabbed the keys to Dorneywood. Given the number of grass-roots Liberal Democrats leaving the party, no amount of AV, PR or picking sides for a Sunday morning kick about in the park is likely to save that public schoolboy from a sound thrashing next time. For the record, the qualification required to be DPM is 57 seats, 201 less than Labour.
The Tories too have selective manifesto memories. No increase in VAT, they bellowed. Cut the deficit not the NHS, they purred. Well, Health Secretary in this dogs dinner coalition, Andrew Lansley, well and truly let the cat out of the wheelie bin last week by announcing the scrapping of NHS Direct, yet another vital service needed by people who cannot afford BUPA. Committed to education, they pulled BSF and granted a nutters charter through Academy school status. Have you noticed that Michael Gove, along with his brain, is missing? Presumably he has been locked in a cupboard somewhere and is trying to get both feet out of his mouth.
The current leadership have a very tenuous mandate yet seem intent on a wrecking-ball approach to social services that, without being over dramatic, will threaten not just livelihoods, but actual lives. In the bleak mid-winter, when an 80-year-old has to provide an application form for winter fuel allowance signed by both her parents, the frosty wind will indeed make moan. A desperate mother with a sick child in the dead of night will listen patiently to an electronic rendition of Vivaldi as she waits to be connected to an outsourced call centre thousands of miles away. When the food riots break out, there will be no police officers to protect us and our armed forces will be deployed far away in pointless, illegal and unwinable oil wars.
The Labour Party has done little to challenge this parlous state of affairs. Needing four months to elect a new leader after grumpy Gordon took to the hills is an extravagance to say the least. Harriet may be a battle axe, but has not managed to chase Compo down the street in wrinkled stockings and headscarf brandishing a mop. Foggy Osborne, so called because he is thick and wet and needs to take his socks off in order to count above ten, walks all over Darling. Imagine walking into a bar in Sydney, Paris, Tokyo or Texas and being identified as British. “Your President is called what? Balls, Miliband, Clegg? Get outta here.”
So far, what has gone on is all just talk and the so called man and woman in the street has yet to suffer. But that will change as the slash and burn idiocy takes hold. When the Institute for Fiscal Studies described the first budget perpetrated by Foggy as “regressive”, Clegg said it was a selective report based only on numerical facts. What? When Compo and Clegg were in opposition, they regularly quoted the IFS selectively to have a pop at grumpy Gordon and Darling to prove that the poor were getting poorer and the rich richer. Double standards and double-speak.
This coalition, without a meaningful mandate is in the process of reversing the rights of every citizen other than those who have the good fortune to be well-off. But its leaders, like Blair and Brown and those that went before them, are comfortable in the knowledge that there is a clapped-out sitcom well passed its sell-by date where antiquated character actors can augment their pension plans. It is called the House of Lords.
Perhaps Holmfirth in Yorkshire needs a care centre.