My initial positive-feelings-tempered-with-caution
towards the coalition, cemented when I voted for it at special conference
, have been being slowly eroded over recent weeks.
This isn't because of any particular policy, or even a cumulative dripdrip of many policies. I, like David, recognise and accept that part of coalition is that you have to accept some stuff you don't like in exchange for the stuff you do, and so long as nobody's red lines are being crossed then working together is better than working apart
. There are some policies which this government has brought to fruition which I like, some which I detest, and some which I am ambivalent about. I don't doubt that this would still be the case were my party in sole power - although perhaps the balance would be different - because this is always the case with any government of any colour.
No, what is upsetting me, to the point where this morning I shouted
FOR FUCK'S SAKE
at Our Glorious Leader when he was being interviewed on the radio this morning, is that we were promised a new politics. We were promised that consensus and compromise and behaving like grown ups was going to happen. We were promised that politicians would start to answer straight questions with straight answers, and stop avoiding the difficult topics. Perhaps naively, I took the coalition agreement and its transparent signs of negotiation and compromise as a positive sign that this was actually going to happen, unlike all the previous occasions when it has been promised. And for a few days, it looked like it was going to. But not any more. This morning on the Today programme, Nick singularly failed to give a straight answer to any of Humpty's questions
. Yesterday at PMQs, Cameron indulged in shouted ad hominems and also failed to answer any questions properly. Instead of behaving like grown ups, our MPs are screaming at each other in the chamber MORE, and my party is complicit, in that it feels like we've decided which one of the big boys we are going to be the little crazy kid with the ideas to, and now we've joined their gang we're going to make the most of our opportunity to pick on the other gang instead of doing anything constructive.This is what people hate about politics
. The dissembling, the evasion, the defensiveness, the attacks on the opposition in lieu of accepting responsibility for your own decisions. They hate
In an attempt to be helpful, then, here are a few sample questions and answers which would not make me lose respect for my leader hand over fist, the way his performance this morning did:Sample Question from Humpty:
Why have you implemented X policy when you said before the election that X policy would be a disaster?Bad Answer:
Well, you know, I really want to talk about Y policy, Z statistics, and in fact anything other than X policy, because you're right, I hate X policy, and everybody knows it, but I don't want to admit that on the radio.Good Answer:
Before the election we were campaigning on the basis of the knowledge we had at the time. We know now that A, B, and C are much worse than we thought they were. This means that policy X, although we don't like it, is the only route we can take at the moment.Better Answer:
X policy is something that I have had to compromise on. This is the nature of coalition. The Tories have compromised on Q policy, and we have compromised on X policy. This is what happens when you negotiate with people, Humpty, you pillock.Sample Question from Harperson:
Will the right honourable gentleman admit that he has done some bad mean things that I don't like?Bad answer:
I haven't done as many bad things that you don't like as your
government did bad things that I
didn't like in the last thirteen years! ((For pity's sake, even my seven year old knows that
I only did it once and Scott did it three times! is an excuse that won't wash with ANYONE)).Good answer:
I have done some bad mean things, it's true. But I was forced to do those bad mean things in order to avoid the horrific consequences of not doing them. When given a choice between two evils, I would rather choose the lesser than the greater, or dither and do nothing in the hope that it will all go away.Question:
Why are you trying to pretend that your budget doesn't hurt the poorest most when it manifestly does
?Bad Answer: WAAAAAAAAAAH THAT'S NOT TRUE AND ANYWAY IT'S ALL LABOUR'S FAULT
... Actually, there isn't a good answer for that; or rather if there is, I can't think of one. Why is
budget hitting the poorest hardest, Nick? I'd love to know. I mean, I suspect it's because we're in coalition with the Tories, and they have form for hammering the disadvantaged and the disabled, but I genuinely believed that we were going to try and stop them doing that... Please do something to restore my faith soon. Because right now, it's wavering.
ETA: Thank Cthulhu for Vince, who is being awesome on Question Time. Hope Nick is watching and taking notes on how to answer questions.
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