Speaker John Bercow kept his seat today while other honourable members assumed their new ones be it in government or opposition. Prime Minister Cameron spun us the usual line about the new politics and Nick Clegg tried to do a convincing impression of somebody who used to lead a political party but now leads an appendage to Conservative government. Like wil o the wisps the Liberal Democrats have vanished without trace to be replaced at Prime Ministers Questions by a Party that doesn’t even stand across the length and breadth of the UK. This is how it should be; the new government stressed ‘proportionality’ a thin attempt to mask it’s flooding of the Lords with new unelected peers that are so much better because they are cut from coalition cloth. Forget the fact that *before* the new peers the Coalition outnumbered Labour in the Lords; this new politics reeks of Orwellian ‘Newspeak’.
If this government is in favour of proportionality then let’s put that to the test. It’s time, for example, that the BBC’s Question Time removed a separate Liberal Democrat presence and other political discussion shows followed suit. Two representatives from the same government is hardly proportional now is it? I can hear the howls and shrieks of embittered Liberal Democrats even now; apparently, Labour is supposed to be ‘bitter’ at being out of government. Far from it; I think it is the self-same Liberal Democrats who are suffering from something called ‘cognetive dissonance’; the trauma caused by holding two contradictory thoughts at the same time. This explains the angry zealotry of those who support the Coalition to the point where their response to criticism of it is to take personal, not political, offence.
Meanwhile, on the opposition benches Labour has its own traumas to address. David Miliband has taken an early lead in the leadership race however, my view is this is due to a deep-seated feeling amoung people (within and without Labour) that far from representing a break from Blairism he is actually, temperamentally at least, the closest thing Labour has left. It is this very problem that makes him unsuitable for the job; we do not need another divisive personality but one who can unite the Party around a common purpose; as an insurgent movement against this wretched government, funneling the keen sense of betrayal into a positive fight for something so much better.
John McDonnell’s intervention has been badly advised; he is out of touch with a party that wants a fraternal contest not one that bellows blood and thunder calls of ‘betrayal’ and ‘fixing’. Maybe he has a point about the short space of time allowed for nominations, however, he made it in the wrong way and that does not bode well for him being able to perform the task I have outlined above. I await the temper of Ed Ball’s launch with interest but I expect him to suffer from similar problems which leaves me more and more impressed by the sanguine determination of Ed Miliband….