Monday, 17 May 2010

The great Lib Dem betrayal

And so it came to pass. The great Lib Dem sellout. Or, for those, like me, who never saw any progressive intent from Clegg and his party, anyway, not so much a sellout as a crude grasping for power at any cost.

What should we realistically expect from such a stacked system and machine politics, with an obedient media working overtime to convince us that we have a serious political choice and that our votes really matter?

A virtually unchallenged agenda prevails on cuts, Trident and the rest, and we're encouraged to survey the 'choices' like some enticing
à la carte menu. It's another salutary lesson in the process of hegemony, the popular illusion they, the elite, with our conditioned aquiescence, like to call 'democracy'.

Still, if the Clegg-Cameron coupling was to be expected - though, curiously, it came as a surprise to many of our 'seasoned' political analysts - it's certainly a betrayal of all those Lib Dem members and voters who never wished for the Lib Dem deliverance of a Tory government.

As Ian Bell asked of Clegg in the afternath:
"What has he gained? Not, assuredly, the thanks of those who worked for and voted for his party: a majority will be dismayed or dis­gusted."
Or, as leftist Labour MP John McDonnell put it in The Morning Star:
"In return for the bauble of the title of Deputy Prime Minister and a few seats in the Cabinet, Nick Clegg has sold out the country by delivering us all up to the Tories for the most savage assault on our public services since the 1980s under Thatcher."
It's, of course, notable that Clegg's grouping got no top jobs in this 'sharing' cabinet. Clegg himself might have pushed for Foreign Secretary - advancing Lib Dem 'positions' on Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, he wanted to be Deputy PM, essentially a non-role, but with that all-important-sounding title.

And how will the Lib Dem's pre-election declarations in support of Palestine now sit inside a Tory-dominated cabinet?

We also now have Vince Cable, the saintly darling of liberal politicos and its echo media, safely ensconced in Cameron's government, lending a 'wise, moderate' face to the first, £6 billion, round of Tory spending cuts.

Many probably don't know about Cable's Orange Book, classic economic liberal leanings and other quietly-forgotten entries in his CV, such as adviser at the World Bank and chief economist for Shell in Nigeria during the regime's/company's purging of the Ogoni people and execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa.

None of which inconvenient truths have got in the way of drooling reportage from the BBC's Nick Robinson et al or liberal Guardian gushings on the 'new dawn' for Britain. It's another 'Obama moment', a 'renewal' for Jonathan Freedland, a Con-Lib birthing of centre-ground politics.

At least the Guardian's Steve Bell managed to capture the cartoonish truth of their relationship. As did Mark Steel in his satirical depiction of the fawning love-in round the back of Number 10, leading to the crucial point about what's really expected of any incoming government:
"But one issue apparently agreed upon by all the main parties is a government had to be found that would satisfy the markets. Because to solve the economic crisis caused by the people who run the markets, we must pick a government that doesn't upset the people who run the markets."
For Ian Bell, it really is a renewal: a renewal of old class privilege posing as 'new non-class' politics:
"Like everyone else, I caught sight of the birth of the new politics in the Downing Street backgreen last week. I was supposed to be impressed, I think, by the outstanding display of grovelling from minor school media types. It was new, it was modern, it was – for anyone dead from the toes up – cool. I just thought: F*** me, it’s the 1950s."
But, as Osborne's emergency cuts commence, here's a last little homily from Clegg for another spirit of axe-wielding Tory past:
"I’m 43 now. I was at university at the height of the Thatcher revolution and I recognise now something I did not at the time: that her victory over a vested interest, the trade unions, was immensely significant. I don’t want to be churlish: that was an immensely important visceral battle for how Britain is governed."
The last person in Number 10 to praise the leaderene in those kind of fond, reflective terms was Tony Blair.

Class, power, Eton, 'democracy', hypocrisy, liberals, Liberals, 'stability', liars.

Need any more be said?


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