How can there be a winner when there isn’t a motion or a vote? Don’t you hate the way the knee-jerk media numpties boil everything down to Win and Lose, cheapening it into a TV game show…
Last night’s leaders debate – minus Cameron and the other one – was all the better for not being nearly as divisive as some of the previous efforts, at least initially, and I found myself actually listening to the content and even warming at times to Ed. So rational and reasonable did it begin that I had a hallucinatory moment in which Ed was the heart-of-gold but dithering PM and Nicola was his acerbic and demanding deputy – it only needed Blackadder as the spin doctor to be commissioned.
But the more managerial and competent Nicola sounded, the more it dawned that southern Tories would view it as confirming their worst fears – this woman is actually good at what she does and so must be resisted at all costs…different if it were Natalie but this scratchy wee Scot is not flaky, however squiffy her ideas. When she says she plans to keep him marching steadily leftwards, she means it.
This combination of well-meaning nincompoop Ed (think Hugh Laurie) and fierce ideologue Nic pushing the UK away from the basket of policy options on which the middle classes have prospered, is pretty much the perfect deterrent for Tory Britain… ‘and she wants to break up the country I love’.
It didn’t really need their Eton Boy hero to sneer from the stage as if everyone else were part of the household staff. In fact it was probably stronger in impact for his absence, allowing the right wing southerners to grasp for themselves the full horror of not one but two social democratic parties working out how to distribute the wealth to make things fairer. Pro Europe. Trade Unions. Red tape. Progressive tax. Even Trident under threat. You could imagine doors bursting open in Surbiton and wide-eyed women, arms flailing, running screaming into the street.
This plays into my own long-term prediction – which has been knocked sideways by Labour refusing to retreat in the polls – of a late Tory surge composed of those who flirted with UKIP but found it too outré for their taste and Blairite swingers turned off by Miliband. Labour don’t usually get the number of votes they are predicted to and the last week or so always forces the reluctant to make up their minds which means looking from one leader to the other and picturing them on the steps of Number 10. Ed fails at this point because he looks like he’s soliciting on behalf of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
We can’t also forget the gold rule of modern elections – look at the economy. Every pointer says Improving, On the Up, Lift-off but only in that way you see at a British space launch where no one dares look in case the rocket veers off into a nearby car park. Still, even the IMF says Britain has the answer (suspiciously announced while Osborne was attending an Ebola conference with Christine Lagarde) and, if you’re minded to believe the brain-dead media analysis, there are signs of progress. Not before time, you might say, since the Americans seemed to leave behind the crash and bank bailouts years ago.
Forgetting that employment is now part-time, zero hours, sole trader, or even training, and pulling a veil over the national debt which the Coalition doubled on our behalf – oh, and an appallingly poor rate of productivity – things are better in terms of numbers if not actually on your contactless payment card.
So it may be that Cameron scored rather well by not appearing last night – a bit like Scotland going up the world rankings by not playing games. It’s how he won the referendum too remember and it could be a new way of doing politics…I’ll sit at home with a gin and you lot wound each other mortally – then I stride in and strip you of your valuables and remove your gold fillings. (The Labour term is bayoneting the wounded).
The dilemma is of course, that it still doesn’t get Cameron a second term unless there is a similar boost in Lib Dem fortunes, which I don’t see. But I do subscribe to the view they will work with the Tories again if the numbers work because they are really proud of what they’ve achieved, have discovered their inner Tory and really have little left to lose. What’s done is done…
But, all you Scot Nats, beware. If the Tories do struggle home, lances broken, flags in tatters, bloodied and bruised, it is we who will be blamed. The revenge of Labour will be forever to stain the memory with Tartan Tory legend.
And twice beware. If the SNP helps Labour form a government, the irrational Scot-haters in the media are even now preparing the ground for a full assault on our nation for cheating them of their democratic birthright under the Union (that’s the right to rule us). We are variously mad, hypnotised and stupid and some of the Spectator, Mail, Express and Telegraph stuff is stopping just short of encitement. If the Scots really do deliver the blow to English supremacy predicted, the cybernats will appear as but fleglings compared to the squawking vultures of hatred that will take flight. We are about to discover who the real zealots are – in an age of recently confirmed UK hegemony– and what really lies in the heart of Unionism. It won’t be pretty.by