The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you


Posted by The Futility Monster on June 21, 2010 @ 09:49


The coalition is clearly making hay while the sun is still shining regarding all these external appointments.

First it was leftie economist Will Hutton, asked to head an investigation into closing the pay gap between the top and the bottom.

Then it was Frank Field, asked to investigate welfare.

Now it’s John Hutton, who’s going to lead a review into public sector pensions. And no stone will be left unturned, given his previous reputation.

Add into that the fact that the government is already a coalition, and you can see why John Prescott is getting very angry.

If I was Labour, I don’t think I’d be getting angry though. I’d be absolutely terrified.

Terrified because if this Big Tent, centrist mushiness works, in the sense that it delivers the goods for a sufficient proportion of the voting electorate, and those same voters are happy with it, it could be disastrous for the Labour Party.

Previous attempts at a hegemonic centrist government have been tried by both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. But, inevitably, they were doomed to failure because, in both their cases, they were eventually backed off from it because of the opposition within their own parties, and the nature of their leadership styles.

This time, however, where we have two parties mutually dependent on each other for survival, the tent is the biggest it could possibly be, commanding the largest combined share of the vote for a British government since Gladstone in 1868.

On top of all that, it’s faced with an economic challenge the size of which the country has not faced in decades. And that kind of thing has an amazing ability to bring people together for the “common good”.

It seems a lot of Labour people are being drawn into that. John Hutton was no rebel, but he was always an honest minister. A thorn in the side for the Brownites. So too Frank Field, who has bided his time on the backbenches, and sees this maybe as his own last chance to influence government. In spite of being on the other side of the House.

In short, everyone wants a piece of it. A chance to bask in the reflected glory of the first piece of true consensus politics the British government has experienced in generations. A chance to revel in the Coalition’s honeymoon, which is showing evidence of continuing in spite of the minor slip-ups and scandals we’ve had so far, and massive expectations management regarding the huge amount of cuts on the way.

Yes. If I was Labour I’d be starting to worry just how long this is going to go on for, and whether it’s representing a public desire to see the end of the bitter partisan hackery portrayed so beautifully by Prezza, and his nasty accusations of “collaboration”.

Don’t think that lengthy leadership election timetable looks such a good idea now…

2 Responses to “ConLibLab”

  1. Neil Craig said

    The very good news for Labour is that no elected government is so popular that it doesn’t have an opposition. In theory the FPTP system should lead to one party government but in practice there is always enough discontent to make it 2 parties. The LibDems are no longer an opposition party. My hope is that we get PR so that Labour has to compete for the role of oposition.

  2. Dougf said

    Your analysis of the political dynamic precisely mirrors my own. I think that the LibDems and Cameron have an historical opportunity to ‘move’ the focus towards the Great Middle. To their mutual benefit of course.
    A “Middle Left – Centre – Middle Right” Axis which will become the ‘normal’ go-to option in the future. And that need not be ‘mushy’ at all;merely pragmatic and equitable above all else.

    But it depends on two things :
    A. That the Coalition actually succeeds in being ‘firm but fair’ while being an effective Government. I really have very high hopes in this area.
    B. That the Libdems be prepared to say bon voyage to a segment of their Party which can never be reconciled with anything ‘Tory’. Sooner or later this group will want to tear the whole house down simply because they are ‘uncomfortable’ in their room. They just don’t feel right. The Tory ‘right’ is infected with the same disease but they are much more disinclined to throw themselves out the window merely because they ‘feel’ aggrieved. They might be up for a spot of backstabbing if they get the golden chance but the object is never to offer them your back.

    Labour might well not be frightened NOW, but if the Coalition hangs together for 5 years and does its job, a lot of Labour people will be suddenly breaking out in a cold sweat. As well they should.

    Thanks for the posting today. Nice to see a LibDem with more than a little ‘steel’ in his approach. Angst and hand-wringing really are not very becoming in a political Party, which fundamentally, is a vehicle for achieving influence and power.

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