Thursday, 13 May 2010

Coalition: Good Or Bad?

Labour's attempt to remain in government is over. Seeking some form of power-sharing deal with the Lib Dems, the party cobbled together a negotiating team - led by unelected 'public servants' Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell. As Rasputin and Campbell swept in and out of big London buildings for talks, the mere MPs within their 'team' trailed behind at a respectful distance, carrying stuff. Incredibly, it also appeared Rasputin had the call on whether Chuckles would stay, or instead be sacrificed as party leader in return for an agreement with the Lib Dems. But how could Nick Clegg ever have entered into an association with a broken party, thrashed at the ballot-box and detested by millions? In any case, the seat numbers simply didn't add up, the rainbow majority a fantasy. The talks failed and finally, Chuckles bowed out.

We now have a government of formal coalition between Clegg and Pillsbury. Unsurprisingly the media has followed every nuance of the sudden love-in. At their first joint press conference, held in Number Ten's back garden, we witnessed a tender scene between Nick and Dave; all affectionate punches and misty eyes. Later, we watched as hallucinating Lib Dems joined the Tories at the high table. A new joint manifesto has been wheeled out, blunted by both sides as the need for compromise immediately rears its head.

What do the papers have to say on these events? the Independent believes the coalition is "doomed to fragility", while the Mail's usual balanced view offers "a word or two of caution" which concludes "Coalitions - even those that start so amicably - are a deeply unsatisfactory way of conducting government, handing the political class far too much power at voters' expense." Oh woe, then. The plebian Mirror mumbles: "Sham isn't fooling us" while perhaps the Telegraph sums it up best: "Strip away the guff... and the reality is one of crude political calculation."

One thing's certain. The coalition may or may not be a pantomime horse, but for now it's the only horse in town.

No comments: