The appearance of Nick Clegg’s weathered face on the news brings to my mind a dishevelled, stinking, flea-ridden grey cat with matted hair, eyes like they were fashioned from gravel and a severe bout of diarrhoea: no matter what the physical appearance of the cat or Clegg may be, there is a little part of me that feels sorry for the creature in question. A little ounce of compassion in my metallic heart renders the Liberal Democrat leader’s forlorn face a piteous sight.
But like the cat, he will at inexplicable moments leave a brown stain on your shoe by announcing support for some bizarre coalition policy like the selling of museum curtains or the imprisonment of all eleven year olds with names beginning with C. Nothing says “I shit on ye” better than cutting public services so deeply that 20 libraries in Leeds alone are being forced to shut their doors. No doubt libraries in southern England will be spared the chop or middle class parents will have to find some other non-publicly funded playgroup in which to eat their guacamole.
This follows the debacle of the Alternative Vote referendum, in which a 16-point poll lead for the ‘Yes’ camp turned into a whopping 34-point victory for the ‘No’ camp, meaning that 67% of people have said “Yes, I like the current system, it has treated us extremely well and no improvements can be made whatsoever”. It was the first referendum to be held in Britain since 1975, although most of the nation held a plebiscite in their conscience on whether Pippa Middleton’s arse was the finest on offer at the Royal Wedding, the results of which were overwhelmingly positive.
I know people who based their voting intentions purely on who they wished to see suffer, which I thought was the point of ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’, not a landmark election that could change the political nature of our land. “I’m voting ‘No’ to give Nick Clegg a kicking” announced a number of people, many of whom profess to be stridently left-wing. So they decide to kick a man who is already down, out and left to dry by the radiator, whilst boosting a Conservative Prime Minister who is becoming increasingly hell-bent on marginalising his coalition partners and cutting the deficit with terrible outcomes. Aces.
The ‘yes’ camp objected to some of the misinformation that was being spread about AV. In fact, ‘misinformation’ is being kind… they were basically lies. One of the strangest was that AV would somehow end our one man one vote system. You wouldn’t have multiple votes; your second choice is accepted as your real vote if your first choice doesn’t get enough support. Such blatant propaganda should have been chucked back at the ‘no’ camp double as hard. They should have lied to within an inch of their lives. “If you don’t vote yes, a puppy will be slaughtered every minute. And say what you like about AV but it definitely makes your knob grow longer”.
Within weeks of the coalition being formed, David Laws was out on his ear because of expenses fiddles. Now we have Chris Huhne, who is accused of asking his wife to accept his speeding points eight years ago, a tactic which should have been easily exposed by the DVLA on the premise that women don’t know what fifth gear is. The reason this dirty laundry is being aired in public is that Huhne’s ex-wife, who he left for a younger woman, wishes to see his Lib Dem leadership hopes scuppered at the first hurdle. Surely this is unnecessary. All you need to dent your leadership hopes for Britain’s third party is possess a trace of charisma.
An unnamed member of Chris Huhne’s staff told The Sunday Times, “he doesn’t remember what he did that day”. Come to think of it, neither do I. Maybe I was driving the car when the flashing light went off? On the other hand, wouldn’t it be weird if he did know what he did that day? “Yes, I woke rather early that morning as my bowel were giving me serious trouble…”
It seems a little unfair that our politicians should remember what they did eight years ago when many of them, Lib Dems especially, cannot remember what they said twelve months ago when campaigning for the election. “There will be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS” said Cameron in 2010. One year later and Cameron’s top-down reorganisation of the NHS has been put on hold following the outcry over Andrew Lansley’s plans. Considering the Prime Minister was supporting major surgery of our public health system, there is something odd about his call for a “natural pause” in the legislation. You wouldn’t pause halfway through any other kind of surgery would you? “Nurse, can you take this liver? Thank you. Now, bare with me a few months, I’m off to the Bahamas. Consider this a natural pause in the operation. Cheerio!”