It’s only been a few days, but the ‘ConDem’ coalition is already abiding by the golden rule of British governance – the rule that states that every government must be worse than its predecessor. This seems impossible, because it would mean the best ever British government was that of Robert Walpole (1676-1745), the ‘fat old squire of Norfolk’ (hmm…there’s a phrase with spoonerism potential…) who was the first occupant of 10 Downing Street; but check it out in your own lifespan and, amazingly, it’s invariably true! For instance, who would ever have thought that Brown could manage to be worse than Blair!
Already I’m almost looking back misty-eyed at those far-off days (a fortnight ago) of Brown, because the Knave/Dick double-act is of quite exceptional toxicity and buttock-clenching atrociousness – even by Britain’s world-beating standards. Behaving like a pair of ‘straight-acting’ civil partners over-enthusing in IKEA’s lampshade department, and leaving embarrassed onlookers with not a trace of doubt over who’s butch and who’s bitch in that relationship, the douched and moisturised clones blitz all-comers with their stunning self-satisfaction, epic smugness and sleazy salivating for power. The few policies that gave the Lib Dems substance (anti-nuclear power, opposition to the Iraq/Afghan wars, proportional representation, abolition of tuition fees, no Trident missile system, internationalism) have all been instantly ditched to put the Tories in office with the fat majority the voters denied them, just so Clegg can be chauffered around his grace-and-favour houses in a ministerial limo. The 36% of the 65% turn-out (25% of electorate) who voted Tory are trying not to show how pleased they are, while the profoundly undemocratic British State remains in the clutches of another bunch of right-wingers – when this happens overseas it is called a coup.
Like Blair, the word Cameron uses most often is “new”. Let me translate: the same old stitch-up. In 30 short years the British establishment has systematically crushed what passed as the ‘left’ in all three London parties. Thatcher’s putsch banished the patrician ‘One Nation’ Toryism of MacMillan/Heath and ushered in US-style neocon brutalism; Blair annihilated Labour as a working-class party and fashioned New Labour as another friend for the “seriously rich”; and now Clegg has consigned beard’n’sandals liberalism to the past, leaving nobody in Westminster to argue for the underdog and hold the powerful to account. Mission accomplished. The British state, as ever, will let you have any colour of government you want – so long as it’s blue.
For Wales the total absence of democracy is even starker. At least in England the Tory + Lib Dem votes made up 65% of the total; in Wales their combined vote amounted to just 46% (Tory 26%, Lib Dem 20%). There is no mandate whatsoever for Tory rule in Wales – but since when did that matter? Wales is the only country in Europe which has never given Conservatives a majority since the start of universal suffrage, but that bone-marrow socialism can never be expressed, never add to the gaiety of nations, never enhance the human adventure until Wales achieves independence and Europe gets the socialist bedrock state it has always lacked. To confirm Wales’ current abject position as a contemptible colony and to underline the fact that Cameron’s Tories are just like all their predecessors, Cheryl Gillan has been appointed Secretary of State for Wales. That’s Cheryl Gillan, Tory MP for Amersham. Amersham, Bucks, England. Apparently none of the 11 coalition MPs in Welsh constituencies (8 Tory, 3 Lib Dem) are good enough, so we are lumbered with this ridiculous lady-who-lunches. She is best known hitherto for her walk-on part in the expenses scandal – her many outrageous claims included £4.47 for tins of Cesar chicken & turkey dog-food for her toy terrier named, I kid you not, “Curly Lovechild”. Cheryl carries the poor thing under her arm like an accessorising clutch-bag – this woman is seriously camp. She qualifies for the Welsh job because she spent her first 11 years “living on family farms near Usk”. You couldn’t make it up!