Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The cure for "Broken Britain?"

"I'm fed up with you kids" – as well you might be, Gordon.
Picture of Gordon, Dave and Cleggy courtesy of

So here we are with a spanking new government. I must say, it’s all turned out rather well, hasn’t it? After a nail biting election (I don’t think I recall it ever being EXCITING before) we got two for the price of one – and bless ‘em, they look so happy.

I had begun to feel rather sorry for Gordon Brown and had to be reminded by family members “He’s ruined the country!” to avoid my sympathy developing further. Bigotgate almost made me want a Labour victory, so that he wouldn’t look back on it as the mistake which cost him the election (although he would have been kidding himself, as he's been a dead man walking for some time). Not that I could ever quite bring myself to vote for him. Indeed, I have no idea why anyone WOULD vote Labour. Is it because the last 13 years have just been SO GOOD? (Maybe, if you are a burglar who has successfully sued a homeowner because you hurt your foot when you kicked in the door.) Seriously, who would say “Yeah! I’d love some more of this!”

I’ve noticed that many people stick to the party which their family / community supports – which could explain why some are blindly followed even when their manifestos suck.

Gordon Brown reminds me of Mr Goon the policeman from Enid Blyton’s rather forgotten masterpiece, “The Five Find-outers and Dog” series. (Superior to the Secret Seven, on par with the Famous Five; Fatty was a much better leader than bossy Julian.) Mr Goon could be a real rotter sometimes, and was of course always outwitted by the gang of mystery-solving children. But just occasionally, he’d mess things up so badly that you couldn’t help feeling sorry for him. And so it is with Gordon; perhaps his resignation was a cynical last-ditch attempt to manipulate his way into power, but watching him practically scamper away from number ten with his wife and children (who are just about the cutest small boys I have ever seen) and it’s enough to make you say “Never mind! Maybe now you’ll be able to find a job you ARE good at!”

Although I initially had reservations about Cameron, he won me over in the debates. He seemed like the only one who actually felt passionate about making changes and restoring Britain to its pre-Labour glory. (As John Major said when he left in 1997 “The economy is booming, interest rates are low... inflation is low and unemployment is falling. The growth pattern is well set, the health service is expanding, the education service is improving and the crime statistics are falling.”)

We currently live in a bizarre world of political correctness where just mentioning the word “immigrant” earns you the moniker “bigot” (I'd like to defend Mr Brown’s right to speak his mind, but I can’t help noticing that accusatory name calling is a lazy man’s defence against questions he doesn’t like – people will back off rather than be branded as racist.)

I also feel vaguely patronised by the “But there are hardly any women in parliament!” outcry. Frankly, I don’t care. If the coalition was made up entirely of black people, would all the white people be complaining “But they can’t possibly see things from our point of view or cater to our needs!”? Of course not. So let’s hope that the best person gets the job regardless of biased shortlists and tokenism.

I still maintain that Clegg is the kind of creep who would chat you up in a nightclub, carefully mirror your movements and casually slip “below me” into the conversation, but his obvious joy at being given a job makes me feel churlish for pointing out the illogical nature of making the man with the fewest votes the prime minister’s deputy. (Watch your back, Dave....)

Wide-eyed students who actually believed that the Liberals heralded a new, revolutionary form of politics are angry he “sold out” by joining with Dave – which proves how naive they were for not guessing he would go wherever the heady scent of power led him.

Dave promised to cut the cabinet’s pay, which he has duly done.(He now earns less than 160 other council chiefs.) This kind of grown-up example setting means he is off to an encouraging start.

He also organised a meeting of community grassroots activists, including Kids Company founder (and Gwnyeth Paltrow’s heroine) Camila Batmanghelidjh. Apparently the plan is to give communities more power and to create a National Citizen Service programme to end the "pointless waste of potential" among teenagers. With Miss Batmanghelidjh involved, you can be sure Dave will not be allowed to get away with any waffling BS, so hopefully the changes made will be long lasting and real.

It is spring, Labour is gone, and things are looking up. Hurrah!

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